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European Council Approves Software Patents 482

A. S. Bradbury writes "ZDNet reports that the EU Council has voted to pass changes to European patent law that will allow the patentability of software. See the FFII for more coverage. Currently, the FFII states 'The Irish Presidency's proposal was passed, with support from Germany, France and most of the other countries whose ministers had publicly promised to oppose or at least abstain. The only no vote came from Spain (to be confirmed), Italy and a few others abstained.' As you may remember, Germany had previously promised to vote against software patents. The FFII news page seems to have been showing growing support in European countries for the FFII and other organisations fighting against software patents, but unfortunately that wasn't enough. So, what now? The European elections are approaching, which means MEPs might be more willing to listen to our views than normal. Slashdot has covered software patents in Europe before."
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European Council Approves Software Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:01PM (#9187913)
    Man, only in the EU can I get First Patent!
  • May I be (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ProudClod ( 752352 )
    the first to say "Fuck".

    I mean, talk about a stab in the back.
    • Re:May I be (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:07PM (#9188010) Homepage Journal
      I mean, talk about a stab in the back.

      and you're surprised because why? contradiction, hypocrisy and breaking promises are the hallmark of liberal, representative democracy.

      think of this: the number of domestic votes a country like, say, germany has that would be swayed by an issue like this is very minimal. the amount of potential campaign contributions from major software vendors, contributions that can translate directly to votes, is big. the outcome is obvious.

      remember that a liberal democracy is a system whereby the rulers get votes from the poor and money for the rich while promising to protect each from the other.

      • Campaign contributions aren't such a big thing in the EU. There is a maximum limit on what candidates are allowed to spend in an election
      • Re:May I be (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pyros ( 61399 )
        so we really need to remove the financial incentives to becoming a politician. NO corporate campaign contributions, and pay the fuckers so little they need a real job to pay the bills. And no pension plan. Maybe then politicians will only consider what's in the best interest of the people.
        • Re:May I be (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 )
          "Son, I hear you're in the European Parliament."
          "Well, I do dabble in politics on the side."
          "Good. Here's a list of bills I'd like you to introduce. If they pass, you'll get a little something extra in your Christmas bonus packet this year. If they don't, well, you know the consequences..."
          "Mandatory Overtime?"
          "You got it, kid."
  • by benja ( 623818 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:02PM (#9187921)
    .ogg files and transcripts of the decisionmaking process are here [].

    I'm disappointed that the German government voted for after initially saying they'd at least abstain -- my understanding is that they could have held up the process if they had at least abstained. :-(

    • by BlueUnderwear ( 73957 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:16PM (#9188172)
      my understanding is that they could have held up the process if they had at least abstained. :-(

      Your understanding is correct. As odd as it may sound, an abstention is equivalent to a no vote. The reason for this is that only yes votes are counted (rather than ration yes vs no). So, an abstention is a vote which is not yes, and thus equivalent to a no. Difference is only symbolic, no impact on the outcome.

      I'm also disappointed that Germany didn't do more (and that they didn't insist that their entire amendment got into the final text, rather than just the unimportant part).

      I'm also disappointed about the Luxembourgish delegation: Although Butcher's Son did get 6a in, an abstention would have been in order. Especially since Greece would probably have followed suit.

  • by Chris_Stankowitz ( 612232 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:02PM (#9187926)
    We should boycott software from Feb. 31st to the Ides of march! if we don't use any software for that day, the EU will......

    What the hell am I talking about?

  • by Random Web Developer ( 776291 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:03PM (#9187945) Homepage
    It's not so much the possibility of patents that's a threat. It's also the way they are issued.

    If the european patent office seems more sane than the us (a little like the japanese seem to do) and not issue patents for obviously stupid stuff, the problem might not be that big
  • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:04PM (#9187962)
    Ok, now that software is patentable, where do I apply for a process which decodes digital content which has been encoded in MPEG2 standard? And while we are at it, what about a process that converts 3 numbers which range in values from 0-255, into visible light? Or better still, converts a group of eitht(8) ones(1's) and zeros(0's) into human readable text and numbers?
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Patent laws exist in the US and OSS continues to thrive . . .
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lcde ( 575627 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:15PM (#9188158) Homepage
      Yeah but it could force OSS underground.

