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Software Patents Riot Spreads to Four Continents

Even 5 continents if South Africa is considered

A

s the pursuit of Microsoft et al (partners and lobbying arms) for software patents proceeds, the world responds with unrest. This tool of monopolisation fools nobody and those who collaborate with foreign maximalists [1, 2, 3, 4] are bound to get flak. Here's just a quick roundup of the news. It demonstrates how the world has suddenly awoken to combat to the threat which is software patents.

Europe



FFII has just renewed its action against software patents in Europe. Amidst global slowdown or recession, monopolies will cling onto more control and attempt to change laws despite those previous well-judged rejections.

It is now over three years since the European Parliament threw out a controversial bill that would have brought in software patents.

It was a victory of sorts for those trying to preserve some sanity in the world of computing, but only a partial and temporary one. Those in favour of intellectual monopolies are hardly going to give up, and already have a number of irons in the fire that they will doubtless deploy in due course.

In preparation for that day, people on the other side are beginning to mobilise their forces...


Australia/New Zealand



This combative reaction has also come to the lower parts of the southern hemisphere. While Australia has already been occupied by the Hollywood/Redmond Forces with DMCA and software patents, New Zealand seem to be fighting. It was only a while ago that Richard Stallman visited them, so it could be related.

Greens urge end to software patents



[...]

Ms Turei, who called for greater use of open source and locally developed software, says excluding software from patents would ensure others could develop ideas. Software would still be protected against piracy by copyright law.

The party has promised to investigate "the setup of free municipally owned wireless networks". Ms Turei says the cost needs to be researched, but the Government would "almost certainly" need to supply funding.

Ms Turei says wider adoption of open source software would reduce costs and lead to investment in local IT businesses, which tend to lose out to dominant software companies such as Microsoft.

"Monopolies have been allowed to form, stifling competition, consumer choice, and indigenous growth of the software industry in Aotearoa/New Zealand."


The following article appeared just days ago:

The Green Party released its Information Technology (IT) Policy today ahead of a lecture tonight by free software legend Richard Stallman, jointly hosted by Otago University's Campus Greens branch and the computer science department.

"IT must work for people not the profits of the few. People on both sides of the digital divide should benefit from information technology - IT should not create new mechanisms of inequality. And of course our policy assists people to utilise IT to reduce their impact on the planet," Greens IT Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.


Richard Stallman also appears to have made and left his impact on the national radio after he had preached about Free software, patents, and even copyrights.

Related to this but older:



Green Party slams Microsoft OLPC involvement



[...]

"Microsoft wants to restrict the greatest profits in the knowledge economy to already established software corporations like itself.

"By installing its programs on these laptops Microsoft hopes to create market domination and vendor lock in. That is unacceptable bribery.


United States



The USPTO seems dead, or at least brain dead. Microsoft's Page Up/Down patent still leads to a stir around the Web. It has already been mentioned in [1, 2].

With insane patents like these, no wonder the courts are getting overwhelmed and overburdened. Watch what happens in Texas at the moment [via Digital Majority]

Crucial reading for those interested in the notable docket of rocket, the Eastern District of Texas, in this week's Texas Lawyer. With 232 patent cases filed in Marshall in the past year, trial dates for filing there are now running to 2012. Judge T. John Ward's patent litigation mill is slowing, but faring.


India



Our recent coverage of the situation in India can be found under [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

The protest [1, 2] has just reached The Hindu, part of India's mainstream press.

Bangalore: While many people take the slogan “Saying no to software patents” to mean the right to usage of free Internet software, the issue of patenting is rooted in a larger milieu, affecting not only users of software, but also those who develop software and service it.

A candle-light vigil at Puttanna Chetty Town Hall organised by members of the Free Software Users Group, originally founded by Richard Stallman more than two decades ago, here on Saturday brought these issues to the fore.


The paper also published this good photo, which may seem familiar.

Software patents protest in India



Here they are (Wipro and Microsoft, friends of the multi-national monopolist [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) publicly making love again with a press release over the weekend. This clannish activity of Microsoft overseas needs to be stopped. They ruin the systems with their suiters in oder to share the loot.

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