EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.27.09

Jonathan Zuck and ACT: What is It Anyway?

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT Microsoft

Summary: As the lobby for software patents in Europe intensifies, we identify and dissect the culprits

EUROPE is under attack at the moment. Lobbyists of firms like Microsoft — and in particular ACT — are trying to legalise software patents, thus marginalise Free software, and the Commission is not particularly helpful; it’s almost playing along with the lobby, or playing right into its hands.

A few days ago, Digital Majority identified ACT’s Jonathan Zuck trying to legalise software patents in Europe through the loophole of contamination (whose euphemisms include “harmonisation” or “Community”). Here is Zuck himself, a Microsoft lobbyist who met Bill Gates, once again pretending to speak on behalf of small businesses (hijacking their voices):

EU takes key step towards bloc-wide patent system

[...]

Lobbyists for smaller firms welcomed the move.

“We hope this development will give a new impetus to the conclusion of negotiations on the community patent,” said Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology.

“Small and medium-sized firms cannot wait for it, they need it today,” he said.

Smaller firms do not welcome the move and Jonathan Zuck is not their spokesman. He is a hired gun of the vicious monopolist called Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. They try to pass new laws with bogus endorsements and it seems clear that Zuck is back at work lobbying for software patents EU-wide. They try to do it quietly without mentioning the phrase “software patents” because these patents are too controversial. They make mere programming a case of civil disobedience.

As pointed out some days ago, there is a new identity to to this push which Charlie McCreevy put forth as his evil “hamonisation” plan, with endorsement from the French president, who is a friend of Microsoft. The Microsoft-sponsored Czech presidency too is a supporter.

Speaking of McCreevy, we have this new report from Asia:

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.

A coalition opposing this attempt to ban Free software is urgently needed as long as Brimelow adopts a spineless approach [1, 2]. The likes of ACT have plenty of money to spend on AstroTurf domains and all sort of “Innovation Day”-type lobbying events. Microsoft is taking the invoices and paying the bills whilst the Commission becomes a bamboozled victim in the hands of insiders.

From an unpublished ACT 2006 submission to the Commission Future of Patent Policy consultation sent to Mr. Erik Nooteboom* (see consultation, more details, and this larger list):

Yes. We agree that a well-functioning patent system should include clear substantive rules and would add that such rules already exist under the current European patent system. As such, there is no need for further legislation regarding patentability (subject matter) and conditions of protection (in particular, novelty and inventiveness). The existing rules, as defined by the European Patent Convention (EPC), the Strasbourg Convention and the national patent laws which implement them, offer the right framework as to what can be patentable and under which conditions. The provisions of the EPC and the Strasbourg Convention adequately address the substantive conditions for patent protection, the scope of patents, and exceptions to patentability. No additional approximation of the substantive patent rules is required. By way of comparison, it’s worth noting that the legal instruments which define the subject matter and conditions of protection of other intellectual property rights, including the European Directives harmonising copyright or trademark law, offer a similar level of certainty as to the definition and conditions for protection of IP rights.

See that bit about “harmonising”? And the assimilation of patents to other separate things using the “IP” buzzword? Here is also Microsoft’s submission [PDF]. They sure seem like a crowd this way, don’t they? Microsoft represents itself and pays another entity to pretend that it represents 4,000 small businesses. Microsoft also commonly uses the BSA and CompTIA for these purposes.

So who or what is ACT anyway? We’ve been through this before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], but let’s learn about ACT from ACT itself. Its introduction says:

For ACT members, the patent system is one of the key areas of European legislation that affects their business, and the most important of all areas of intellectual property. In an era where interoperability is increasingly important, patents have become critical to smaller software innovators. Using their institutional advantages of market penetration, geographic reach, promotional dollars, etc., larger competitors can simply co-opt the copyrighted inventions of smaller firms. Within months, they can reverse engineer their technologies and quickly distribute the new products through their well-established pipelines. Trade secrets, a previous favorite of software developers, are also insufficient in an era where interoperability and cooperation are paramount. Attempting to maintain trade secret protection while sharing code and other valuable information becomes very complex and inefficient. Further, trade secrets burden the developer with demonstrating their means of protecting that secret and the consistency of that protection. In the real world this is a question of resources, an advantage smaller firms do not have. In addition to improving Europe’s patent system along the lines set out by ACT in this paper, other urgent measures should be taken. By tackling over-regulation, educating ICT entrepreneurs to be better businessmen and engendering an entrepreneurial mind-set within Europe, EU Member States and EU Institutions could create the right atmosphere through which to assist ICT entrepreneurs in Europe to benefit from a healthier hi-tech business environment.

