Covert attempt to undermine EU Software Patent Legislation underway

by Kevin Bedell

Here's the text of a warning distributed today by Mandrakesoft, publishers of Mandrake Linux:




Flash: EU Software Patent Legislation: a real threat for Linux and Open
Source


Mandrakesoft would like to alert all users and the software community at
large about a recent clandestine attack by proprietary interest through
covert adoption of EU Software Patent Legislation.


In direct contravention of the recent vote by the European Parliament to
curtail Software Patents, the Irish Presidency of the European Union has
surreptitiously reinstated unlimited software patent language into the
text of a statement to be adopted by the European Council of Ministers
on Monday May, 17th, without further debate!


The new text, if adopted, will extend Software Patents to every piece of
software, including computer programs, data structures, and process
descriptions. This will directly harm most software firms and all Open
Source projects unable to pay patent licensing tribute, and amounts to
an appropriation of the public domain by proprietary interests. A
direct beneficiary will be a new class of pure patent companies without
any real business or contribution to employment, which will use the
threat of litigation to extort payments.
Of note is that a sponsor of the Irish Presidency is Microsoft,
currently building a large patent portfolio. If the Software Patent
text is adopted, Microsoft may use this patent portfolio against Linux
and other Open Source projects.


Mandrakesoft would like to forewarn and mobilize its users and the
software community about the very real threat of such a law. Please
contact the media, your political representatives, and your government,
and urge them to vote against unlimited Software Patents and to revert
to the previous European Parliament position.


For further information please see the following links:

http://swpat.ffii.org/journal/04/cons0507/index.en.html


http://kwiki.ffii.org/SwpatcninoEn



Mandrakesoft Online Team.


2 Comments

jwenting
2004-05-14 01:46:03
and again the Linux crowd has nothing better to do
than bash Microsoft...


Microsoft may be a major employer in Ireland, but they stand to loose as much as the next guy (and certainly a lot more than the average Linux-toting cracker) from software patents if someone gets a patent on for example the simple for-loop.


Sadly under EU law the body that changed the text from the democratically approved one is in fact legal to do so. Of course the text still has to be adopted but it will likely be piggybacked on some other legislation which is sure to pass so no vote will be possible to stop it from becoming law.
Such is democracy under French domination (who are the real force behind this).

iampivot
2004-05-14 02:34:02
and again the Linux crowd has nothing better to do
Actually, it has been the Irish and English MEPs which have worked most strongly in favor of software patents.


And the microsoft link is not just some Linux zealots ideas; http://swpat.ffii.org/news/recent/index.en.html#cecms040326