[Linux-aus] Request: Officially oppose TPP Source Code provision

Andrew Donnellan andrew at donnellan.id.au
Fri Nov 6 10:33:02 AEDT 2015

On 6 November 2015 at 10:24, Tennessee Leeuwenburg
<tleeuwenburg at gmail.com> wrote:
> My impression was to address the following hypothetical: "I will only
> buy/import your software if you release it as open source". I think it's
> about reducing the abilities for parties to pressure people into using an
> open source license. I can well imagine being in the shoes of a commercial
> company and not wanting to be forced into an arrangement where I had to
> release open source code for my carefully constructed IP.

The issue that comes to mind is governments establishing import or
trade barriers (this is, after all, a trade agreement) to prevent
companies doing business with either the public or private sector
unless they meet source code disclosure requirements.

The exemption covering "critical infrastructure" reminds me of the
current situation with Chinese telecom manufacturers such as Huawei,
who have been required by Western governments (e.g. the UK) to
disclose source code for security review as a condition of being
permitted to bid for critical infrastructure contracts (e.g. the
British Telecom core network upgrade) - a situation where the state
has openly expressed its will to block trade between two private
companies if its disclosure conditions aren't met. Now of course, the
TPP contains an exemption for critical infrastructure, and China isn't
a party to the TPP, but this section appears to me to be designed to
prevent a similar situation arising outside the critical
infrastructure or regulatory contexts, particularly if the TPP clauses
are used as a model for future negotiations between the West and more
"hostile" countries.

I still have some concerns about this because of potential impact on
any future moves to create better data sovereignty measures (along
with all the other provisions of the TPP of course), but I can't see
how this section specifically seriously impacts the Free Software


Andrew Donnellan
http://andrew.donnellan.id.au         andrew at donnellan.id.au

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