Regulating Freedom

Disclaimer: I am an active OSS advocate. I have even given training to investment funds on how to invest in OSS and to evaluate risks of OSS investments. I am also an active OSS contributor with my company’s core product driving a number of market proven OSS products. I am no stranger to liberty.

I’ve been hearing some random opinions that any form of regulation is evil and will stifle freedoms particularly the development of Open Source Software (OSS). I think that there is a gross misunderstanding of the role that strong regulation plays in regulating freedom.

OSS is particularly fussy about freedoms. In fact, we are so fussy about freedoms that we have split the world into two major camps – the Free Software and Open Source Software movement. Both look similar to the untrained eye but are particularly different in their individual philosophies.

However, I want to point out to all the techies out there who do not realise this – the entire FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software) movement can only thrive on strong regulation – particularly strong copyright laws. If strong copyright laws did not exist, none of the open-source licenses can be enforced.

This is something that we must note and remember.

Law is neither good nor evil. It is people who abuse the law. The genius in the whole FLOSS movement is how we managed to turn regulation that is typically used to restrict freedoms, into one that actually encourages and enforces freedoms. If someone tries to take our freedoms away, we get to sue them in court.

The question that I’m asking myself now is this – can we turn the CPB2011 into something that enforces freedoms instead of restricting it?

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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