[...]

While ACT enjoys some support from larger “platform” firms such as eBay, Oracle, Verisign and Microsoft, it represents smaller, entrepreneurial tech firms that use these platforms, like Sax Software, TechTalk, Galleria Retail Technology Solutions, Premitech, and Tribeka Converging Technologies.

Let’s deconstruct this a little.

Sax Software is the company of Jonathan Zuck's ACT co-lobbyist and possibly former ACT president, Mike Sax. The company offers visual basic widgets. In other words, it’s closely tied to ACT and to Microsoft Windows as well.

Tribeka is considered to be a European SME lobby — a dummy for patents for Microsoft, a “startup” for around 10 years with a software packaging business concept that they tried to patent: You can burn your CD and print the cover in the shop using a terminal. Daniel Doll-Steinberg always makes the SME software patent case for Microsoft in Brussels lobbying. But his invention is not a software patent and even Microsoft is not actually interested in his “innovative” distribution channel idea.

Gallery Retail is a Microsoft certified partner, whose Windows-based Web site flogs promotional displays.

Jonathan Zuck also tells how ACT came into existence:

How it got started: in 1998, governments across the world were busy debating issues like the Y2K crisis, antitrust in the new economy, encryption exports and broadband. But when debate turned to serious discussions about how government needed to ‘fix’ the tech industry, even executives of smaller firms started to take notice. While these executives were finally awake to the direct and immediate threat of heavy-handed government regulation, none of them had their own lobbyists or government affairs staff. Yet, with so much at stake, they realized that small tech firms could no longer remain in the silent majority of international business. Later that year, several executives of small technology firms came together to create the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT). Since its founding, ACT has been the leading voice for the entrepreneurial tech firms that are so critical to our world’s economy. Since its inception ACT has found that many of the issues that face SMEs are global in scope. This has led SMEs from outside the United States, in Europe and Asia joining as members.

“Antitrust in the new economy” simply refers to Microsoft’s investigation at the Department of Justice. That’s where Judge Jackson called Microsoft “criminals”. It seems safe to believe that ACT is a rename/respin of the defunct ATL, which perhaps got a little ‘too’ exposed when Microsoft needed shills to write supportive letters (‘on behalf’ of dead people) in 1998. CAGW and ATL were among those in the headlines and so was DCI. ATL is another Zuck-led lobbying arm and according to SourceWatch, ACT was actually created by Microsoft, so it’s nothing to do with small businesses. To quote SourceWatch:

Microsoft has also created new trade groups, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) and Americans for Technology Leadership (ATL), to generate support for the company through Web sites and a sophisticated and largely hidden grassroots lobbying campaign.

ACT is still very busy creating new domains and making up all sorts of campaigns whose domain name is registered by proxy. We covered this before and offered evidence.

“ACT was actually created by Microsoft, so it’s nothing to do with small businesses.”Returning to ACT’s own description of the raison d’être, “leading voice for the entrepreneurial tech firms that are so critical to our world’s economy” simply means that whenever regulators make proposals that challenge Microsoft’s business (e.g. antitrust, open document formats, software patents), ACT lobbyist/photographer Jonathan “guitar hero” Zuck and his team come to the rescue and lend SME AstroTurf support.

You’ve got to love how they mix (saturate/dilute) lists to hide the real source and concentration of power.

For example:

“eBay, Oracle, Verisign [...oh! And some 'small' company that created us, a company called] Microsoft”

Regarding support from industry:

“Sax Software…”

That would be a company created by Zuck’s friend and one of the chief people among ACT’s staff.

How many small companies are they listing? Like half a dozen at most? Where are those 4,000 companies that Zuck spoke to me about? Are these too ashamed to be affiliated or associated with ACT? Are they even aware that their voices are being stolen by a Microsoft lobby that seeks to harm them ‘on their behalf’?

ACT also says : “in 1998, governments across the world were busy debating issues like the Y2K crisis, antitrust in the new economy, encryption exports and broadband.”

