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News   News : EU software patent directive blunted
   posted by thetao on 25-Sep-2003 9:41:50 (1643 reads)
On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted to accept the use of software patents for the EU. Well, sort of. In a move that seems ripped from a legal drama, where the sympathetic defendant is found guilty but then given only a slap on the wrist, their approval came with lots and lots of conditions.

For example, patented software can be used at will without authorization or payment if its use is only to ensure interoperability. Also, patent holders will only be able to enforce their claims against end-users, not suppliers. This wide combination of strings seems to render European software patents virtually useless. See TheRegister and news.com for details.

This is good news, of course, for the Amiga community and for all small software developers. Software patents are the reason why GIF support is currently so shaky. Years ago, patents also caused browser SSL problems in the US, where the popular RC4 encryption algorithm is patented.

Unfortunately, the fight isn't over. EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein has threatened to kill the amended directive. Even if this is avoided, lobby groups like the Business Software Alliance (a front for large software companies like Microsoft) will try to warp the directive as it gets implemented by member states. No matter where you live, consider signing the EuroLinux/FFII petition at http://swpat.ffii.org/group/todo/index.en.html. And if you live within the EU, consider voicing your opinion to your local representatives or even joining FFII directly.
    

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HMK 
Re: EU software patent directive blunted
Posted on 25-Sep-2003 17:07:30
#1 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 17-Mar-2003
Posts: 246
From: Denmark

It's not over yet...

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RedMelons 
Re: EU software patent directive blunted
Posted on 25-Sep-2003 21:02:29
#2 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 1062
From: Merrie Olde England

I signed the petition just before reading this item after seeing this on http://www.debian.org/ :

"Protest against software patents

Due to the directive validating Software Patents that will be voted on at the European Parliament, we have decided to protest.

Citizens whose nations are part of the European Parliament -- please sign the Petition for a Software Patent Free Europe."

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Anonymous 
Re: EU software patent directive blunted
Posted on 26-Sep-2003 23:45:51
# ]



At the same time, if some guys invents some cool algorithm he'll won't be alble to gain anything from his work... wich is not fair either.

 
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HMK 
Re: EU software patent directive blunted
Posted on 27-Sep-2003 4:43:12
#4 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 17-Mar-2003
Posts: 246
From: Denmark

Quote:
At the same time, if some guys invents some cool algorithm he'll won't be alble to gain anything from his work... wich is not fair either.


Considering the amount of time, money and effort spent in protecting a patent, it wouldn't help him anyway, unless he has very good financial backing and some lawyers at hand to handle a court case, should it come to that.

You can't count on anyone possibly infringing the patent to automatically come to you and say: "Hey, my product is using something which you patented, can I please pay you the required license fee?"
You need to spend time and energy looking out for people and companies infringing your precious patent. Suddenly your patent becomes a curse instead.

As a programmer, I have absolutely no need for software patents. They won't do me any good, they never did and never will.
If someone can do something better than me, then that is good and I'll just have to improve myself and my software, if I want to keep up.
That's the way software development happens today in Europe and it's working just fine. No need to ruin that.

See what John Carmack and Linus Thorvalds have to say about SW-patents here.

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