[Fsfe-ie] EU DRM consultation and software patent status

teresahackett at eircom.net teresahackett at eircom.net
Fri Sep 10 10:18:27 CEST 2004

>There's no harm in having the text of a letter ready so >you can get in early whenever the new Minister is >announced.

According to the latest edri-gram (see below-www.edri.org), you have until 24.9.2004 to do your national lobbying, as that's when the Council is expected to vote. Then it will return to the Parliament for a second reading, but it will be much harder to overturn it there.


4. Call for action against software patents

On 24 September 2004, the European Council will probably meet to
rubber-stamp the 'political agreement' achieved on 18 May 2004 on the
highly controversial software patents directive (2002/0047 COM-COD)

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is appealing
to the ministers of economical affairs and on national parliaments to
undo their previous approval. They argue that the compromise suggested by
the Council removes all limits on patentability of "computer-implemented"
algorithms and business methods, and thereby radically overturns the
legislative proposals of the European Parliament as well as the
consultative organs of the EU.

According to the FFII the text was designed to mislead ministers about its
real effects. "It consists of many sentences of the form or "software is
.. unpatentable, unless ... [condition, which, upon closer scrutiny,
turns to be always true]"." And, states FFII, "It can be said with
certainty that only a minority of governments really agrees with what was
negotiated, but several governments were misrepresented by their
negotiators, who broke intra-ministerial agreements or even violated
instructions from their superiors."

Now the FFII is calling on all supporters to send this call to their
representatives, be it the text of the urgent call with the signatories,
or just a simple postcard from any nice holiday destination.

The Free Software Foundation Europe is calling on the Dutch EU presidency,
in an open letter from 6 September 2004. While the 'Lisbon'-Process to
make Europe the 'most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010' is a
"reasonable aim which is worthy of support by European citizens", the
proposed legislation "will have adverse effects on the software market."

And, Georg Greve, FSFE President continues: "30,000 software patents
already exist in the EU; this contradicts the spirit of the present
patent law in the EU. Three quarters of software patents are held by
non-European companies. To give software patents a legal basis may be a
decision which would make the EU far less competitive. That is why we
would like to ask the European Council to revise its agreement on software
patents of May 18th."

FFII Urgent call to National Governments and Parliaments (04.06.2004)

FFII call for action against software patents (07.09.2004)

FSF Europe open letter to EU presidency (06.09.2004)

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