| Esta discussão foi arquivada. Não se pode acrescentar nenhum comentário.|
| From: PILCH Hartmut <phm at a2e.de>|
Subject: [ffii] European Parliament Rejects Attempt to Rush Vote on Software Patent Directive
Date: 27 Jun 2003 08:39:03 +0200
FFII News -- For Immediate Release -- Please Redistribute
European Parliament Rejects Attempt to Rush Vote on Software Patent Directive
For immediate Release
The European Parliament has postponed the vote on the software patent directive back to the original date of 1st of September, thereby rejecting initially successful efforts of its rapporteur Arlene McCarthy (UK Labour MEP of Manchester who acted as a rapporteur for the directive in the parliament) and her supporters to rush to vote on June 30th, a mere twelve days after publication of the highly controversial report and tend days after the unexpected change of schedule.
Members of Parliament from all parties had complained that it was impossible to react adequately within a timeframe of 10 days.
Until Wednesday, leaders of the two largest blocks, the socialists (PSE) and conservatives (PPE), seemed determined to follow the recommentations of their "patent experts" and go ahead with the vote quickly. They explained that there was no reason to wait, because all possible amendment proposals had already been submitted to the committees and translated to all languages, and there was no need for new amendments. This view however became increasingly difficult to uphold, as more and more MEPs in all parties became aware of the schedule change and pointed out that they wanted to prepare new amendments.
Within the socialist group, a large opposition group, possibly the majority, gathered around Michel Rocard (FR), Luis Berenguer (ES), Evelyn Gebhardt (DE), Olga Zrihen (BE) and other MEPs who had played a prominent role in resisting software patentability.
On Wednesday the climate change became apparent. More and more MEPs rumored that the schedule would not be upheld. Even Arlene McCarthy was quoted as saying that it might be too tight. A spokesman from the General Directorate for the Internal Market of the European Commission, which has been pushing for the directive together with Arlene McCarthy and other allies in the Parliaments Commitee for Legal Affairs and the Internal Market (JURI), meanwhile told journalists: "Arlene McCarthy has tried hard to have the vote conducted on June 30th, but as things now stand, this looks rather unlikely."
On Thursday morning, at the meeting of the secretary generals, the representatives of all political groups voted for postponment. Their vote was confirmed by the conference of presidents (i.e. head of transnational party groups) during their session at 3 p.m. At 8 p.m. the decision was made public on the webpage. Many software professionals have been contacting their MEPs in recent days. A letter by Tim Jackson, operations manager for Internet Assist Ltd in Chelmsford, UK, reflects the mood:
Almost all involved in software in Europe, bar a select few large corporations, and law firms who make money from litigation and legal complexities, are opposed to software patenting. There is a huge groundswell of opinion amongst the real software engineers (who understand the complex process and history of software development) which favours strong and unambiguous prohibition of patents on software. Copyright is the right tool to protect software, not patents. By using grossly misleading and emotive language such as "giving software innovators the protection they deserve" the proponents are trying to give the appearance that software developers and businesses are crying out for "protection" by patents, when quite the opposite is true - we (and society at large) actually want and need protection from software patents! [...] If any of you intend to vote in favour of the proposed Directive, may I ask you to be so kind as to explain to myself your reasons for concluding that this is in the interests of Europe? The eyes of many IT-literate constituents are on you, and you will undoubtedly permanently lose many of our votes (certainly including mine) should you choose to support this assault on our livelihoods and interests.
This groundswell of public sentiment, together with a concerted lobbying effort by a group of 2000 software companies coordinated by FFII/Eurolinux, has undoubtedly helped to raise awareness among MEPs. As FFII president Hartmut Pilch remarked,
With the big pressures in European institutions it might seem that only deep pocket companies lobbies would be taken into account, but our experience shows that public opinion, grass-roots efforts and a little coordination and organisation can still push the interests of the majority, at least for so evident cases.
The conference which we organised with the Greens/EFA in May and the steadily mounting pressure of public opinion have clearly created a sense of urgency among the promoters of software patentability in the Legal Affairs Commission. Now, thanks to the postponement, we have three more session weeks for raising awareness.
The Commission for Legal Affairs and the Internal Market was justly labelled a "legislative sausage machine" by its vice president Willy Rothley shortly before its misguided vote on software patents. This sausage machine has been turning out a seemingly never-ending series of poorly-crafted and shoddily-reasoned special-interest legislation for many years. Now perhaps for the first time the sausage machine is meeting a public resistance which could bring it to a rest. We may cautiously hope that we are part of a process of change for the better in the culture of lawmaking in Europe. Media Contacts
media at ffii org
Hartmut Pilch +49-89-18979927
More Contacts to be supplied upon request
About the Eurolinux Alliance -- www.eurolinux.org
The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture based on copyright, open standards, open competition and open source software such as Linux. Corporate members or sponsors of EuroLinux develop or sell software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating systems such as GNU/Linux, MacOS or MS Windows.
About the FFII -- www.ffii.org
The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a non-profit association registered in Munich, which is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 200 members, 180 companies and 12000 individual supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions in the area of software property law.
Permanent URL of this Press Release
- PSE pushes Parliament to rush vote on McCarthy software patentability directive
Due to requests from the Socialist Group (PSE) of JURI rapporteur Arlene McCarthy, the European Parliament protracted the planned vote on software patentabilty from September 1 to July 1, just 13 days after McCarthy won the vote in the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI).
