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<nettime> Fwd: [Commons-Law] Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tel
martin hardie on Fri, 19 Nov 2004 15:30:12 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Fwd: [Commons-Law] Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tells governments


i just recieved this (Use Linux and you will be sued) then put on the telly
and bbc were running the reuters report referred to along the bottom of the
screen. Thought i should pass it on.


---------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: [Commons-Law] Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tells=20
Date: Thursday 18 November 2004 20:40
=46rom: Sunil Abraham <sunil {AT} mahiti.org>
To: Commons Law <commons-law {AT} sarai.net>, Bytesforall Readers=20
<bytesforall_readers {AT} yahoogroups.com>, India Egov=20
<India-egov {AT} yahoogroups.com>

Dear Friends,

Just wanted to say that any government that recognises Software Patents
after this threat deserves to be sued.

Please see a typical example of Microsoft's software patent:

I guess if Ballmer says that our countries are "magic" and that he will
provide hundreds of jobs - then our media conveniently forgets how to
multiply 4,000,000 with the cost of MS Windows XP and MS Office.



Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tells governments
By John Lettice
Published Thursday 18th November 2004 10:34 GMT

Asian governments using Linux will be sued for IP violations, Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer said today in Singapore. He did not specify that
Microsoft would be the company doing the suing, but it's difficult to
read the claim as anything other than a declaration of IP war.

According to a Reuters report (which we fervently hope will produce one
of Ballmer's fascinating 'I was misquoted' rebuttals), Ballmer told
Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum that Linux violates more than
228 patents. Come on Steve, don't hold back - what you mean 'more than
228' - 229? 230? Don't pull your punches to soften the blow to the
community. "Some day," he continued, "for all countries that are
entering the WTO [World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look
for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property."

This reference is possibly more interesting than the infringement number
scare itself, because it suggests that Microsoft sees the wider
implementation of corporation-friendly IP law that is part of the entry
ticket to the WTO as being a weapon that can be used against software
rivals. More commonly, getting WTO members to 'go legit' is viewed as
having a payoff in terms of stamping out counterfeit CDs, DVDs and
designer gear, but clearly Microsoft's lawyers are busily plotting ways
to embrace and extend this to handy new fields. It could be used to
throttle emergent OSS companies, and it could conceivably be used to
take the new generation of US (and maybe EU too) anti digital piracy and
IP laws global.

The venue for Ballmer's menacing claims was nicely judged. Microsoft's
Government Leaders Conferences are pitched as select events where chosen
senior representatives and influencers from target governments are
wined, dined, schmoozed and impressed by the cream of the Microsoft high
command (We've explained them before.) They'll be intended to take away
the message from this dynamic, hospitable and successful company that
OSS is dangerous and will make you poor.

But if countries who want to join the WTO and get developed and rich
should consider the dangers inherent in OSS, what about all of those
countries who're already members of the WTO? They should perhaps also
get the message about how Microsoft sees IP law being used in the
future. Which might well have a helpful collateral damage effect in
Europe, if Europe's leaders are paying attention. Yesterday the Polish
Government backed out of support for the EU patents directive, in a move
which threatens to derail it (because the directive may not now achieve
a qualified majority in the council of ministers).

This on its own may be no more than a temporary setback for the patents
lobby (prominent members in Europe include Microsoft and Sun), but the
sound of Microsoft threatening all-out IP war really ought to strengthen
the opposition's hand, and make the European Parliament, which opposes
software patents, more determined to fight. So well done, Steve, we look
forward to the rebuttal. Reuters report here.


Sunil Abraham, sunil {AT} mahiti.org http://www.mahiti.org
314/1, 7th Cross, Domlur Bangalore - 560 071 Karnataka, INDIA
Ph/Fax: +91 80 51150580. Mob: (60) 1-2205-3895

Currently on sabbatical with APDIP/UNDP
Manager - International Open Source Network
Wisma UN, Block C Komplex Pejabat Damansara.
Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights. 50490 Kuala Lumpur.
P. O. Box 12544, 50782, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: (60) 3-2091-5167, Fax: (60) 3-2095-2087
sunil {AT} apdip.net http://www.iosn.net http://www.apdip.net

"A world opened up by communications cannot remain closed up in a feudal
vision of property" - Gilberto Gil, Minister of Culture, Brazil

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