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

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Fri Sep 19 15:41:41 CEST 2003

  I've just returned from the moon[0] so I'm catching up with
threads quickly so some stuff I say could be out of date.

[0] no internet up there, just ether

A letter:
  I think another letter would be a great idea.  We need to
counter the claim that this directive will not create "pure
software" patents.  Other FUD such as "TRIPS requires swpats"
also needs addressing.  I jotted down some notes while I was
away, I'll gather them and post them here on Monday.

Who should we target?
  Obviously it's useful to target the pro-directive people
but anti-swpat MEPs also need our help.  For example, Avril
Doyle is definitly anti-swpat but she still thought that the
TRIPS agreement required us to allow swpats.  I mailed her
the relevent TRIPS text but we don't know how many other MEPs
that are "on our side" share this misbelief.  We have to
provide solid info to all MEPs.

Is there a "Pro Vs. Anti" MEP table somewhere?
  No.  FFII have a lot of this info but for tactical reasons
they haven't publicised it anywhere.  Most Irish MEPs have
responded to various people but we were not organised during
the initial lobbying rounds so Irish "Pro Vs. Anti" is not
collected anywhere.  I'd like to see a table drawn up.  I
believe Niall Douglas and Malcolm Tyrrell have gotten the
most correspondence.  Can someone offer to coordinate the
coordination of this data?

Well done, IE Vs. UK:
  I think we've had a slightly easier time than other
countries due to the lower levels of corporate interests
over here but we've been doing great work.  To be effective,
we must include the UK MEPs in our larger efforts.  It's
possible that some UK MEPs are under the influence of USA
Megacorps but we can't know or change that, so we just have
to ignore it.

MEPs voting with their party:
  One Irish MEPs seems to use the "convince my party" line
quite frequently but is actually on our side.  It's a "go
away" line.  I think it is used as a response to ranty or
bad emails (they're overloaded, they have to filter out
the noise).  Some MEPs won't care about this issue, but doing
nothing won't change their minds, so we just have to continue
convincing them that we are informed, concerned, and that
this issue is really important.  MEP X may not care, but
if we can get the majority of her party to care, there will
be pressure on her to care.

What to do:
  The beef.  I want to work on another joint letter.  The
focus being on the text of the directive.  *Exactly* what
we don't like and *exactly* what would make us happy.  We
have to counter the FUD flying around the EP.

  I have to get up to speed on what has happened in the last
two weeks but I should have a very drafty draft ready for
mid week.

Any thoughts? let me know, or wait for the draft and comment
on that.


On Sat, Sep 13, 2003 at 08:11:45PM -0700, Ian Clarke wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 13, 2003 at 09:46:39PM +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > > What remains to be done?  Who still needs to be persuaded?  What must
> > > they be persuaded of?  Who is coordinating this effort?
> > 
> > In Ireland I think we've done brilliantly given all factors 
> > concerned. The UK has been much harder, most especially because 
> > British MEP's are from this experience anyway completely devoid of 
> > capacity for independent thought. They just vote and believe as party 
> > central tells them to :(
> As someone that has participated in British politics, one of my first
> observations was that most people vote on the basis of party rather than
> the individual - and I suspect that this is especially true for MEPs. 
> This means that most British MEPs care much more about pleasing their
> party leadership than pleasing those that voted for them. 
> What can be done about this?  Not much unless the opinion of the 
> leadership of the UK political parties can be changed.  This is probably 
> a waste of energy given our short time-frame.
> > This does not mean the battle is over. New letter someone? I can't 
> > write it because no one ever understands me :)
> I could write a letter if someone could outline what needs to be said
> (presumably this would need to be more tailored than a general
> anti-SWPat rant).  Note, however, that I am shortly moving from the US 
> to the UK so my time is very limited.
> Ian.
> -- 
> Ian Clarke                			            ian at locut.us
> Coordinator, The Freenet Project	      http://freenetproject.org/
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