[Linux-aus] Please don't get us into the same IP mess as the USA

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Mon Feb 9 18:11:01 UTC 2004

As noble as the FTA's "Intellectual Property" objectives are, they are a 
disaster in the digital arena, and getting worse. The theory is well 
and good, but in practice companies are claiming the most trivial 
advances as their property and using what amounts to barratry to 
enforce their claims to ideas which rightfully should be held in 

This is turning innovation, particularly in the on-line arena, into a 
nightmare of overlapping minefields.

Part of the problem is that "intellectual property" is a very fluid 
concept in practice, part of the problem is that some of the 
participants in the "intellectual property" fray are extremely powerful 
and have an inordinately large vested interest in the outcome (which 
*must* unbalance the presentation of "facts" to the decision-makers at 
various levels), and part of the problem is that the original, even 
nobler goals of copyrights and patents have been completely lost sight 
of, traded for more selfish and less productive ends.

Many of the measures entailed in AUSFTA look reasonable in the "view 
from ten thousand feet" but their implementation has unsavoury 
implications for many individual rights, and has the capacity to impose 
significant burdens on small Internet-based businesses.

I speak as an individual, and a busy one, running a small company in the 
IT field. I don't have the time and resources to make high-powered 
representation to DFAT or to go stumping in support of my needs, nor am 
I habitually on lists of people who are told about these things in 
advance, so I'm hoping that this "raindrop" will form a small part of a 
flood of objection to tying Australia to America's bizarre and 
unbalanced approach to innovation.

If there is a formal submission to make with the potential to have a 
substantial impact on the outcome of current proceedings, please point 
me at it.

Cheers; Leon

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Committee Member, Perth Linux User Group
http://slpwa.asn.au/            Committee Member, Linux Professionals WA
http://linux.org.au/            Past Committee Member, Linux Australia

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