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WIPO Pressured to Kill Meeting on Open Source 323

Posted by michael
from the thou-shalt-not-speak-its-name dept.
panthan writes "The Washington Post has has an article about a proposed meeting of the WIPO concerning open source having been removed from consideration, apparently due to pressure from the US State Department and the USPTO. 'In short order, lobbyists from Microsoft-funded trade groups were pushing officials at the State Department and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to squelch the meeting. One lobbyist, Emery Simon with the Business Software Alliance, said his group objected to the suggestion in the proposal that overly broad or restrictive intellectual-property rights might in some cases stunt technological innovation and economic growth.'" Lawrence Lessig has some comments.
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WIPO Pressured to Kill Meeting on Open Source

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:27PM (#6769794) Homepage Journal
    The US State Department is pushing other departments to pay more for their software. I wonder if the State Department is using Open Source itself...


    Be interesting if the Government players most opposed to Open Source are those gaining political power by others NOT using it, when they themselves are.


    Or have I watched too many X-Files?

    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by X_Bones (93097) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `31zronad'> on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:43PM (#6770188) Homepage Journal
      I don't think very many areas of the federal government are using open source software, and I'm certain that OSS gives no more than limited political advantages to its users. In fact, using proprietary software is often in the government's best interests (but not that of the taxpayers, which is an entirely different issue...).

      If a government agency's operating costs go up (due to software costs in this case), then when it goes and asks Congress for a budget increase it's likely that they will receive a larger amount in discretionary funding (they receive the same percentage of a new, larger budget). Discretionary funding is the stuff agency heads love to have, since they can spend it on their department in whatever fashion they see fit: office parties, fancy artwork, whatever. So, when choosing between two equally functional but differently-priced solutions, a depressingly large amount of the time, the government chooses the costlier product. The vendor and the department both win, and as usual taxpayers get stuck holding the bag.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Empiric (675968) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:10PM (#6770569)
        Ah... but...

        This is exactly the thing that can give OSS a political advantage. Few things are as much political risk as having wasted taxpayer money and not being able to provide a reason why. This is where OSS has the clear, publically-understandable attribute of "free" working for it; it's much harder to bury an uneconomical decision in this arena than one in another field where there are two approximately-equal bids with a subjective difference of quality between them.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

        by Col. Klink (retired) (11632) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:50PM (#6770951)
        I work in the Federal Government. We use lots of Free and Open Source Software. Sometimes because it's better, sometimes because it's free (sometimes for both reasons).

        If I need to do something, it is far easier to grab a free implementation than to go through channels to get budgeted and all the hassle that goes along with that.

        We use lots of proprietary software too, often because it's the only thing that does the trick. Sometimes because we started using it before a free alternative was viable. I am migrating my Splus applications to R (mostly for technical reasons). We use MS Office because everyone else does.

        I have Linux on my desktop.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        In my experience as a US federal employee, and in specific regards to software purchases, the goal seems to be to buy (or contract for) a single piece of software that, in theory, will satisfy the government's needs in perpetutity. Of course, that short-sighted thinking results in a periodic replacement of the entire software system. Frequently, the systems we use are either out of their support lifetime or the company that developed it no longer exists.

        Because of the incredibly long life-cycle these gover
  • by SuperDuperMan (257229) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:28PM (#6769796)
    If Microsoft is so concerned that Open Source is infringing on intellectual property then they should voice their concerns in front of an audience that is sympathetic to them.

  • by Erik_the_Awful (675368) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:28PM (#6769799) Journal
    Lessig states that: "First, and most obviously, open-source software is based in intellectual-property rights."

    While this is true, we can observe WIPO's actual goals by their ACTIONS. WIPO's ACTIONS show that WIPO intends to protect and expand Intellectual Property rights when they result in profits for WIPO's member states and their corporations.

    Conversly, WIPO can be counted on to act against Intellectual Property rights that do not result in profits for WIPO's member state corporations.

    On a seperate note, is it reasonable to increase the cost of BSA's lobbyists by causing them to recieve more snail mail? Would anyone like Emery Simon to be treated like a spam king, and for Emery Simon to recieve a spam king's snail mail load? I don't suppose anyone has access to Emery's personal information? Or is this an overused solution already?

    -EtA
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, if you want to, ahem, "contact" Emery Simon, his business address is the same as the BSA's, namely:
      1150 18th Street NW

      Washington, DC 20036
      His email address is emerys@bsa.org [mailto]. Google [google.com] lists one Emery Simon living in Bethesda, MD. Anyone know who this is?
    • Conversly, WIPO can be counted on to act against Intellectual Property rights that do not result in profits for WIPO's member state corporations.


      Except, of course, that open source products help everyone, including WIPO members, by allowing them to leverage open source to produce their products more cheaply. See the recent TiVo article for an example. The problem is that they haven't pulled their heads sufficiently out of their asses yet to realize this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:29PM (#6769805)
    Regardless of what WIPE-ASS has a meeting on, or doesn't have a meeting on, there will still exist software that is given out or sold with loose restrictions. To assume anything else simply defies logic....

    We may experience some bumps along the way, but our government can't ignore the millions of people who depend on Free software to earn their pay, run their businesses, and educate their minds. I doubt that in the long run, the legal system will continue to favor restrictive licenses heavily over non-restrictive ones.

    You can run, Microsoft/Adobe/BSA/etc, but you can't hide! Of course you are also welcomed to join us!

    Yes, I am optimistic...
  • IP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:29PM (#6769806)


    > One lobbyist, Emery Simon with the Business Software Alliance, said his group objected to the suggestion in the proposal that overly broad or restrictive intellectual-property rights might in some cases stunt technological innovation and economic growth.

    Given that the US Constitution justifies IP on the basis of promoting progress, we can't be asking the question of whether our laws actually do that, now can we?

    IP law has become nothing more than an authorization for a gold rush, as everyone hurries to stake their claims until there's nothing left that you can do for free.

    • Re:IP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stanwirth (621074) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:45PM (#6769907)

      Sadly, it costs a lot of money to exercise free speech in America.

      The motto of the VFW: "Freedom isn't Free."

      Millions of Americans have paid with more than money to protect this freedom. It is an absolute disgrace to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to allow international corporations to throw so much money and influence at destroying the freedoms others have died to preserve.

      And people worry about hurting their careers by promoting open source. Not exactly the face of courage, is it.

