[Fsfe-ie] Broad or Narrow?

Malcolm Tyrrell malcohol at eircom.net
Fri Nov 14 20:39:12 CET 2003

Apologies if this e-mail doesn't thread properly. I'm
currently sending mail using a (dodgy) web mail interface
but receiving it using mutt (don't ask).
James Heald wrote:
> How about eg the proposed WIPO meeting on collaborative
> (non-commercial) approaches to intellectual property,
> which the USPTO got the US government to kill ?
As this meeting had the potential to affect free software,
I think there would have been a good reason to get involved.
> What if free software hadn't been explicitly on the agenda
Aye, there's the rub! If there wasn't a clear reason why
this meeting affects free software (even indirectly) then
we risk looking like some sort of anti-globalization group.
It may be that many of our members would have such 
sympathies, but it could mean that arguments on our core
issues are weakened as a result.
I would claim that our arguments on the e-patents issues 
were useful because:
a) they were true
b) they were pragmatic
c) we sounded like we knew what we were talking about
If we spread ourselves too thin, we might lose c) altogether
and our b) style arguments will be doubted. Unfortunately, 
a) isn't going to be enough.
> 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 ?
Let's say that the EUCD will reduce a consumers fair use
rights with respect to CDs. I just can't think of a
compelling reason why IFSO should get involved, other than
to stop a generally bad thing. Realistically, there will
always be too many generally bad things to tackle.
> If not IFSO, then who ?
Ideally, IFSO could "be an official supporter" another
organisation whose aim was further these freedoms. I don't
think this would be a problem.
In the absense of such an organisation, you have a point!
Justin Mason wrote:
> nobody else in Ireland has experience of open licensing
> models, outside of the free software community.
Hopefully, if we do our job, a lot more people will become
aware of such ideas.
> But I suppose IFSO can just take positions on these 
> issues, while still remaining a free-software-oriented
> organisation...
I agree.
> we are too "IP-reliant" -- we're reliant on the terms we
> can impose on users through copyright and licensing, 
> which are aspects of "IP" law.
Too true. If we lose copyright, we lose copyleft (did I just
hear a cheer from the back?). Nevertheless, there are
certainly different forms copyright could take, and we might
want to discuss this.

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