“Special 301 Watchlist” Threatens Open-Source Software

by on February 26, 2010 · 45 comments

Reihan Salam of National Review Online has a great piece on the US Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watchlist today.  Salam points out that this list, which is supposed to identify nations that are a threat to intellectual property, may include Brazil, India, and Indonesia not because of any piracy occurring there, but because of their use of open-source software.

That inclusion is being pushed for by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a group which includes the MPAA and RIAA.  This is, of course, a brazen move by US corporations to force these developing nations to use their expensive proprietary software instead of the cheaper open-source alternatives.

This is exactly the kind of thing libertarians should abhor—government being co-opted by corporations so that policies can be made in order to defend their interests, instead of our rights.

Thanks to Salam for recognizing me and Tim Lee in the form of a link to a recent blog post on Tim’s site, Bottom Up.

For more on the USTR’s Special 301 watchlist, check out this post by Mike Masnick at TechDirt.

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