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How much does freedom influence your life - December 9th, 2004
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How much does freedom influence your life?
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<h3>December 9th, 2004</h3>
<p>Dear Reader,</p>
<p>how much does freedom influence your life?</p>
<p>We -- the the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) -- believe that
freedom substantially influences all parts of our lives from economy,
which would be impossible without freedom, to society, which depends
upon freedom to uphold our cultural and social values. That is why
freedom is priceless to us and we work hard for freedom in the digital
society.</p>
<p>Being a non-profit organisation, much work is done by volunteers, but
not everything can be done that way. Working for something as
priceless as freedom does have a cost. That is why we would like you
to support our work, which we want to convince you of in this letter.</p>
<p>The struggle over who controls the digital world is happening today
and is fought with technology, law and money:</p>
<ol>
<li><p>Technological means: What began with the vendor lock-in effect of
proprietary formats shall now be extended and perfected with
technologies such as "Digital Rights Management" (DRM) and "Trusted
Computing" (TC).</p>
<p>Computer users, be they companies, people or governments, lose
control over their data, which is locked away in formats they have no
power over and for which only their vendor determines what is allowed
and what is restricted.</p></li>
<li><p>Legal means: Due to intensive lobbying, the TRIPS agreement came
to pass and is now administrated by the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), one of the United Nations agencies. This
agreement is the reason for the "European Copyright Directive" (EUCD)
and its ideology also found its way into the "IPR Enforcement
Directive" (IPRED).</p>
<p>While seemingly unrelated at first, the EUCD has found its way into
most national laws in the EU and introduces legal grounds against
"circumvention of technical protection measures."</p>
<p>In other words: It makes it illegal for you to open the box into
which your vendor has locked away your data.</p></li>
<li><p>Monetary means: The European Commission antitrust ruling against
Microsoft was one of the most spectacular antitrust cases, also
because it contained the largest fine in European antitrust history,
roughly 500 million Euro.</p>
<p>Microsoft is trying to overthrow that ruling in European Court and
has been soliciting supporters of the European Commission into
withdrawing their support, namely SUN, Novell and the CCIA.</p>
<p>Although the antitrust fine may have broken all records, the money
Microsoft has spent on these activities is already several times that
amount. Should Microsoft succeed with this strategy, it seems
unlikely that the Commission would be able to successfully pursue
antitrust measures against Microsoft ever again.</p></li>
</ol>
<p>These are three of the areas the Free Software Foundation Europe is
working on. We build awareness for the dangers of DRM and TC, which we
believe are more adequately called "Digital Restriction Management"
and "Treacherous Computing," and work on keeping Free Software able to
provide alternatives which preserves your freedom to access your data.</p>
<p>We have been actively working at the United Nations World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS) [<a name="ref1" href="#1">1</a>] and just
become observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
[<a name="ref2" href="#2">2</a>] , which we seek to change and where we
work with others to challenge TRIPS.</p>
<p>And finally, we are third party in the case of Microsoft against the
European Commission in front of the European Court [<a name="ref3"
href="#3">3</a>] where much of the EC case now rests upon us and the
Samba Team that we represent.</p>
<p>Samba [<a name="ref4" href="#4">4</a>] is the last remaining
interoperable solution and competition in the workgroup server market and
we intend to defend its right to compete with Microsoft so you will be
able to still have an alternative in the future.</p>
<p>These are just some of the activities we are working on to make sure
that you will retain your economic and social freedom in the digital
society -- more projects can be found on our web page. [<a name="ref5"
href="#5">5</a>]</p>
<p>Being a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, we are working on
these issues independently, neutrally and solely dedicated to Free
Software as in freedom. [<a name="ref6" href="#6">6</a>]</p>
<p>That work is supported by companies and people [<a name="ref7"
href="#7">7</a>] who wish to see their freedom upheld and we hope that
you will be among them, too. [<a name="ref8" href="#8">8</a>]</p>
<p>Best regards,</p>
<p>
<a href="/about/greve/index.html">Georg Greve</a><br />
President<br />
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)<br />
<a href="/">http://fsfe.org</a>
</p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="1" href="#ref1">1</a>] <a name="ref1" href="/campaigns/wsis/">http://fsfe.org/campaigns/wsis/</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="2" href="#ref2">2</a>] <a name="ref2" href="/activities/wipo/">http://fsfe.org/activities/wipo/</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="3" href="#ref3">3</a>] <a name="ref3" href="/activities/ms-vs-eu/">http://fsfe.org/activities/ms-vs-eu/</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="4" href="#ref4">4</a>] <a name="ref4" href="http://www.samba.org">http://www.samba.org</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="5" href="#ref5">5</a>] <a name="ref5" href="/projects/">http://fsfe.org/projects</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="6" href="#ref6">6</a>] <a name="ref6" href="/about">http://fsfe.org/about</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="7" href="#ref7">7</a>] <a name="ref7" href="thankgnus.html">http://fsfe.org/donate/thankgnus.en.html</a></p>
<p class="footnote">[<a name="8" href="#ref8">8</a>] <a name="ref8" href="donate.html">http://fsfe.org/donate/donate.en.html</a></p>
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