      • Dying for IP (Score:5, Insightful)

        by theolein (316044) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:37PM (#6770157) Journal
        Millions of Americans have paid with more than money to protect this freedom. It is an absolute disgrace to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to allow international corporations to throw so much money and influence at destroying the freedoms others have died to preserve.

        I don't mean to hurt your patriotic feelings, but isn't it very possible that many of those millions dies exactly for tho right of those huge corporations to trample over poverty stricken bodies?

        I still have no idea today as to why exactly the US invaded Iraq. It might have been WMD or just plainly Saddam, but it could just as well have been for Halliburton, Bechtel and other well connected companies to do some business over the dead carcasses of Iraqis and US soldiers.
        • Re:Dying for IP (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:00PM (#6770730)
          The soldiers are always *told* they are fighting for freedom and they actively discouraged from questioning what they are told. So, yeah they often believe that they fought and died for a good cause. Now, the power-brokers pulling the strings and running the military-industrial complex, they have a whole different set of motivations, usually greed being number one on the list. So in effect, both reasons are true and that applies to pretty much every armed conflict the US has participated in, all the way back to the revolution.

          From today's perspective it sure seems like freedom was once high on the list of motivations for the power-brokers and that it's importance has steadily declined through the centuries. But, as the saying goes - the victors write the history, so I'm willing to bet that greed was just as much of a disproportionate motivation back in 1776 as it is today.
        • Re:Dying for IP (Score:5, Interesting)

          by stanwirth (621074) on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:10PM (#6770782)

          I don't mean to hurt your patriotic feelings, but isn't it very possible that many of those millions dies exactly for tho right of those huge corporations to trample over poverty stricken bodies?

          The people that put their lives on the line did not do it for IBM or Microsoft or Bechtel, or Halliburton -- they did do it for their country and what they believed their country stood for -- freedom.

          That some corporations connected to some reigning power elites have seized opportunities to usurp and pervert the freedoms that so many have died for, is the very sad irony and disgrace that I identified.

          And there appears to be a similar theme between the corporate power that would usurp, pervert, monopolise and profit from the nascent freedom of the Iraqi people, and the corporate power that would usurp, pervert, monopolise and profit from control over the means of distribution and certification of intellectual property.

          That common theme is corporate power perverting democratic institutions for their own gain.

          So, in a sense, we actually agree with one another.

          The UN on the other hand, is actively promoting both Linux and WiFi in developing countries -- so it would appear that supporting and developing open source software is a way of eroding corporate power and corruption in both the foreign and domestic arenas.

          And it's something we can each actually do . If we dare, in the face of potential reprisals--it's "a career-limiting move" after all.

          Scared? There is no pump more efficient than a scared man with a bucket.

          Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
          -- Patrick Henry
      • Re:IP (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fishbowl (7759) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:44PM (#6770467)
        There really isn't an opportunity to offer the price for freedom in this case.

        Last time I checked there was approximately zero support for a revolutionary movement in the US.

        Get a couple of military divisions willing to turn against the command because the government is out of control, and then we can start talking about "paying the price of freedom."

        At the moment, it's either live under the tyranny, or leave the country. Things are not bad enough for people to start thinking in terms of the more ugly alternatives.
        • Re:IP (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jeremi (14640) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:32PM (#6770638) Homepage
          At the moment, it's either live under the tyranny, or leave the country.


          Bad as things may seem, we do still live in a democracy. Why not vote the bastards out of office next year? This time around we even have some decent replacements [deanforamerica.com] for them.

          • Re:IP (Score:3, Informative)

            by GigsVT (208848)
            Yeah, Dean did Lessig's blog, big deal.

            Before you run to vote for him, you should know his positions, most of which are not compatible with liberty.

            Dean fully supports [issues2000.org] the failed War on Drugs.

            Dean wants "More federal funding for all aspects of Drug War".

            Dean supports a socialist command economy for medical services [issues2000.org].

            Dean even calls [issues2000.org] Bush Jr. "isolationist" in regard to his foreign policy! If Bush Jr. is an isolationist, I don't want to find out what Dean thinks is going to far in interfering with other
          • Re:IP (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TyrranzzX (617713)
            I don't think we even live under a democracy. Last election ralph nader got 5% of the national vote and the goverment denied him federal money, immediatly inreasing the amount to 15%. Think if he wins in their system they'll let him in? When I'v got the cash I'm buying a gun; I know there's gonna be a revolution at some point as this country delves farther into a depression, I pray that it won't be violent.

            What they have now isn't voting, it's poorly run statistics. Illinois has xxx people in it, if
        • Re:IP (Score:4, Interesting)

          by stanwirth (621074) on Friday August 22, 2003 @10:36PM (#6770655)

          There really isn't an opportunity to offer the price for freedom in this case.

          Well this wasn't really a call to revolt -- more an observation that a whole lot of people have put their very lives on the line for the cause of freedom, only to allow those same freedoms to be taken away, bit by bit, by administrative maneuvers.

          It is ironic -- and very, very sad -- that a people with the courage to put their lives on the line for freedom will cower in terror when reprisals are threatened for merely speaking out against the erosion of those same freedoms.

          Now clearly there is a road (no simple highway), which is to support open source software, run linux yourself, and promote its adoption in the public sector, in schools, in community organisations, and in small businesses. And when you find yourself being criticised or penalised for it, remember that keeping to your own path despite the reprisals is a very very small sacrifice compared to what others have already sacrificed.

          Freedom is like a muscle. You have to exercise it just a little bit more every day in order for it to grow stronger -- and if you don't, it gets flabby and weak and useless. If you push it too hard too fast (revolution) it tears. So I think that it's a false dilemma to say:

          At the moment, it's either live under the tyranny, or leave the country.

          When we have freedoms we can exercise, just a little bit more every day, to unmask and weaken the forces of tyranny -- bit by bit, just as tyrants would limit our freedom bit by bit.

          Goddam well I declare
          Have you seen the like?
          Their walls are built of cannon-balls
          Their motto is "Don't Tread on Me."

      • by Dukeofshadows (607689) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:55PM (#6770508) Journal
        Media tampering along these lines began long ago, at least as far back as WR Hearst and the "Give me the pictures and I'll give you the war" quote from 1898. Corporate tampering with the government runs back to at least the Bank of the United States and Nicholas Biddle in the 1830s. Now they have combined in the form of a corporate giant wanting to dominate not only the content of information most of this country sees but also its distribution and means of transmission. No one can really blame Microsoft for wanting to act in their own best interest, after all if they win then they likely gain control over most computer systems on the consumer, commercial, and military levels. This means billions of dollars and a monopoly on software that the government will be hard-pressed to crack, both because of the importance of the product and the lobbying money that would result. It is not going to simply hand over its golden goose to open source programmers who can do the job cheaper, better, and more efficiently. Instead it seeks to badmouth its only competition at every turn. Microsoft is free to say what it wants as long as it is prepared to back it up. It is only when the freedom of speech is applied to those whom we do not wish to hear that we truly prove our respect for that freedom.

