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Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Monday, March 07 2005 @ 09:53 AM EST

Don't ask me to explain it, because I can't. FFII has the news, and they even have an audio recording of it. The software patent directive was passed as an A-Item, despite the requests for a B-Item from Denmark, Poland, Portugal and others. They were told no B-Item was possible, for procedural rules reasons, so it stayed as an A-Item, and it was rammed through that way. "The objecting countries seem to have forgotten to request removal of the A-item from the agenda. Rules 3.1 + 3.7 would have given any single country the right to have the A-item removed, because the Luxemburg presidency had failed to insert it more than 14 days earlier," FFII says and analyzes it this way:

"Reportedly, the Danish minister (who was forced by a parliamentary committee to request a B-item, but did not like that at all) and the Luxembourg Council Presidency use the following paragraph as defense for their behaviour:

3.6. The provisional agenda shall be divided into Part A and Part B. Items for which approval by the Council is possible without discussion shall be included in Part A, but this does not exclude the possibility of any member of the Council or of the Commission expressing an opinion at the time of the approval of these items and having statements included in the minutes.

"This paragraph indeed does not mention anything about the possibility to change an A item into a B item. Looking at rule 3.8, that one says:

3.8 "However, an A item shall be withdrawn from the agenda, unless the Council decides otherwise, if a position on an A item might lead to further discussion thereof or if a member of the Council or the Commission so requests."

"They might argue this still doesn't say anything about changing an A item into a B item, although three countries (with the support of more) asking for a B item is hard to classify as anything but something which "might lead to further discussion". Additionally, Annex III of those same rules of procedure states on page 20, point 1(c):

(c) Article 3(8) (maintaining as a "B" item on the agenda an "A" item, which would otherwise have had to be withdrawn from the agenda);

"This clearly and literally provides for the possibility of turning an A item into a B item if otherwise the A item would have to be withdrawn from the agenda (which is the case if there 'might' be further discussion due to some statement from a country)."

Here's my analysis: Money talks. says the EU Parliament now has 3 months to accept or reject the decision.

Here is their press release in part:

Brussels (07 March 2005). The EU Council today adopted its Common Position on the software patent directive against the express will of various member countries. The text, which in the opinion of its critics is only a minority position today, had been previously agreed upon on 18 May 2004. Its formal adoption had failed repeatedly due to strong resistance by country governments and national parliaments. The minister from Luxembourg who chaired the meeting said: "We are adopting this Common Position today for institutional reasons as not to create a precedent" with implications to other processes in the Council. . . .

.... The European Parliament will now have three months to reject or amend the proposal. For rejection or every single amendment, the EP needs a majority of the component members of parliaments, i.e. 367 votes irrespective of absences or abstentions. . . .

The EP will have up to four opportunities to reject the proposal, two in a second reading (one before and one after the votes on proposed amendments), a third one in conciliation and a fourth one in a third reading.


Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item | 319 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:13 AM EST
I can't say anythign useful. I am an european citizen, i talked with my MEP, and
convinced my MEP, using my rights, and then these [censored] people laughing
into my face. I have only two hope - they laughed into te face of the EP, and
there is a nice Court for these things.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: ccsaxton on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:14 AM EST
Democracy is an illusion...most of the time...but here we can see that it a lie
told to the masses to keep them happy...My grandfathers/great-grandfathers died
for this utter shambles.

Its not Europe that we have to be mad with here...not one bit...The deciding
factor came from a majority of western goverments (mainly IRE, UK and the US)
who effectively control the European commision through bullying and 'scratch my
back' tactics...

Western policy seeks to take your freedom away through control of
information...well done boys I hope the $$$ are worth it!?

Sorry world but the rich have won...once again...get ready for your cash to
dissappear down the big $$$ corporates buckets...hey...I am so depressed its
almost worth an asteroid strike on this lost planet just to be rid of these
greedy few!!!

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] Off-topic posts here please (NT)
Authored by: fLameDogg on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:14 AM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

It is *going* to be a feeding frenzy
Authored by: inode_buddha on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:19 AM EST
There's usually not much left after the sharks get done. On a somewhat related note, it seems that Apple is getting some attention from patent holders and attorneys, according to El Reg. (iTunes)

Copyright info in bio

"When we speak of free software,
we are referring to freedom, not price"
-- Richard M. Stallman

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Freespirit on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:19 AM EST
So much for my faith in creating a strong, unified andd above all, democratic
european union.

