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Re: [Computerbank] Bill rejects request for PC's for Kids

I got a call from Nathan Cochrane at the IT Age, who was writing a
followup to this story.

I told him that should anyone, PCs for Kids included, wish to distribute
GNU/Linux systems for charitable purposes, they would be quite welcome to
use our training materials; our documentation is all available under
copyleft licenses, and our development processes are all transparent and
open to volunteer particpation.

On Mon, 16 Jul 2001, Peter Eckersley wrote:

> On Mon, Jul 16, 2001 at 01:55:31PM +1000, Price, Tim wrote:
> > 
> > > Just a quick heads up. Did anyone else see the small article 
> > > in the Age (Melbourne - saturday 14/7) detailing how Bill 
> > > (aka Microsoft) had refused a request from a charity PC's for 
> > > Kids to install MS OS software on recycled PC's. Its a local 
> > > charity by the way from down Geelong I think. might be worth 
> > > following up and suggesting Linux.
> > 
> > I didn't see the article, but back in the early days, Computerbank had a few
> > chats witht the PC for Kids people - this is pretty much what I remember:
> > 
> > 1) PC for kids had permission from to install Microsoft OS's on recycled PCs
> > in the US incarnation of that charity.
> > 
> > 2) They had not sought permission in Australia to do the same - but assumed
> > they could anyway.
> > 
> > 3) We *strongly* advised them to use linux - citing lisencing woes (amongst
> > other things).
> > 
> > 4) They have there very own strong agenda and methods - unfortunately I dont
> > believe they'll ever go the linux route
> > 
> I spent a while this weekend looking for a copy of this article on the
> Age website, but couldn't find it.
> Anyway, I'll type a transcript [*]:
> By Gary Barker, Technology Editor:
> Microsoft, the world's richest software company, has told a Geelong
> charity group, PCs for kids, that it must stop distributing the second
> hand computers it recycles and gives to poor children until it can
> obtain licenses for the software they carry.
> The charity says that to do so would cost it up to $600 a machine, far
> beyond its resources or the market value of the computer. It has
> suspended its operations and said appeals this week to Microsoft had
> "fallen on deaf ears".
> The group get its computer from corporations, including Australia Post,
> which have site, not individual, licenses for the Windows operating
> system.  By recycling the computers and installing on the hard drives
> software for which they have not paid a new licensing fee, PCs for Kids
> infringes Microsoft's copyright.
> Suggestions by PCs for Kids that, given the charitable nature of its
> work, Microsoft might waive licensing requirements have so far been
> fruitless.  In all cases the software in dispute is becoming obsolete
> and is no longer supported by Microsoft.
> PCs for Kids has admitted that what it does is a breach of copyright but
> is upset that Microsoft refuses to recognise the financial impossibility
> of its requirements.
> In a letter this week to Colin Bayes, the founder and president of PCs
> for Kids, Vanessa Hutley, Microsoft's corporate attorney in Sydney, said
> "You have acknowledged that your practices... of hard-loading the
> software on to PCs is an infringement of Microsoft's copyright...
> Microsoft must insist that you find some other source of software..."
> Ms Hutley told the Age that Microsoft required that PCs for Kids "work
> with its donors" to obtain individual licences, CDs and manuals for each
> machine.
> "That would cost us up to $600 per machine.  We don't have that kind of
> money," said Mr Bayes.  "I think this is a case of greed and
> double-dipping.  These are old, secondhand machines, donated to us for
> charitable purposes." 
> Ms Hutley said no legal action was pending against PCs for Kids.
> ----------------
> [*] apologies for any typos.  I pre-preemptively invoke the fair dealing
> provisions of the Copyright Act in defence of my exercise of the The
> Age's rights in this material ;)
> ----------------
> It'll be interesting to see whether PCs for Kids will have any success
> in using PR like this to change Microsoft's position...
> -- 
> Peter Eckersley                         http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/~pde 
> (pde@cs.mu.oz.au)              TLI:  http://www.computerbank.org.au
> <~~~~.sig temporarily conservative pending divine intervention~~~~>
> GPG fingerprint: 30BF 6A78 2013 DCFA 5985  E255 9D31 4A9A 7574 65BC

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