        And the second they say anything they can't outright prove, the same body of laws deems that slander and is grounds for legal action. I hope they slip up with the open source community there to greet them, but until then we *grudgingly* have to respect their rights to free speech, even if that includes lobbying Congress with barrels of cash (since bribery in that form is somehow considered "free speech" under current law).
    • by twitter (104583) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:24PM (#6770099) Homepage Journal
      IP law has become nothing more than an authorization for a gold rush, as everyone hurries to stake their claims until there's nothing left that you can do for free.

      No, it's worse than that. A US Governemet representative has spouted some of Microsft's more outrageous and stupid anti-GPL FUD. This, from Lessing, is absolutly incredible:

      Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said "that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights."

      If I don't have the right to share my IP as I please, what rights do I have? If I can't take my software and release it so that others can use it and share their insights to make it better, what can I do with it? Do I have to keep it to myself and hope that Microsoft will make me an offer for it?

      This is total bullshit, I have every right to do as I please with my own work. If the government will back me up when I put silly restrictions on my users, it had better back me up when I put reasonable ones or none at all on them.

      Louis Boland, for such a stupid statement, should be removed from her post imediatly. It shows a complete disregard for copyright law, free speech and even lacks common sense. It does not follow that the US government would spend my tax money to protect a restrictive publisher or author, but not one that is less restrictive and more directly meeting the purpose of copyright laws: to promote the state of the art and expand the public domain. Some people do not need government protection or direct monetary reward to share their ideas. It's as American as Ben Franklin's newspapers. Louis, I hope you have been taken out of context and will work to reverse this cancellation. WIPO needs to consider the issue and should encourage it because it is in everyone's best interest. If you really think free software is somehow counter to Intelectual Property rights, I hope that you are removed tomorrow and never see another public appointment.

      This message was composed and posted on free software that is arguably better than Microsoft crap. It cost me less money to aquire and continues to cost me less money to maintain as well as enriching my knowledge of software and enabling me to contribute to the state of the art. Non-free software vendors won't even let me understand their inner workings, much less contribute to it's improvement.

      • This is total bullshit, I have every right to do as I please with my own work. If the government will back me up when I put silly restrictions on my users, it had better back me up when I put reasonable ones or none at all on them.

        You, sir, without realizing it, have hit the nail on the head.

        This is something that organizations like the WIPO fail to understand. Because of the FUD that has been promulgated by companies like Microsoft and SCO, one would get the impression that open source is a black hole su

    • Re:IP (Score:2, Funny)

      by pHDNgell (410691)
      Given that the US Constitution justifies IP on the basis of promoting progress, we can't be asking the question of whether our laws actually do that, now can we?

      It doesn't matter, once IPv6 comes around, we won't have to worry about justifying IPs anymore.

  • So.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@@@johnhummel...net> on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:32PM (#6769818) Homepage
    Does this mean that IBM could lobby to have Microsoft not considered? That Sun could lobby to get Apple banned from other meetings because they have a different set of Intellectual Property protection than what Buymusic.com has? (All right, bad example, but....)

    It seems that the only way that some businesses (read: Microsoft) are able to keep up the pressure against Linux is by trying to do it with laws. Why don't we have an Open Source DVD player for Linux? Oh - well, the MPAA helped get a law passed that makes it basically illegal to create. Sorry about that, but that's just how it works.

    Yes, I'm a little irritated, and if I discover that my local senator/congressman was involved in this in any way, they can expect a nastygram listed as "voting for the other guy come election day".

    I find it interesting how the major players (aka "Microsoft") are trying to keep out their real competition. What if Open Source was part of the Intellectual Property decisions? Wouldn't that be a good thing for everybody if every OS supported Intellectual Property in a truly fair and just matter? Well, good for everyone except Microsoft - can't have a level playing field if we can keep the competition out, right?
    • Re:So.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by metatruk (315048)
      Actually, we do have an open source DVD player for Linux. At least three of them in fact:
      xine [xinehq.de]
      mplayer [mplayerhq.hu]
      VideoLAN client [videolan.org]

      The only thing that's illegal is the CSS decryption libraries needed to play most (but not all) CSS "protected" DVDs.
      • My bad - forgive a person who's been using OS X for a year so hadn't kept up.

        Though - having those decryption libraries would be nice too.
      • The prosecution in the case against DeCSS argued that it wasn't covered by the "reverse engineering for interoperability" exceptions in the DMCA, because the defense couldn't at that time point to a working Linux DVD player using DeCSS code and because they got a judge dumb enough to buy the idea that software should go from "0 lines of code" to "fully working application" instantly.

        Now that the ported libcss is a component part of every Linux DVD player, it will be harder for anyone to try and prosecute D
    • Re:So.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      Yes, I'm a little irritated, and if I discover that my local senator/congressman was involved in this in any way, they can expect a nastygram listed as "voting for the other guy come election day".

      are you really willing to do what this takes?

      Someone above mentioned that "freedom is not free" and many MANY people Died to protect what you have today.

      so what kind of effort are you going to put into what you believe in? Are you going to just silently vote against the candidate that upsets you?

      Are you goin
  • Write your Senator! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by corporatemutantninja (533295) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:32PM (#6769820)
    Here's the email I just sent to my two senators: Dear Senator --, I just read in the Washington Post that the World Intellectual Property Organization had initiated plans for a meeting about the role of open source software. According to the article, a reference to the meeting in Nature magazine triggered a flurry of lobbying from organizations like the Business Software Alliance. (The BSA, in case you didn't know, is essentially just a division of Microsoft.) Even the U.S. Patent Office chimed in, portraying open source as somehow opposed to the ideas of intellectual property. The full Washington Post article is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A234 22-2003Aug20.html Just so you don't think open source is some kind of "hippy thing", I work for the largest private equity firm in the world that is focused exclusively on information technology (here in Greenwich, CT) and I spend my days looking for good technology investments. It's clear to me that far from a fringe movement that opposes business, open source is a model for collaborative software development that makes possible a whole range of business models and innovations. Companies like IBM and Apple have wholeheartedly embraced open source. The only companies opposed to open source are those that currently enjoy relative monopolies in their areas. I.e., Microsoft. By putting actual competitive pressure on Microsoft, the open source has forced changes on Microsoft that the U.S. Government (or at least the last administration) were unable to accomplish. It distresses me that Microsoft's lobbying power has this much sway over our government, particularly since the open source movement is by it's nature decentralized and therefore has no cash reserves to fight back. By the way, if you don't know much about the BSA and open source, here is an article that describes the BSA's strong arm tactics used in bullying small businesses: http://news.com.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html?tag=l h I hope you will take this issue seriously and, if you haven't already, take some time to become educated on open source.
    • by 2toise (688494) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:50PM (#6769935)
      I know, I know, none of us have even owned a pen for years, but the weight given to a real paper letter is hugely more than an email.
      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, consider writing a real letter!
      • Fully agree with the sentiment expressed, but...

