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08.27.08

Another Global Effort to End Software Patents Once and For All

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 8:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

The world unites in a new Web site against software patents. It’s called “Stop Software Patents”, as opposed to “End Software Patents” and it illustrates just how much resistance from how many different directions is aimed at destroying an anti-social, anti-developers law, or at least prevent it from spreading.

A couple of days ago, we showed just how many continents were affected by a new push from the likes of Microsoft for software patents in more countries. Monopolies on algorithms is all they have left amid severe problems with the business model and with business ethics. The margins erode.

Asia

Joining the Indian fight against software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], might we soon see Malaysia? There’s an alarming blog post, “Software Patents in Malaysia?”, over at OpenMalaysia. It summarises thusly:

I do hope that En. Noriswadi’s intentions are sincere in that he is looking genuine input from stakeholders. I do also hope that he is more sensitive to aspects of this debate from the FOSS perspective. More importantly he does his homework on the full benefits and disadvantages of software patents.

It is interesting to note that globally, the software patent mess is starting to rear its ugly head yet again. In the EU, Charlie McCreevy is trying to legalise software patents with a US-EU patent treaty, and in India the Patent Office is working on a Draft Patent Manual to allow software patents.

EU

FFII is drumming up support in the fight against software patents. Roberto Galoppini remarks on Italy’s participation so far.

A group of FFII activists have decided to set up big European petitions targeting national legislators of the members of the European Patent Convention to clarify the limitations of patentability.

[...]

In Italy Italian Linux Society and Associazione per il Software Libero have already signed the petition, I hope more will support the initiative soon.

UK

Over in the UK, feedback is sought by the UK-IPO [via Digital Majority]. The most unfortunate turn of events in the UK was covered here before.

This short questionnaire seeks information to help with an assessment by the UK-IPO of the impact of the proposed European Patent Court on UK companies. It is aimed at companies and organisations holding patents.

Copyrights are another interesting issue that came up in the EU due to the likes of McCreevy and Sarkozy [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are those speak for the maximalsts, not the citizens that they purport to be representing. The Register gave some coverage to critics of this power shift (from ‘the people’ to wealthy producers, some of whom are deceased).

A leading academic has warned that the European Commission “wilfully ignored” studies that it paid for whose conclusions disagreed with its policy, and that the Commission is misleading the European Union Council, Parliament and citizens over copyright extension.

Also noteworthy is last week’s scandal (sparking the week before that). It’s about the British government violating copyright law and cashing in at the expense of open sourcerers. Here is the latest from The Open Sourcerer:

I was looking about on-line the other day just following my (rather large) nose around the ‘Anthony Baggett’s theme being used by Number 10 Downing Street’ story. And I came across something I don’t really understand. Perhaps others might be able to shed some light on what might be going on here?

Let’s start with the background: Number 10’s Website, is using a look and feel derived from an original theme by Anthony called NetWorker. The way we know this is by the header that was left in the main stylesheet and almost every other file from Anthony’s original package being left in tact on the server.

It is quite amusing to see the hypocrites from Number 10 choosing to turn ISPs into copyright cops, who operate at the expense of everyone, collectively, under the assumption that everyone in the UK attacks ships (‘pirates’). It’s not only a collective punishment, but it’s also hugely ineffective. Nothing prevents people from sharing data without the Internet. They fight a losing battle and turn everyone in Internet services into a nervous and overworked human network monitor. Sooner or later, entire protocols are dropped (throwing the baby out with the bath water). False positive will surely lead to backlash and sharing of perfectly-legitimate content stifled.

Previously in this saga (from the past week):

Going by Hollywood’s terminology, is it fair to call the American a British government “pirates”, “thieves”, and even “criminals” (attributed to Dan Glickman). Even the MPAA has violated copyright law.

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