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Eric Raymond: A Response to the DVDCCA Brief

Aug 28, 2000, 22:25 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric Raymond)

By Eric S. Raymond

The DVDCCA states in its brief at http://cryptome.org/dvd-v-521-opq.htm:

"Defendant Pavlovich is a leader in the so-called "open source" movement, which is dedicated to the proposition that material, copyrighted or not, should be made available over the Internet for free."

This claim is both incorrect and defamatory. The Open Source Initiative, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is the custodian of of the Open Source Definition and widely recognized in the open source community for its educational and advocacy work on behalf of the that community, takes the strongest possible exception to it.

We in the open source movement respect copyright; in fact, we use copyright law to underpin the licenses that define the social contract of our community. The basis of Matthew Pavlovich's work, and of our community's opposition to the DVDCCA lawsuit, lies in that social contract; a belief, founded in both engineering pragmatics and ethical conviction, in the *voluntary* sharing of program source code and the *voluntary* renunciation of secrecy.

The core principles of open source are transparency, responsibility, and autonomy. As open source developers, we expose our source code to constant scrutiny by expert peers. We stand behind our work with frequent releases and continuing inputs of service and intelligence. And we support the rights of developers and artists to make their own choices about the design and disposition of their creative work.

The results of this policy of openness can be seen in the enormous public benefit that has come through the open-source movement's works: the World Wide Web, the core software of the Internet itself, and the Linux operating system.

While we advocate the full disclosure of code, and we support Matthew Pavlovich's right to reverse-engineer proprietary technology in order to permit Linux users to play DVDs that they legally own on machines they legally own, we oppose piracy and reject as a prejudicial falsehood the DVDCCA's attempts to tie the open source community to copyright violation.

Issued by and for the Board of Directors of OSI
by Eric S. Raymond, President
28 August 2000