[Linux-aus] Linux Australia FTA Position Draft Paper

Rusty Russell rusty at rustcorp.com.au
Mon Apr 5 19:15:01 UTC 2004

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

We'll be following up with more stuff during the week as we get things
rolling: submissions to the Senate FTA committee close on 30 Apr.


Here's the summary:

Open Source software (aka Free Software) is important, and quickly
growing moreso 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.
Anyone who quotes me in their signature is an idiot -- Rusty Russell

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