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Don't abandon consumer and competition interests

  • Open Source
  • Politics

Long time no post. I've just started a new job and have a project on the go, so apologies for being quiet. This is, in my opinion, important though.

Linux Australia Urges the Federal Govt. Not to Abandon Consumer and Competition Interests

Linux Australia, Australia's peak Free and Open Source Software community group, announced the launch of a petition today calling on the federal government to resist pressure to abandon consumer and competition rights when drafting anti-circumvention laws. New laws are required under the terms of the Free Trade Agreement negotiated between Australia and the United States.

"The treaty doesn't force us to implement this like the US, where these laws have driven litigation to suppress academic publications, prevent third-party printer cartridge manufacturers, and eliminate competition by Open Source software. But naturally some large business interests are pressing for the same restrictions on legitimate access to digital material here." said Rusty Russell, Linux Australia's IP Policy Adviser.

"Consumers should continue to enjoy full use of their legitimately purchased digital material, whether it be playing DVDs, copying CDs onto their iPods, using computer programs of their choice, or playing iTunes-bought songs on non-iPod MP3 players. You've paid for it, you use it as you see fit."

Con Zymaris, a director with the Open Source Industry Association, joined with Russell. "Australian small businesses are world-class at using, deploying and building Open Source software. We must be free to do so without fear of lawsuits from the larger incumbents we compete against."

Linux Australia President Jon Oxer called for a focus on consumer rights and support. Oxer urged all those who would be affected by the new laws to download a copy of the petition and get as many signatures as possible.

"If we don't push back now, Australian competition, consumer rights and freedoms will be hamstrung as we enter the digital age."

The petition and online statement can be found at http://linux.org.au/law.

Rusty Russell can be contacted on 0417 451212.

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