        Interesting factoid supplied by a lobbyist recently interviewed [slashdot.org] on Slashdot:

        Finally, move faxes and email way up. One of the only good things to come out of 9/11 is that Members of Congress have been forced to use email as a preferred method of communication. Paper mail and knickknacks have become harder to get into the Capitol.

    • by stwrtpj (518864) <p.stewartNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday August 22, 2003 @11:06PM (#6770750) Journal

      I'm going to nitpick here, and I apologize for having to use your post to do it, but people, before you write your senator, know how to do it right. Do it right, and you'll sound intelligent and erudite. Do it wrong, and you'll sound like a crackpot.

      So I'm going to take this post as an example and show you what I believe makes a good letter. First off, this part is right out:

      The BSA, in case you didn't know, is essentially just a division of Microsoft.

      Baseless allegation. Makes it sound like you have an axe to grind specifically against Microsoft. Stick to the facts.

      The full Washington Post article is here: ...

      Very good. Back up your facts with documentation. Most likely than not this task of tracking down info will be handed to an intern, so make sure your references are very clear. Use direct sources (like this one did) and avoid google caches.

      Just so you don't think open source is some kind of "hippy thing", I work for the largest private equity firm in the world that is focused exclusively on information technology ...

      Another good one. Cite personal experience. Better if you could name the company (you can always include a disclaimer that these views are your own and not your company). You may get lucky and work for a company that contributed to his campaign. However, lose the "hippy thing" phrase. Makes it look like you're assuming what the senator thinks already. May want to leave out "the largest" and substitute "a prominent". Being the "the largest" may be a matter of opinion.

      Companies like IBM and Apple have wholeheartedly embraced open source. The only companies opposed to open source are those that currently enjoy relative monopolies in their areas. I.e., Microsoft.

      Might be a good place to include some references to press releases or interviews that back this up. Makes it look like you seriously did your research.

      By the way, if you don't know much about the BSA and open source, here is an article that describes the BSA's strong arm tactics used in bullying small businesses:

      Excellent. You back up an otherwise harsh allegation with documented fact.

      Now, I did not take the time to follow all the links, but you want to make sure they come from reliable sources. Major news and media outlets like the Washington Post or the NY Times are better than "niche" groups like Linux Journal. CNET is kind of in between. And, yes, I know perfectly well that these sources may vary for differing definitions of "reliable". We know the media puts their own spin on it. But remember that politicians rely on the media for much of their information, so you have to use that to your advantage.

      Sorry to sound pedantic in all this, but many of us know we are intelligent, but we need to convince the politicians of that as well. If anyone else has any other suggestions on good letter-writing, feel free to add.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:33PM (#6769824)
    She added that the WIPO official who embraced the meeting had done so without proper consultation with the member states, and that WIPO's budget already is strained and cannot accommodate another meeting next year.

    or next century, they're on such a tight budget. There are only 179 member world states after all ...

    What a shitty excuse. Who do they take people for ?
  • by LordKaT (619540) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:34PM (#6769831) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, I think the reasoning here is threefold:

    First, and foremost, it was the political lobbying. Hey, if I had that kind of money, I sure as hell would use it to my advantage.

    Secondly, and not as prominetly, it was also a fear of this just turning into a political flamewar

    Third, the bitch needs to be sacked. To say that Opensource undercuts the ideals of "intellectual property" just goes to show either how incompetant she is, or to what degreee she has been bought.

    --LordKaT

    • Third, the bitch needs to be sacked. To say that Opensource undercuts the ideals of "intellectual property" just goes to show either how incompetant she is, or to what degreee she has been bought.

      Or it simply betrays her ignorance.

      Never attribute malice where incompetence is sufficient ... and never attribute incometence when ignorance is sufficient.

      Granted, I'm sure now that her email has been posted on Slashdot (see other thread), she'll be pretty convinced she made the right decision. The flamers

      • She's a high-ranking lawyer at the US PTO (I'm guessing a GS-14 or 15 or equivalent). Her career has been in intellectual property law. If she's ignorant of the issue (unlikely), she should be removed. If she's disingenuous (far more likely), she should be removed.
    • by twitter (104583)
      Hey, if I had that kind of money, I sure as hell would use it to my advantage.

      Yeah, you might be a dick, but my govenrment should not listen to you. Your lobiest can make their point and be on their way. The level of ignorance diplayed by Louis, the US government repreentative who quashed this meeting, is egrevious. If I don't have the right to give my work away with few or no restrictions, why would the government protect the many restrictions I'd place on my work? She's nuts, bought or just stupid.

  • by tji (74570) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:34PM (#6769833)

    From the article:
    Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights.

    "To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO," she said.


    They obviously don't get it.

    Or, maybe I don't.. Is there a broader assumption behind "intellectual property rights"? Is this assumed to be only the right to restrict your IP as much as possible? Or, the right to protect the IP of big businesses only?

    Wouldn't the right to control how my IP is used, and demand that it remain open, and any changes remain open, fall neatly into Intellectual Property Rights? Perhaps Lois should read the GPL some time.
    • by Empiric (675968) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:52PM (#6770219)
      Agree totally.

      There's an insidious equating of the concepts of "rights" and "profits" going on both here and with SCO's arguments.

      It's important to mentally note the cases when an argument says "the right to make a profit", but actually means "denying the right of someone else to choose not to". The rights of a work's creator is not limited to pursuing financial profit; one may choose to do so to benefit others, for their own edification, or any number of other reasons, which are solely theirs to determine.
  • email her (Score:5, Informative)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:34PM (#6769834) Homepage
    Lois Boland lois.boland@uspto.gov

    from an old link [uspto.gov].