      Saving IP is one thing, but to limit someone to do the same thing with totally different code is another.

      already stated but once again. Fuck.
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 )
      So what indeed! So what if OSS continues to thrive:

      1. OSS is a prime example of software that can be developed anywhere.

      2. One cannot expect to gain as much from suing an OSS project as from suing a corporate software developer.

      3. How do you even go about suing an OSS project? Who would be the defendant?

      4. The patent wars are only beginning. It can get much worse.

      So, the point I am making is that not many OSS projects have been sued _yet_, but that's far from saying it will stay that way.

      And besides,
    • Re:So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pyros ( 61399 )
      Patent laws exist in the US and OSS continues to thrive . . .

      Have you heard the people who complain that Red Hat no longer ships mp3 codecs for audio players, or video players (not just certain codecs but the players themselves)? Or a driver for read-only NTFS support? Software patents are the reason. Debian has the non-US repos for these things. Suse and Mandrake are European already, which is why they ship these things by default. Be prepared to either see these things taken out of Mandrake and Suse, or

  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ( 583077 ) <nospam.minotaurcomputing@com> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:07PM (#9188017) Homepage
    My patent papers are in for the following ideas that I invented:

    1) A method for translating program source code into a machine runnable format.

    2) A method for displaying a computer's file system (see earlier patent for details) based on the top of a typical desk.

    3) A number system based solely on the numbers 1 and 0.

    4) A method for having sex with a computer (you know it'll happen one day... and when it does... I'm rolling in the cash)

    • And by publishing your inventions at this stage, you have just invalidated your patents.

      The law is a bit different here you see.
  • by gspr ( 602968 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:08PM (#9188032)
    I may be mistaken, but it is my impression that this was passed against the will of the EU Parliament. Yet another example of how the EU's internal structure can be undemocratic.
    • by SysKoll ( 48967 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:57PM (#9188822)
      Absolutely correct.

      Moreover, this is not the only example of the EU bureaucrats pushing a decision in spite of the opposition of the Parliament or the will of (ha ha) us poor taxpaying sods.

      This story [] tells you how, with the help of US airline lobbyists, the EU Commissars trampled the European privacy laws and made a mockery of all these human right principles they are supposed to defend.

      Here is the moral: If you pile up another layer of government and transnational bureaucrats on top of already corrupt governments, you'll not get Beauty, Truth and Good. You'll get the best laws money can buy. And they'll be bought indeed.

    • by JPMH ( 100614 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:39PM (#9189353)
      Richard Stallman will be giving one hour talk this Friday on software patents

      The talk will then be followed by round table comments and discussion by Euro-candidates from all of the political parties. Come along, and tell them what you think.

      Richard Stallman

      "The Dangers of Software Patents"

      Friday 21 May, 6pm

      Cruciform Building, Lecture Theatre #1,
      University College London,
      Gower Street.

      The event is free, and all are welcome.

      It's a 300 seater lecture theatre, and this has had to be organised at the last minute, so help us get the word out. Let's show the candidates that swpat is something we really care about.

  • by Vlad_the_Inhaler ( 32958 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:09PM (#9188047) Homepage
    According to Heise [] (german), the Germans forced a collection of amendments through. The idea behind the changes was to protect free software and avoid trivial patents.
    • by BlueUnderwear ( 73957 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:21PM (#9188253)
      According to Heise (german), the Germans forced a collection of amendments through.

      Not quite. Their amendments were gutted of the most important parts. Here an extract of the Italian speech, nicely summing up the situation:

      We have said that we agreed on the German proposal on the meaning of technical contribution, but we had meant the original German proposal. Now, I see that the Germans have left the last two sentences of their proposal and whilst the first two sentences might be left out without particularly constituting any change, the last sentence - "processing, handling, presentation etc [of information] do not belong to a technical field, even where technological devices are employed for such purposes - that sentence we think is essential, if we are to give our agreement to the German text. So we would want that sentence to be included again. If you could change it in that way, we will be able to vote in favor of the Presidency's and Commission's compromise proposal. We will be unable to accept the Commission's proposal, in other words. (abstention)
      Basically, the German amendment was meant to define what "technical contribution" means (i.e. sth technical, with the exception of anything that happens within the computer itself). Now, what's left are vague formulations such as "computer programs as such are not patentable", etc. which have been shown to be weasely and highly ambiguous.
    • it is my impression that recently all these amendments were voted out of the law and that now the origional law on software patents is going to be passed. This is a bad day in the fight for freedom to innovate and create in software.
  • by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:09PM (#9188048)

    ...the Pope is found to be Polish, and bears are found to be rather partial to crapping in the woods.

