10.14.10

BSA, ACT, and Other Microsoft Front Groups Still Try to Shoot Down EIF in Europe While Promoting Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Hammerstein
“SOS,” writes former MEP David Hammerstein, “European Interoperability Framework proposal under fierce attack by MS and M. Barnier Int. Market Commissioner vs. Kroes and citizens.” [Photo by Mara]

Summary: Some real drama is seen in Europe as Microsoft lobbyists have a face-off with representatives of Europe’s real interests, including royalty-free standards

THINGS are getting hot in Europe. As Andy Updegrove has just put it, “If IT Policy is Your Thing, Keep an Eye on Europe”:

[L]et’s take a look at a kerfuffle that emerged yesterday when two lobbying associations reacted to a pre-release copy of the latest version of that extremely interesting and much battered document called the European Interoperability Framework (EIF), version 2.0.

Now, the EIF is a very interesting document, with a long history (you can read more about it here). It’s been around for awhile in version 1.0, and the direction that its next version would take has been hotly debated by large software companies.

At issue, as you might have already guessed, is what EIF does, and does not, say about patents, and more specifically, patents in the context of interoperability standards. Why does it matter? Because the EIF is part of a master plan that will influence how the EU ultimately spends up to the equivalent of $50 billion a year in public IT procurement funds.
This being politics, perhaps it should be no surprise that one of the groups is engaging in over-generalization and misrepresentation, not to mention inaccurate labeling (saying the approach taken in the new EIF draft “echoes” Chinese procurement policy – which in fact has been turning towards more traditional approaches of late).

We already wrote quite extensively about EIFv2. See for example:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  16. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source

There is a big lobbying battle doing on in Brussels, which is the heart of European politics in many ways. Belgium’s Quickenborne plays a role in the ‘community’ patent (bad for the free/open source software community) and we wrote about this in [1, 2, 3]. There’s more in here:

In this situation the compromise proposed by the Belgian Presidency was “not considered sufficient to remove the deadlock”, since it apparenty does not meet any of the above-skeched national interest.

However, the Belgian Presidency is still confident that the next Competitiveness Council in November can find a fair compromise on the EUpatent, as expressed by the Belgian minister in charge of the dossier, Vincent Van Quickenborne, underlining that a compromise is still possible.

This is just one part of the problem which we’ll deal with separately on another occasion. What matters is that Microsoft pressure group Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), which is faking SMB positions as usual, is also pushing for the ‘community’ patent, aka EU patent, aka harmonisation, unification, etc. It’s a trap. Some people fall for it, thinking that the ‘community’ patent is a beneficial thing because they were deceived. And when it comes to EIF, there’s an ongoing conversation and it’s going on at Twitter/Identi.ca, where Carlo Piana (Samba lawyer) says to Karsten Gerloff from the FSFE:

@karsten true #swpats ‘r analized with the eyes of holders (“property”), but economy sh’d research their huge #externality costs

Gerloff responds:

@carlopiana …and for software, patent system’s cost/benefit calculation gives negative result #FSFE

Zuck was there too by the way, according to Gerloff. Have lobbyists not been banned yet?

@carlopiana I confirm. Yesterday at #WIPO, Thomas vs Benoit Mueller and Jonathan Zuck was a treat.

The BSA too is a Microsoft-funded lobbyist and not a representative of European interests. Microsoft has been using the BSA to lobby for RAND in Europe for at least a couple of years. CompTIA has been absent from Microsoft’s ranks of lobbyists in Europe recently, but it was there before (pushing Microsoft’s side in EIF drafts).

David Hammerstein, a former member of parliament who occasionally shares information about Microsoft’s lobbying inside the Commission [1, 2], is now saying: “SOS: European Interoperability Framework proposal under fierce attack by MS and M. Barnier Int. Market Commissioner vs. Kroes and citizens.”

Microsoft is betting on patents as its weapon against software freedom and here’s another new footstep which we mentioned yesterday. Patents seem like this company’s last resort.

For those who want to know more about Microsoft’s ‘RAND fight’ against competition, there’s a new transcript from the FSFE’s Gerloff. “Delivered FSFE statement on #swpat at #WIPO #SCP15, will post shortly. Very good reactions from some states. EPO not so happy,” wrote Gerloff. Quoting a portion of it:

Some argue that the inclusion of standards in patents on RAND terms is a necessary incentive for companies to innovate. Free Software Foundation Europe begs to differ. We join the Development Agenda Group in highlighting that the monopoly power conferred by a patent is exponentially increased when the patent is included in a standard.

If a company has been awarded a patent, it has already received a strong incentive to innovate, in the form of a 20-year monopoly on the use of the invention, to the exclusion of all others. Why should society incur a further, even more substantial cost by handing this patent holder a means to effectively control competition in the marketplace, by letting it control the price of a patent license?

Today’s software market is already rife with monopolies and dominant companies in several domains. It should be the goal of norm-setting efforts to reduce the obstacles to competition in the software market, rather than increasing them.

FSFE believes that it would be most useful for the SCP to analyse the various approaches on the grounds of their inclusiveness of the entire IT industry and all innovators, and identify the minimum requirements that are necessary to uphold standards as drivers of competition, innovation and economies of scale.

