In the light of the upcoming knowlegde-based economy it appears of paramount importance to ensure a strong protection of intellectual property of digital products, no matter if it concerns content or other intangible goods as software. Besides cultural aspects and at best provision of public access to public owned goods there have to be maintained all necessary prerequisites to ensure a flourish and competitive content & software market which ultimately safeguards a continued path of innovation and not only room for replication. High quality content and high quality software needs an unbroken “4i”-cycle of investment, invention, innovation and – income, in order to finance the next 4i cycle.
Having introduced our basic notion let me now come to some particular change requests of the most recent draft of the Vienna Declaration:
p5/2. Digital Rights/Creative Commons
While we largely agree on the point that more choices should be given to creators and users (and the subsequent conclusions on Creative Commons or Wikipedia) we explicitly disagree on the notion that “increasingly, revenue is generated not by selling content and digital works, as they can be freely distributed at almost no cost, but by offering services on top of them. The success of the Free Software Model is one example” and propose to delete this text part completely, as it contains only an one-sided perspective on the ICT industry. The rationale for this is, that the aim of free software is not to enable a healthy business on software but rather to make it even impossible to make any income on software as a commercial product. We don´t see this neither as a viable not as a desirable path for the future economy of Europe.
P6/ Digital Rights/Creative Commons
Second sentence on the page “The challenge is to create an economy of sharing, collaboration, and service that will [..] coexist with the traditional economy of scarcity, control and technological restrictions” let us miss the important role of genuine innovation and engineering in order to maintain supply of innovative goods to fulfill the demand of 21st century customers. It is not only about sharing and collaboration or service but also about commercial products which bring innovation to the mass of consumers all over the world.
Further more we fundamentally disagree with the statement “Software must be understood as the cultural technique of a Digital Society” as this poses the notion of everybody should be a kind of software developer. While there may some desire of certain groups and activists to claim software as whole as a kind of public domain space we want to propose in contradiction to that, that “Practice and easy making use of software must be understood as the 4th cultural technicque of a Digital Society, besides reading, writing and calculating”. Therefore we can´t agree on the closing sentence of the section that demands “technological freedom [..] in order to ensure access to the cultural heritage of mankind for present and future generations” as it is only to be read in context to the political manifesto of the free software movement (which is only a – rigid – part of the mostly rather liberal open source universe).
Further more we propose following changes:
P5/1. Creative Contents… Deletion of “hack” in the sentence “Creative acts strenghten communities and these include the following actions: collect, …”
P6/3. eLearning and eScience … Deletion of “…like the linux project” as this is only one particular – anti-commercial – specificity of the open source landscape. You could use instead of “Linux” the more broader term of “open source project”.
Thomas Lutz Manager Public Affairs Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung
Microsoft Österreich GmbH
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