    C'mon, didn't we all see this coming? Did we really think that those unelected officials which govern in our name would make a decision that reflects our best interests?

  • by AlfredoLambda ( 654892 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:09PM (#9188054)

    Pending a second reading in European Parliament

    Brusselles-- EU Competition Council reached a political agreement about the patentability directive of inventions applied in the field of computer science, with span ish representative voting against it who stated the directive lacked enough guarantees to prevent computer programs being patented.

    The Irish Presidency and the European Comission introduced amendments to satisfy Belgium, Germany, Italy and other countries refusing the proposal. But Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Alberto Navarro, 'after consulting Madrid' decided to keep his negative vote.

    The proposal, which has raised refusal among Free Software advocates, is still pending a second reading in European Parliament


    The Spanish Government considers the advantages of the protection given by patentability are not clearly exposed, as computer programs are already protected by copyright law.

  • I'm moving to international waters... who'll join me!? We can even raise the old jolly roger. ARRR!!!
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:09PM (#9188063) Journal
    ...we can expect to see the ailing European software industry rise from the ashes like a phoenix and produce software that will rival that of the US where software patents have resulted in the best software in the world.

    Er...wait...what am I saying?

  • This is Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blunte ( 183182 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:10PM (#9188073)

    This will hopefully hasten the collapse of the software industry, highlighting exactly why software patents are bad.

    The next 10 years could really be a mess, but hopefully people will learn from it.

    This is all so typical. There is always someone, somewhere trying to twist the system to squeeze out some self-benefit, but always at the greater cost of society (and ironically, also usually at the long term cost of the selfish people themselves.)
    • Re:This is Good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GoofyBoy ( 44399 )
      >This will hopefully hasten the collapse of the software industry, highlighting exactly why software patents are bad.

      I'm a bit more pestimistic of things. Once things are into law and they need to be fix, things gets more complicated rather than scrapping the whole thing.

      For example, personal taxation. Another example, the inconsistances of corporation and individual rights. Another example, international trade laws and tarffs.
    • I hope you're right. I hope some of the big companies will crash and burn so badly because of this.

      In 2 or 3 year when no small European software companies are left, I'll bet you pretty much anything that the EU member countries will start crying about how the big US companies are killing inovation and stealing job. Then, I'll laugh some more. God, fucking stupid politicians, they don't know shit about software and should keep away.

      Im European by the way, and strongly believed that this crap would never p
      • by Tony ( 765 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:45PM (#9189424) Journal
        Im European by the way, and strongly believed that this crap would never pass. Americans are welcome to point and laugh at me for my ignorance.

        In some respects, innocense is ignorance; do not be ashamed of innocense.

        God, fucking stupid politicians, they don't know shit about software and should keep away.

        Problem is, politicians are by nature corrupt. No, every politician is not corrupt; but many are, and the carreer attracts those that love power for the sake of power. It doesn't take but one or two of those to ruin the whole batch, as they introduce corrupt bills (such as this patent "reform") that are sponsored by those with deep pockets and deeper self-interest.

        In this case, the politicians that don't know shit about software were encouraged to vote, and educated by, the ones with the most self-interest in this perversion of knowledge ownership. And all they saw were the most "important" players in the software industry backing the bill.

        The problem isn't politicians, per se, its the corporate influence on politicians that fuck things up so badly. Once the government starts serving the corporations instead of the people, we are screwed. And that has started to happen.
    • Re:This is Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:34PM (#9189299) Homepage Journal
      This will hopefully hasten the collapse of the software industry, highlighting exactly why software patents are bad.
      That is like saying that the Nazi "final solution" is good because it will demonstrate why being a Nazi is bad.

      Personally I would rather prevent it in the first place.