While I believe strongly that the best way to avoid conflicts between contries
and cultures is to make them dependant upon each other and I though that the
european union might do just that, it now seems clear that the voices of the
countries involved carry less weight than the large coporate interest...

A sad day indeed.

Where do we sign up to donate for a lawsuit agains the EU for being

A sad european software developer:

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: eskild on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:23 AM EST
The problem is that only part of the proceedings are documented, at it is quite
conceivanble that some ministers including the Danish have told the others: I
have to argue against but it doesn't really matter, so be my guest and move

Our minister nows that it is unlikely that the recently re-elected government
willface a vote of no confidence over this, and even if Folketinget gets
together and vote them out, they will probably be re-elcted again.

So lets hope that the EP has now got the message and do the right thing about


[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:25 AM EST
Can't say I'm all that suprised by this. I think it was Emma Goldman who said,
"if democracy changed anything they'd make it illegal."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Democracy is not dead yet
Authored by: ceri on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:27 AM EST
For all the people giving up, please don't do that yet.

It's only now that your elected MEP gets to make their vote, so keep pushing
them to reject this outrage.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Time for serious lobbying
Authored by: pdundas on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:27 AM EST
Now would be a good time for anyone who has not done so to contact their MEP,
and explain the situation (or include a good summary). Especially, any
newly-elected MEPs should be contacted (they may not have their consciences
numbed yet, and may believe that the Parliament should not be ignored by the

Any members of relevamt trade associations or professional bodies should contact
them, to make their feelings known.

So far, the BCS has not taken a position, and refers its members to intellect (a
trade body which is pro-swpat).

I've no idea about the IEE, but they've been very quiet.

Economists or lawyers might be able to raise the issue with high-profile members
of their profession...

The next stage is not going to be easy, but it's important. Now to find a short,
simple explanation - that anyone can understand - that matters to individuals -
that does not sound like the raving of some kind of crank.

Maybe it ties in to the Euro constitution debate...


[ Reply to This | # ]

No, they have not "forgotten to request removal"
Authored by: ak on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:30 AM EST
From the FFII report: "The objecting countries seem to have forgotten to request removal of the A-item from the agenda."

That is nonsense. The people representing those "objecting countries" are not idiots. They have decided not to request this.

[ Reply to This | # ]

We need our MEPs to stand up for us now!!
Authored by: jacoplane on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:35 AM EST
This can still be blocked by the Parlement. However, we will need to have a
majority of all MEPs (so abstaining MEPs are not in our favour). For Dutch
people, here you can find contact details for Dutch MEPs:

Reply with contact details for your MEPs below...

Also it would be good if someone made a summary of arguments to be used in
convincing MEPs. I'm thinking we should not focus on technical aspects but on
the democratic implications this has.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: amcguinn on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:38 AM EST
As a software developer and Free Software user, I am devastated. As a
campaigner against the EU Constitution, and a member of a political party
pledged to withdrawal from the European Union, I am delighted.

The style of the fraud is nothing new -- it is absolutely business as usual for
an organisation that has not been able to get its accounts audited for a decade.
But now there is one more economic advantage to being outside, to add to the
bottom of a long list.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Corrections here...
Authored by: ansak on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:45 AM EST
Someone seems to have forgotten the need for a corrections thread? Passions run

Non-Euro-citizens: Do you have relatives in Europe? Why not telephone them
(SkypeOut is € 0,02 / minute -- works quite well with a good head-set) and
encourage them to contact their MEP about this issue.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Get Over It, The Junta Has Spoken! (n/t)
Authored by: joef on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:05 AM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

This means war!
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:05 AM EST
The MEPs will not be able to get the majority to reject the directive, so its as
good as passed.

What we need is a massive walkout/strike of software developers. If 250,000
companies in Europe are really opposed to patents, a coordinated protest strike
would get the money-grabbers' attentions.

Alternatively, is it possible to have a "civil disobedience" campaign
(a la Ghandi) and simply ignore these patent laws? Surely MS cant sue

EU Democracy. Pronouced dead 7/3/2005
Freedom of Software Developers in Europe. Clinically dead 7/3/2005

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:07 AM EST
This post was supposed to be a reply to an above comment, not the article:

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:10 AM EST
Yeah, I goofed. It was supposed to be a repsponse for a post above saying
Europe was not to blame...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST
Um, take a look. We have done a lot, even organised protests OUTSIDE the
buildings where these decisions were made.