- Vote in 8 days: 2000 IT bosses urge European Parliament to say NO to software patents
A "Petition for a Free Europe without Software Patents" has gained more than 150000 signatures. Among the supporters are more than 2000 company owners and chief executives and 25000 developpers and engineers from all sectors of the European information and telecommunication industries, as well as more than 2000 scientists and 180 lawyers. Companies like Siemens, IBM, Alcatel and Nokia lead the list of those whose researchers and developpers want to protect programming freedom and copyright property against what they see as a "patent landgrab". Currently the patent policy of many of these companies is still dominated by their patent departments. These have intensively lobbied the European Parliament to support a proposal to allow patentability of "computer-implemented inventions" (recent patent newspeak term which usually refers to software in the context of patent claims, i.e. algorithms and business methods framed in terms of generic computing equipment), which the rapporteur, UK Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy, backed by "patent experts" from the socialist and conservative blocks, is trying to rush through the European Parliament on June 30, just 13 days after she had won the vote in the Legal Affairs Committe (JURI).
- JURI votes for Fake Limits on Patentability
The European Parliament's Committee for Legal Affairs and the Internal Market (JURI) voted on tuesday morning about a list of proposed amendments to the planned software patent directive. It was the third and last in a series of committee votes, whose results will be presented to the plenary in early september. The other two commissions (CULT, ITRE) had opted to more or less clearly exclude software patents. The JURI rapporteur Arlene McCarthy MEP (UK socialist) also claimed to be aiming for a "restrictive harmonisation of the status quo" and "exclusion of software as such, algorithms and business methods from patentability". Yet McCarthy presented a voting list to fellow MEPs which, upon closer look, turns ideas like "Amazon One-Click Shopping" into patentable inventions. McCarthy and her followers rejected all amendment proposals that try to define central terms such as "technical" or "invention", while supporting some proposals which reinforce the patentability of software, e.g. by making publication of software a direct patent infringment, by stating that "computer-implemented inventions by their very nature belong to a field of technology", or by inserting new economic rationales ("self-evident" need for Europeans to rely on "patent protection" in view of "the present trend for traditional manufacturing industry to shift their operations to low-cost economies outside the European Union") into the recitals. Most of McCarthy's proposals found a conservative-socialist 2/3 majority (20 of 30 MEPs), whereas most of the proposals from the other committees (CULT = Culture, ITRE = Industry) were rejected. Study reports commissioned by the Parliament and other EU institutions were disregarded or misquoted, as some of their authors point out (see below). A few socialists and conservatives voted together with Greens and Left in favor of real limits on patentability (such as the CULT opinion, based on traditional definitions, that "data processing is not a field of technology" and that technical invention is about "use of controllable forces of nature"), but they were overruled by the two largest blocks. Most MEPs simply followed the voting lists of their "patent experts", such as Arlene McCarthy (UK) for the Socialists (PSE) and shadow rapporteur Dr. Joachim Würmeling (DE) for the Conservatives (EPP). Both McCarthy and Würmeling have closely followed the advice of the directive proponents from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission's Industrial Property Unit (CEC-Indprop, represented by former UK Patent Office employee Anthony Howard) and declined all offers of dialog with software professionals and academia ever since they were nominated rapporteurs in May 2002.
- FFII: Software Patents in Europe
For the last few years the European Patent Office (EPO) has, contrary to the letter and spirit of the existing law, granted more than 20000 patents on what the law calls "programs for computers" and what the European Patent Office (EPO) started to call "computer-implemented inventions" in 2000: software in a context of patent claims, i.e. rules of organisation and calculation framed in terms of generic computing equipment. Now Europe's patent community is pressing to impose the EPO' recent practise by writing a new law. Europe's programmers and citizens are facing considerable risks. Here you find the basic documentation, starting from a short overview and the latest news.
© 2003/06/27 Workgroup
| Isso dá mais alguma margem para tomar algumas medidas, mas... o que é que o comum mortal pode fazer? |
Isto, é: o que é que eu, que utilizo o GNU/Linux diariamente, apoio o movimento de software livre, concordo com a posição da Ansol (mas não sou sócio...), posso fazer para ajudar nesta luta contra patentes de software? Que acções devo tomar para ajudar? Será que o que tem sido sugerido (enviar cartas aos MEPs) é viável?
| Enviar cartas ou faxes é uma alternativa. |
- Divulgar este assunto.
- Ajudar na tradução/criação de documentos em português.
- Aprender muito sobre este assunto e contactar directamente os eurodeputados.
- Descobrir amigos nos partidos políticos para divulgar este assunto a nível nacional.
| Pois... o problema é que estas medidas são todas um pouco "vagas". Escrevo cartas e faxes a quem? Aos eurodeputados? Eu tenho dúvidas da eficácia disso... desconfio que os senhores nunva venham sequer a saber da existência dessas cartas. |
Procurar amigos nos partidos políticos parece-me uma boa ideia mas não é fácil ;)
Não dá para alguém organizar uma série de medidas mais concreta? Por exemplo, eu sugiro que a Ansol escreva um texto acerca do assunto e comece a recolher assinaturas. Ok. Eu sei que a Ansol não pode fazer tudo, mas o facto de termos uma associação que (apesar do que se dizem as más linguas...) zela pelos nossos interesses dá alguma visibilidade à petição.
Pode parecer que o que eu quero é "não fazer nada acerca do assunto", mas acho que uma medida em conjunto poderia ser mais eficaz.
| Não é necessário replicar esforços, além de que não é boa ideia alimentar a mentira da McCarthy de que só o pessoal do Software Livre e "Open Source" é que se opõem.|
Para além disso passaria a ser uma medida em conjunto com mais de 150000 pessoas (algo ligeiramente mais do que a ANSOL representa).
Podes começar por ler os links que vêm descritos :)
| Não utilizo software livre, no entanto não quero ser privado dessa opção. |
Também eu gostava de fazer qualquer coisa...mas fazer traduções parece muito trabalho...ha algum baixo assinado?
Contém comigo para a tarte.