    • Re:email her (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harryseldon (29164) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:43PM (#6769899)
      Ask her why the policy of the WIPO is to attack IBM's business model.

      Ask IBM why they are paying lobbyists to attack their own business model. (IBM belongs to the BSA).
      • { Sue | Lobby | Threaten | Harass | Hype | Spin | FUD | Deny } first, ask questions later.

      • Re:email her (Score:3, Insightful)

        For that matter, ask most tech companies why they seem to have a business model of trying to out-sue eachother!

        Oracle, Real Audio, Sun, and Netscape were pushing for the anti-trust suit against Microsoft when they had the same business practices as everyone else...the only difference is that they were larger.

        SCO sues everyone.
        IBM sues SCO.
        Sun sues Microsoft.
        Microsoft sues Sun. ...

        There are so many lawsuits, I think that only people making money off of high-tech are the lawyers!
    • Thaks, I did. (Score:3, Informative)

      by twitter (104583)
      I asked her the majority of the questions in this post [slashdot.org]. Most importantly, I asked if she really meant what she said. It's just too incredible, but then so are the USA, Patriot DMC and No Net Theft acts.

    • Re:email her (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nucleon500 (628631)
      Couldn't agree more. Remember, Slashdotters, the squeakiest wheel gets the oil. Consider this public domain, but please at least paraphrase:

      Hello,

      Recently WIPO was considering a meeting to discuss the place of open source in the intellectual property landscape, but it has since decided to let the issue go unresolved. I have read that one factor in this decision was the USPTO's belief that open source runs counter to WIPO's goals. I am deeply disappointed by this.

      You were quoted as saying, "To hold a

  • Why do they care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agent dero (680753) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:35PM (#6769835) Homepage
    It's been obvious for some time that the U.S. government accepts a LOT of fundraising and soft money, OSS doesn't give politicians any, so why should they care about it?

    Meanwhile, MS lobbies, and gives money to keep MS in the government. .

    Except for a select few, the U.S. reps in power don't really go off idealism. They like their power, the money they get, and all the comps, until we get them to reform their own system, we don't have a choice
  • by quax (19371) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:36PM (#6769845)
    ... please, please take such things into consideration when casting your vote in 2004.
    • No! No! No! (Score:3, Offtopic)

      by Un pobre guey (593801)
      You goddamn commie!

      No sir! I'm in California, and come October 7, I'm going to vote for someone who can kick some { commie | French | Al Qaeda | People who don't invest in lobbyists } ass! That means you you { fuckin' | goddamn } { foreign | wimp-ass} piece of shit!
      Vote for The Terminator for Governor. Come 2008, he'll be back!

      Sigh.
      Actually, I'd sooner shoot myself. My vote is for Georgy [georgyforgov.com].

    • I'll keep that in mind when choosing between the canidate that supports strong IP laws, the canidate that strongly supports IP laws, the canidate that believes in strong IP laws, and the canidate who has a snowballs on an overclocked Athlon playing Quake III of winning.

      To be slightly more serious, most people seem to equate intelectual property with "good for the economy" so finding someone who doesn't support "strong IP laws" is rather difficult. Especially if you add "who can actually win" as a require


  • I posted this yesterday [slashdot.org] I don't know what's going on maybe I have to GPL my posts and demand compensation for it or so. Don't worry michael my lawyer will contact j00
  • So basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azureflare (645778) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:38PM (#6769865)
    IP needs to go, or be massively revised. IP as it is, is abused and manipulated in such a fashion as to allow companies to squash competition, and beat other countries into submission (i.e. developing countries). The idea that IP in developing countries will aid technological advancement because of "Financial incentives" is simply ridiculus; where is that money coming from? And besides, if everything is closed source, won't it all come from Microsoft?

    Open-source allows each country to be less dependant on the United States for advances in computer technology, because they won't be tied down to Microsoft. This is just the same game the U.S. plays with all other things; we want complete domination of the world market.

    IP is ok if only the United States exists in the world, but once you get the whole world involved, open-source becomes much more attractive as a computing solution.

    People will probably say, "Without IP, you can't survive if you write programs etc." Well, there must be a way to set up a system that WILL allow you to make money, without invoking IP. Perhaps someone more knowledgable than me can say what that is.

    • Re:So basically... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grishnakh (216268)
      Except for three things, IP is really not a problem. These are:
      1) The ridiculous situation at the USPTO. Patents need to be restricted to actual inventions, not business methods, obvious inventions, etc. The USPTO needs to be wiped out and replaced with a new system where examiners are encouraged to reject patent applications instead of granting them, and the number of patents filed should be severely limited so they're not overworked.
      2) Perpetual copyright. Copyright terms need to be shortened back
    • Re:So basically... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Empiric (675968) *
      People will probably say, "Without IP, you can't survive if you write programs etc." Well, there must be a way to set up a system that WILL allow you to make money, without invoking IP.

      Off the top of my head, I'd suggest answering this by indicating that it isn't an either/or situation. As a simple example, you can both do a good job for your paycheck and do valuable charitable work. And the skills learned from each can reinforce the quality of the other.

      Beyond that, there's all the activities that c
  • if you can get the government to do your bidding for you behind the scences?
  • I thought the GPL grants the creator IP rights, but it is the creator who chooses to release his/her code to the open source community for consideration. I don't recall anywhere in the GPL where the creator actually surrenders his/her IP rights. If that's true, the what better forum to explore this issue than in front of the WIPO?
  • Very discouraging (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sloth jr (88200) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:43PM (#6769891)
    Big business kidney punches the consumer once again.

    It's not like I can't understand their concern - I work for a company selling proprietary software (running on open-source OSes), and I'm not thrilled about the notion of someone else fielding a product we can't compete with (assuming feature parity).

    If someone does, however, then more power to them. They went to the effort, and they decided that all should benefit from the fruits of their labor.
    That's downright noble.

    What big business seems to be doing here is using process rather than product to beat down the barbarian hordes. Why shouldn't the intellectual property concerns of open source advocates be taken into consideration when formulating a world IP policy?

    sloth jr

  • by heli0 (659560) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:46PM (#6769914)
    http://www.desnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,510048824,00 .html [desnews.com]

    "As he was seeking political favors, a friend of Sen. Orrin Hatch bought a whopping 1,200 copies of Hatch's largely self-produced music CDs, for which Hatch receives $3 to $7 each.