  • Different laws... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:11PM (#9188101) Homepage
    Although I do agree that software patent laws are being abused in the US, I don't believe the idea software is patentable is categorically evil? How is software engineering different from classic engineering in this respect?

    The law systems in Europe allow for less bullying by corporations. Therefore, I'm not overly concerned.
    • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:55PM (#9188802)
      Because software patents cover concepts themselves. If it were allowed in literature, youd have patents for 'novel where a person gets murdered', 'novel based partially in historic facts', etc. With the current rate of software patenting it already is pretty much impossible to write any program doing anything without violating several patents.

      Software is already covered by copyright, which protects a certain implementation of something, so the intention of software patents implicitly is to extend beyond the implementation to the very concept of doing or accomplishing something.

      Software, unlike pretty much any other field, becomes twice-covered by both patents and copyright.
  • Yeah, great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:11PM (#9188107) Homepage
    As a german citizen I am really angry that this happend although there was an intelligent debate. Seems like the big cash won over the judges. I am deeply concerned about what this means for the german software industry.

    The sad part is that I believe that most of the propatent folks really believed that they are doing the software firms a favour and helping local developers up on their feet again. The Irony! The only thing that will probably happen is that the bigshots (i.e. Microsoft and the like) will further dominate the market instead of, growing, newcomers that could produce the next big thing and create jobs instead of outsorcing. ;-/
  • "Welcome to our world." Furthermore, this had better be the end of Europeans slamming Americans because they don't like the laws our legislators pass.

    Look, I feel bad for you, really, but all we've been hearing for years on Slashdot is that Americans are idiots who keep electing bad leaders. The USA doesn't have a patent on bad lawmaking, so please keep that in mind, would you?

    • Quick, someone patent bad lawmaking worldwide. Just think of the license fees.

      That apart, you still have a really bad leader, although we can argue as to whether he was actually elected or not.
      The Italian leader was elected, the Greeks have also made some interesting choices recently and as for the Russians . . . think Boris 'the drunk' Yeltsin and his KGB successor.
    • All kinds of insults were the first thing to go through my mind but then I realised I was letting myself be dragged down to your level. If I do that, you'd beat me with experience as is clear from your post. So lets not.

      On the facts then: the only reason this got started in the first place was US pressure. (Not unlike the passenger data treaty for EU citizens traveling to the US.) That is political pressure. From those same US lawmakers we indeed do despise so much over here in Europe. For their complete i

  • Damn... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HeLLLight ( 748979 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:13PM (#9188127) Homepage
    I really cannot beleive that this is happening. A sstte of denial? No. Just shock at the possibilitys of this draft if it makes it into quote "...'sudden death' reconciliation committee..."

    But there does look like there is some hope quote "The catch is that if the Parliament still doesn't like software patents, it has to have a majority of all MEPs to put its amendments, which means that in practice they need a two-to-one or three-to-one majority in the chamber,"

    Hopefully this draft gets stopped in the next round of voting. If not, this could be a very bad thing for Europe developers of OSS.

  • Here [].

    I'd hope that the EU Parliment votes the way it should and not approve the new resolution. From what that article says, it seems that opponents of the new draft have an arduous task ahead of them.
  • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:14PM (#9188153) Homepage

    They say that the patent plans have been shelved indefinately. Who is right?
    • by Doctor7 ( 669966 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:25PM (#9188322)
      They say that the patent plans have been shelved indefinately. Who is right?

      They are talking about a different proposal, for having a single patent 'territory' covering the whole EU, rather than patents within individuual countries. The directive on what is patentable will still have to be implemented by the individual countries, even if the EU-wide patent never happens.

  • by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:15PM (#9188160) Homepage
    When this sort of thing happens in the US, there is a huge cry of "you don't like it, you voted for them. Vote them out." Well, now it's time.

    I'm in the US, so I can't do it this time. But to all the Europeans on Slashdot: Your own governments just lied to you about an EXTREMELY important issue. Your own representatives said they would vote against software patents, and then voted for them. Your next move is very simple.