More dilution exists there. What’s that second thing again? Was it only antitrust? Was there a specific case that year? Were other issues like encryption exports and broadband relevant only in 1998?

ACT — who are these guys kidding? We’ll start keeping better track using the always-under-construction Wiki.

Zuck et al can change names/umbrellas once again, just like Blackwater recently did. To escape bad reputation by morphing is not so easy when you know the names of the people involved and soon realise where their wage comes from. It just makes it harder to search or inquire by company names, assuming there is no proper mapping between old and new identities.
____
* There is another consultation in the repository on patents and all the copyright consultation stuff from DG market. Interesting are in particular the contributions of LJ Jakob and Micelli.

“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

A Memo to Patrick Durusau

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The EPO Is More Corrupt Under Battistelli Than Under Alison Brimelow: Part IIX

    After Brimelow, with all her flaws and her scandals, an even worse President is installed who then abolishes oversight and seemingly brings his old friends to the EPO, creating a sort of subculture that is impenetrable to outsiders



  2. Claiming That Microsoft 'Loves' Linux While Windows Update Bricks Devices With Linux

    The sheer absurdity of claims that Microsoft -- which not only attacks those who distribute Linux and GNU but also blackmails them, takes them to court, or bricks their products without any liability -- 'loves' Linux



  3. Protectionist Reign: Corporations in Complete Control of Everything With Domination Over Patent Law

    How multinational corporations, joined by the corporate press that they are funding, promote a corporations- but not people-friendly patent policy in north America



  4. Links 30/10/2014: GNOME 3.15.1, Red Hat Software Collections 1.2

    Links for the day



  5. Links 29/10/2014: Ubuntu Touch Tablet, Puppy Linux 6.0

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/10/2014: SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, Canonical OpenStack Distro

    Links for the day



  7. Links 28/10/2014: PiFxOS, The Document Foundation in OSBA

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft is Bricking Devices With Linux (Yet Again!), So a Microsoft Booster Spins/Paints Linux Devices as 'Fakes'

    Microsoft delivers rogue drivers through Windows Update and they brick Arduino microcontrollers



  9. How Bill Gates Continues to Pass Wealth From the Public to His Own Bank Account

    Having put a universal tax on many things (not just computers) and evaded tax using the classic 'charity' trick, Gates is now buying the media, the schools, politicians etc. and earns as much as 10 billion dollars per year while the public is taught that Gates is a giver, not a hoarder of the worst kind



  10. Links 27/10/2014: Lenovo Unbundling, Linux 3.18 RC2

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: September 14th, 2014 – October 25th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  12. Links 25/10/2014: KDE Mockups, Update on GNOME Outreach Program for Women

    Links for the day



  13. After Infecting Unity -- Successfully -- Microsoft's Partner Xamarin Wants to Infect Unreal Engine With .NET

    Xamarin continues to spread dependence on Microsoft to more gaming frameworks, not just platforms such as GNU/Linux, Android, and even permanent-state devices



  14. Taking Microsoft Windows Off the Grid for Damage to Businesses, the Internet, and Banking Systems

    Microsoft's insecure-by-design software is causing massive damages ([cref 27802 possibly trillions] of [cref 13992 dollars in damages to date]) and yet the corporate press does not ask the right questions, let alone suggest a ban on Microsoft software



  15. City of Berlin Does Not Abandon Free Software, It's Only Tax Authorities

    A Softpedia report that says the City of Berlin is moving to Microsoft Office is flawed and may be based on a poor translation



  16. Nadella a Liar in Chief at Microsoft, Pretending That His Anti-Competitive Practices Are Unfortunately Imposed on Microsoft

    The nastiness of Microsoft knows no bounds as even its assault on GNU/Linux and dirty tricks against Free software adoption are characterised as the fault of 'pirates'



  17. Reuters Writes About the Demise of Software Patents, But Focuses on 'Trolls' and Quotes Lawyers

    How the corporate media chooses to cover the invalidity of many software patents and the effect of that



  18. Links 24/10/2014: Microsoft Tax Axed in Italy, Google's Linux (ChromeOS/Android) Leader Promoted

    Links for the day



  19. Links 24/10/2014: GNU/Linux History, Fedora Delay

    Links for the day



  20. Links 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  21. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  22. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  23. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  24. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  25. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  26. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  27. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  28. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  29. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  30. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts