[Linux-aus] An Open Letter to the Attorney-General of Australia from the President of Linux Australia

James Purser purserj at k-sit.com
Tue Jul 4 13:14:01 UTC 2006

Please find below an Open Letter to the Attorney General from the President of Linux Australia.

July 3rd, 2006
Attorney-General's Department
Central Office
Robert Garran Offices
National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

Attn: Mr Philip Ruddock, Attorney-General

Dear Dr Ruddock,

Business threatened by possible anti-circumvention laws

Open Source software is now a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. In Australia you would be
hard-pressed to find a large or small businesses which doesn't run some part of its IT infrastructure
on Open Source software. Increasingly, this software is the platform on which Australian businesses
are built as well as providing significant opportunities for the further development of the local ICT
industry in particular.

Proposals to outlaw legitimate access to copyright material threaten that infrastructure by creating
new legal weapons against legitimate competition and forcing business to migrate back towards the
incumbent and predominantly international software suppliers. Business disruption and higher
prices will be one side-effect of poor implementation of our anti-circumvention AUSFTA

Fortunately, as our representative Paul Russell proposed to your department, you have the ability to
define circumvention as a nefarious act in the legislation, thus protecting copyright without
abolishing competition in non-copyright goods and services. This would meet our treaty obligations
as well as the key recommendations of the LACA TPM Exceptions enquiry. I would welcome an
opportunity to meet with you to discuss possible courses of action to protect the interests of the
vibrant local Open Source software industry.

We have no issue with laws which give copyright holders authority over fences they place around
their own property. However, laws which give them authority over fences they place around others'
property would be absurd, anti-competitive, anti-consumer, and would lead us into a destructive
blaze of legal threats and litigation for years to come.

Jonathan Oxer
Linux Australia Inc

For more information about the issues discussed in this letter you can visit http://linux.org.au/law

James Purser
Ordinary Committee Member
Linux Australia
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