[Fsfe-ie] Ms. Harney on Newstalk 106 tomorrow (Friday)

Éibhear ifso at gibiris.org
Thu Apr 15 12:41:40 CEST 2004


I heard this morning that Dave McWilliams will be having breakfast with Mary
Harney tomorrow morning. This is usually an hour-long chat, and the
programme asks for people to send in their own questions and comments. I
propose to send in the below. I'm not certain that I have the correct read
on things (the question below reflects my own opinion), but if the IFSO
wants to put it name to it, then maybe I can get some more suggestions.

I am focusing in my question on small and indigenous businesses as I don't
want the question turned away because it advocates what many people believe
(wrongly, but there's little that can be done about it in one question) that
Free Software is an uber-socialist phenomenon.

Here's my question for herself, anyway.


Perhaps you can bring the following up with the Tanaiste when you are
speaking with her.

This week, it was announced that the proposed EU directive on software
patents has been referred "back up to the 'political' level". The
government, as President of the EU, wants all the objections dropped,
including all the clarifying amendments that were added to it in the
European Parliament last September.

There are many thousands of software-based patents in the US, some passing
ridiculous and entrenching themselves right in the middle of sublime. Most
of these are held by the large corporations from the US -- Microsoft, IBM,
Sun Microsystems, etc. These organisations have small or no R&D operations
in Ireland. What is here is easily relocated to the US or the far east at
the piqued whim of a company's CEO. If software patents are brought into
Europe, then it's natural to believe that all these patents will be applied
over here.

This morning, you (Dave McWilliams) were involved in a discussion which
decried the lack of technology R&D taking place in Ireland, and you sounded
supportive of the notion of providing tax breaks to companies who have R&D

If software patents are introduced into Europe as proposed by Ireland, then
indigenous companies will not be able to perform R&D here as the burden of
managing what existing patents are being put to use will be far too great.

Perhaps you could ask Ms. Harney why she supports software patents, when
software is already perfectly protected by copyright, given that it will
certainly stifle R&D in small countries like Ireland. You could also ask her
how Europe can compete when the vast majority of software implementations
are already patented in the US by non-european companies, and that not a
single piece of software can be implemented without availing of a large
number of those patents.

Thanks, etc.

É...and so on.

Éibhear Ó hAnluain

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