We also recommend that in its deliberations, this committee should be careful to distinguish between different areas for standardisation, as the requirements in each area are quite diverse.

Let’s keep shining a light in the face of lobbyists. They don’t like it when people find out who’s paying their bill; it delegitimises them and they deserve it. Europe deserves it.

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

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/10/14/swpats-drama-in-europe/

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. Links 15/4/2021: Zorin OS 16 Beta and Pushing Linux to GitHub- and Microsoft-Connected Rust

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Enemies With Common Interests

    The Software Freedom Movement (or Free Software Movement) has many enemies; some of them just hide in the shadows or speak out through shadowy front groups/NGOs that they semi-officially sponsor



  3. [Meme] Germany's Red Cash Cow

    EPO brings a lot of money to the German state. But at what cost to citizens and Germany’s public image?



  4. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 19: The Deafening Silence of the Media

    "There has been speculation that Maas might have had his own political interest in protecting Battistelli and the Balkan Express because of certain allegations about financial irregularities involving the German Patents and Trademark Office (DPMA) which were doing the rounds at the time."



  5. The Indirection Game

    How to attack institutions and concepts by personifying them, then proceeding to character assassination based on lies and deliberate distortions



  6. Links 15/4/2021: LXQt 0.17, Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

    Links for the day



  7. The Patent Battles in Europe Are Connected to the War on GNU/Linux (as a Community-Led Effort)

    Monoplisers of GNU and Linux want us to think that OIN is the solution while they actively lobby for software patents in Europe and the people in charge of Europe’s second-largest institution and Europe’s largest patent office help them; this long video contains thoughts about news from the past couple of days



  8. Richard Stallman: Freedom is the Goal (Updated)

    What Richard Stallman (RMS) told me in person on his trip here



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 14, 2021



  10. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

    "It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President."



  11. Richard Stallman's Honors and Awards (and Why He Resigned in 2019)

    Reproduced with permission



  12. Links 14/4/2021: Alpine Releases and X.Org Server 1.20.11 Release (Security)

    Links for the day



  13. Links 14/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7, Tor Browser 10.5a14

    Links for the day



  14. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!

    A French-German co-production of "Yes, Minister!" starring Raimund Lutz, Heiko Maas and Christoph Ernst. Directed by Benoît Battistell.



  15. Over 1,000 EPO Workers Initiate Legal Challenge Against the EPO's Attack on Salaries (in Defiance of Assurances Made to Workers Who Relocate to Another Country With Whole Families)

    The EPO’s attack on workers and pensioners isn’t going ahead without challenge; while the “Mafia” (what EPO workers call the management) loots the organisation it takes away money from the workers — i.e. from besieged folks who do all the work and face growing workloads during a pandemic



  16. Who is Richard Stallman?

    Reproduced with permission



  17. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 13, 2021



  18. Links 13/4/2021: FreeBSD 13.0 Final, Slackware 15.0 GNU/Linux Beta Release and OpenMandriva Lx 4.3 Plans

    Links for the day



  19. IBM Stroking the Masters

    IBM continues to diminish its weakly-supported thesis about the word “Master” being inadequate in all contexts and IBM’s front group, the Linux Foundation, has just promoted more of that same self-serving agenda in the corporate media (screenshot below from 5 minutes ago)



  20. The 'Stallman Support' Web Site and How You Can Support Truth, Not Just Software Freedom

    The Stallman Support Dot Org Web site (stallmansupport.org, "In Support of Richard Stallman“), endorsed by Stallman himself, sets the record straight while the corporate media keeps peddling lies and distortions



  21. An Examination of Correspondence Between the Tweedledum-Tweedledee Duo, Lutz and Ernst

    A quick look at the letters and E-mails sent back and forth from the current VP5 and former VP5 of the EPO, Europe’s second-largest institution that the German government has let exist outside the rule/reach of any law



  22. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 16: An Inimitable Duo

    How the efforts to reform the EPO's data protection framework were derailed by the actions of Lutz and Ernst



  23. How the GNU Operating System Really Started (Almost a Decade Before Linux Came Out)

    Later this year Linux turns 30, but Linux is just a component added to the GNU Operating System, developed a very long time earlier based on the design of UNIX (the mainstream media likes to distort that part of history); here’s the creator of the GNU Operating System, telling me his story here in the United Kingdom (we did many clips like these and this one seems very timely)



  24. Richard Stallman: The Other Things I Have to Say I Put on Stallman.org... Reject the Idea That You Have to Accept Something Like Facebook

    Transcript below



  25. An Ode to Dr. Ernst

    THE BUDGET is right...



  26. During Pandemic, With Rising Inflation, Corrupt EPO Management With Its 'Shadow Budget' Cracks Down on Education and Childcare Allowance

    While hoarding and misusing money (by basically granting lots of patents that ought not be granted) the management of the EPO hides it aside, then proceeds to crushing salaries and benefits of staff, even pensioners



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, April 12, 2021



  28. In Support of Richard Stallman Normalizing Truth, Reason, Dialogue: Introduction

    Reproduced with permission.



  29. Lunduke: Stallman & The FSF Respond To The Mob!

    A video response in support of RMS



  30. Links 12/4/2021: RSS Guard 3.9.2 and IBM-Funded Hacks Keep Attacking RMS

    Links for the day


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