Chris | 20.08.2003 23:36 | Technology
The Proposal for a software patent directive, which will be submitted to the European Parliament for decision on September 1st, is giving rise to another wave of protests. The Eurolinux Alliance is calling for participation in a rally in Brussels on August 27th, comprising a street performance at 12.00 beside the European Parliament and a conference at 14.00 in the European Parliament, and for accompanying online demonstrations.
"The directive proposal as prepared by Arlene McCarthy MEP would impose US-style unlimited patentability of algorithms and business methods such as Amazon One Click Shopping" says Benjamin Henrion, who is heading a local organisational team with the backing of a coalition of organisations representing 2000 software companies and 160,000 individuals, mostly software professionals.
The proposal would, according to the organisers, "legalise thousands of logic patents that have been granted by the European Patent Office against the letter and spirit of the law, making if impossible for national courts to continue to revoke these patents". This would protect the interests of patent holders and patent lawyers, i.e. the people whom the Commission called "an economic majority", discarding the evidence against software patents provided by 94% of the respondents to its consultation on software patents.
The program in Brussels is approximately as follows, more details will be supplied soon:
When Where Subject
12.00-14.00 Luxemburg Square (Place de Luxembourg) Performance, balloons, patent chain, speeches, ...
14.00-16.00 EuroParl Conference
"In May a two-day software patent conference in and near the European Parliament attracted 200 participants. Leaders of the scientific communities and software business world took the directive proposal apart and condemned it in every respect. Yet in June the EP Legal Affairs Commission endorsed this proposal with further amendments that make it even worse", explains Henrion. "More and more people are now seeing this very clearly. We expect even more participants this time."
"The vast majority of our supporters will certainly not be on Luxemburg Square on August 27th. Those who can not come to Brussels should demonstrate online, using their web servers or other internet services", says Hartmut Pilch, president of FFII. "We have proposed a series of ways in which this can be done. There is certainly a way for everyone. Better make access to your webpage a bit more difficult now for one or two days than lose your freedom of publication for the next ten years. Note that if the McCarthy report is approved without drastic amendments, copyright and freedom of publication will become worthless. Programmers and Internet Service Providers will be regularly sued for patent infringement. The deadline for democratic scrutiny is September 1st. August 27th is your last chance to make your voice heard in the European patent decisionmaking process."
media at ffii org
Hartmut Pilch +49-89-18979927
Benjamin Henrion +32-10-454761
More Contacts to be supplied upon request
About the Eurolinux Alliance -- www.eurolinux.org
The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture based on copyright, open standards, open competition and open source software such as Linux. Corporate members or sponsors of EuroLinux develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating systems such as GNU/Linux, MacOS or MS Windows.
About the FFII -- www.ffii.org
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a non-profit association registered in Munich, which is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 250 members, 300 companies and 15,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions in the area of exclusivity rights (intellectual property) in the field of software.
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