[Fsfe-ie] UK gov intervenes to support software patents

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Sat Sep 13 15:57:30 CEST 2003

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On 13 Sep 2003 at 10:07, Malcolm Tyrrell wrote:

> I received a letter from Pat Cox MEP who seems pro-directive in the
> sense that he believes (or has been told) that it will reduce
> ambiguity in the current law and increase harmonization.

Yes. I have sent many letters to Pat Cox and he won't be swayed. 
Quite frankly, he seems to be too busy being parliament head or 
whatever to bother though I'd guess it's more his assistants who are 
at fault.

> > Met with Brian Crowley today and he gave me an interesting document
> > from the "IP Awareness Group" who turn out to be the enemy.
> Depressing.

Well no - it also shows we're having an effect. The fact of course 
this pamphlet is written the way it is to make it sound like a group 
of informal groups protesting like we are is to use division 
psychology where the MEP's are supposed to think the citizens are 
split on the matter so therefore should ignore all the nay-sayers and 
go with the flow (which is to pass the directive).

Politics is a dirty dirty business. I briefly contemplated a career 
in it, then saw the low-life scum who are common in it and found I 
just couldn't stick it. More power to those good-souled types who 
can, because I couldn't.

> I know it's getting really boring now but perhaps one more letter to
> the MEPs would be worthwhile. We really need to respond to the issues
> McCarthy raises.

I should add that the last letter FSF-IE sent was very effective. 
- From ringing up MEP's they've said "Oh, I remember seeing your name 
on a letter". I'm slightly annoyed that they seem to have completed 
missed the letter *I* sent them, but then I suppose it was probably 
too radical for them to understand as is usual.

Either way, another letter would be worth doing. Don't repeat the 
last one - argue it from other angles.

> Some points to make this time:
> * Everyone (including McCarthy) claims they don't want "pure" software
>   to become patentable.

If she really wanted what she says she wants, she'd be happy with the 
FFII amendments.

> * The weaknesses and ambuities in the directive will lead to the
> patenting
>   of "pure" software 
>   - the FFII have plenty of examples
>   - what about the examples that have been provided by the pro- lobby
>   as
>     things that will not be patentable? Is there really any part of
>     the directive that excludes them?

The pro-patent lobby either understand English different than we do, 
or they're liers. I find it interesting that some patent specialising 
legal firms are already advertising services for patenting software 
because they expect this directive to pass nearly unmodified.

> * European software "innovators" will not be at a disadvantage if
>   software is unpatentable:
>   - American and Japanese companies will not be able to patent
>   software
>     in Europe either
>   - European companies can still patent software in America & Japan
>     (indeed, they will have to for defensive reasons).
>   - All software developed in Europe will benefit from fewer legal
>     issues and that software will mostly be developed by European
>     developers.

Unfortunately, the EU more than anyone does not understand the 
concept of less laws being a good idea. I would try if possible for 
needed amendments.

> * European software "innovators" will be at a disadvantage if
>   software becomes patentable:
>   - patenting software works against competition and can prevent
>     interoperability.

DOES prevent interoperability. Like the EU Copyright Directive which 
removed the right to reverse engineer anything with a "protection 
mechanism". Or placed a three year prison stretch for telling anyone 
how to circumvent a protection mechanism ie; you find shoddy 
security, you go to prison. Shoddy security stays.

I should add that this pamphlet in particular singles out amendments 
to article 6 (amendment 20) as being "dangerous" because they seek to 
prevent patent enforcement on areas of interoperability. Failure to 
apply this amendment means Microsoft patent all areas Linux is likely 
to go in cloning Windows and sue anyone it likes when Linux does go 
there as it will.

>   - it favours existing monopoly holders and existing large companies.
>   - as few European companies currently hold these monopolies, it will
>     be to their disadvantage
> Any opinions? I just threw this list together.

Also mention that 90% of Europe's wealth is generated by SME's 
according to the EU itself. Hurt the SME's, hurt Europe.

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