    Hatch, R-Utah, and his friend, Monzer Hourani, a Houston developer who twice before has landed Hatch into major ethics controversies, say he wasn't trying to buy political help with those CDs and they merely share a love of his music."


    This is the asshole that wants to let the RIAA/MPAA 'destroy' your computer if they suspect your of violating their IP rights. Nice to see how he skirts campaign finance rules.
    • "As he was seeking political favors, a friend of Sen. Orrin Hatch bought a whopping 1,200 copies of Hatch's largely self-produced music CDs, for which Hatch receives $3 to $7 each.

      Nice to see how he skirts campaign finance rules.

      By my interpretation skirting campaign finance rules would be finding ways to contribute more money than you are allowed to a candidate's campaign. Contributing several thousand dollars directly to the candidate on the other hand would be bribery.
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:52PM (#6769954) Homepage
    No surprise that Lessig got to the heart of the Post article in his comments. Unfortunately, It appears that Lessig accidentally turned a paraphrase attributed to Bolland into a direct quote. Paraphrasing Boland, the Post wrote:

    open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights.

    In his weblog, Lessig mistakenly turned this paraphrase into a direct quotation from Boland. He then continued, this time with an actual quotation from Boland taken from the same article:

    To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO.

    I'm not at all saying that the Post mischaracterized what Boland was saying, but it's important that words aren't put in her mouth, which is what Lessig inadvertently did.

    Now, on to Lessig's analysis:

    If Lois Boland said this, then she should be asked to resign. The level of ignorance built into that statement is astonishing, and the idea that a government official of her level would be so ignorant is an embarrassment. First, and most obviously, open-source software is based in intellectual-property rights. It can't exist (and free software can't have its effect) without it.

    Lessig makes a good point about property rights, and how free software does not subvert them.

    But free software is nevertheless deeply subversive. What it subverts is not property rights, but the ability of corporations to corner the market in a variety of software applications. Whether Microsoft builds it, or OpenOffice.org builds it, something of value is being created whenever people sit down to code software. The only question is whether this labor enriches society as a whole, or whether a significant part of that labor extracts wealth from society for the benefit of Microsoft's shareholders.

    It seems to me that Boland's view of WIPO is that it exists to serve the interests of companies who create proprietary software. One of the drawbacks to free software is that it is, well, free. And unless a company (like IBM) gets a vested interest in selling hardware and services to accompany this free software, there's not going to be money to counter the lobbyists who steer WIPO's agenda in a pro-Microsoft direction.


    • One of the drawbacks to free software is that it is, well, free

      You mention one of the drawbacks, but that isn't the biggest one in my view. Fragmentation is the huge problem. That's why I refer to all of the *nix distros as UNware. All noble in purpose, but not consistent enough to become massively effective. GNU/Linux has to be free to overcome the cost of this fragmentation.

      One only has to think back the days of the first Mac and Jobs' pronouncement that "All apps will follow a standard menu bar layout.


      • My point is that Thiz has put a product out there that translates to horrible experience for a non-tech consumer. This is yet another problem for OSS - no quality control, at least in terms of packaging.

        It sounds to me like Thiz is a second rate distro. There was a Slashdot discussion about those Fry's Thiz machines last week. It seemed to me that Fry's true intention is to sell a bare box that customers will install Windows on themselves. Thiz is just a way to make it boot up into something. They wou
  • This is interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GoatPigSheep (525460)
    In Canada, generally political decisions are made in the best interests of the people and not the best interests of companies.

    I find it odd that America is considered a "Democratic Republic" when decisions relevant to government security are made in the best interest of one company.

    Truly the land of the free (enterprise).
  • So what.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FatRatBastard (7583) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:53PM (#6769959) Homepage
    Frankly I don't think this will really do much for or against the adoption of FOSS. The fact of the matter is Linux/*BSD/Apache/Perl/et al are taking off all by themselves, and the way the licenses are designed there's no way to legislate FOSS out of existance without fundamentally changing copyright laws, so much in so it would be detrimental to all software companies.

    FOSS is here to stay and will continue to be adopted whether or not the WIPO sit around and talk about it.
  • by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:55PM (#6769966) Journal
    One lobbyist, Emery Simon with the Business Software Alliance, said his group objected to the suggestion in the proposal that overly broad or restrictive intellectual-property rights might in some cases stunt technological innovation and economic growth.

    So, it's open source that drives our society to technological and economical stagnation! I mean, of course $100.000+ fines [slashdot.org], crooked CEOs bent on stock fraud wearing the IP sword (+3, +5 vs trolls) [slashdot.org] and the fact that users get nailed up the arse in the name of piracy [slashdot.org] are all good signs of a healthy economy where any technological advancement is sued into oblivion and where economic growth is humongous -- for a select few.

    I must cry but there aren't enough tears.

  • The Global Capitalist Republic Governing Body, well okay maybe they're called the illuminati must defend their interest (IP/IPR/...) by all means possible. Then again maybe the right name is WTO or World Bank, or IMF, or ....
    I hope y'all understand we are politically outnumbered, under-funded, poorly organized, .... Dang this sort of leaves you feeling like all heroic efforts by the OSS community are wasted.
    We have lost the war, but not surrendered, we have not failed, we have not been defeated, dinosaurs go extinct, aristocrats pass into insignificant, but interesting reading, news shorts, and box-office dud movies.
    We should never expect the ruling elite to embrace or control the future. In other words ... they will lose, and we will gain the future. Sorry, some of my "60s" attitude is hard to oppress. Also, 1969-71 I was in the USMC. I remain (as always) flabbergasted and bewildered by reality or maybe it's those flashbacks.

    OldHawk777

    Reality is a self-induced hallucination.
  • I never respected them to begin with, but this just confirms my suspicions. However, they have lost a lot of respect from the open source community. There are probably more people in the world who now think WIPO is irrelevant than those who might claim otherwise.
  • Game on. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrynM (217883) * on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:01PM (#6769999) Homepage Journal
    Between this, SCO, and the stuff MS et al have tried in the past year, consider it game on for the war on OSS. I get the feeling that things are really going to heat up as we head into 2004 and get even hotter in 2004. Thankfully, OSS has enough of a foothold to defend itself and (hopefuly) survive. I'll be sending another FSF donation tonight, what else can we do folks? We need some OSS lobbyists or companies with lobbyists to want to help protect OSS. Ideas? Suggestions?
  • oh dear (Score:2, Troll)

    by carpe_noctem (457178)
    I'm shocked. Simply flabbergasted. Someone brace me; I think I might faint.
  • by nohup (26783) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:12PM (#6770052)

    The key to this article was in the second-to-last paragraph:

    "But open-source is not just a political challenge. It strikes a starkly different, and sometimes opposite, pose from that of traditional capitalist systems."