However, when the law-makers blatantly IGNORE everything we say and follow what
MS, Nokia and all those other large corporations want, what can we do?

In short, nothing.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Repost from Sat - Ireland's incentives
Authored by: JScarry on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:12 AM EST
There is a thread in Saturday's Yarro OT that might have been missed over the weekend. It gives details of Ireland's reasons for doing whatever the patent holders want. Link

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • link is broken - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:36 AM EST
    • link is broken - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 04:31 PM EST
Is it possible to invalidate the decision due to procedural errors? (n/t)
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:18 AM EST

[ Reply to This | # ]

Why such a big stink?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:25 AM EST
They've already suceeded in patenting life, so why such a big stink about mere software?

"f we continue with the distortion of the meaning of invention, we do not know where we will end up. I wonder how many of you have heard of Mr Moore of the United States of America whose liver has been patented. He went to the hospital. They took out a piece of his liver and they cultured it. They patented it. He claimed that they could not patent his liver, because it was his own. I am told that the judge said that since it is outside of him it is not his and it can be patented, i.e. it is invented. But that piece of liver is the same whether inside or outside Mr Moore. The judge did not dare say that that part inside him is also invented. But how long will it take for the continuing distortion of inventing to accept that the piece of liver inside him is the same as that outside him, and that, therefore, it is the patent holder's invention? Suppose I buy the patent on Mr Moore's liver, and suppose I also patent his blood in a similar manner, and I want my liver out of him in the style of Shylock. Even Shakespeare's defence of not allowing me to spill blood would not prevent me. I will spill my blood and take my liver, and I will still walk away, possibly claiming my royalties on your use of my Brussels! - (Third World Resurgence No. 106, June 1999)"

[ Reply to This | # ]

EU constitution on Groklaw?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:29 AM EST
I think that all Europeans here are wondering how to punish the EU Commission for what they just did to us. The upcoming vote on the EU constitution obviously comes to mind. The problem, as bizarre as it sounds, is how should we vote to punish the Commission?

I'm told in various places that the EU Constitution intends to give more power to the Parliament, and this would mean a YES. I've tried to read it myself, and I see little more than an unfathomable 350-page rehash of all European treaties so far, and that would mean a NO. PJ or anyone competent, care to run an in-depth analysis on the matter for us future EU voters?

DomQ, not logged in (not that it matters)

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Real Victory
Authored by: Simon G Best on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:34 AM EST

Every time the software patent proponents score this kind of 'victory', they demonstrate that they are pursuing something that the majority do not want and will not accept.

Every time they disregard the expressed will of the democratically elected representatives of the people, they demonstrate that they do not have the support of the majority for what they seek to do. They have placed their own, twisted interpretations of 'procedure' above democracy itself in a way that makes a mockery of their own pursuit of software patentability. By disregarding proper procedure in the name of 'procedure' and 'precedents', and by disregarding the democratically expressed will of the people, they place software patents on such an illegitimate foundation that the proponents of such patentability must see and concede that they have ultimately lost the war.

If software patents were truly wanted by the very people they're supposed to benefit, this blatant ramming-through of this draft Directive would never have been necessary. If the arguments for software patentability were sound, credible and well-founded, they would not now be relying on plainly bogus, twisted arguments about 'procedure'. The absurd and farcical extremes to which they now resort in clear desperation confirms that their arguments have failed. They have failed because they were ill-founded at best, dishonest at worst.

We, in contrast, have argued for freedom. We have argued - and still argue - for the continued freedom to write, distribute and use software. We have not had to resort to such twisted arguments as are now being used in defense of what happened today. We have not had to resort to departing from proper procedure in the name of 'procedure'. We have not had to resort to pretending that we can't cast our votes as we would prefer. We, in contrast, have not been reduced to such a farcical position. Our position is strong and well-founded, as the shennanigans of today only confirm.

To the proponents of software patentability (or whatever euphemism they wish to use), it must now be clear that they cannot ultimately win. It is as if they are trying to invade Russia, or have dared to bomb Perl Harbour. Or, perhaps I should say, it's as if they have launched a lawsuit against IBM for contributing to Linux. They couldn't legitimately get the Directive they wanted, and today's 'decision' only confirms that.

