24 February 2010

USA thinks open source is piracy!

Now here is a very strange thing. It seems that the USA considers Canada to be guilty of a sort of intellectual property theft, Free Software Foundation emblemor if not exactly theft then at least some sort of underhanded anti-competitive practice.

The argument seems to be that if I write a piece of useful software and decide to give it away instead of selling it, I somehow undermine free enterprise. So things like Linux, Wikipedia, Media Monkey, the Gimp, Microsoft Bing, Google Maps, and thousands of other items used daily by millions of people are undermining free enterprise.

No. I must have misunderstood. Surely?

Well, take a look for yourself.
What is going on here? I mean - really? It will all be sorted out quite quickly once the Office of the United States Trade Representative thinks it through more carefully, right?

I thought the USA stood on the side of freedom. So if I write some software, or a book, I can give it away if I choose to do so. And if I want to use free software written by someone else I may do that too. How would that 'undermine intellectual property rights'?

I must have missed something...

Has the GNU project missed it too? Is Linux in the wrong? And Ubuntu? What about Open Office? Scribd? Wikipedia?

Has anyone told the Free Software Foundation?

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