[Fsf-friends] Re: IPR in Computer software

Ramanraj K ramanraj.k@antispam.org
Fri Dec 30 07:52:53 IST 2005

bbls_ps at allahabadhighcourt.in wrote:

>Dear Sir
>The aforesaid article and some other articles by his lordship Justice
>Yatindra Singh dealing with computer software, open source are available
>on the web site of the Allahabad high court (www.allahabadhighcourt.in).
>They may be seen by going to the
>web Diary - Item Wise - speech/article or may be accessed at
>Yours truly
>BBL Srivastava
Thank you for the information.  I'll forward the news to other mailing 
lists that would find the articles and site interesting and useful too.  
It is heartening to know that the Allahabad High Court is using free and 
open software and standards so extensively. If I may say so, the 
articles by Hon'ble Mr. Justice Yatindra Singh have approached free 
software from a neutral point of view and present a fair picture to the 

RIGHTS" delivered by Justice Yatindra Singh at NALSAR Hyderabad and NLS, 
Bangalore and NUJS, Kolkata, Linus Torvalds has been quoted from "Just 
for Fun: the Story of an Accidental Revolutionary' as

"The GPL and open source model allows for the creation of the best 
... It also prevents the hoarding of technology and ensures that anyone with
interest won't be excluded from its development.

So open source would rather use the legal weapon of copyright as an 
to join in the fun, rather than as a weapon against others. It's still 
the same old
mantra: Make Love, Not War, except on a slightly more abstract level."

The quote captures the key IPR feature central to free software, and 
makes the legal intricacies involved superfluous.
The practical reasons why many prefer to use free software is succintly 
summarised in the following words:

"I shifted to GPLed software few years ago: the reasons were practicable.
GPLed software comes without any cost. And it does what I do--word 
playing music, watching Video, surfing internet,and electronically 
managing my
calendar --as well as any other proprietary software."

More generally, the observations on using computers in the talk titled 
"IT: The Road to Speedier Justice" is remarkable:

"Computers are like 'English butlers'.  They have to be told what to do 
and they do it in that way and no other way. Computers love routine and 
are never bored. But to achieve any success the minds of the judges, 
lawyers, and court employees have to be streamlined into a method. One 
has to leave individualism. The reports cannot be generated unless data 
is fed into computers; they will not have any meaning unless they are 
utilised and goals are fixed. And above all, if there is no will to 
change, no orientation to the work culture, then nothing can work."

Sacrificing individuality is a small price to pay for the larger 
benefits received in return by the general public.  Probably NRC-FOSS ( 
http://www.au-kbc.org/nrcf/index.htm )could include some of the articles 
as part of the curriculum for students.  Public institutions that have 
not yet adopted free software practices need to wake up now.

Ramanraj K
http://www.ae.iitm.ac.in/pipermail/ilugc/2005-November/022135.html (My 
previous post to ilugc about the article titled "Intellectual Property 
Rights in Computer Software" by Justice Yatindra Singh of the Allahabad 
High Court published in AIR 2005 Journal 353. 

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