They have clearly lost the real arguments. They have ultimately lost the whole war.

Software patents are ultimately dead.

FOSS IS political. It's just that the political establishment is out of touch and hasn't caught up.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: muswell100 on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 11:36 AM EST
Can I suggest that anyone in the UK who cares a fig about whether they'll be
permitted to use a 'FOR...NEXT...ELSE' loop without being sued visit the
following site:

Write to your MEP and make it clear how you feel about this. If enough UK
citizens make enough of a stink, we may be able to yet derail this blatant
exercise in corruption.

On a less positive note, I'm now starting to understand how Don Quixote felt.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So what happens if ...
Authored by: Jude on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:01 PM EST
... not all of the EU countries establish their own laws to implement the

AFAIK, this directive doesn't actually create laws, it merely requires the EU
member countries to do so. What happens if they don't?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Should Denmark sack their council representative?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:21 PM EST
Denmark's council representative in this case has clearly not acted in the
interests of his own govenment and their electorate.

He was given very clear instruction to prevent this occuring which he didn't -
and he makes it very clear that his personal views on the matter influenced his
role as a diplomat.

It's of no concern to Denmark what the Swedish (or any other) council
representative said. He was told unequivocally by the govenment he represents
what to do and simply didn't follow it through - what other member states may
think is irrelavant which is why the motion shouldn't have been passed as an A

He should be shamed and humiliated in public and fired, with all possible state
pensions and benefits removed...

I'm only singling him out here because I've withnessed his disengenuos (sp?)
actions. There's plenty of others.

Until the EU democratises and gets rid of the currupt unelected council then the
only way to make these people accountable is for the individual member states to
take such action to ensure that the cost of misrepresenting them is high.

Finally all this beaurocratic nonsense of it being against the rules to change
the item is also untrue - the ffii has already debunked that. Their arguments
for allowing it to pass appear to be "we'll loose credibility if we don't
pass this", whereas they've lost far more by allowing it to pass. Their
other argument is that it might set a precedent that causes the sytem to fail is
also equally self-contradicting. Letting this pass is a precedent that
demonstrates that the system has already failed.

Please, any other dissatisfied EU citezens write to your MEP's. Don't let this
stand - your MEP's will be glad to hear from you. It's cases like these that
will allow them to come in from the cold and start doing their jobs rather than
just being a rubber stamping body for the EC...

[ Reply to This | # ]

China must be thrilled
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:31 PM EST
Virtually the entire world has bought in to a plan to stifle innovation in
software. China may end up being the only place in the world where software
developers can concentrate on developing software instead of worrying about
being hauled into court. I'm glad I'm closer to the end of my career than the

[ Reply to This | # ]

That's it then...
Authored by: NemesisNL on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:36 PM EST
The moment I have to close up the shop and think about what else to do is as
good as here. I do not believe this will be rejected by parliament. Democracy
was burried here and it was done in a branch of industry the majority of people
do not care about. The public at large didn't even notice but history will show
that the burial was quick and no one had anything nice to say about the

My trust in my own dutch government is gone and I no longer believe a united
europe will bring anything good. It's just a vehicle for more corupt politicians
to get even more money from big buisiness. The smartest thing my country can do
is get the hell out of dodge and leave the EU. So far it has cost us a lot and
with little return.

Bill Gates will be proud of himself. Playing nice with the court and visiting
some key people in the EU just got him the biggest honeypot imaginable.

A sad day for democracy, a sad day for the EU.

[ Reply to This | # ]

So what does this mean really?
Authored by: abraxus on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:42 PM EST
I am not a developer and don't really understand all the implications to this
but it seems to have a lot of people angry. My question is what are the actual
implications of this? What does it mean to OSS. Is it really as dire as it
sounds or are these just immediate reactions to bad news. Does this mean that
all the Linux Distro's will vanish. Does the OSS community have any chance here?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The best defense is a good offense
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:43 PM EST
1) Find three technologies that are critical to Microsoft Windows.

2) Patent them.

3) Assign the patents to FSF.

