[clug] US Australia Free Trade Agreement

Michael Still mikal at stillhq.com
Tue Apr 6 01:55:19 GMT 2004

Hi all,

         Linux Australia, after consultations with Brendan Scott (our 
lawyer), have finally released our draft position paper on the Australia 
- US Free Trade Agreement.


Rusty has agreed to speak at the programmers SIG, and the next CLUG 
meeting about the FTA. If you're interested in the FTA issues, then come 
to the programmers SIG, as the CLUG meeting is too close to the 
submissions deadline for you to be able to take action if you decide to. 
I strongly encourage discussion and action on this topic, a summary of 
the paper is below:


Open Source software (aka Free Software) is important, and quickly
growing in Australia.  These stakeholders were not considered in
the FTA process, nor in creation of some existing laws: for example it's
illegal to distribute Open Source DVD players, and the FTA makes it
illegal to even use them.  This means that DVDs cannot be played on
Linux computers (the third most popular Operating System after Microsoft
Windows and Apple Macintosh).  These restrictions are the antithesis of
free trade and barrier reduction.  The FTA implies laws which strengthen
large software companies at the expense smaller players: Open Source
encourages everyone to become a software producer and distributor, so
the damage is far-reaching.  The FTA also limits any legislative damage
control we might attempt later, at a time when more people are becoming
aware of the dangers of these laws.



Michael Still (mikal at stillhq.com) | "All my life I've had one dream,
http://www.stillhq.com            |  to achieve my many goals"
UTC + 11                          |    -- Homer Simpson

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