03.27.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 16/10/2021: Xubuntu 21.10 and DearPyGui 1.0.0

    Links for the day



  2. DuckDuckGo’s HQ is Smaller Than My Apartment

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  3. Post About Whether Vivaldi is a GPL violation Was Quietly Knifed by the Mods of /r/uBlockOrigin in Reddit

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Spain

    The EPO‘s António Campinos is an ‘Academy’ of overt nepotism; what Benoît Battistelli did mostly in France Campinos does in Spain and Portugal, severely harming the international image of these countries



  5. From Competitive (Top-Level, High-Calibre, Well-Paid) Jobs to 2,000 Euros a Month -- How the EPO is Becoming a Sweatshop by Patent Examiners' Standards

    A longish video about the dreadful situation at the EPO, where staff is being ‘robbed’ and EPO funds get funnelled into some dodgy stock market investments (a clear violation of the institution’s charter)



  6. [Meme] Protecting European Patent Courts From EPO 'Mafia'

    With flagrant disregard for court rulings (or workarounds to dodge actual compliance) it seems clear that today's EPO management is allergic to justice and to judges; European Patents perish at unprecedented levels in national European courts and it should be kept that way



  7. Links 15/10/2021: Pine64's New PinePhone Pro and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Codename

    Links for the day



  8. [Meme] GitHub Isn't Free Hosting, It's All About Control by Microsoft

    Deleting GitHub isn’t a political statement but a pragmatic decision, seeing how Microsoft routinely misuses its control over GitHub to manipulate the market



  9. With EPO 'Strike Regulations' Belatedly Ruled Unlawful, EPO Management May be Lowering the Salary Even Further by Introducing Outside 'Temps' or Casual Workers

    Institutional capture by an 'IP' (litigation) Mafia is nearly complete; with illegal so-called (anti) 'Strike Regulations' out the door, they're quickly moving on to another plan, or so it seems on the surface



  10. Links 15/10/2021: 95% of Ransomware Targets Windows

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 14, 2021



  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection

    The EPO‘s presidency (led by Frenchmen for nearly 15 years out of the past 18 years; Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are both French despite their somewhat misleading surnames) is extremely unlikely to even be mildly scrutinised by the French delegates because of a web of nepotism and protectionism



  13. [Meme] Another Maladministration Meeting Comes to an End

    Did the EPO‘s overseeing body properly tackle Benoît Battistelli‘s illegal acts, authorised by that very same overseeing body? Don’t hold your breath as António Campinos continues to crack down on staff (maybe ILOAT will rule on it in 2030)



  14. Links 14/10/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.2, Happy Birthday to Jolla, Ubuntu 21.10, Devuan GNU+Linux 4.0, OpenBSD 7.0

    Links for the day



  15. [Teaser] What Miguel de Icaza Really Thinks of the CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Following the opening of a new series about Microsoft GitHub we drop a little teaser today; we expect dozens of parts to be released in the coming weeks/months as facts are being validated and organised



  16. Splitting the Time to Cover More Leaks and Exposés

    We take stock of Part 11 of the ongoing EPO series (“EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion”) and explain what caused various delays yesterday; we may have to up our pace a little in order to keep up with an influx of leaks and whistleblowers



  17. [Meme] Destroying the Workplace

    The working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative CouncilThe working conditions at the EPO continue to worsen under the António Campinos regime, perpetuating the decade-long 'demolition project' of Benoît Battistelli and his cohorts in the complicit Administrative Council



  18. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part I — Inside a Den of Corruption and Misogynists

    Today we commence a new series that implicates Microsoft, GitHub, Copilot, and Team Mono



  19. EPO Management Tricks EPO Staff Into Taking More Paycuts

    “Education and childcare reform” [sic] is an António Campinos "reform" in the same sense regressive salary reductions are just “adjustments” (euphemism); Electronic opt-in gaffes, according to staff representatives, show that the tradition of Benoît Battistelli carries on at the Office, taking away from staff for a few corrupt officials to milk the institution to death



  20. Links 14/10/2021: Whisker Menu 2.6.1 and KDE's Birthday

    Links for the day



  21. Links 14/10/2021: DragonFly 6.0.1 Released and Red Hat Loses Another Top Executive

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 13, 2021



  23. Süddeutsche Zeitung Became a Propaganda Arm of EPO Management (and by Extension Software Patents/Patent Lobbyists)

    EPO ‘genius’ António Campinos enjoys shallow press coverage, which echoes or resembles Benoît Battistelli‘s corruption of the media (paid-for fluff)



  24. GNOME (and Debian) Infringe Human Rights by Shipping Parental Control Software (Internally Called “Malcontent”)

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  25. No, JWZ, Discord is Not “IRC With Pictures”

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” - Battistelli's Swiss Apprentice?

    The António Campinos-led EPO won’t be subjected to real oversight by the Administrative Council, which ‘met’ (online) earlier today; so we look at who in the Administrative Council did what; today we wrap up the parts about Switzerland (third part of three)



  27. Links 13/10/2021: Sparky 2021.10 and New Archcraft

    Links for the day



  28. Links 13/10/2021: Firefox Keylogger on (By Default), GNOME Platform Design Discussed

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] [Teaser] Swiss Alexandre Benallas

    The EPO‘s French dictator, Benoît ‘Vichy’ Battistelli, might be relieved to hear that his enabler in the adjacent Switzerland also enlisted armed bullies to keep the population down (the father of António Campinos might know a thing or two about those; it’s why he fled to France)



  30. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 12, 2021


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

Recent Posts