Competition, or lack of it

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    Posted: 16 December 2009 05:56 PM

    Bryan Chaffin’s tag [Microsoft?s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.] is still relevant. But it’s not just Microsoft.

    On several New Zealand news sites this week there has been a theme about intellectual property. Probably the most important single item is ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

    While no draft text has been officially released, leaks have shown that it has gone far beyond anti-counterfeiting to be a general rewrite of the rules of copyright in the name of international harmonisation. New Zealand has already been through a small-scale version of this with the attempts to insert a “three accusations and you’re out” policy into section 92a of our copyright law. Section 92a was defeated by a broad coalition of artists, internet users and others, led by the Creative Freedom Foundation.

    Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for Tech Liberty, “Section 92a could be defeated because it followed our normal democratic process. ACTA is an attempt to work around this, it’s being negotiated in secret to avoid opposition. This secrecy is anti-democratic - it’s not how we do things in an open society like New Zealand.”

    I don’t have a problem with a level of copyright, but when the process is hidden, as ACTA is, I smell large corporate rats.

    At the same time, legal counsel from Microsoft-sponsored Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace (Icomp) have been in town to discuss with the Commerce Commission about local representation in its lobbying for intellectual property rights; overtly he was complaining about Google. Despite Icomp stating on its website that it is not a mouthpiece for Microsoft, again I smell a large corporate rat. At the very least, there appears to be some inconsistency here. And I’m seriously pissed off that corporate lobby groups are trying to influence New Zealand ministries for their own ends. It’s bad enough that it happens in other countries (loop back to ACTA story); dump in your own nest but stay out of ours.

    Oh the irony. What with News Corp wanting to stop Google from indexing its news sites, Auckland’s paper New Zealand Herald (source AP) reports on Microsoft’s potentially paying newspapers to withhold their content from Google. Would the same content be withheld from Bing? Nope. Of course not.

    Oh, and Windows users in the EU will now be given a choice of which internet browser they want to use.

    It’s not all about Microsoft. But much of it is.

    [ Edited: 16 December 2009 06:05 PM by Laurie Fleming ]


    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek