Legalise building and selling computers

While the physical act of building a custom computer for a customer is not illegial, there are other laws which make it virtually impossible to build & sell a computer to a customer without it being illegial (Epecially for small shops).

CE Marking:

Most people don't know this, but companies that build custom spec computer systems are braking the law unless they spend around £500 – £1000 for CE compliance for each "variant" of the system. In I.T., there are thousands of "variants" (e.g. size of RAM, made of hard drive, style of case)

I am asking the government to remove the CE testing, marking and documentation keeping for the companies that assemble or upgrade computers.

WEEE Waste Regulations:

Currently, even if you build a single custom PC for a customer, you are classed as a "producer" and have to sign up to a "weee producer compliance scheme". Given that the cost of this is around £600/year, this is outrageous!

Why is this idea important?

While the physical act of building a custom computer for a customer is not illegial, there are other laws which make it virtually impossible to build & sell a computer to a customer without it being illegial (Epecially for small shops).

CE Marking:

Most people don't know this, but companies that build custom spec computer systems are braking the law unless they spend around £500 – £1000 for CE compliance for each "variant" of the system. In I.T., there are thousands of "variants" (e.g. size of RAM, made of hard drive, style of case)

I am asking the government to remove the CE testing, marking and documentation keeping for the companies that assemble or upgrade computers.

WEEE Waste Regulations:

Currently, even if you build a single custom PC for a customer, you are classed as a "producer" and have to sign up to a "weee producer compliance scheme". Given that the cost of this is around £600/year, this is outrageous!

Remove “Windows tax” on new computers

This "law" has not been created by the government, but has been established by a corporation which has created a monopoly in the software and computing industries.

In a country where values such as consumer freedom, innovation, free trade and competition are held with utmost importance, why is one technology firm allowed to carry-out practices which are essentially illegal?

There have been many anti-trust suits filed and won against Microsoft by the EU and the USA, but these practices continue.

When one purchases a new PC, one is forced to buy Microsoft Windows for £99-230. This is included in the price of the computer and the consumer has no choice in the matter. The UELA then states that the consumer may receive a refund if the software is not used, but this is almost impossible to attain and there have been only a handful of cases in the UK where consumers have received a refund for their unused software.

Microsoft then creates a further grievance to the consumer by not including office software (which is essential on any computer) and making its operating system susceptible to viruses. Individuals or businesses then have to pay £130-430 for office software and £50 a year for antivirus software subscriptions. Consumers should have the option to chose not to buy Windows or these products and chose a free operating system (Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris).

These costs are then replicated in the public sector. Taxpayers are being forced to pay for these software licenses on all computers used in the public sector. If schools, hospitals, the police etc. switched to Free and Open Source Software, it could save the taxpayer a bundle and the money could be put to better uses such as employing more staff in schools or making computers available to children with learning disabilities.

The French police lowered its IT costs by 70% by switching to Linux – http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/03/french-police-saves-millions-of-euros-by-adopting-ubuntu.ars

Small businesses could also benefit from lowering IT costs, especially in these tough financial times.

The solution: remove this de-facto law/tax by creating a new law that prohibits hardware vendors from bundling software with computers. Individuals/businesses/government would then have the choice between purchasing software or using free software.

Why is this idea important?

This "law" has not been created by the government, but has been established by a corporation which has created a monopoly in the software and computing industries.

In a country where values such as consumer freedom, innovation, free trade and competition are held with utmost importance, why is one technology firm allowed to carry-out practices which are essentially illegal?

There have been many anti-trust suits filed and won against Microsoft by the EU and the USA, but these practices continue.

When one purchases a new PC, one is forced to buy Microsoft Windows for £99-230. This is included in the price of the computer and the consumer has no choice in the matter. The UELA then states that the consumer may receive a refund if the software is not used, but this is almost impossible to attain and there have been only a handful of cases in the UK where consumers have received a refund for their unused software.

Microsoft then creates a further grievance to the consumer by not including office software (which is essential on any computer) and making its operating system susceptible to viruses. Individuals or businesses then have to pay £130-430 for office software and £50 a year for antivirus software subscriptions. Consumers should have the option to chose not to buy Windows or these products and chose a free operating system (Linux, BSD, OpenSolaris).

These costs are then replicated in the public sector. Taxpayers are being forced to pay for these software licenses on all computers used in the public sector. If schools, hospitals, the police etc. switched to Free and Open Source Software, it could save the taxpayer a bundle and the money could be put to better uses such as employing more staff in schools or making computers available to children with learning disabilities.

The French police lowered its IT costs by 70% by switching to Linux – http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/03/french-police-saves-millions-of-euros-by-adopting-ubuntu.ars

Small businesses could also benefit from lowering IT costs, especially in these tough financial times.