4) Sue Microsoft into extinction.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A remarkable piece of work by pro-software-patent lobby
Authored by: eamacnaghten on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 12:59 PM EST
This was a remarkable piece of work by the pro-software-patent lobby.

To manage to push this through as an A item on procedural grounds, against the rules and against so much opposition is impressive to say the least. It would have taken enormous preparation and excessive briefing to the Luxemburg representatives to pull this off.

I have seen officers try to push through legislation and rules in councils and so on using various methods such as these, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. This was a masterpiece!

What to do now? The ansewer is to lobby and educate MEPs. The Pro-Software people are obviously desparate to get this through, so any MEP that

  1. Does not think that Software Patents should be passed
  2. Do not want to be steamrollered by the council
need to be contacted to vote against.

The Pro-Software people will be hard at work, with things like "This will cost your country jobs if you vote against" and "Will lead to chaos and you would be responsible" and "do not give in to communist style pressures of those who say IP is important and believe in not paying licenses" (I know that is a lie, but it still will be said). In order to combat it education of MEPs is important, politeness, effects on business this has and so on. Remember, be polite, be constructive and be helpful and clear in communication with MEPs.

Web Sig: Eddy Currents

[ Reply to This | # ]

Please contact your local media.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 01:15 PM EST
The BBC 's Daily Politics program has a web-page where they say:
"We want to know what you think of the programme and the issues you want to see discussed. Each day we'll read out some of your views and comments so please do contact us."
Please assist them aware of these recent events. While software patents may not be 'sexy', the sorry tale of this saga about how the European Commission operates will be.

Let's try and push this up the agenda... please.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Contact the Sun. - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 01:30 PM EST
I hope the Denmark minister gets called to order
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 01:33 PM EST
If a few of these ministers can be called to order, so the rest of the political
arena sees that it's serious, then we'll be playing ball.

I don't know much politicians who wouldn't go through anything to save their own
hides (or prevent getting into a situation like that).

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 01:58 PM EST

No. It is yet another plutocracy, with a veneer of "democracy" to prevent a massive popular movement for secession from itself.

At some point (one would hope) the EC commission would attempt to pass some idiotic measure about something the population generally cared about a lot, and then perhaps the commission might receive the severe lesson in humility that they richly deserve.

Anonymous sECessionist

[ Reply to This | # ]

Democracy (*spit*)
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:00 PM EST

Just another way for tyrants to justify their behavior (by pretending it's the will of the people).

Remember Benjamin Franklin's words:

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

Support liberty, not democracy.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Well said...n/t - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:32 PM EST
  • Whoops - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:09 PM EST
  • Democracy (*spit*) - Authored by: ralevin on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:19 PM EST
Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:10 PM EST
This asks for a blatant NO when treated inside EU
parliament. NO without even lifting the title page to see
whats inside that so-called directive.

I just listened to the audio report called
council_adoption_attempt.wav where the man hammering the
Software Patent Directive through, is rather
authoritarian when dealing with comments from the
delegates. Here is a transcript and some comments :

In this meeting no discussion on so-called A-points is
possible. Then Denmark makes a suggestion to put the
Software Patents Directive a B-point, a point which is
open for discussion.

The Chairman however blatantly rejects this :

"I must say No to your comments. This is only the formal
culmination of political agreement, filed in May
last year. I nontheless think the most appropeate thing
would be to take the matter to a B-point, But it is not
possible, I am not going to stand in the way of a formal
adoption of the point. Therefor I regretfully submit a
written statement to be included the minutes. The points
in that statement will be pursued by us when this matter
comes back by to the council after the EU parliament has
concluded its 2nd reading. Thank you chairman"

A French MEP wants to make some comments, in french of

"Thank you but i will take notes of your statement and i
thank you for your comments. ....So i think i can
note? ....(switch me off?) I'd like now to invite the
council to adopt the other points of the list of

This whole thing reminds of the way things were handled by
the prosecutor of the The Hague War Tribunal. In
particular the methods in which Judge Sir Richard May
presided over the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague
for the past two years. However this man seems to have
died recently :,2763,1252052,00.html

Robert M. Stockmann

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:24 PM EST
I love this. Every time one of these wonderful, liberal, sensible, progressive
European Governments does something STUPID, I get to ignore the frequent
assertions that the USA has some sort of monopoly on bad laws.

