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10.05.09

Microsoft Gets Its Way in Ireland, As Usual

Posted in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Lisbon treaty approved in Ireland after Microsoft lobbying, Sharon Bowles plays ball for software patents, and WIPO takes a step back

THE other day we wrote about Microsoft and the Lisbon treaty. Well, there is some good news for Microsoft, which is bad news for (almost) everybody else. Microsoft has a lot of political power inside the Irish authorities [1, 2], which usually pays off.

Ireland votes yes to Lisbon treaty

[...]

Irish opponents of Lisbon challenged David Cameron to give the British people a referendum on the EU’s future if his party takes power next year.

The above is not the fault of Microsoft, but Microsoft did play an active role in it (along with other elite interests).

The FSF/FFII currently warn us about what they label “fake representatives of free software.” IBM is rightly among them. Here is another new assault on sharing of ideas [PDF], which the president of the FFII describes as: “Sharon Bowles MEP back at lobbying for software patents, in “Patents Vs open source software – conflict or co-existence?””

The FFII has also just submitted this paper [PDF] to the US Supreme Court. They are protesting against software patents, along with Red Hat, the FSF, the SFLC, and others. One reader sent us the following good page on Saturday. Coming from India, the author covers what this Web site calls the “genesis of intellectual capital as [a] property.”

The rhetoric about “piracy” gave the U.S. a justification for interference. The generalisation from individual pirates to entire states occurred with the identification of “problem” countries like India. Finally, in a feat which defies all forms of logic, large Multinational Corporations were the victims. Note here how the whole concept of Intellectual Property has come a full circle — from the initial notion of the protection of an individual’s rights and the notion of disclosure of information, IPRs now mean protection of the rights of corporations and a bar on the free flow of information.

From India’s point of view, intellectual monopolies are just tools of slavery (which they are). Defence mechanisms for monopolists are beneficial to no-one but themselves and Glyn Moody is somewhat encouraged by the fact that WIPO concedes at least part of its ugly monopolistic agenda.

“Turning Point” At WIPO Pulls Traditional Knowledge Debate Out At Eleventh Hour

[...]

After a year of stalled deliberations on the issue of protecting traditional knowledge, genetic resources, and traditional cultural expressions, delegates at the World Intellectual Property Organization General Assemblies on 1 October found a compromise text that gives the committee its strongest mandate yet.

According to the above, some African representatives are pleased. But meanwhile, the likes of Bill Gates do exactly the opposite by promoting intellectual monopolies even on African agriculture, i.e. food. African activists should rise and fight back before it’s too late.

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

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