Draconian Anti-Piracy Law Looms Over Australia

From Slashdot: “Draconian Anti-Piracy Law Looms Over Australia

ccozan writes to tell us of a law being rushed through the Australian legislature that would criminalize great swaths of the citizenry. The Internet Industry Association of Australia is posting warning scenarios spelling out how far-reaching this law would be. From the release: “A family who holds a birthday picnic in a place of public entertainment (for example, the grounds of a zoo) and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ in a manner that can be heard by others, risks an infringement notice carrying a fine of up to $1,320. If they make a video recording of the event, they risk a further fine for the possession of a device for the purpose of making an infringing copy of a song… The US Free Trade Agreement does not require Australia to go down this path, and neither US nor European law contain such far-reaching measures. We are at a total loss to understand how this policy has developed, who is behind it and why there is such haste in enacting it into law — with little if any public debate.”

Read more about these issues on lucychillis blog.

Blackboard Patenting Educational Groupware

Crackboard Patent

This is really sad. Here’s the links:

There’s links and comments by bloggers on those pages for you to follow up on.

A while back with the pro teachers we spent some time looking at software idea patents, it doesn’t seem so irrelevent now so here’s some more info.

A little off topic but a good read.

Listen to Dr Stallman’s audio recordings about patents and copyright, copy and paste this feed into your aggregator.

Croatian government adopts free software policy

I have a few Croatian/Australian friends so check it out guys time to break out the Velebitsko and Ozujsko Pivo.

Croatian government adopts free software policy

The Croatian government has decided to adopt a free software policy and move entirely to Open Source. Proprietary software leads to too much dependence on suppliers, which can damage the market competition..OSS makes the government’s business more transparent, it will save tax payers huge amounts of cash and strengthen domestic industry.

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

From: Klepas.org

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

Posted: June 14th, 2006, 11:48pm EST by Pascal
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, 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 [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].

About OSIA

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].