    Many companies are afraid of what this might mean to their current business model. What could open source eventually do the global economy as a whole? This "quiet war" against open source is being waged mostly by corporations in the U.S. that feel they probably have the most to lose.

    Consider possible long term effects for them: The U.S. economy has seen absolutely stunning growth during the past 100 years. It has doubled in size six times during that period. Economic theory suggests that this happened because of the technological advancements. Now in the Internet age, any person in even third world countries can get online and instantly have all of the knowledge of a highly professional college graduate from the U.S. Open source gives them the opportunity to have access to information, tools, and concepts which normally would have been accessible only by the traditional business model in first world countries at a price. With the open information revolution it is "free". This concept alone could revolutionize economies around the world: suddenly they have access to the same information, but without the price. This over time will lessen the technological dominance the U.S. has held traditionally. Any new developments made within the U.S. can easily be copied and re-produced in other countries, and possibly even countries with a better comparative advantage than the U.S. (meaning they can do the same for less).

    • Case in point:
    it took technology companies many years to reach the point where hard drives, CPU's, memory, etc. in a PC are so fast and big as they are today. Now, anyone in a poor country could get a computer, and instantly have the benefit of all those years of development. Then with that computer, they can start downloading open source software and accessing information that they would never have been able to do otherwise. A relatively poor Ecuadorian could learn skills to rival his U.S. counterparts, start programming and outsource at a much cheaper price!

    This is scary for U.S. companies because it means the competition would suddenly increase, and given the relatively high cost of labor in the U.S., it could mean harder economic times for us. I imagine there would be sort of an "evening out" effect economically between the U.S. and other countries.

    On top of this, when consumers are faced between the choice of two products, one that is free and one that is $100 (for example), the closer they are to being just as good, the less the consumers will buy the commercial product. To have to compete with open source would mean large profit losses for companies especially like Microsoft, who has for a long time enjoyed near monopoly status.

    The only thing protecting this from changing are so called "Intellectual Property" laws that would prevent this from happening. When you see it this way, you see that Microsoft and others are simply trying to protect their interests and investment. Personally, I like the open source revolution. It definately benefits customers. We all benefit from competition, but companies have an increasingly hard time surviving in such conditions. I also recognize the importance of companies though: they are the ones that make the economic wheel spin. We rely on companies for our jobs. We have some interesting decades ahead of us. I honestly believe open source, and open information as a whole will be the main factors in revolutionizing the global economy yet again.

    Is it any wonder that these companies, and even our own U.S. government fear somewhat the effect open source could have on their respective growth and income? How about we as individuals of the U.S.?

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:26PM (#6770112) Journal
    Welcome to the wonderful world of crony capitalism, where profits are big and barriers to entry are bigger. When the player with the most money gets to set the rules of the game, is it any wonder those rules favor them?

    Liberals claim that more regulation will fix the problem, while conservatives and libertarians say less regulation will do the trick. I say blanket solutions based on ideology are never as good as actually thinking about the problem.

  • A little background:

    The coming of Bush into the presidency of the US changed a number of things in the way the US deals with "problems" both internally and externally. 9/11 only sharpened that circumstance, but didn't change the fundamental motion of it.

    Since Bush came to power, either legally or illegally, depending on your point of view, a number of international treaties, such as the kyoto agreement, have been either postponed or ignored by the US. The trade disagreements between the US and it's intern
  • by billstewart (78916) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:40PM (#6770171) Journal
    While I strongly agree with Lessig's comments about Lois Boland's inappropriateness in office (though not necessarily his generousity in assuming incompetence vs. malice :-), I'm not sure that with that kind of commercial antagonism to open source driving a number of the participants that the outcomes of a meeting would be better than having no meeting at all. The open letter that Lessig posts has quite a wide variety of signers, and some important topics that should be discussed, if it can avoid being hijacked or overly watered down.

    There is a certain amount of truth in the comment that Tobin posted to Lessig's discussion that the meeting was really a forum for the usual lefties to rant. On the other hand, as near as I can tell from the results, the typical WIPO committee meeting is an opportunity for the usual suspects on the commercialist-control side to rant

    • RIAA participant: "We've become concerned that listening to catchy music causes tunes to run through people's heads, and we're not receiving sufficient royalties for those tune-thieves' use of our intellectual property, so we need DRM installed in everybody's head -- Mu-ah-hah-haha!!"
    • MPAA participant: "That's certainly true, but Mu-ah-hah-haha!! is a derivative work from "Bride of the Son of the Remake of Frankenstein", so you have to give us cut of your proceeds"
    • Internet Services Company: "Your use of italics denoted by letters in angle brackets in Mu-ah-hah-haha!! as a method of extorting money from the RIAA infringes on Claim 32767 of our patent on extortion as a business model, but we'll cross-license it in return for exclusivity in publishing movie trailers online."
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:50PM (#6770212) Homepage
    It's simple really.

    Bill hasn't just phoned in a "kill order" to the WIPO. He's apparently found someone or some people in the WIPO who are free market zealots, and convinced them that a pack of free-love, anti-property political liberal socialists had hijacked their organization to promote hippie values.

    I could see this from several indications. First, Microsoft, and Bill himself, have made it clear that the political tack they were taking consists of painting the Open Source advocates as dangers to the present system of intellectual property -- not to mention the creeping Red Menace of SOCIALISM. No kidding here. Secondly, it was there in the remarks of Borland herself, who made it clear that she thought that the meeting was about undermining ther present system of IP. And lastly, I'm reading posts here and there which proclaim the view that the OS advocates are trying to "politicize" the WIPO by talking about such things. My god, what hypocrisy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:01PM (#6770252)
    I am writing to express my opposition to your policy with respect to
    the WIPO open source meeting. Our constitutional principles dictate
    that the intellectual property grant should be limited, and WIPO is
    not purposed to promote IP to the detriment of the public common.
    Moreover, it is contrary to the founding principles of WIPO that IP
    should be promoted against the wishes of generous authors and inventors
    who intentionally license their creations freely. Please reconsider
    your decision and support the open source meeting.

    Regards,
    Michael L. Love
    MacCHESS
    Cornell University
    http://www.gnu-darwin.org/
  • by karmavore (618727) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:10PM (#6770306)
    Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights. "To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO," she said.

