The press release just came in across the Linux Australia mailing lists:
Linux Australia Urges the Federal Govt. Not to Abandon Consumer and Competition Interests
Linux Australia, Australiaâ€™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.
â€œThe treaty doesnâ€™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.â€ said Rusty Russell, Linux Australiaâ€™s IP Policy Adviser.
â€œConsumers 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. Youâ€™ve paid for it, you use it as you see fit.â€
Con Zymaris, a director with the Open Source Industry Association, joined with Russell. â€œAustralian 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.â€
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.
â€œIf we donâ€™t push back now, Australian competition, consumer rights and freedoms will be hamstrung as we enter the digital age.â€
The petition and online statement can be found at [linux.org.au].
Rusty Russell can be contacted on 0417 451212.
About Linux Australia
Linux Australia exists to serve and promote the Australian Linux and Open Source community. The organisation aims to do this best by taking enthusiasms within the community, such as FOSS issues, projects, education, advocacy just to name a few, and help them flourish, to succeed. The lifeblood of this organisation is the people in the community, and Linux Australia strives to be both relevant and useful to the community. For more details on Linux Australia visit [linux.org.au].
OSIA is the national industry body for Open Source within Australia. We exist to further the cause of both Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Australia and to help our members to improve their business success in this growing sector of the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market. For more information about OSIA please visit [www.osia.net.au].
Edit: There is going to be a live online Q&A session with Rusty Russell, this Friday, June 16 at 20:30 (UTC+1000) on the issue. Questions will be put forth in the #linux-au IRC channel on the irc.freenode.net network. The audio stream will be located at [together.linux.org.au:8000].