Microsoft and a Puppet Regime Act Upon Copyrights, Deception Involved; Update on Software Patents and Europe
In a recent long post we discussed the enormous effect political pressures have on a variety of policies including software patents and copyrights. We cited Lawrence Lessig’s ambitious yet provable claim that political corruption plays a significant role, which it does indeed.
“There is probably a great deal of favours being exchanged here in one subtle form or another.”Michael Geist, who is quite widely known for his work on copyrights in Canada, has just caught Microsoft misleading to make new laws. He previously caught Hollywood studios making some similar maneuvers, but this time it is a software giant which has a lot to earn from the DMCA.
Speaking of DMCA, remember Nicolas Sarkozy, the man who was ‘bought’ by Microsoft? He has sort of been busted for tactless work on copyrights (yes, again). There is probably a great deal of favours being exchanged here in one subtle form or another. The main sufferer, as Geist points out in his blog, is the innocent consumer, who will be forced to pay more money to already-wealthy corporations. Nicolas Sarkozy has just betrayed the French people whose wealth is more likely to fall into the hands of rich people residing overseas.
Looking elsewhere in Europe, the lobby for software patents shows no signs of rest. This time it’s Finland.
On Tuesday 19 February 2008 the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology (HIIT), Pilotti-rakennus, Metsänneidonkuja 4, Espoo, is conducting a seminar on software patents. The programme features Associate Prof (Hokkaido) Na Ri Lee speaking on “Fragmented Infringement of Computer Program Patents in the Global Economy”, and Rosa Maria Ballardini, (IPR University Center, Hanken) then addresses the topic of “Software Patents in Europe: the Technical Requirement Dilemma”. This is an internal seminar, which is not open to the public. But a version of Rosa Maria Ballardini’s paper will be published later this year in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. The IPKat will let everyone know when this happens.
Anyway, the bottom line is that once again we find a case in which those seeking patent protection in Europe are far from certain as to where they stand. Can you obtain and then enforce software-related patents in the UK or not? Although the case decided yesterday involved patent applications to the UKIPO, there is still an issue with patents granted by the EPO.
As we pointed out yesterday, at this stage, centralisation of the system is a true danger to Europe. █