CLUE - The Canadian Association for Open Source

The Vision of CLUE is to nurture a Canadian Information Technology environment which promotes collaborative innovation as well as open standards and the rights of consumers.

The Mission of CLUE is to promote the use and development of free, open source software, by providing a public voice to the community of its Canadian users, developers and supporters. CLUE will enhance this community's ability to share resources, define standards, and promote its values within Canadian society.

'You don't scare us', free software proponents tell Microsoft

An ITWorldCanada article by Nestor E. Arellano quotes me talking about how Microsoft's claims about FLOSS projects infringing their patents are unlikely to amount to anything in the long term.

Can digital watermarking foil pirates?

An article by Kathleen Lau discusses the uses of digital watermarking by content owners. It quotes David Fewer of CIPPIC and myself acting as policy coordinator for CLUE. We spoke about watermarking can help gather the statistics needed to legalize and monetize P2P though collective licensing, as well as the fact that watermarks don't have the built in incentive for law abiding citizens to circumvent that DRM does.

"If every song that was peer-to-peer shared had watermarks in it, you could easily detect and collect the statistics to figure out where the money for the music should go."

Like Fewer, McOrmond too, thinks most digital rights management systems are unnecessarily limiting for consumers. "The return on investment for watermarking is considerably higher than any investment in digital rights management."

While watermarking is applied to and only affects the content, DRM is applied to both content and devices and primarily affects the devices. They are entirely different types of technologies with different intended and unintended consequences.

2006: The year the FSF reached out to the community

A Community Linux article by Bruce Byfield discusses a transformation at the FSF.

At the start of 2006, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) was largely inward-looking, focused on the GNU Project and high-level strategic concerns such as licensing. Now, without abandoning these issues, the FSF had transformed into an openly activist organization, reaching out to its supporters and encouraging their participation in civic campaigns often designed to enlist non-hackers in their causes. Yet what happened seems to bemuse even FSF employees.

Here in Canada we saw a similar transformation with CLUE. In the past the Canadian Linux Users Exchange focused on increasing the communication between Linux Users Groups (LUGs). Recognizing the threat that bad policy directions represented, they added Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) advocacy work so that governments and other policy makers would be aware of the existence and benefits of FLOSS, and how policy proposals affect us.

CLUE is now a member-driven association that includes both professionals and end users of FLOSS.

Copyright-related Policy summary from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source

CLUE presented its copyright policy summary (HTML, PDF, OpenDocument) to officials at Heritage Canada on December 1, 2006. The proposals include a support for a living "Fair Use" model, as well as an opposition to laws which protect specific brands of technology rather than protecting creativity.

CLUE has endorsed both of our petitions.

When someone pays protection money, we all become more vulnerable.

While some people are looking at the deal between Novell and Microsoft as possibly being positive for Linux and Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), I see this as a very strategic move by Microsoft to use Novell as a seemingly willing pawn in their game to try to snuff out their greatest competitive threat. Their major competative threat isn't any company or group of companies, but an alternative method of production, distribution and funding of software that includes participants from all sectors of the economy.

There are many ways to look at FLOSS. From the definition, being Free Software means that you can "run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software" without any additional permission or payment. From an economic point of view, new business models are made possible by taking software development costs and making them one-time fixed costs, allowing the marginal costs to license the software to always be zero. Support contracts may be per-desktop or any other model that this service company may choose, but the marginal cost to license the software is always zero.

CLUE policy coordinator at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum

(See copy on CLUE's BLOG , p2pnet)

CLUE supporters might ask what Telecommunications Policy has to do with Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), and why I would be at the Alternative Telecommunications Policy Forum. My interest in FLOSS came out of my interest in community networking where networks and the software that controls them are decentrally controlled. It turns out that many of the recent and most controversial "copyright" related policies that threaten FLOSS, such as anti-circumvention policy (legal protection for DRM, DMCA, 1996 WIPO treaties), is also a derivative of telecommunications policy discussions, but with the opposite vision of these networks.

A perspective on the freelance journalism case from CLUE: Canada's Association for Open Source.

(See also: CLUE)

On October 12, 2006, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision in a case first launched in 1996 by Heather Robertson, a freelance journalist, and Thompson Corporation, the then-owner of the Globe and Mail. (Citation: Robertson v. Thomson Corp., 2006 SCC 43)

From the perspective of the journalists this case was about a simple idea: they believe that when they negotiate with a publisher for one type of use of their work, that there should be additional permission and/or payment if additional uses are made. In this case they had negotiated for freelance articles to be included in printed newspapers, but these same articles were added to online databases of articles and CD-ROMs of articles.

CLUE's investigation of Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Information Technology

I have written an update for the CLUE website about what we have learned so far about the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

Interview with Mr. Montgomery about dismantled Linux lab

Many people have been asking for for more details on the high-school teacher who had his Linux Lab dismantled. Mr. Montgomery has offered to do a question-and-answer with us.

Full interview on the website for CLUE: The Canadian Association for Open Source. Also carried on p2pnet. Please also read the BLOG set up by Mr. Montgomery.

Canadian anti-DRM coalition makes timely debut

A newsforge article by Bruce Byfield includes:

We talked to representatives of two coalition members about the status of DRM in Canada: David Fewer, staff counsel at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Canada's leading legal technology law clinic, and Evan Leibovitch and Russell McOrmond of CLUE, an open source advocacy group.

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