[Fsf-friends] [Fwd]: Sign this petition and support free/GNUsoftware

Anand Babu ab@gnu.org.in
Thu Jun 24 14:00:00 IST 2004

,----[ "Nagarjuna G." <nagarjun@gnowledge.org> ]
| I am writing the following note to say that FSF India cannot be, to my
| understanding that kind of organization. Please correct me if my
| understanding is wrong.
| Indemnification cannot be given by FSF India (even if it had
| resources) it is not one of its stated objectives. FSF can give
| support by using our lawyer friends to fight a case if necessary, but
| certainly cannot pay compensation to the company or an individual for
| the loss or damage.  AB and others who decided to stand behind us did
| not ask FSFI to indemnify.  They did not put that condition for their
| support.  There are a number of others who promised donations, some of
| them said: IF and only IF FSF will fight the case or agree to
| indemnify.  I fail to understand how this is proper to put conditions
| for supporting FSF.  The only condition is: We seek support to FSF if
| the objectives of FSF are in tune with your life.  This is a political
| battle, we cannot fight this by financial means alone.  Corporates
| talk of indemnification because they have a rate (at least they think
| they have) for everything.  We are fighting for software freedom that
| cannot be valued.
| FSF India needs money to promote software freedom in our region.
| Please donate!  We promise that this money will not be used for
| indemnification of those who use, develop, promote, and stand by free
| software.
| In any case please help us locate the service provider who agrees with
| us politically, we can ask them to mirror hymn in the country.
| Nagarjuna

EFF is a non-profit group of lawyers, volunteers and visionaries,
working to protect your DIGITAL RIGHTS. 

FSF is a non-profit group of visionaries, volunteers and lawyers
working to write, promote and protect FREE SOFTWARE.

Though goals are different, there is a lot in common when it comes to
defending Software Freedom. This is a joint responsibility between FSF
and EFF.

Hymn project as example:
Within 12 hours of announcement, site crossed 100,000 hits eating up
all the service provides bandwidth. Made head lines at many
sites. Project is still up. No threat letters yet. Source and binary 
packages already reached everyone who ever wanted it. Press was fully
on our side.

Because of FSF and EFF backing, project gained significant attraction
and support. Success came unchallenged.

But the battle is not yet over:
 - Real Author is not yet credited for his work, He still remains
 anonymous. He is treated like a criminal, because he contributed a
 great piece of software.

 - There is no hosting service for Hymn and DeCSS like projects. Not
   even savannah.gnu.org.

Many advised me that I may loose my job, Visa status or get imprisoned
with a heavy fine, if I take over the Hymn project's responsibility. 
Hymn project did affect my day time job. My company has good ties
with Apple. I was given a choice - to stay on the front-line with big 
corporate title and take credit for the Thunder super computer project
OR stay hidden defending the Software Freedom. I told them, I am
not willing to trade my "Freedom to code".

Not many Free Software Hackers can afford to risk their career or even
afford a 300$ registration and hosting service bill. 

savannah.gnu.org.in with FSF and EFF backing will be ideal for
supporting such projects. At this point we do not have sufficient
resources. Maintaining official GNU projects at savannah.gnu.org
itself requires more volunteers. Until then, we can keep such projects
independent with external backing.

Software Freedom is a global issue:
Any creative work is automatically protected by copyright law right
from moment of its creation. Because DMCA is now a part of the US
Copyright Law (mainly found under Title 17, Sections 1201 and 512), It
may be possible to impose DMCA (as copyright infringement) on most
countries participating in the globilization process. You should also
note that, 96 countries have signed an international copyright treaty
under the Berne-Convention. It is not yet clear, if DMCA will succeed
in reaching far across the globe. But attempts are already visible.

The community is yet to fully understand the impact and damage, DMCA like
laws can cause to the Scientific advancements and innovation. I felt
like I was crippled, when hosting providers refused to offer service
for the Hymn project even at a premium price. 

I am in a remote town with limited access to Internet. All my
responses will be slow for the next few weeks. Sorry!
Anand Babu
Free as in Freedom <www.gnu.org>

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