[Fsfe-ie] Fw: [FSFE PR][EN] Software Patents in Europe - Indication of an action week to European Media

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Tue May 4 17:46:51 CEST 2004

Here's an FSF Europe press release and an FSFE+FFII common position on
software patents.

(I was actually revising the patents letter - after dusting it off -
when I got this.  I'll mail a new version to the list and I think it
should be sent on thursday.)

Joachim Jakobs <jj at pr-profi.com> writes:
> Dear Collegues,
> Dear Madam,
> Dear Sir,
> in September last year the European Parliament affirmed not to legalize
> software patents in Europe. Less than seven months later, in cooperation
> with some national governments and the commission, the Irish Presidency
> of the European Union has drafted a working paper in favour of software
> patents. The paper will most likely be voted upon May 17th, 2004.
> Not only does such behaviour distort legislation and trample on
> democracy, it also risks considerable negative consequences for
> economy and society.
> The Free Software Foundation Europe [1] and the Foundation for a Free
> Informational Infrastructure [2] endorse an action week from May 10th
> to 14th to inform citizens, economy and politics about the harmful
> consequences of this initiative. In the course of this action week
> demonstrations and panel discussions in many European cities [3] will
> take place. These actions are accompanied by an open letter to the
> citizens of Europe. To inform you ex ante we have enclosed the joint
> position of FSFE and FFII concerning software patents (see below).
> We would appreciate it if you could inform your readers on this issue
> and have an open discussion with us and others. You will receive the
> open letter by the beginning of next week. If you need further
> assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
> With kind regards,
> Joachim Jakobs
> __________________________________________________
> Joachim Jakobs Tel: 0179/6919565
> In der Roede 24 jj at pr-profi.com
> 64367 Mühltal www.pr-profi.com
> ___________________________________________________
> Common Position of the Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. and the
> Foundation for a Free Informational Infrastructure e.V.
> According to some within the EU council, software should also be subject
> to patentability. This includes protection beyond the source code of an
> application, which is covered in Copyright law, but also the result.
> Many different implementations with similar results are therefore
> threatened by a single patent.
> Through this mechanism, an arbitrarily chosen random number of ideas can
> be turned into a monopolized area. A solution to the problem is not even
> required: A vague idea is sufficient!
> The online bookstore Amazon.com filed a patent in Europe to cover its
> "one-click-technology" allowing single click purchases for registered
> users. The well-known "progress bar", usually used during installation
> routines, has been granted long before.
> In a letter [4] to the EU commission in November last year the CEOs of
> Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens took a position vehemently in
> favour of software patents. This seems to imply that at least large
> companies benefit from software patents: Smaller competitors can be
> driven out of business easily and the big players can do mutual
> "cross-licensing": "If you let me use 1000 of your patents, you get
> permission to use 1000 of mine."
> This impression is far from reality, though. Internet protocol telephony
> for example is a complex mesh of different compression methods - or in
> other words: different patented ideas. According to professor Henning
> Schulzrinne of Columbia University (New York), internet telephony has no
> chance in markets threatened by software patents. He only sees the
> option to wait 17 years until the patents have expired [5].
> The aformentioned CEOs do a disservice to their companies: software
> patents cost them access to a market that market researcher Gartner
> expects to have a turnover of 3.6 billion Euro until 2007 [6].
> How is it possible that four global players follow such a short-sighted
> policy? The answer is simple: they trust "false friends" - their patent
> departments, patent attorneys, patent specialists in professional
> organisations. Munich alone has 700 representatives of this profession
> [7] + [8] - no wonder that the chamber of patent attorneys is in favour
> software patents in a 12 page position [9].
> The nuisance of the patent system in the software field has been
> scientifically explored by MIT, the Massachusetts Institue of
> Technology. Its researchers discovered in a 2003 study [10] that
> companies holding more software patents invest less into research and
> development.
> What are the consequences for government, society and economy as a whole
> if this legislation is not resisted? We punish and discourage
> creativity. We put societal development into the hands of bureaucrats
> who bully us for their own benefit at every turn.
> Czech President Vaclav Klaus said in the German Newspaper “Handelsblatt”
> few days ago: "The EU is not about freedom and openness, but about
> bureaucratization, regulation and harmonization". Let us not prove him
> true!
> [1] www.fsfeurope.org <http://www.fsfeurope.org>
> [2] www.ffii.org <http://www.ffii.org>
> [3] http://kwiki.ffii.org/SwpDemo0405En
> [4] http://swpat.ffii.org/news/03/telcos1107/index.en.html
> <http://swpat.ffii.org/news/03/telcos1107/index.en.html>
> [5] http://swpat.ffii.org/patente/wirkungen/voip/index.de.html
> [6]
> http://www.computerwoche.de/index.cfm?pageid=254&artid=54004&main_id=54004&category=8&currpage=2&type=detail&kw=Marktvolumen
> <http://www.computerwoche.de/index.cfm?pageid=254&artid=54004&main_id=54004&category=8&currpage=2&type=detail&kw=Marktvolumen>
> [7] http://www.patentanwaltskammer.de/cgi-bin/find_map.cgi?key=80
> [8] http://www.patentanwaltskammer.de/cgi-bin/find_map.cgi?key=81
> [9] http://www.patentanwaltskammer.de/aktuell/040318_6_03_Zur_Sache_3.pdf
> [10] http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/bessenhunt03/index.en.html
> <http://swpat.ffii.org/papers/bessenhunt03/index.en.html>
> -- 
> Joachim Jakobs Tel: 0179/6919565
> In der Roede 24 jj at pr-profi.com
> 64367 Mühltal www.pr-profi.com
> ___________________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> Press-release mailing list
> Press-release at fsfeurope.org
> https://mail.fsfeurope.org/mailman/listinfo/press-release

Ciarán O'Riordan
Irish Free Software Organisation: http://ifso.ie

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