TCS Daily

No to Info-Communism

By Tomasz Teluk - July 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Members of the European Parliament are about to decide on the future of the European Union. No, this doesn't have anything to do with a constitutional treaty. Rather, MEPs are going to vote for or against the EU directive on Computer Implemented Inventions - better known as software patents.

The vote is likely to be close, as the European Parliament has shown itself recently to be the most hostile to the measure of all the EU institutions. Many MEPs and large segments of the public have been misled by an ideological lobby. But politicians must consider whether they want to vote for safeguarding prosperity and growth in the EU or for destroying European innovations, putting hundreds of thousands jobs at risk, and crippling European creativity through intellectual violence and plagiarism.

Many of Europe's most prominent politicians do not hide the fact that they are motivated by the open source lobby. The most active organization in the fight is Munich's Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). The group is waging an ideological continuation of Karl Marx's crusade against capitalism and private property.

The FFII hopes to convince the public that civilization is not helped by self-interest and profit. Rather, it argues that progress is an effect of disinterested activity for social justice. This is naïve. Progress in information technology has been made by private companies, not open source fanatics. But the FFII is calling for a kind of revolution on intellectual capital. They want to expropriate innovators by limiting their legal property: know-how and inventions.

The people who run FFII are enemies of private property, the free-market and capitalism. Some of them are widely known to be neo-Marxists, such as Jozef Halbersztadt, a member of the FFII advisory board and patent examiner at Polish Patent Office. In Poland he is a kind of IT Ché Guevara. He publishes in such leftist magazines as Social Review and Political Critics.

In his writings he does not hide his revolutionary visions. "[Neo-liberalism] is creating by protection of so called intellectual property," Halbersztadt writes on the web portal (Left). His idea for destroying "neo-liberalism" is to limit IP rights by blocking their legal protection. "Today not everything is blocked, but limiting private property makes society profit. Because of Linux, Microsoft's bosses do not sleep well," he argues.

Halbersztadt and other neo-Marxists believe that eliminating IP is the only way to fight capitalism. The FFII is selling (or giving away) a very dangerous ideology, and is cooperating with the radical left in the European Parliament. It is unfortunate that they have succeeded in manipulating even right-wing politicians such as former Polish Prime Minister and current MEP Jerzy Buzek.

Why should Europeans let the FFII create a world in which innovators are exploited by pirates and plagiarizers? Rather, we should give Hartmut Pilch, the FFII president, the same advice as George Bush gave to Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11: "Go get a real job!"

In the 1960s one of the most famous Austrian economists, Fritz Machlup, named America "the knowledge society". He underlined that today knowledge and information build the wealth of nations. Since that time, the US has become the leader of globalization and the most innovative world economy.

Today's economy is losing hundreds of billons to copying and plagiarism, which usurps 9 per cent of global trade. In Europe every year we see more and more violence against intellectual property. That is why thousands of people lose their jobs and European human capital is forced to emigrate.

Software is the heart of contemporary innovation; we shouldn't stop it from beating.



But Open SOurce is better
And lets face it MicroSoft is doomed. How can you compete with the price of free?

Why intervene?
Let Europe continue down anti-capitalist paths. Their economies stink, and I don't recall them landing men on the moon or dominating world economics.

If they're satisfied with mediocrity, who are we to stand in their way?

Sure, open source is free, but who wants to invest years of R&D into applications software where a profit can't be realized? Who is going to put forth deep coding effort into systems which run on an OS where the kernel can be recompiled by any yahoo resulting in unintended functionality? Some ABM (anything but Microsoft) dreamer? OK have at it, loser.

I'll take truly controlled versioning over open source any day. Let the socialists wallow in their hate for natural law. The failure of the USSR is there for all to see, it's not as if it's a big secret.

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