    1) Send a letter to the appropriate bureaucrat stating that you are upset, and inform them that they have lost your vote.
    2) In the next election, send a letter to their opponent telling them why the incumbent pissed you off (software patent support), along with a check.
    3) Vote for the challenger.
    4) Watch as a few people wake up and realize that the voting public is not completely stupid and full of sheep.
    5) Profit (not in money, but in Freedom).

    Your turn now. You take out those bosos while we work against George "Fascist" Bush here on this side of the Atlantic. If you don't, you only encourage our slide into an information dark ages.
  • I will be submitting two patents for the DO loop and the NOP very shortly. I will then order up my Bentley... oops, Bentleys, need to keep a cold one in the freezer, don't you know, in case the air conditioning conks out.......
  • Wasn't their a 'holder company' that you can file a patent for an OSS project and they would look out for your best interests?

    link anyone?
  • by Deaper ( 659229 ) * <> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:18PM (#9188211)

    In a surprising development, internet news site Slashdot has become one of the first companies to apply for a European Software patent. The patent, describing the proccess of "seeing into the mysterious future by becoming a Slashdot subscriber", has caused much controversy over karma whoring. In response to the controversy, one Slashdot reader said "Imagine a beowulf cluster of karma whoring /. subscribers rushing to apply for various patents at the announcement that EU software patents have been approved."

    In related news Slashdot is reportedly in the proccess of filing for another EU patent for the beowulf cluster.

    Full Story at 10:00

  • by Anonymous Coward
    France, Germany, and the Netherlands reported larger-than-expected budget surpluses, and the BSA is auditing every local and state government in Spain.

    Not all bad news, though. Microsoft reported that its cash reserves decreased 0.0023% in the last day alone.
  • by motown ( 178312 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:24PM (#9188315)
    This afternoon, 5 of us officially presented a petition against software patents to Dutch MP's responsible for Economic Affairs.

    We were rather lucky, since one of us had good contacts with one of those MP's, who was sympathetic to us and had considerable influence, resulting in a quick arrangement to hand over the petition. Normally, the procedure would have taken weeks.

    Many MP's were quite interested in our information, and were particularly concerned about the fact that our minister of Economic Affairs, Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst, who was to vote in the EU council on our country's behalf, had apparently misinformed our national parlement.

    They even announced they would be holding an extra debate, probably tomorrow.

    During the day, we were kept informed through our mobile phones. It was nerve wreckening. We kept receiving conflicting reports about wether we would be getting a majority against or not. Near the end, we even heard that the Netherlands would probably have the deciding vote! You can understand that nearly drove us crazy. :)

    Eventually, the news broke...

    And again, mister Bolkestein seems to have played a crucial role on the side of the software patent supporters. :(

    On behalf of all the people in the Netherlands, I would like to apologize to all the people of Europe for mister Bolkestein. He makes me ashamed to be Dutch. :(

    The fight is not over, however! It will be more difficult now, but the European Parlement seems to be really pissed, and most Eastern members that are joining the EU now (and will be part of the parliament after the next elections in June) appear to be opposed against software patents.

    Also, it amazed me how easy it can be to get in touch with influential people, as long as YOU KNOW THE RIGHT PERSONS that have the relevant connections!

    In spite of the defeat, I'm still impressed with the difference we managed to make today. At least more people in our government are informed now. And we won't be giving up the fight! We made a few mistakes the last few days (hey, we were new at this), but we also accomplished a lot and also learned A LOT of lessons.

    I would like to end this post with two pieces of advice:

    1) I'm calling upon ALL European Citizens to VOTE IN THE NEXT EUROPEAN ELECTIONS! Even though there is much wrong in European politics, not using your vote and at least applying that little influence you do would be insanely foolish!

    2) Let's all coordinate our lobbying efforts! If you have even just one or two hours a week available to help out, spend it by contacting certain EP's (preferably try to start a dialogue with one or two specific EP's, so you can concentrate on them and build up more personal relations) and contact FFII to notify them of your efforts and inform them who you are in contact with. There were only five of us, and look how far we have come in only 5 days time!

    Let's get to work! Autumn will be upon us before we know it! And the elections are even less than a month away!
    • Vote Whom? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dirt_puppy ( 740185 )
      Whom shall I vote? The guys which lied to me about what they would do, or the other guys, which didn't lie to me yet? The only thing I can be sure of is, that whomever I vote, they will lie and turn for the people with the money.

