software patents

Help prevent software patents! Again!

Speak up on Software Patents

Oh great, the software patent debate is back.

After a long and disgusting campaign where pro-software-patents lobbyists employed all kinds of semi-legal and undemocratic filthy tricks in order to introduce software patents in the EU behind our backs, the European Parliament decided by a large majority to reject the directive "on the patentability of computer implemented inventions" (a.k.a. software patents) in July 2005. Rightly so.

It is beyond my imagination how a certain pro-software-patents commissioner (Charlie McCreevy) dares to restart the whole debate after such a clear defeat.

Consultation and "public hearing"

He has organized a "Consultation and public hearing on future patent policy in Europe" which pretends to collect your views on the software patent issue (which he's trying to introduce through the "Community Patent" backdoor).

Alas, the "questionnaire" is inaccessible (it's only available in 5 languages, instead of all 25 (+2) languages of the EU member states), biased towards software patents, very obfuscated and unreadable for the general public. There's no independent working group which conducts or oversees the consultation, no independent studies and reading materials, no mentions of the negative implications of software patents, no public debate, nothing. Now, who would have expected that?

The FSF Europe has published a response to the Patent Consultation Questionnaire, which highlights many of the problems.

Similarly, the FFII has questioned the validity of the consultation procedure, and gives a very detailed explanation of all the serious flaws of the process.

What can I do?

  • First things first: the DEADLINE for answering the questionnaire and expressing your views is April 12, 2006!
  • Answer the questionnaire! The FFII has prepared a short How to answer guide which you can use as a basis for your answer (per email, snail mail, or fax).
  • Raise your concerns about the validity of the consultation process!
  • Write your MEPs! Tell them what you think.
  • Spread the word! I'm under the impression most people don't even know about this issue, yet!
  • Put up banners. I know you all like pretty banners ;-)

Software patents suck (in case you didn't already know)

Let me quote Donald Knuth on this:

I strongly believe that the recent trend in patenting algorithms is of benefit only to a very small number of attorneys and inventors, while it is seriously harmful to the vast majority of people who want to do useful things with computers.

(via MJ Ray)

Software patents directive rejected!

A few hours ago, Heise reported that the EU parliament rejected the software patents directive. A majority of 648 (out of a total of 680) members of parliament voted against the directive.

This may not be the end of the software patents debate, but I definately feel relieved now.

(via Die wunderbare Welt von Isotopp)

Stop Software Patents!

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Software patents are to be introduced in the European Union, soon. Software patents suck.
Spread the word. Stop software patents before it's too late.

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Software patents were stopped in India. We can prevent them in Europe, too. But we need to act. Now.

IsNot Operator Patent

I can't believe this is true. Microsoft tries to patent a programming function to determine if two variables point to the same location in memory, i.e. the IsNot (or != or <> or neq) operator. Quick, head over to You know what to do.

(via Heise (German)).

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