[Fsfe-ie] Ha(ir|re)-brained idea for the patents action week

Éibhear ifso at gibiris.org
Wed May 5 21:24:46 CEST 2004


I've had an odd notion.

Point 1: Some of you may have noticed that some companies have letter
franking machines that can include advertising messages as part of the
"stamp". "Visit Athlone, it's not too wet." "For a cosy flight, use
Ryanair", surrounded by wavy lines. That sort of thing.

Point 2: Oracle Corporation, a company I worked for from 1994 to 2000 has
has a position, at least since 1994, against software patentability. See
and http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/Patents/testimony/statements/oracle.statement.html
for more information.

Anyway, would it be a good idea to approach companies in Ireland with
similar franking machines to ask them to change their message-of-the-day to
something like "Software patents prevent innovation, see http://ifso.ie/"
for some of next week (the proposed action week). The referring web site
could be FFII's, or FSFE's or the web page of the company itself outlining
its policy regarding patents. It's a long shot, for two main reasons:
* The time is short
* We would have to focus on companies (or organisations) with such franking
machines and who have positions supporting ours... and the problem there is
identifying them, especially in the time available.

The benefit will be hard to quantify. However, if some companies take up the
notion, then every letter each company sends during the week will bear a
short message highlighting our point. Perhaps some people who weren't aware
of the issue will become aware and ask some questions.

I'll start getting in touch with the people I know in Oracle to find out who
has the authority to specify a message like this. Does anyone know of other
companies and organisations that might fulfil the two requirements: A
franking machine that can display messages and who oppose software patents?
What would be the ideal message? I'm assuming that the more complex the
message (graphics, etc) the more difficult this will be to pull off on time.

Lastly, Is this a worth-while effort?

Let me know what you think or who might be approachable on this issue.


Éibhear Ó hAnluain

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