      This is SO frustrating and SUCH a shame for democracy.

      Sometimes you can't eat as much as you want to vomit... (Manchmal kann man nicht soviel Essen wie man Kotzen möchte)
    • I would have done so.

      This is exactly what you need to communicate, that it's easier than you think to influence people in the right position to do something about this mess.

      There's also a big point in making things visible and digestible by the general populace. Most people don't know patent law, but use the analogy about patenting the recipe for bread, and they get it pretty quickly.

      The FFII people have done an excellent job, but with a clearer message and more planning for the demo etc, they would h

  • sigh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flacco ( 324089 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:28PM (#9188373)
    if there is hope, it lies in the proles.
  • Choke the system (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dinglenuts ( 691550 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:28PM (#9188375)
    File patent after patent until the system dies. This is the only way to kill the beast.
  • by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:33PM (#9188433)
    Thats from the article....

    Now WHO THE FUCK told them they could throw those two cats in the same bag?
  • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:34PM (#9188446) Homepage Journal
    At this point, it still has to go back for a "second reading" to the Parliament. Considering that, in addition to the original issues, this is now seen as a challenge to democracy and the role of the parliament in the EU, it seems likely that the parliament will soundly reject it.

    On the other hand, some amendments were made at the last minute which convined a number of the representatives; since the parliament version was also this bill with amendments, they might have actually passed that version.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:05PM (#9188947) Homepage Journal
    Let's be honest this is yet another permanent employment act for Brussles aparachiks. The act says they will permit patents to be filed. It says nothing about how many millions of Euro-person-hours will be required to be granted one.

    These are the people who have 80 page specifications for a bus steering wheel. Can you imagine the requirements for a successful patent that has to be passed in 25 countries at the same time?
  • Argh! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rhadamanthus ( 200665 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:18PM (#9189094)
    Intellectual Property is a myth. I've said it before and I'll emphasize it here: Software is especially exempt from patents since it is developed, not invented. Nobody "invents" code, all the pieces exist - one just strings them together in ways to do neat things. It's like patenting the connection of a leaf to a branch - they are naturally connecting pieces that are meant to be modular at design!


  • by Pragmatix ( 688158 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:32PM (#9189265)

    This is just going to force innovation away from the West and into the hands of emerging powers like China and India.

    While the US and the EU commit ritual suicide via patent litigation and red-tape, the East will be making leaps and bounds in closing the innovation gap and capturing market share.

    Outsourcing has already created the business channels and the beginnings of infrastructure to allow those nations to compete directly with the West. The only thing missing is innovation, and here it comes.

  • Now is the moment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bryam ( 449040 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @05:35PM (#9189304) Homepage
    Now, we have to take the action:
    1 - Create one OSS/FS patent pool for defensive protection
    2 - Enhance Open Source Licenses patent-defensives
    3 - Ask/"Open Letter" to *all* companies supporting Open Source movement asking for explicit promise to not use software patents to attack Open Source software. Please, ask to IBM, HP, Oracle, Sun, CA, Veritas, Novell, Fujitsu, Dell, etc.
    4 - ...[your ideas here]...
  • by Dwonis ( 52652 ) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:31PM (#9192359)
    Hey, how does one set up Apache to exclude a list of countries from access to a site?
  • Contact your EMPs! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j.leidner ( 642936 ) <`gro.mca' `ta' `rendiel'> on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @02:07AM (#9192980) Homepage Journal
    I urge all European citizens to contact their European Parlament [] representatives, either directly or via their local MPs, to effect a last-minute change and to question them about the diversion between announced and actual decisions.

    I would further like to encourage German readers to write an email or fax to the federal minister of Justice [] to complain about her decision and to support journalists in decoding the network of what seems (on first sight) filthy lobbyism and inconsistent behaviour. Written letters and faxes are expected to have more impact due to their tangible nature.

    If you don't spend EUR 1 on a stamp now, you might have to spend EUR 10000 on lawyers later, or get fined for using an algorithm that somebody happens to have patented without you knowing.

    [E-mail me if you can't find your rep contact details but would like to do something about it.]

    Ideas should be free.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.