[Fsfe-ie] Broad or Narrow?

James Heald j.heald at ucl.ac.uk
Fri Nov 14 18:12:45 CET 2003

Malcolm Tyrrell wrote:

> At last night's meeting the subject of breadth came up.
> We tried to think up examples of issues related to free
> software.
> One example suggested was "Freedom of Information".
> Another example of a related issue occurred to me today:
> support for "Open Content" such as Wikipedia.
> It is my opinion that general support for these issues, 
> while admirable, lies outside the objectives of an IFSO.
> Malcohol.

How about eg the proposed WIPO meeting on collaborative (non-commercial) 
approaches to intellectual property, which the USPTO got the US 
government to kill ?

Free software was an important strand of that meeting, but its ambit was 
to have ranged far wider, including for example

*  the collaboratively built but open-for-all-to-access human genome 
*  the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) project,
*  alternatives to patentability for encouraging research into the 
functionality of gene sequences (functional genomics),
*  Project Gutenberg and the value of the copyright-expired public domain,
*  Open journals for scientific publishing,

*  In general the importance of other alternative models to private 
ownership, to encourage the generation of new intellectual material.

So, what about abstract discussion of the meta-issue of the economics of 
non IP-reliant modes of intellectual production ?

Would discussion of how to gain maximum discussion in the Irish media 
for the US action of squashing this conference be on-topic for IFSO ?

What if free software hadn't been explicitly on the agenda, would 
discussion of how to raise what the US had done still be on-topic, 
because of its at-one-remove importance for free software ?

As a slightly separate issue (but only slightly), is the impact of the 
EUCD on 'fair use' not relevant to discuss in itself as a kindred issue, 
quite apart from its implications for free software ?

If not IFSO, then who ?

All best,


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