February 4, 2004

Send Congress a message about open source

Author: OSAIA staff

SCO recently sent a letter to every Member of the U.S. Congress. SCO told America's elected representatives that Linux contains code stolen from its own version of Unix. Company officials claimed that open source software is a threat to the United States information technology industry. They told men and women elected to serve all Americans that open source is a threat to the United States' competitive position in world markets. The open source community cannot let these allegations go unanswered in Congress. OSAIA asks you write to your two Senators and your Member of Congress to refute SCO's claims.A hand-written letter is usually the best way to communicate with your elected representatives. But since Congressional security procedures are delaying physical mail, we ask that you fax your comments as well.

Write only to your Member of Congress and Senators. Mail from individuals is uniformly ignored unless it comes from a constituent who has the power to vote the recipient out of office. If you own a business in a Congressional district, write to that Member as well, and indicate that you own a business within that district.

Please expand upon your reasons for writing. Do not send in emails that only say "SCOâs wrong," as that does more harm than good. Briefly address the falsity of SCOâs claims, but be sure to emphasize all the great things about open source, rather than dignify SCO's remarks. Remember to include your full name and address.

Make your letter your letter: Do not follow someone elseâs script. That said, below are some talking points you may want to raise with your elected representatives:

  • Congress should commit to do nothing to inhibit this great new approach to innovation and development;
  • Open source software is a transforming technology creating new possibilities for the industry;
  • It entails the best spirit of American values;
  • Open source has been adopted by many Fortune 100 firms. It is not a technological fad;
  • Open source provides greater consumer choice and wider technology availability for those of limited means;
  • Open source software is among the most innovative and reliable anywhere;
  • The Internet was literally built and continues to run on open source software;
  • Many other nations are adopting open source - the United States can not afford to fall behind;
  • SCO has presented no credible evidence of copyright infringment to the public, and all "evidence" they have presented has been swiftly refuted by developers;
  • SCO is turning to Congress rather than competing in the market;
  • SCO claims open source software will destroy the software industry - yet many major software companies have embraced open source and are reaping profits;
  • SCO misrepresents the General Public License that covers most open source software - the GPL does not restrict rights, but rather, assures that projects licensed under it will continue;
  • SCO's threatened lawsuits are spurious and without merit. Its claims are simply an attempt to hold hostage an entire industry for its own benefit.

If you have any questions, please contact Gregory Minchak, gregory@osaia.org or 202.783.0070 x 109.

To find your representative's name, use the form at the bottom of this OSAIA Web page.


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