    IANAL I am a software developer. If I license my IP under the GPL or any other open source license then how have I in any way waived my rights to my IP. Can someone explain to me what the logical basis for her argument is? Or is this just regurgitated FUD from a spin doctor paid by a certain large corporation (The identity of which you can probably guess).

    The GPL is a license that controls intelectual property rights. As far as I know I control the IP rights to my code I can if I choose use for example the GPL to grant limited rights for others to use my code. I do not waive my rights to my IP.

    • Deceit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuggz (69912)
      Simple it doesn't.
      But they don't want to argue that you are using the same laws and protections they are.

      Much easier to just state you want to destroy IP, because you're not using it right.
  • by The Revolutionary (694752) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:44PM (#6770464) Homepage Journal
    When I speak to those around me, and even to those of older generations, I do not find a people who have sold out to large oppressive and monied interests. No, I find instead only a people who have again and again been told the lie that things are how they ought to be, the lie that labels those those who dare oppose the status quo as un-American, as radicals, and as communists.

    But when I tell these people in plain and simple terms what is happening in this nation and in this world, and what it is doing and going to do to every one of us, they see through the lie these oppressive and monied interests have told them. They know that we are well-meaning just as they are. The know that we care about our country and about its people and about our brothers and our sisters just as they do. They know that the label is a lie. They know it isn't right.

    We must rally the people if we are to tear down the corporate "intellectual property" regime. When we see what we have today, we know that our government will not fight for us. If our government will not fight for us, then we must fight to take back our government, and we can do this in no other way than by rallying the people to fight with their vote .

    We must tell them that it ain't right We must tell them that it is important to every single person. We must tell the people that they can change it. We must tell them that it is they and they alone who can will the difference.

    It must be from the people that change will come. The people of our nation are not bought and sold. They are a decent and ethical people of noble spirit, who must only be exhorted to acknowledge foremost in their minds that the freedom and opportunity we as persons deserve and must secure is ours to be had if only we will join together as fellow brothers and fellow sisters to vote out these dogs whose masters oppress and enslave us.

    Woe unto you rich and monied interests on that day if you have abused that privelege we have given you. For when the people of this nation are but made to realize what you have done to us, they will raise up their voices in righteous outrage against this bought and appointed corporate government and against those oppressive and monied interests to which it was long ago sold, and they will vote your cronies out forever more.
  • by Garry Anderson (194949) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @04:39AM (#6771733) Homepage
    Quote: Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said "that open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights." As she is quoted as saying, "To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO."

    I have long held the informed opinion that the people within UN WIPO are corrupt - it is why I have this website [wipo.org.uk].

    My logic is proven - not one lawyer has been able to give argument against the facts. These people at UN WIPO have no honour - they are too cowardly to answer my charges.

    People have every right to use words for whatever legal reason they wish - true or false?

    UN WIPO made rules that abridge peoples rights to choose words on the Domain Name System - words that are not used for any unlawful purpose.

    Fact 1 - a trademark is allowed for SPECIFIC goods or service ('classification') in SPECIFIC country. UN WIPO aid and abet corporations to overreach their trademark rights on the Internet - violating Trademark and Competition Law.

    UN WIPO, together with ICANN, the US Department of Commerce (also Patent and Trademark Office) actually help corporations violate the First Amendment rights of US citizens.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2003 @07:34AM (#6772204)

    America will be backsliding in technical innovation in the IT industry because of this.

    We will be caught with our pants down just like we were with our Curtis bi-planes against the Japanese Zeros at the beginning of World War 2. Only this time it might not be the military that is looking stupid, they've learned enough to avoid that for the next 100 years, but it will be the famous and legendary American Innovation that will suffer.

    Look at the other nations out there. Many of them are outpacing this once great nation in their technical prowess, innovation, and capabilities today. This is only going to serve to accelerate the process until we become and sound embarassment to the world.

    The Battlefield of the next 100 years will not be a military campaign. That's been dying out since the end of World War 2. The new battlefield is the economic viability of a nation. By crippling the economic engine of a nation you can now render a nation effectively useless without the need for such unpopular actions as actually blowing people up. This is what the United Nations have been doing for years and for the most part it is working and is considered Politically Correct. At least more so than military invasion and geographical conquest.

    As we permit these American Corporations to attempt protection of their markets in the United States, we expose the United States to economic erosion on the global market making us more vulnerable to economic attacks.

    Considering what has happened to the United States since the World Trade Center was destroyed it's pretty evident that an economicly focused attach can have a more devistating effect on the United States as a whole than a military assault can have. With this new knowledge, it has to be recognized that the new battlefield of soverign nations is not a geographical map with pill boxes and trenches, but an economic environment consisting of market shares, tariffs, subsidies...

    As these Corporations meddle with the Global Economy and the role of the United States of America they are meddling with the well being of the Nation as a whole and are quite willing to go through some sacrifices of our nation in order to expand their own goals and objectives.

    This is no longer about Microsoft making shitty software that is easily overrun by email virii or the fact that everything is proprietary. This is not about our future as a Nation and our ability to remain a viable economic entity in the future Global Markets. We must participate on the Global playing field in order to win, we cannot hope to succeed for long if we always require a Home Field Advantage by excluding Open Source as a viable option in our future

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2003 @08:04AM (#6772266)
    This is distressing on a whole lotta levels. I see the discussions here of "crony capitalism", the way Inetllectual Property laws are now being used to stifle innovation and not promote it, etc., etc.

    But let's take a longer view of things...

    China and India have both declared for Open Source software. Together, they comprise 4 billion people, enough to dwarf the USA population. Quite soon (in historical terms), I expect to see most technological innovation to be coming from these countries rather than the US simply because they are more interested in promoting new ideas than they are in preserving the old order. 20 years ago, who would have thought that these caste-based, rigid social structures would have changed enough to embrace these concepts?

    But America is resilient and America is capable of change. We have proven this (if nothing else) in our short 200 year history. When the shift has become so obvious that even short-sighted politicians notice and the deeply-entrenched "good old boys" have had their power reduced through their own ignorance and incompetence, then America will change and we will have the chance to compete again.

    And the human race will continue to evolve and move forward.
  • by KKBaSS (665194) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @08:29AM (#6772350)
    If a company doesnt have commercial based software that is better than an open source alternative, then well, that is their own fault. Companies out to make $ should strive to make value added software, make their products just *that* much better than opensource if they expect to stay in business.

    Stop whining & start programming.....

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