Shane M. Coughlan | 5 Dec 22:40 2006
Picon

FSFE Freedom Task Force - a new project to help Free Software

Good evening all!

It's late at night here in Zurich and I decided to write a little
message to everyone about the Freedom Task Force (FTF) [1].

The FTF is a project in Free Software Foundation Europe to help people
with licensing matters in the European area.  It's got a full-time
coordinator (that's me), a network of legal and technical experts, and a
volunteer list for people to help out [2].

The FTF focuses on three things:
Licence education
Fiduciary activity
Licensing enforcement

We officially launched the project recently [3] and we have been helping
individuals, projects and businesses with various matters around Free
Software licensing issues.  One of the most interesting events was the
signing of the Fiduciary License Agreement with the Bacula Project [4].
 This enables FSFE to act as the legal guardian for Bacula.

I'd really appreciate if you could help spread the word about the FTF.
Tell projects.  Blog.  Spread the word at your LUG.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions regarding Free Software licensing
please drop me a line.  The best way to get quick answers is to submit
questions to ftf <at> fsfeurope.org because then the data will go directly
onto our tracker.

Regards
(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 6 Dec 12:33 2006

Re: Parliament: someone to demonstrate some bling?

Way back in September, Alex Hudson wrote:
> I just got an invite for what seems to be a pretty long all-day meeting,
> as I'm sure others here may have done, entitled "Parliament and the
> Internet". [...]
http://www.parliamentandinternet.org.uk/

I now have a non-conformant-PDF report of the conference if anyone
wants it and hasn't got it.  It omits the advertisements of Windows
and Yahoo, but covers the workshops (details on their web site).
Nothing stands out as particular free-software-relevant, but let me
know if you want to see it and haven't.

Regards,
--

-- 
MJ Ray - see/vidu http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html
Somerset, England. Work/Laborejo: http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
IRC/Jabber/SIP: on request/peteble.
Alex Hudson | 6 Dec 14:08 2006

Gowers

I haven't seen the full thing yet, but they're releasing some of the
ancilliary reports:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/gowers_review_intellectual_property/gowersreview_index.cfm

The one on copyright extension for audio works is available, which I'm
guessing is what people got an early peek at.

The economic analysis of the copyright system looks particularly
rigorous, on both the part of the report writers and
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who did a report for the BPI. Telling is this
quote, pp32:

        "Thus, according to the PwC report, retrospective term
        extensions will deliver a maximum 1.9% increase in the present
        value of revenue from existing recordings"

So much for Cliff Richard's pension plan - 2% is a modest increase in
anyone's language.

They also estimate the prospective increase in revenue due to term
extension to be less than 1%!

The reciprocity argument ("we should do the same as others") is also
shot down:

        "[The US and Australia are our main markets, and copyright is
        already extended their - our actions will make not difference in
        those cases]
        "Only India, Honduras and Guatemala apply 'comparison of terms'
(Continue reading)

Alex Hudson | 6 Dec 14:34 2006

Re: Gowers

On Wed, 2006-12-06 at 13:08 +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> I haven't seen the full thing yet

I have now :D

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pre_budget_report/prebud_pbr06/other_docs/prebud_pbr06_odgowers.cfm

For:
      * introduction of private copying right for format-shifting (could
        this be DRM-busting? wouldn't be retrospective, see points
        below)
      * unlocking of 'orphan works'
      * no change on audio copyright term length
      * adopt principle of no retrospective changes to IP law
      * broader rights for libraries
      * new exception in copyright for parodies
      * "Maintain policy of not extending patent rights beyond their
        present limits within the areas of software, business methods
        and genes." - this is an important principle!!
      * Says vague things about patent quality
      * Accelerated grant process for patents
      * Says vague things about IP and competitiveness

Against:
      * Support for the community patent idea to reduce costs of IP
        litigation. COMPAT isn't a bad idea per se, but that is seen as
        a back-door route to software patents again
      * Stronger penalties associated with IP infringement? Whether this
        is actually bad depends on the implementation I suspect.
      * Lots about sending the lawyers to Africa to educate the poor
(Continue reading)

Alex Hudson | 6 Dec 15:07 2006

Re: Gowers (on software patents)

I think it's worth expanding on:

>       * "Maintain policy of not extending patent rights beyond their
>         present limits within the areas of software, business methods
>         and genes." - this is an important principle!!

The report says this, in detail:

4.114    There have been calls in the UK to introduce pure computer
software patents to ensure that innovation is properly protected and
encouraged. In Europe, patents are not granted for computer programs as
such, but patents have been granted to computer-based innovations
provided they have a technical effect. In the USA, pure computer
software patents can be granted. The evidence on the success of pure
computer software patents is mixed. The software industry in the USA
grew exponentially without pure software patents, suggesting they are
not necessary to promote innovation. The evidence suggests software
patents are used strategically; that is, to prevent competitors from
developing in a similar field, rather than to incentivise innovation.

4.115 In addition to the concerns that increased protection does not
increase incentives, some have commented that pure software patents do
not meet the criteria for patentability. The most profound problem with
using patent law to protect software is that innovation in the field is
usually accomplished in increments too small to be viewed as inventive
steps. Several submissions to the Call for Evidence, for example the
Professional Contractors Group’s submission, argued that software should
not be patentable in principle. Where freelance businesses develop
software, they rely on copyright to protect it. This protection is free
and automatic. The copying of as little as 1.7 per cent of a program’s
(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 6 Dec 15:13 2006

Gowers Report Recommendations

At first glance, this *could* be very good, especially the EUCD
changes for 'orphan works' and the fence-sitting on punishment
adjustments, but could also be bad with increased numbers of state
copyright enforcers and increased use of the confused "IP" jargon
(then again, UK Patent Office handles Copyright at the moment, which
is confused anyway).