And don't you DARE blame an act of Parliament on the US. Don't EVEN try to do

[ Reply to This | # ]

Isn't everything already "Prior Art" ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:24 PM EST
I have not seen all the details of this Directive, so this thought may be
irrelevant. I'm thinking that if software patents have not been in place until
now, and if it is to have a similar flavour to the US as regards "prior
art, non-obvious, etc", then it would seem that absolutely everything on
the planet today comprises "prior art". Thus it would only be new code
that is eligible to be patented, and everything presently in Linux et al would
be "safe".

That being the case, it would be prudent to have FOSS patent every new idea,
thought, technique and assign it to a central group with influence in Europe.
That might actually give us the arsenal to pick fights with some of these
pro-patent groups, should the need arise.

If we don't want to go the patent route, which I expect most won't, we could
simply publish it on a site someplace maybe protecting it with the GPL. Simple
evidence of prior art for all to see.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:28 PM EST
Let me get this straight:

A number of countries in the EU have openly opposed the Software Patent
legislation saying that it too broad and would likely damage the EU's economy.

A number of economists have stated that software patents actually hinder
innovation opposed to further ir.

A high ranking EU official has openly stated that the amount of lobying from
major US (non-EU) companies has been unprecidented.

The Democratically elected European Parliament have voted against the bill,
stating that it should be reworked before enacted.

But, inspite of this, an unelected minority have passed this law, with
unprecented implications for European industry, on a technicality? Is this some
sort of joke?

Those countries that recongised the software patent issue as potentially
damaging to there economy, are they just expected to now just ignore this fact.

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let's do something at least now
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:29 PM EST
to all of us (inculding me) in Europe who have just watched
the whole mess so far: now is the right time to VISIT your
European Parliament representative. They do offer "citizen
hours". And prepare yourself on the background of the
particular person you are talking to. Time spend now is
well worth it - compared to getting threats from lawyers
and being sued later. Let's especially contact people from
the conservative party because they will be likely be
decisive in the process in the next month! It might be YOUR
represenatative's vote who will turn the tide.

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What's really worrying - this must happen all the time
Authored by: simoncoles on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:39 PM EST
It occurs to me that this is the only time I've watched "European
in action, and isn't at all pretty. It seems this gaming of the system is almost

routine, which makes me wonder about all the other stuff flowing out of
Brussels. Here in the UK we tend to be on the Eurosceptic side of things, but
personally I've tried to keep an open mind. This incident is appalling - and
something to bear in mind when we consider how to vote on the new
European Constitution.

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This won't fly (eventually)
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:40 PM EST
Have been reading a lot today and this is what I think of it for the times to

I don't know which governmental body in the EU is responsible for such an
action, but the EU Commission's correctional body can easily revoke the decision
made because the decision was based on procedural error by the Luxembourg
presidency ( conclusion 1). Simply put, the
presidency stepped out of line. Besides the political repercussions for the
individual(s) involved, this would/should void the decision. If this will not
happen (which wouldn't surprise me) the EU Parliament still doesn't need a
majority vote to reject the directive, I guess. It can simple reject a voting
altogether based on the fact that the EU Commission's vote wasn't legitimate and
therefore there's nothing to vote about because the lack of validity.
Considering the relation between the EU Parliament and the EU Commission about
the subject in the past, this might be exactly what will happen (accompanied
with some serious ass-whipping by the EU Parliament addressing the Commission).
Even in the event this will not happen and the directive will be adopted by the
EU Parliament, because the can't get a majority vote against it, individual
countries still have a legitimate way to ignore the directive and not to develop
an implementation of the directive.

No matter how far today's decision will develop down the political
decision-making chain, it remains a procedural non-legitimate consensus. At the
time this directive might be turned into local law, to much business will be
directly damaged by such law. No government is as stupid as to install a law
that incriminated a significant part of that countries industry overnight. That
would render a government in a position where they would have too many difficult
questions to answer.

In the end today proves that Bill Gates (and consorts) has more influence in the
EU Commission than I was willing to believe. That's a trick he can't play many
times though, for it will raise integrity questions about the people involved
(and will have repercussions for them). Rest assured, even if such law will be
made, it will be abolished soon after again. They (governments) won't like the
thought of their most enterprising and fastest growing companies moving to Asia
(I for sure will if I'm forced to).

