Friday, March 26, 2010

FSF Advocates Free Software for U.S. IPEC Joint Strategic Plan; Free Software Foundation, 3/25/10

Brett Smith, Free Software Foundation; FSF Advocates Free Software for U.S. IPEC Joint Strategic Plan:

"The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has responded to the United States executive Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Joint Strategic Plan.

The FSF argues that the government should use free software to provide more freedom and transparency to its constituents and reduce the need to engage in costly copyright enforcement activities on behalf of proprietary software companies. The FSF states that "the most egregious harms to the public interest in the areas of copyright and patents come not from a lack of enforcement, but from extraordinarily excessive enforcement."

"For a government that's supposed to be accountable to its citizens, it's clear that using free software should be a natural choice," said Brett Smith, license compliance engineer at the FSF. "With free software, government can be sure their computers work on behalf of the people, instead of some proprietary software company. And it also offers an opportunity for unparalleled transparency: agencies can release the source code of software they use to help illustrate what they're doing."

The creation of IPEC and the Joint Strategic Plan are mandated by the "PRO-IP Act," which became law in 2008. The Joint Strategic Plan is intended to provide broad policy recommendations to increase enforcement of copyright, patent, trademark, and anti-counterfeiting laws both at home and abroad.

"Everything about the PRO-IP Act, from the confused way it lumps together various laws under the banner of 'intellectual property' in its name, to its corrupted purpose of being another government giveaway to the big incumbent copyright industries, is flawed" said Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF. "It's unfair for taxpayers to foot the bill for supporting the unethical business models of a handful of companies. Our comment shows there's another way: with relatively small steps, government can do the right thing and use free software, make a better investment in our society, and eliminate much of the need for enforcement of these laws."

The full text of the FSF's comment is available at"

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