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The FLOSS alternative: TRIPs, non-proprietary software and development

Abstract

In this article I examine the relationship between the global governance of intellectual property rights and the deployment of FLOSS in both the public and private sectors of developing economies. I suggest that the support for non-proprietary software (collectively FLOSS) allows developing countries to comply with their multi-lateral commitments and support the potential development of local software development. Because of the General Public License’s dependence on copyright law, the deployment of FLOSS allows compliance with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreement, while at the same time facilitating the development of a local software ‘community’.

Linux has propelled the development of computer science and engineering in the poorer nations. Linux is the only way most developing nations have to legally access modern and sophisticated software tools, compilers, and programming environments (Bokhari and Rehman, 1999, p. 63).

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He is the co-editor of the IPE Yearbook series, and has published widely on intellectual property rights, and the information society. His publications include Intellectual Property Rights: A Critical History (co-authored with Susan Sell) (Lynne Rienner 2005) and The Information Society: A Sceptical View (Polity Press 2002).

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May, C. The FLOSS alternative: TRIPs, non-proprietary software and development. Know Techn Pol 18, 142–163 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12130-006-1008-4

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Keywords

  • European Union
  • Gross Domestic Product
  • Intellectual Property
  • World Trade Organization
  • Open Source Software