The heart of tech

This article was published on February 24, 2010


    Copyright Lobbyist Group Says Open Source Makes You An Enemy of America

    Copyright Lobbyist Group Says Open Source Makes You An Enemy of America
    Michael Klurfeld
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    Michael Klurfeld

    Michael Klurfeld is a Chicago-based musician and technologist specializing in legal happenings and public policy. You can find him on Twitte Michael Klurfeld is a Chicago-based musician and technologist specializing in legal happenings and public policy. You can find him on Twitter here, or send him an email here.

    Tony_sopranos6The International Intellectual Property Alliance, a US lobbyist group that acts as a mouthpiece for such infamous bodies as the RIAA and MPAA, is pushing the US Trade Representative to put Indonesia and Brazil on a watchlist to examine the “adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights” in any country listed.

    The argument? Brazil and Indonesia are trying to move towards open-source programs to power government computers. According to the IIPA, this is bad for copyright as it “fails to build respect for intellectual property rights.”

    Now this just flat-out doesn’t make sense. If the only software you use is free of copyright, then you are not engaging in copyright infringement. Essentially the IIPA is making the mafia-esque argument that by not dealing with copyrighted software, you are not learning to respect copyright well enough, which makes you a danger to intellectual property.

    What these idiotic lobbyist groups don’t seem to understand is that its draconian anti-piracy policy which drives people to infringe copyright. Take for example the DRM on the PC version of Assassin’s Creed 2, which requires you to be connected to the internet at all times. If you’re internet goes out for even a minute, the game will quit without saving your progress. How do you avoid this? By getting a pirated copy of the game that’s been stripped of the DRM.

    The IIPA is a prime example of the almost religious fervor with which big organizations regard copyright. If someone commits what seems to be even the smallest act of infringement, the RIAA et all sees fit to send this person to the gallows. If a group then tries to circumvent dealing with egregious copyright enforcement, the lobbyist groups take it upon themselves to more or less try and get the entity in question excommunicated. This is just a modern day witch hunt.