For ones I'm happy governmental operations take long. It ensures that that even
the most wicked attempts by corporations to keep themselves in power will fail.
Most people don't (want to) believe the proprietary software business model is
all but dead, but in the EU this is already more truth than fiction. At the
hearth of it all is a simple truth: "You can make the best product ever
produced, but you still need customers willing to do business with you."
The fact that the EU convicted M$ send a strong signal through the EU. As a
result, companies rather invest in OSS than supporting M$. M$ made sure a lot of
their customers have as little choice as possible, but that only works for a
limited period of time. The outrageous attempts to work the EU political system
in order to derail OSS only proves (in my point of view) that M$ itself knows
pretty well it will be in deep doodoo in the near future.

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to
promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so
much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let
them have it." (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Audio Transcript?
Authored by: PJ on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 02:52 PM EST
If anyone wants to do one, I'll be happy to put it up on Groklaw.

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It's not the end of the world
Authored by: Naich on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:09 PM EST
This, without doubt, bad news but the fight isn't over yet. Now is the time to make sure that your MEPs vote against it.

In the UK, use and get a commitment that they will vote against it when it comes before the parliament for the second reading.

Slagging each other's countries off doesn't really help much. Isn't it better to spend that time doing something constructive, rather than pointlessly bickering?

Even if it does become law, it's not quite as bad as the US system (e.g., it has to have a technical contribution, so business methods are out), and there is already a healthy US Linux movement going on (heard of a company called Red Hat, for example?). We can fight it in other ways too, like digging out prior art for patents that could be dangerous. We can protect our inventions by firmly establishing dates and prior art for any inventions that the FOSS community comes up with.

We are a worldwide community of millions of people. Imagine the potential if we all work together. We can be more powerful than any corporation.

Well, we could be if we stopped arguing and started doing something constructive.

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Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: blacklight on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:15 PM EST
"The software patent directive was passed as an A-Item, despite the
requests for a B-Item from Denmark, Poland, Portugal and others. They were told
no B-Item was possible, for procedural rules reasons, so it stayed as an A-Item,
and it was rammed through that way" PJ

That parliamentary sleight of hand was quite a neat hat trick. The message that
I am getting is that the the EU Commission says that moving the patent item from
an A-item to a B-item is impossible unless the patent item is first removed as
an A-item - What's to prevent Denmark et al from insisting in response that the
patent item be removed as an A-item? Unless these rules of procedures be made
totally transparent, the most powerful people in EU will be the high priests who
can interpret and take advantage of these rules of procedure.

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First step - the Danes need to sack their representative
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 03:32 PM EST
He was told to ensure that the item became a B item. He didn't do it. Sack him!
He is either incompetent or has colluded to frustrate the directions of his
government. He should be gone.

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Welcome to the Information Age
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 05:07 PM EST
Open source is an information age technology. Like the internet, its

I think Microsoft should be worried about IBM. IBM takes a lot of interest in
open source and Linux. IBM is planning to launch Linux.

Sadly, IBM is pro-patent. But that is because it's economically fesible to be
against patents.. yet. Plenty of the patents they own can stiffle Microsoft's
progression, if Microsoft tries to stiffle IBMs.

Patents are wrong because every new patent is like a new law. Major players
keep writing derivatives to the law. An these derivatives easily turn innocent
people into criminals.

We have open source and copyright protection.
They have "open law" and patent protection.

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A slight reverse, but the battle is not over
Authored by: Chris Lingard on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 05:19 PM EST

Since the Council's decision is disgusting and corrupt, it is bound to be challenged. One thing that the Council have succeeded in doing is to really annoy the European Parliament.

Another interesting thing is that I cannot download the minutes of this meeting

I think we are in for a long and complicated battle

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Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 05:42 PM EST
My labour MEP offers This document on the new european constitution.
I'm still undecided.

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Thank you IBM
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 07:02 PM EST
You're a real friend to FOSS. Thanks for supporting patents in Europe. Don't
worry, I won't forget this, nor will I let anyone else...

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Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 07:07 PM EST
I posted this in an earlier thread but wanted to put it
here as i really wanted to know what people think. I'm
just a small it guy in britain and not a lawyer so I don't
know much about this stuff - so I thought I'd ask you

"The reason it makes people angry is it makes what is now
legal illegal, and turns innocent people into criminals."

