[Fsf-friends] Is an International Free Software Treaty possible?

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Thu Nov 20 10:56:09 IST 2003

Under our laws, as they stand today, open source utterly fails to 
distinguish itself clearly from proprietary software, and our open 
source friends are now having a dose of their own medicine with 
proprietary software companies releasing source code and calling it 
"open source".  Searching the internet for open source will return 
several links to non-free software claiming to be "open source". "Free" 
is a very uncomfortable word for proprietary software companies, who 
will never give users the freedom which free software gives.

We cannot contain the free software movement within the confines of 
copyright law.  It would be like trying to contain the ocean within the 
confines of our fist.  The plain fact is that the free software movement 
has created its own vast expanse of space in the law, at a global scale. 
 Recognition of free software could correctly be done only at a global 
scale.  We are at a defining moment, like when America or India won its 
freedom.  A great vision is needed to proceed and speed ahead in the 
right direction.  If we fail to perceive and understand the significance 
of the free software movement, we merely push and put away significant 
progress and development possible with free software.

An International Free Software Treaty, may be the first right step in 
this direction.  The treaty may legally recognise the free software 
movement,  its work, its scope and provide for its active use by the 
people of this world.   RMS could be designated as an Ambassador of Free 
Software, entitled to immunities and privileges under International law. 
 Adequate international funds could also be provided to promote the 
progress of the free software movement.  The UN ought to be seriously 
interested because the much wider goals and objects of the UN will be 
well served by the achievements and aims of the focused free software 

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