[Fsfe-ie] Patents, what's happening, what's to be done

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Tue Aug 12 18:01:30 CEST 2003

Hi All.
  Soon, I'd like to propose a last round of organised
lobbying (separate mail), but we have to know the situation,
so I've mailed and phoned people to get this info:

So far:
The JURI committee drafted the proposed directive.
Other committees and political partys proposed amendments.
JURI voted on which amendments it will endorse (June 17th)

On Sept 1st:
The proposed directive, plus all proposed amendments, will be
brought up in the EP for debate.

On Sept 2nd:
A plenary vote (all MEPs) will be held for each amendment, and one
for the directive.  The committee-endorsed amendments almost always
get voted in.  Directives are very rarely voted against.

The directive may continue being bounced around the committees,
commissions, and back to Parliament but the longer it exists, the
harder it is to change.

So, there are three possible outcomes:

The Best: get the directive passed with amendments clarifying that
software ideas are not patentable.  Perfect.

The Acceptable: Have this directive dropped.  Unlikely, plus this
won't stop the current dubious s/w patents from being used.

The Worst: The directive gets adopted as is.  This could happen if
we convince our MEPs that the directive is bad but don't give them
propper instructions on what to do.  (the "vote no" instruction
isn't too popular, we have to do better.)

So what do we have to do?

I think we have time for one last round of organised effort.  We
need to find out which amendments will satisfy us.  A complete (and
final) list of the available amendments is at:

I'll try to find out which ones we want but I could use some help.
If we can form a real stance: "Unless amendments X, and (Y or Z) are
included, you must vote No", we are more likely to get what we want
(and we're giving the MEPs a firm reason to vote No if needs be).
My Sources:
The proposed amendments:

The EU legislative process:

The Co-decision process diagram:

The European Parliament Office in Ireland were very helpful
but please don't bother them.  I spent a long time bothering
them earlier and we'll need them in future so please bother
me instead :)

My Conclusion:
Amendments are the most important issue, we have to figure
out which ones we want.  Finding this info is a real pain.
We need to coordinate with similar groups so that all
good MEPs vote for the same amendments rather than four
good amendments each getting quarter or half support.

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