12.22.09

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“We Need ACTA to Send Microsoft and Linus to Jail”

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, Protocol at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Swedish pennant

Summary: Europe is losing its intellectual freedom and sovereignty due to treaties for monopolies, surveillance, and artificial limits on programming

THE GREAT REPRESSION that occurs these days (partly owing to intellectual monopolies) has spurred strong — but by all means tongue-in-cheek — remarks from the FFII’s president, who says that “Swedish Patent Trolls were meeting in Stockholm, slides online, we need ACTA to send Microsoft and Linus to jail”

Their site says:

During the last couple of years intellectual property rights has grown in significance. Society has shifted. Intellectual property rights have come into focus in a way that we haven’t seen before.

That’s what they would hope, wouldn’t they? They created a meta-industry that benefits nobody except themselves. In the process, it empowers monopolies and slows down scientific progress.

The FFII has already warned about the Swedish presidency's role in legalising or at least legitimising software patents in Europe. To make matters worse, the Microsoft-EU deal on interoperability [1, 2, 3, 4] is a big disaster because it legitimises Microsoft’s software patents in Europe without any parliamentary veto power (or obedience to the constitution/s). Nellie Kroes’ agency should be brought back to the table and mend the agreement. There is great fury at the FFII at the moment and Scott Fulton admits that “Microsoft’s interoperability pledge not free enough for Free Software” when he writes:

The agreement between the European Commission and Microsoft announced last Wednesday did not mention “Free Software” by name. There is no corporation or partnership by that name, at least not officially, though up until the resolution of the dispute last week, there had been occasional hints from outgoing Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes that any agreement with Microsoft must take “free” into account, almost as though it were “Free Software, Ltd.”

It’s a very serious issue for many European developers, as Free Software had been treated as a worthy-of-all-caps entity in drafts of the European Interoperability Framework from last year. But recent discussions on revising the EIF have included suggestions from many sources, including a controversial one from the Polish government, that strike references to Free Software as a legal entity, especially as one that deserves equal protection as a limited legal body.

Thus the omission of reference to FS or FOSS from last week’s agreement drew a harsh warning from Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), one of the only entities to criticize the agreement for legal, as opposed to technical or operational, reasons.

This needs to be mended as the patent system seems to have been hijacked by a group of bureaucrats who simply do not understand technology and are therefore easy to fool. Multinational corporations lead them to recognising software patents, which are simply not legal under their sovereignty (and for good reasons!).

As TechDirt puts it in this new post about the UK, the patent system is seeking to retard science and technology with even more intellectual monopolies. Lawyers would absolutely love this.

But all such things really do is encourage more patenting, but less actual innovation. That’s because the tax rate on actual innovation — actually bringing these products to market successfully — remains significantly higher. So, if you do any research at all, you have every incentive in the world to try to just gain income from the patents directly (such as by threatening any company that actually does any innovation and demanding licensing fees) rather than doing the work of actually implementing the product yourself. After all, that’s exactly what the government is telling you to do. It’s saying that if you actually produce an innovative product, we’ll tax you at a very high rate.

As we pointed out some days ago, UK-IPO might be breaking the law and it also serves Microsoft by sneakily approving software patents.

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