Another Day, Another Illogical Attack On Open Source

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 26, 2010

In yet another attack on open source software usage around the world, a copyright-focused organization is claiming that use of open source software promotes piracy. With a new 498-page report (PDF) that repeatedly defies logic, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) argues that the office of the U.S. Trade Representative should "carefully monitor" government mandates to adopt open source, and place numerous countries on watchlists.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative conducts an annual review of international copyright and intellectual property issues, and the IIPA's report was prepared as part of this year's review. It claims that governments in regions including India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand aren't doing enough to fight copyright infringement, and that increasing adoption of open source "encourages a mindset that does not give due consideration to the value of intellectual creations."

With regard to India, the report says that "the industry is also concerned about moves by the government to consider mandating the use of open source software... Though such policies have not yet been implemented, IIPA and BSA urge that this area be carefully monitored." The BSA is the Business Software Alliance, which counts among its members Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, IBM and many other large commercial software providers.

The report argues that increased adoption of open source software around the world "threatens to create additional trade barriers and deny fair and equitable market access to software companies." It also claims that open source adoption threatens innovation.

Try as they might, lobbyists acting on behalf of the largest commercial software companies around the world will not succeed in stamping out the open source software movement. Sadly, the IIPA's report gives no recognition to the fact that many commercial open source companies are flourishing, and that they represent fair competition to larger, established commercial software companies.

Perhaps the sneakiest aspect of the report is that it claims that open source adoption should be curbed in the name of protecting against piracy, and that countries considering mandating its adoption should be placed on watchlists. This type of misguided international lobbying is exactly what open source doesn't need.

 Image courtesy of Flickr user TheTruthAbout.