FSF Europe newsletter

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jun 8 11:40:28 UTC 2004

1. Introducing the FSFE newsletter
2. EU Council decision on software patents directive
4. Welcoming FSFE press speaker Joachim Jakobs
5. Georg Greve in South America
6. Protecting Free Software from over regulation
7. Other important public appearances

1. Introducing the FSFE newsletter

Around the official general assembly of the Free Software Foundation
Europe on May 15, the core members took the chance to discuss several
ideas on how to improve public information about the activities of the
FSFE. One of the results was the decision to periodically publish a
newsletter, and this is the first one.

2. EU Council decision on software patents directive

The most widely regarded event in May was probably the decision of the
Council of the European Union about the Software Patent Directive. After
the European Parliament made its clear vote against unlimited
patentability of software algorithms, the Irish Presidency proposed a
version of the directive that undoes virtually all of the Parliament's
changes. Even though some countries did not approve it, this version got
the necessary qualified majority in the Council.
The fact that the Council's opposition against software patent was still
stronger than expected can well be regarded as a result of the
successful cooperation of FSFE, FFII and many other organizations in
informing citizens and politicians about the danger of the Presidency's
proposal. As the decision process is still not finished, the FSFE will
continue to work on the software patent issue together with these


While AGNULA (A GNU/Linux Audio Distribution) is already regarded a big
success by all participants (and also by the European Union, who funded
the project), work is not over with the final release. The FSFE still
supports the project by helping with things like the AGNULA trademark

4. Welcoming FSFE press speaker Joachim Jakobs

To relieve the core members from the increasingly time-consuming press
work, the FSFE hired Joachim Jakobs on a part-time basis as a press

5. Georg Greve in South America

Georg Greve is currently visiting several locations in South America,
getting in contact with local Free Software Activists there and
supporting them in building up a Free Software network there like the
FSFE is here. His public activities in South America included an
interview for Argentinas most important newspaper, a speech at the
University of Cordoba about Free Software in Education, an interview for
TV as well as for the largest national radio station in Uruguay and the
keynote at USUARIA, a South American congress on Free Software topics.
We expect these activities to help building up a global network of Free
Software organizations, of which the FSFE will be an essential part.

6. Protecting Free Software from over regulation

The Italian Chapter has been very busy trying to amend a new Italian
law that could harm Free Software.  To limit the supposed damages that
the Italian motion picture and record industry claims to come from
peer-to-peer file sharing, the government proposed a law that makes it
illegal to publish any digital content on the web without "declaring
to the SIAE that the publisher has a license to do so".  The law also
introduces more restrictions, making a criminal offense punishable
with up to four years of jail sharing without consent of the author
any file on the web, even if it is not "for profit".

The law is so absurd that FSF Europe has been asked by BSA (Business
Software Alliance) to cooperate to prevent its approval.
Unfortunately, though, the law passed despite the fact that in the end
both the government and the opposition agreed that "it is a very bad
law".  The government promised to correct it soon and already
announced a revision: FSFE will continue its strong pressure on the
whole Parliament.

7. Other important public appearances

Stefano Maffulli participated at a forum about "Intellectual property"
at the Istituto Bruno Leoni (IBL) in Italy to point out some problems
regarding software patents.  At the end of the month he participated
to a "summit of Italian free software organizations" in Avellino where
there was the chance to discuss a better coordination between them.

Free Software Foundation Europe

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