I’ve just read an interesting article in the Guardian, which states that a US lobby group is trying to get the US government to consider open source as the equivalent to piracy. That means, to that well suited “moron” group, the open source free community is actually a large group of pirates!
Countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India is asked to be considered for the “Special 301 watchlist” by International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), because they use open source software. So what on earth is “Special 301“? According to Guardian’s Bobbie Johnson it is:
a report that examines the ‘adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights’ around the planet – effectively the list of countries that the US government considers enemies of capitalism. It often gets wheeled out as a form of trading pressure – often around pharmaceuticals and counterfeited goods – to try and force governments to change their behaviours.
I can’t figure it out how piracy is equivalent to free open source software (FOSS)? As an example, WordPress is a FOSS. How can it be a pirated version of any software or even itself! It is easy to realize how pirated software can affect companies like Microsoft, from getting them more revenue. But it is not true for FOSS. They have completely different business model. Mozilla is well known for their world famous browser Firefox. Firefox is their product and they are giving everything of Firefox for free of cost and still makes money.
Free Open Source software gives us lots of flexibilities. Suppose, I don’t have the ability of buying Windows or Mac, so my alternative is using other FOSS operating system. So I use Ubuntu. Ubuntu is developed and distributed by Canonical. And they distribute it for free of charge. And they are doing this legally. Ubuntu is their product and they can distribute it in the way they like. How can it be a piracy? Haven’t those “moron”s never heard of GPL?
The software world had been always divided into two region one is the Corporate group and another is the Opensource followers. Countries from third world like Bangladesh is heavily accused for software piracy. For these countries, the adoption of open source software will decrease piracy and reduce costs. This surely is a good thing? But according to the IIPA, it is NOT! They explains why it is not a GOOD thing:
“While IIPA has no issue with one of the stated goals of the circular, namely, “reducing software copyright violation,” the Indonesian government’s policy as indicated in the circular letter instead simply weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market. Rather than fostering a system that will allow users to benefit from the best solution available in the market, irrespective of the development model, it encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations. As such, it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions to meet the needs of their organizations and the Indonesian people. It also amounts to a significant market access barrier for the software industry.”
According to IIPA, FOSS put a barrier to the software industry. So who are in the software industry? Companies like Microsoft? Are not Canonical or RedHat fall inside that industry-zone? No they are not, because according to the IIPA “they encourage a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations“.
Well done IIPA!