The solution: remove this de-facto law/tax by creating a new law that prohibits hardware vendors from bundling software with computers. Individuals/businesses/government would then have the choice between purchasing software or using free software.

ALLOW SOFTWARE LICENSES TO BE TRANSFERRABLE

If I buy a book, I buy paper, cardboard and ink plus a licence to read it an unlimited number of times. When I don't want it any more I can sell it on an auction website and transfer the licence.

When I buy software I cannot transfer it in the same way and many times I cannot even transfer it to other computers that I own.

The UK law should be changed to allow software licences to be transferrable – just like books! 

Why is this idea important?

If I buy a book, I buy paper, cardboard and ink plus a licence to read it an unlimited number of times. When I don't want it any more I can sell it on an auction website and transfer the licence.

When I buy software I cannot transfer it in the same way and many times I cannot even transfer it to other computers that I own.

The UK law should be changed to allow software licences to be transferrable – just like books! 

Remove CE marking for computer shops

Most people don't know this, but companies that build custom spec computer systems are braking the law unless they spend around £500 – £1000 for CE compliance for each "variant" of the system. In I.T., there are thousands of "variants" (e.g. size of RAM, made of hard drive, style of case)

I am asking the government to remove the CE testing, marking and documentation keeping for the companies that assemble or upgrade computers.

Why is this idea important?

Most people don't know this, but companies that build custom spec computer systems are braking the law unless they spend around £500 – £1000 for CE compliance for each "variant" of the system. In I.T., there are thousands of "variants" (e.g. size of RAM, made of hard drive, style of case)

I am asking the government to remove the CE testing, marking and documentation keeping for the companies that assemble or upgrade computers.

Allow tinkering with electronics you own

Once we buy a piece of hardware (e.g. mobile phone), we should be allowed to tinker with it, add, remove and replace software on it, and even break it if we want to.

Current UK DRM laws prohibit us from removing software from a device, and replacing it with our own. Sometimes, even open-source software (against the will of the author) is surrounded by a "DRM wrapper" that prevents you from removing it!

I am asking government to restore the freedom to allow people to "remove" or "replace" software on hardware, and to forbid manufacturers from restricting people from doing such acts.

Why is this idea important?

Once we buy a piece of hardware (e.g. mobile phone), we should be allowed to tinker with it, add, remove and replace software on it, and even break it if we want to.

Current UK DRM laws prohibit us from removing software from a device, and replacing it with our own. Sometimes, even open-source software (against the will of the author) is surrounded by a "DRM wrapper" that prevents you from removing it!

I am asking government to restore the freedom to allow people to "remove" or "replace" software on hardware, and to forbid manufacturers from restricting people from doing such acts.

Allow rental of hardware which uses software

Not many people know this but rental out any products that contain software to customers (e.g. cars, computers), is illegial:

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988[38] (as amended by The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992 S18 – "except that in relation to [..] computer programs the restricted act of issuing copies to the public includes any rental of copies to the public"

The aforementioned words from Section 18 of the Act should be removed, and replaced with something that excludes programs built into hardware.

Why is this idea important?

Not many people know this but rental out any products that contain software to customers (e.g. cars, computers), is illegial:

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988[38] (as amended by The Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992 S18 – "except that in relation to [..] computer programs the restricted act of issuing copies to the public includes any rental of copies to the public"

The aforementioned words from Section 18 of the Act should be removed, and replaced with something that excludes programs built into hardware.

Abolish Software Patents

Software patent law must be simplified if not completely abolished. The concept that a routine or function is somehow "intellectual property" is ridiculous. How many times have you had an idea and found out someone else had the same idea? Patents were designed to prevent stealing of ideas but two independent people creating the same idea are not stealing from each other.

Why is this idea important?

Software patent law must be simplified if not completely abolished. The concept that a routine or function is somehow "intellectual property" is ridiculous. How many times have you had an idea and found out someone else had the same idea? Patents were designed to prevent stealing of ideas but two independent people creating the same idea are not stealing from each other.

The right to reverse engineer “abandonware”

There is a large amount of software for older machines which could be of great use. The company behind it has either gone under or abandoned the software completely (so called "abandonware")

With changes in operating system versions, the software no longer operates but current UK laws make it illegal to reverse engineer the software and bring it back to life.

I am not for one second advocating current software be applied to this or that the ownership of the software change from the original author to the person who reverse engineers and keeps the software running.

Why is this idea important?

There is a large amount of software for older machines which could be of great use. The company behind it has either gone under or abandoned the software completely (so called "abandonware")

With changes in operating system versions, the software no longer operates but current UK laws make it illegal to reverse engineer the software and bring it back to life.

I am not for one second advocating current software be applied to this or that the ownership of the software change from the original author to the person who reverse engineers and keeps the software running.