Subject: Re: GPL and proprietary licensing.
From: Taran Rampersad <>
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 18:09:13 -0400

Bernard Lang wrote:
> The problem of assigning copyright to anyone is that he controls the
> game.
> And the same occurs when you allows distribution under a yet unknown
> license.
> I personally consider that the DRM restrictions in the GPL v3 are a
> betrayal of trust.  As far as I am concerned, it is not even a free
> software licence as it stands.
> Bernard
I tend to agree with you, though I'm not done stewing on it (or the 
implication of hardware patent licenses being handed over with it as 
well). I'm going to stew on it some more and make recommendations...

Oddly enough, RMS just posted something about this today on the WSIS PCT 
(Patent, Copyright, Trademark) list - the original message from 
IPJustice to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is below; the RMS quote 
is above it. I basically responded that the concept of DRM and the 
implementation are separate... which both the GPL v3 and the tack the 
FSF has taken at WSIS seem to not acknowledge, and that the German Law 
referenced might be the problem that needs to be addressed rather than 
the symptoms. But it's all rather strange at the WSIS/IGF/EIEIO levels...


> I would support any of these specific recommendations in another
> context.  But this document takes a point of view that accepts DRM,
> per se, as legitimate.  It opposes the prohibition of P2P software,
> but doesn't call for the legalization of P2P sharing; it says nothing
> to oppose laws such as the new German law, which would imprison all
> people for sharing movies.
> For that reason, I have to urge people not to endorse the document.


