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

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Tue May 4 18:11:45 CEST 2004

At the risk of sounding a sour note, does the grammatical structure of 
this document seem a bit clumsy and awkward to anyone else?


Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> 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
>>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
>>[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
>>[5] http://swpat.ffii.org/patente/wirkungen/voip/index.de.html
>>[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
>>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

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