FSF Advocates Free Software for U.S. IPEC Joint Strategic Plan
[Return to the revised press release.]
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, March 25, 2010 -- 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 http://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/fsf-opposes-more-copyright-enforcement-in-joint-strategic-plan.
About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
About Free Software and Open Source
The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some, especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as "open source," which cites only practical goals such as making software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.
License Compliance Engineer
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942 x18