US Copyright Lobby: FOSS “Weakens Software Industry”

The world is slowly and surely going crazy. I’m sure of it now. The US copyright lobby has officially gone totally and utterly nuts. Get this: they are trying to lobby the US government to equate encouraging the use of Free and open source software to undermining intellectual property rights, and to weakening the software industry. I wish I was making this stuff up.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance is an umbrella group for organisations like the RIAA and the MPAA, but it also covers publishing, television, and software. It’s one of those organisations you don’t hear about often, who operate rather silently in the background, lobbying for their poisonous cause to the US government.

What the IIPA is currently lobbying for defies all logic. They want the US Trade Representative to place countries like Brazil, India, and Indonesia on the Special 301 list, which is a list of countries that do not, according to mostly the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the IIPA, do enough to protect intellectual property rights.

Now, why should these countries be placed on this Special 301 list? Hold on to your Debian t-shirt, because it’s all about Free and open source software. The governments of the countries the IIPA wants to add have one thing in common: they’ve used or are encouraging the adoption of Free and open source software, which, according to the IIPA, “weakens the software industry” and “fails to build respect for intellectual property rights”.

“The Indonesian government’s policy […] 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,” the IIPA states, “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.”

So, there you have it. Encouraging the use of Free and open source software is apparently akin to undermining intellectual property rights; in fact, they consider it anti-capitalistic. You’d think these organisations would one day run out of stupid, but they just keep on handing it out.

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