Robin Gross:
> IP Justice Recommendations to the
> United Nations Internet Governance Forum
> RE: Substantive Agenda Setting Issues to Consider
> By Robin Gross, IP Justice Executive Director
> 31 March 2006
> Introduction
> IP Justice is grateful for this opportunity to make substantive
> recommendations as the UN Internet Governance Forum undertakes the
> important task of examining substantive policy issues to discuss at its
> inaugural meeting in Athens from 30 October – 2 November 2006.
> IP Justice is an international civil liberties organization that
> promotes balanced intellectual property rules and protects civil
> liberties in a digital environment ( IP Justice
> actively participated in both phases of the World Summit on the
> Information Society, contributed to the UN Working Group on Internet
> Governance discussions, and participates at ICANN Board meetings as a
> representative for the Non-Commercial Constituency (NCUC) on ICANN’s
> GNSO Policy Council.
> IP Justice Top Three Recommendations
> In response to the request to suggest the top 3 public policy issues to
> be discussed at the inaugural Internet Governance Forum, IP Justice
> submits the following recommendations:
> 1. Protection for Freedom of Expression, Privacy, and Human Rights;
> 2. Attention to the Growing Threat of Excessive Intellectual Property
> Rights to Hamper Access to Knowledge;
> 3. Promotion of Open Standards and Non-Proprietary Development Models.
> The Internet is one of most powerful tools ever invented for human
> development, education, and encouraging a participatory democracy. The
> special promise of the Internet must be allowed to freely develop for
> the benefit of all of society without excessive regulatory mediation.
> Opportunities for the free expression of diverse and minority viewpoints
> made possible through the Internet makes the protection of this medium
> particularly important.
> In a number of national legislatures (particularly the US and the EU) as
> well international legal regimes (such as the World Intellectual
> Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of
> Intellectual Property (TRIPS)), laws designed to protect intellectual
> property rights have become unbalanced in recent years to the detriment
> of the public interest. In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic
> increase in both the scope and the length of the term of intellectual
> property rights, while at the same time greater restrictions on the
> exceptions and limitations to these rights. These increasing monopoly
> rights are often created in response to the fears of digital technology,
> particularly the Internet.
> Our concerns about this growing imbalance are particularly relevant in
> the digital domain, where rights holders often undertake “self-help”
> mechanisms, such as wrapping copyrighted works in technological “locks”
> that disable consumers’ ability to exercise their lawful rights, such as
> private copying rights and achieve interoperability. It is the
> combination of laws and technologies working together that effectively
> eliminate private copying rights and the public domain, and chill
> freedom of expression. The tools, including software and information
> that enable the exercise of these lawful consumer rights must remain
> lawful and accessible if the public’s rights are to have any meaning in
> a digital world.
> IP Justice encourages the Internet Governance Forum to bear the
> following core principles in mind as it begins its work:
> Promote Access to Knowledge Through Flexible Rules
> Laws regulating information technologies should aim to promote access to
> knowledge and culture. In response to a perceived threat of the Internet
> and digital technology, rightsholders have lobbied to pass new laws that
> actually create excessive barriers to education and widen the gap in the
> digital divide between rich and poor countries. While incentivising
> creativity is important, providing too many exclusive rights has the
> harmful effect of stifling future creativity and eliminating existing
> consumer rights. Poorer nations must be permitted to compete on a level
> playing field with wealthier countries who were able to become strong in
> large part due to a history of flexible legal rules that permitted a
> free flow of information and innovation. Requiring developing countries
> to adopt restrictive legal regimes for regulating information
> technologies denies them the same path of development that rich
> countries have historically enjoyed.
> Protect Freedom of Expression on the Internet
> The freedom of expression rights guaranteed in the United Nations
> Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although adopted by the UN
> General Assembly in 1948, speaks directly to the Internet age: Article
> 19 guarantees that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and
> expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
> interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas
> through any media and regardless of frontiers.” This universal guarantee
> to freedom of expression is not limited to only analogue technology, but
> rather, explicitly, “… in any media and regardless of frontiers.”
> Protect Privacy Rights of Internet Users
> IGF should work to help protect the privacy rights of Internet users and
> website owners against over-zealous intellectual property rights holders
> who demand personal information about consumers. IGF should help ensure
> that traditional privacy and due process protections are not curtailed
> in the online environment. Core Internet tools, such as ICANN’s “who-is”
> database must be reformed to meet legal standards of due process, such
> as a requirement for a finding by a judge of the likelihood of
> infringement before an Internet user’s personal information may be 
> divulged.
> Promote Free and Open Source Development Models
> The success of Free and Open Source development models in recent years
> has inspired a revolution. The free or low cost prices combined with the
> enhanced flexibilities of non-proprietary software development models
> makes these alternative systems attractive to developed and developing
> countries alike. IGF should encourage the development of new and
> innovative information distribution models, such as Free and Open Source
> Software, and the Creative Commons licenses, which are particularly
> suited for a digital environment.
> Enhance the Public Domain
> Digital technologies provide for enormous opportunities to build
> historical archives of many types of creative achievements – books,
> music, film, software, and more. Public domain materials are given new
> life in a digital environment where the cost of dissemination is near
> zero. Innovative projects such as Project Guttenberg and the Internet
> Archive provide an important public service for by cataloguing and
> maintaining a vast store of human knowledge. IGF should encourage the
> creation and support for such innovative projects that harness the
> properties of digital technology to bring culture and education to the
> public.
> Recognize Social Value of P2P Technologies
> The development of technologies such as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing
> provide an unprecedented opportunity to distribute knowledge and
> information to those who would never before had access to such
> information, and at virtually zero cost. Laws and technologies
> regulating the Internet should encourage the free exchange of scientific
> and cultural information without the need for third-party mediation. We
> are particularly concerned about recent efforts to criminalize the use,
> creation, and distribution of P2P technologies that enable substantial
> non-infringing uses.
> Encourage “Development Agenda” Goals
> Developing countries have taken note of the need to reform unbalanced
> laws and proposed a “Development Agenda,” which was adopted by the
> General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
> at its annual meeting in 2004. The “Development Agenda” calls upon WIPO
> to explore alternative mechanisms for encouraging innovation and
> creativity that do not depend upon increasing monopoly rights and
> relying on proprietary models of development. Also at the forefront of
> the “Development Agenda” is fostering technology transfer from wealthy
> countries to developing countries and we encourage the IGF to ensure
> technological advances benefit of all the world’s citizens.
> Open and Free Standards
> Internet information technologies must remain format neutral and free
> from encumbrances such as patents for the health and growth of the
> Internet to flourish. The Internet has been able to thrive in the past
> precisely because of its open architecture and patent-free protocols. We
> encourage the IGF to continue to embrace free and open standards for
> Internet technologies.

Taran Rampersad
Presently in: San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago

Looking for contracts/work!



"Criticize by creating." — Michelangelo