Reports from or about the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) and other regional lobbyists for the legacy "software manufacturing" methods of creation, distribution and funding of software.

RFI for open source software aimed at wrong target

An article by Nestor E. Arellano for (NA) discusses the government RFI on "No Charge Licensed Software". The article included some material from a conversation that Nestor and I had. It makes mention of my own submission which I have made publicly available: OpenDocument version, PDF version.

Other submissions made publicly available: Evan Leibowitz of Xunil corporation, Mike Gifford of OpenConcept.

If you know of other published submissions, please let us know (add comment, etc)

An open door for open source?

CBC news reporter Emily Chung interviewed a number of people in the community on the Canadian Government RFI on what they called "No Charge Licensed Software (NCLS)".

The success of the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates advertisements

Most techies have seen both of the advertisements featuring Jerry and Bill, and have read all the commentary about how most people hated them. While I disliked them, I disliked them because I dislike their successful message, not because I thought the advertisements were a failure.

If you look at any of the Securities and Exchange filings from Microsoft over recent years (5 or so) you will notice that Microsoft lists Linux and Open Source as their greatest competitive threat. One of the things that Free/Libre and Open Source Software offers is this warm-and-fuzzy community feeling about it, that by using this software and supporting it that you are somehow being more of a humanitarian -- almost a form of environmental and social consciousness to your software decisions.

Already being seen by many as the "evil empire", Microsoft can't fight that -- or can they?

Read full article on IT World Canada's blog »

Predictable positions from subset of stakeholders at Brussels telecommunication/copyright event.

Michael Geist has posted an article "The Battle Over Internet Filtering" where he discusses a seminar in Brussels on the "telecoms package" currently before the European Parliament. He listed out some of the views of the stakeholders on issues like DRM, "three strikes and you're out" policies ("graduated response") , "technical mandates", ISP filtering/blocking of infringing content, and stronger cross-border enforcement initiatives (ACTA).

Read the rest of this entry »

The BSA singles out eight states in software piracy report, suggests public safety link

An article by Jordan Golson for The Industry Standard talks about the release of the BSA 2007 State Piracy Study, which claimed that one in five pieces of software in use in the United States was unlicensed.

Before anyone worries too much, read Lies, Damned lies, and IIPA/BSA/etc statistics. They use these same bogus statistics in their promotion of Bill C-61 and other backward-facing legislative reforms.

“The numbers floated around about how much software piracy is out there have no bearing in reality.”

David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), was quoted in an article by Vawn Himmelsbach discussing software copyright infringement, counterfeiting, and possible public policy responses.

On an individual level, most software companies don't mind a little bit of piracy, he said.

Microsoft would much rather have university students using a pirated version of Windows as opposed to Linux or – God forbid – Apple.

Lies, Damned lies, and IIPA/BSA/etc statistics.

One of the key tools used by lobby groups like the IIPA is statistics to try to "prove" that there is massive harm to them, and which must be remedied in the way they propose. An analysis of their statistics often indicates that their real target is competitors, not copyright infringers.

These studies need to be debunked as they have a large influence on governments who have outsourced this key policy tool to special interest groups. William Patry documents on his BLOG (Via Google Cache) how, lacking any investigative resources of its own, USTR uses figures given to it by IIPA. If you read transcripts from Canadian parliamentary committees studying "counterfeiting and piracy" or Copyright and patents, you will see that Canadian politicians are no better. It is frustrating to know how many amazing economists are working for Industry Canada and other departments, and yet Industry Committee never bothered to consult them when they are studying critical economic policy.

Those debunking these studies are not apologists for copyright infringement. I document how this infringement harms companies like my own more than the members BSA/ESA/etc. I am very interested to stop software copyright infringement, but believe that the policies promoted by the BSA/ESA/etc have an anti-competitive effect and do not reduce software copyright infringement.

[Read the rest of this entry on IT World Canada's BLOG, or continue below]

Shane Schick: Why open source has always deserved a census

An article by Shane Schick, editor of ComputerWorld Canada, talks about the need for an Open Source census.

Ever since we learned that the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft doesn’t take into account open source software when it comes up with its annual piracy statistics, we stopped reporting their numbers. When you only look at proprietary shipments, you miss a great piece of the puzzle. We just don’t know how big a piece it is.

Articles and letters in Hill Times on Copyright.

The Hill Times had a letter to the editor and 2 articles on copyright in this week's hill times. Howard Knopf is the author of one and he has published it and a comment on the second article on his BLOG. There was a group of 12 incumbent copyright industry lobbiests who published their article on the CRIA website.

I wrote my own letter to the editor which may appear in next weeks issue which, among other things, refutes the IDC studies -- first the study that under-estimates the use of FLOSS, as well as the derivative study over-estimates the amount of software copyright infringement (The BSA commissioned study the Dire Dozen reference).

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