Lessig writes of a threat to GPL from a number of representatives of the New Democrat Network. A letter has suggested restricting R&D funding for those who produce GPLed software. I wrote the following in response:
I am surprised and disheartened to read of the support for legislations meant to hobble public licenses for software, as expressed in a letter recently sent to New Democrats by Messrs. Smith, Kind, and Davis. Software protected by the GPL license encourages entrepreneurial development of software by private industry, while providing a common intellectual good for the nation. It remains the surest way of maintaining the “intellectual infrastructure” of the United States in the future. As such, it should remain the mainstay of public funding for R&D, and its use should be encouraged.
The only corporations this will hurt are those that have deliberately built upon a model that lacks interoperability within the marketplace: a decidedly “old economy” approach to protecting a market. In your report on the NDN retreat (http://www.newdem.org/issues/) you make note: “‘Don’t protect old business models’ was a mantra heard throughout the retreat.” And yet, this seems very much at odds with such advice.
New Democrats have a voice in maintaining an innovative society, and the global position of the US in the software industry. I hope they will use it not to protect lumbering giants, but to drive innovation in the market.