[Fsfe-ie] UK gov intervenes to support software patents

Ian Clarke ian at dodo.freenetproject.org
Sat Sep 13 20:02:00 CEST 2003

How exactly are we responding to the McCarthy FUD about the anti-patents 
movement?  I know that ffii has put together a rebuttal - but is that 
being exposed to the right audience?

I am surprised that nobody has put together a spreadsheet of MEPs 
together with their positions, and likelihood that their positions might 
be swayed.

I hope I am wrong - but from my distant vantage point over here in 
California - it seems like momentum has dissipated somewhat since the 

What remains to be done?  Who still needs to be persuaded?  What must 
they be persuaded of?  Who is coordinating this effort?


On Sat, Sep 13, 2003 at 02:57:30PM +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > McCarthy raises.
> I should add that the last letter FSF-IE sent was very effective. 
> From ringing up MEP's they've said "Oh, I remember seeing your name 
> on a letter". I'm slightly annoyed that they seem to have completed 
> missed the letter *I* sent them, but then I suppose it was probably 
> too radical for them to understand as is usual.
> Either way, another letter would be worth doing. Don't repeat the 
> last one - argue it from other angles.
> > Some points to make this time:
> > * Everyone (including McCarthy) claims they don't want "pure" software
> >   to become patentable.
> If she really wanted what she says she wants, she'd be happy with the 
> FFII amendments.
> > * The weaknesses and ambuities in the directive will lead to the
> > patenting
> >   of "pure" software 
> >   - the FFII have plenty of examples
> >   - what about the examples that have been provided by the pro- lobby
> >   as
> >     things that will not be patentable? Is there really any part of
> >     the directive that excludes them?
> The pro-patent lobby either understand English different than we do, 
> or they're liers. I find it interesting that some patent specialising 
> legal firms are already advertising services for patenting software 
> because they expect this directive to pass nearly unmodified.
> > * European software "innovators" will not be at a disadvantage if
> >   software is unpatentable:
> >   - American and Japanese companies will not be able to patent
> >   software
> >     in Europe either
> >   - European companies can still patent software in America & Japan
> >     (indeed, they will have to for defensive reasons).
> >   - All software developed in Europe will benefit from fewer legal
> >     issues and that software will mostly be developed by European
> >     developers.
> Unfortunately, the EU more than anyone does not understand the 
> concept of less laws being a good idea. I would try if possible for 
> needed amendments.
> > * European software "innovators" will be at a disadvantage if
> >   software becomes patentable:
> >   - patenting software works against competition and can prevent
> >     interoperability.
> DOES prevent interoperability. Like the EU Copyright Directive which 
> removed the right to reverse engineer anything with a "protection 
> mechanism". Or placed a three year prison stretch for telling anyone 
> how to circumvent a protection mechanism ie; you find shoddy 
> security, you go to prison. Shoddy security stays.
> I should add that this pamphlet in particular singles out amendments 
> to article 6 (amendment 20) as being "dangerous" because they seek to 
> prevent patent enforcement on areas of interoperability. Failure to 
> apply this amendment means Microsoft patent all areas Linux is likely 
> to go in cloning Windows and sue anyone it likes when Linux does go 
> there as it will.
> >   - it favours existing monopoly holders and existing large companies.
> >   - as few European companies currently hold these monopolies, it will
> >   
> >     be to their disadvantage
> > 
> > Any opinions? I just threw this list together.
> Also mention that 90% of Europe's wealth is generated by SME's 
> according to the EU itself. Hurt the SME's, hurt Europe.
> Cheers,
> Niall
> -- 
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Ian Clarke                			            ian at locut.us
Coordinator, The Freenet Project	      http://freenetproject.org/
Weblog				     http://slashdot.org/~sanity/journal

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