I forward the list posted to fc-uk-discuss by David Berry for the
purposes of news reporting and commentary.  What does this mean?

David Berry <d.berry <at> sussex.ac.uk> wrote:
> List of recommendations in the Gower Review
> 
> Instruments
> 
> Balance
> 
> 
> Recommendation 1: Amend section 60(5) of the Patents Act 1977
> to clarify the research exception to facilitate experimentation,
> innovation and education.
> 
> Recommendation 2: Enable educational provisions to cover distance
> learning and interactive whiteboards by 2008 by amending sections
> 35 and 36 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 (CDPA).
> 
> Recommendation 3: The European Commission should retain the length of
> protection on sound recordings and performers’ rights at 50 years.
> 
> Recommendation 4: Policy makers should adopt the principle that the
(Continue reading)

Richard Smedley | 8 Dec 09:37 2006

Fwd: [NOSI discussion] Website Beta Launch - Request For Feedback by International Free and Open Source Software Foundation iFOSSF

fyi

----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: [NOSI discussion] Website Beta Launch - Request For Feedback by 
International Free and Open Source Software Foundation iFOSSF
Date: Thursday 07 December 2006 22:42
From: "Fouad Riaz Bajwa" <bajwa <at> fossfp.org>
To: nosi-discussion <at> nosi.net, idlelo2 <at> fossfa.net

Dear Members of the Global ICT Community,

It is a great moment for all those who have been collectively promoting the
Free and Open Source Software Movement globally. Members of the FOSS
Movement policy advocates, academic and research community today have a new
home in the form of the “International Free and Open Source Software
Foundation iFOSSF” as a result of our combined vision and commitment at the
World Summit on the Information Society WSIS, Tunisia2005. I would like to
invite all multi-stakeholders of the FOSS Movement to join us and
participate in the beta launch of iFOSSF’s official website and make
available their comments on how we can improve our outreach and global
project funding / grants at http://www.ifossf.org.

Note: The iFOSSF website is still under continuous development and updating,
we apologize beforehand for any inconvenience caused during the beta launch
phase.

About iFOSSF
The International Free and Open Source Software Foundation (iFOSSF) is a
nonprofit organization incorporated in Michigan, United States.  Its mission
(Continue reading)

Alex Hudson | 8 Dec 15:41 2006

Re: Gowers Report Recommendations

On Wed, 2006-12-06 at 14:13 +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> At first glance, this *could* be very good, especially the EUCD
> changes for 'orphan works' and the fence-sitting on punishment
> adjustments, but could also be bad with increased numbers of state
> copyright enforcers and increased use of the confused "IP" jargon
> (then again, UK Patent Office handles Copyright at the moment, which
> is confused anyway).

Aside from the IP thing (which bothers me less than it does most people,
I think) and enforcement aspects - isn't Gowers mostly a good thing?

Having had a couple of days to chew on it, it seems to be pretty
progressive in it's "remember, IP is bargain not a right" position.
There is an awful lot of positive stuff I think we can take away from
it?

Cheers,

Alex.
Alex Hudson | 8 Dec 16:53 2006

Re: Gowers Report Recommendations

(Apologies to Jason if you didn't want this opinion public; I'm assuming
you did ;)

On Fri, 2006-12-08 at 15:34 +0000, Jason Clifford wrote:
> On Fri, 8 Dec 2006, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > Aside from the IP thing (which bothers me less than it does most people,
> > I think) and enforcement aspects - isn't Gowers mostly a good thing?
> 
> The reason "IP" bothers me is that language has a strong effect on 
> subsequent discussion and can help to form the way others think. By 
> refering to these disparate matters under a single banner defining them as 
> property there is a risk that you give power to the claims that violation 
> is theft rather than a matter of contract.

I totally understand the problem, and I'm probably being somewhat
hypocritical on this issue (e.g, I talk about free software, although I
don't correct those who talk about open source).

> > Having had a couple of days to chew on it, it seems to be pretty
> > progressive in it's "remember, IP is bargain not a right" position.
> > There is an awful lot of positive stuff I think we can take away from
> > it?
> 
> Certainly looks that way and I'd suggest that we need a concerted effort 
> to counter the move by publishers and large financial interests on the 
> copyright extension and patents issues. The former certainly seems urgent 
> to me.

I don't know if people have seen this, it's a great example of the
problem post-Gowers:
(Continue reading)

FSFE Newsletter

1. First international Fellowship conference
2. Freedom Task Force started
3. FSFE becomes the legal guardian of Bacula.org
4. Inaugural meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
5. Fifth international GPLv3 conference
6. Trophees du Libre
7. Introducing Mathias Klang
8. FSFE at public events
9. Get Active: tell your company about FSFE!

1. First international Fellowship conference

More than 40 Fellows from all over Europe came together at the first
international Fellowship conference in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.
The main disuccion topics were the advocacy project, the Fellowship
web page, the new logo of the FSFE, and heads-up information on the
Freedom Task Force.  Besides that, the Fellows and the members of the
FSFE core team used the opportunity to meet each other in person and
talk about various topics in smaller groups.

2. Freedom Task Force started

After years of planning, FSFE was finally able to announce its most
recent activity, the Freedom Task Force (FTF). The FTF will help
projects and companies to ensure legal maintainability of their Free
Software through three main areas of activity: licensing education,
fiduciary services, and - when necessary - enforcement of Free
Software licenses.

The FTF provides a point of reference and contact for all these issues
(Continue reading)


Gmane