One quick question. How can they "back date" patents. I
always thought that under the law if you did something
yesterday that was legal but today we make it illegal,
unless you do it again today or tomorrow you can't be
prosecuted as you did nothing wrong. If this is the case
surely the ideas already "out there" cannot be patented
there is so much prior art. I suppose what I am asking is
how can the big companies sue me - the developer - for
doing exactly what I was before for infringing a patent
that didn't exist.

Will this not just give a lot of "prior art" to stop
stupid patents now. Alright I know that it won't stop new
ideas being patented but can old ideas be patented too!
That to me sounds stupid!

What do you think?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Bribing the Council Presidency
Authored by: mjr on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 07:25 PM EST

For those who would like to make a more politically incorrect point of this farce, you might consider signing up to bribing the Council Presidency.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 08:45 PM EST
I used to live in Europe. I now do not. The state that European politics has
been getting into was a major reason for this change. As I could not vote to
change things, it was being ignored, I voted with my feet.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Software Patent Directive Passed as A-Item
Authored by: jim Reiter on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 08:59 PM EST

OTOH as the United Europe (Union?) becomes another United Nations, with all the
imperfection of a rabble feasting on free beer, Europe will cease to be a factor
in any area of endeavor.

Microsoft is not the future.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Innovative protest needed
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 09:10 PM EST
How about ...

... if everyone digs in their bottom drawer and hauls out that old broken modem,
ethernet card, or useless memory module that has been floating around. Break off
a nice sized bit of PCB circuit board, and mail it along with a letter of
protest to their MEP.

Now ... just imagine what is going to happen when all those thousands of letters
containing bits of cicuitry go through the X-Ray scanners. If enough people did
it, don't you think that might make the evening news.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • Let's don't - eom - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 09:40 PM EST
  • nice idea - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:44 PM EST
Dave Barry joke
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:28 PM EST

The European Council of Ministers reminds me of an old Dave Barry joke about the Keating Five: “It would be a serious violation of the libel laws to call them ‘Prostitutes With Speechwriters.’”

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The Ministers won't, of course, see themselves as being corrupt
Authored by: eric76 on Monday, March 07 2005 @ 10:50 PM EST
From their eyes, software patents probably make perfect sense.

First of all, none of them or their colleagues, friends, neighbors, ... are ever
going to write software. That's done by people they hire. And they want to
make sure they own what they paid for to every possible extent.

Second, they will never work for a small software company. If they ever do
leave politics, the kind of company that is going to hire them is a large
company -- the kind that benefits from keeping the small companies in their

Third, if they stay in government employ the rest of their so-called working
lives, they are likely to be among the better paid of those who work for the
government and will probably be investing much more of that cash into large,
well-known, solid companies than in small companies. They will probably never
receive any direct benefit of any kind from any small company.

From their point of view, anything that helps the large corporations is
obviously good, particularly if it minimizes the number of pesky upstarts that
could cause earnings problems for the big corporations.

Whey they talk about how they favor competition in the marketplace, they're not
talking about competition between a large corporation and thousands of small
companies. They are talking about competition between a handfull of large
corporations. To them, a small company is just an annoyance.

They're not acting on behalf of anyone but themselves. And because of their
status, they are unable to understand the distinction.

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Contact Danish Traitor
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 08 2005 @ 12:00 AM EST

Here is a link to the Danish MP Bendt Bendtsen's homepage about himself (in Danish). And this is his contact page, where he graciously allows you to express your opinion. I recommend that you do!

He wants your name ("Dit navn") and your email address ("Din email addresse") and then your comment ("Kommentar").

Also, according to Danish news sources, Danish opposition MPs have requested an emergency meeting in the Danish Parliament, where Mr.Bendtsen has to explain his less than wholehearted effort in forcing the directive to be treated as a B-item.
According to spokespersons for two of the opposition parties, Mr.Bendtsen did not follow the mandate he was given and "may have a problem" as it was expressed.

Tordenskjold - not logged in

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EUnuchs in the Parliament won't overturn this
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, March 08 2005 @ 01:00 AM EST
This didn't pass by accident.

Someday soon, you Europeans will wake up to political corruption. In the
meantime, enjoy your dreamworld.

Democracy? Puhhhlleeeese. You aren't that stupid are you? Oh, wait, this
already answers the question.

[ Reply to This | # ]

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