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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<title>Open letter to BT</title>
<h1>British Telecom: please include freedom in your new music service</h1>
<p>Dear BT,</p>
British Telecom is a leader of telecommunication and digital
content markets, and has a reputation for product innovation.
Plans recently reported for a new not-for-profit music download
service<a class="fn" href="#fn-1">1</a> for BT's 5.5 million
broadband customers have sparked much discussion, and once again
placed BT at the fore of the future of digital content delivery in
the UK.
Amongst those speculating about the nature of the new service are
the growing number of BT customers who use Free Software<a
class="fn" href="#fn-2">2</a> web-browsers, operating systems, and
multimedia players. Currently these and other Free Software users
are unable to enjoy many popular content delivery systems such as
Spotify, Steam, and iTunes, because they are not compatible with
Free Software, or require the waiving of users' rights and freedoms
in order to use them<a class="fn" href="#fn-3">3</a> <a class="fn"
href="#fn-4">4</a> <a class="fn" href="#fn-5">5</a>. The nature of
BT's new service, and the extent to which it respects the freedom of
it's users, are therefore of particular concern.
Powerful new Open Standards<a class="fn" hreF="#fn-6">6</a> like
HTML5 and CSS3, combined with widely used Free Software codecs for
rich multimedia like VP8 and Ogg Vorbis, make it easier than ever
to build powerful cross-platform applications which respect user
freedom whilst maintaining long term accessibility. Recent
adoption of these technologies by established content providers
such as YouTube, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation,
Dailymotion, and Deutschlandradio, reflect a growing industry
trend towards platform independence through use of Free Software
and Open Standards<a class="fn" href="#fn-7">7</a> <a class="fn"
href="#fn-8">8</a> <a class="fn" href="#fn-9">9</a> <a
class="fn" href="#fn-10">10</a>.
In addition to these web-based technologies exists Free Software
tools like Qt and Gtk, which continue to be used by thousands of
companies<a class="fn" href="#fn-11">11</a> to develop world-class
desktop applications compatible with all major operating systems.
BT already makes wide use of Free Software<a class="fn"
href="#fn-12">12</a>, and “recognises,
and welcomes the use of open source software”<a class="fn"
href="#fn-13">13</a>. Therefore we
ask that you recognise the value of your customer's freedom as you
design and deploy your new subscription service, and take the
opportunity to benefit from one of the many Free Software
technologies which will allow you to achieve this.
The Free Software Foundation Europe is happy to assist you with
any questions regarding this issue or Free Software and Open
Standards in general.
Yours Sincerely,
<strong><a href="/uk/">UK Team</a>, Free Software Foundation
<h2 id="fn">Footnotes</h2>
<li id="fn-1"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-2"><a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html"></a></li>
<li id="fn-3"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-4"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-5"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-6"><a href="/freesoftware/standards/standards.html"></a></li>
<li id="fn-7"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-8"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-9"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-10"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-11"><a href=""></a></li>
<li id="fn-12"><a href=" under 'products and projects'"> under "products and projects"</a></li>
<li id="fn-13"><a href=""></a> ("Open source software" and "Free Software" refer to the same thing <a href="/activities/whyfs/whyfs.html">with different connotations</a>)</li>