[Fsf-friends] Fwd:Latest news on European Softwarepatents

Rakesh 'arky' Ambati rakesh_ambati@yahoo.com
Wed Jun 9 06:16:06 IST 2004


--- contributors-request@osnews.com wrote:
> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 12:00:00 +0000
> From: contributors-request@osnews.com
> Subject: Contributors digest, Vol 1 #62 - 1 msg
> To: contributors@osnews.com
> Today's Topics:
>    1. Latest news on European Softwarepatents (Arend
> Lammertink)
> --__--__--
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 13:27:13 +0200
> From: Arend Lammertink <alam@home.nl>
> To: contributors@osnews.com
> Subject: [OSNews Contrib] Latest news on European
> Softwarepatents
> This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
> --------------090001040703070402060103
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> Hi there,
> I was part of a delegation that handed over a
> petition to the Dutch 
> government on behalf of the FFII, against
> softwarepatents.
> As a result of this, the decision taken by the
> Counsil of Ministers is 
> once again under discussion and might even be
> overturned!
> I have typed about half the story and would like to
> know if this would 
> have any chance of being published.
> Of course, I'm open to any suggestions and
> improvements (English is not 
> my native language) and I still need to write the
> other half, which I 
> think is quite interesting.
> For example, the only company that was present at
> the emergency debate 
> were our friends from Redmond. Since they also
> sponsor the Irish 
> presidency, it is obvious they had something to gain
> here.
> What do you think?
> Should I write the other half?
> Kindest regards,
> Arend Lammertink.
> --------------090001040703070402060103
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>  filename="swpat.txt"
> The latest news on European Software Patents.
> The battle about Software Patents in Europe seemed
> all but lost. The council of ministers voted for a
> directive that basically slapped the European
> Parliament in the face because they shamelessly put
> aside a democratic decision taken by said
> Parliament. And even though the Parliament still has
> a second reading where it has to go to a lot of
> trouble to repair the damage done by the Council, it
> is a serious matter that the Council of Ministers
> have shown they have no idea of the devastating
> consequences of their directive for the European
> SME's. What's more, they have shown twice in one
> week that they have no respect for the democratic
> opinion of the European Parliament, which in itself
> is absolutely unacceptable. 
> It turned out that the Dutch Eurocommisionar had
> played a big role in convincing our German
> neighbours to vote in favor of a "compromise" that
> basically puts the European Software industry on
> sell-off, since of 30.000 softwarepatents the EPO
> already gave out against the letter and spirit of
> the existing law, 75% belong to non-European
> multinationals and it is unclear what happens to the
> legal status of these patents.
> If he reads this, I want him to know that I am going
> to vote for the Parliament coming Thursday as I did
> last time and I, as a European citizen, want my vote
> to be respected.
> _Seemed_ all but lost. But it ain't over yet. We've
> played our cards (and luck!) quite nicely here in
> The Netherlands (if I may say so myself) and at this
> moment the Dutch Parliament is seriously considering
> to revoke the vote Minister Brinkhorst gave at the
> Council. This has never happened before in the
> history of the European Union!
> So, what's going on out there? Did we miss
> something?
> Well, the ball started rolling because I knew a
> member of the Dutch Parliament, Annie Schrijer (
> ), who turned out to be vice-chairman of the
> Committee for Economic affairs in the Dutch
> Parliament.
> After the demonstration on friday the 14th of May at
> the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, I talked to
> some of the representatives of the FFII and
> vrijschrift.org and I told them I knew Mrs. Schrijer
> and could be able to contact her. Since we thought
> it might help, I decided to call her.
> Since she lives just a few kilometers from where I
> live, it could happen that I went over to her place
> the next saturday and was able to tell her the whole
> story. Fortunately she had had patent issues in her
> dossier before, so it didn't took long for her to
> understand exactly what was going on.
> Even though she could not do much herself directly,
> she could tell me how I could try to hand over an
> urgent petition to the Dutch Parliament on tuesday
> May 18th, the day the Ministers were to vote in the
> Council. That always seems to "shake the bed" as she
> put it. 
> Well, I could not have imagened how right she was.
> First of all, we offered the petition to the right
> persons this time. Previously, we had offered it to
> the civil servants who wrote the letters on behalf
> of the Minister that later turned out to contain
> critical errors...
> Of course, these guys were not very interested in
> "shaking the bed". They were more interested in
> getting this over as quickly and quietly as
> possible.
> But, there we were. 
> Tuesday, the 18th of May.  Just 5 geeks disguised as
> businessmen standing eye to eye with the Commision
> for Economic Affairs of the Dutch Parliament :
> What happens in such a case is that you are allowed
> to say your thing for about 5 minutes. After that,
> it's usually "thanks" and off you go.
> This time, there was just a little tiny extra
> detail. Apparantly Annie had done her homework and
> she had noticed that there was an error in the
> letter the Minister (or better: his civil servants)
> had sent to the Parliament prior to the vote in the
> Council, explaining that there was "agreement"
> between the European Parliament and the Council,
> which had been understood by the Dutch Parliament as
> saying "dont't worry, everything is arranged and in
> order". By that time, it was already clear that the
> Dutch members of the European Parliament were not
> exactly speaking about an "agreement". Oops.
> So, we had our hands on a classical case of
> "onjuiste informatie" ("incorrect information") to
> the Parliament by a responsible politician, not
> seldom resulting in the forced resignation of such a
> politician.
> Clearly this is something the opposition is always
> interested in. In the Netherlands, they have an
> important task in being the guarding dog of the
> Parliament. It just had to be wakened....
> So, Annie whispered something into their ears that I
> was unable to hear. However, we would soon find out
> the guarding dog had been wakened. What happened was
> that a letter was sent to the Minister where he was
> asked to explain the situation. Unfortunately, we
> don't have a copy of this letter, but the answer of
> the Minister is available on the official website of
> the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affars (in Dutch):
> (Exercise for the reader: Who actually wrote it?)
> Of course, we had some remarks (in Dutch),
> co-authored by mr.ir. R.B.Bakels [1]:
> For those of you that don't understand Dutch, the
> letter, prepared in the Minister's name by his civil
> servants, contains just the standard arguments
> copycatted from the European Commission, but no
> answer to the question "was there or was there not
> an agreement between the European Parliament and the
> Council?".
> What might be interesting at this point is to take a
> look at the transcriptions of the debate at the
> Council of Ministers:
> http://wiki.ael.be/index.php/V002.ogg
> http://wiki.ael.be/index.php/V003.ogg
> Especially the last part of the second transcription
> shows an interesting insight into democracy as
> practiced by the Council of Ministers.
> (Note: even though the extension suggests they're
> ogg files, they're not. 
>        They are transcriptions of ogg files and in
> html format. The audio
>        recordings are also available:
>        http://wiki.ael.be/index.php/Transcription )
> Anyway, the answer of the Minister was unsatisfying
> and therefore the Dutch Commission for Economic
> Affairs ordered a "spoed-debat" ("emergency debate")
> on the matter. They wanted to know if an error was
> made and also if they would be able to revoke the
> vote of the Minister, should they want to.
> :-:-:
> Short answer for now:
> * Yes, there was an error
> * Yes, all European countries can revoke their vote
> if they want to
> The Dutch Parliament will debate on the subject
> before the end of this month.
> To be continued before publication ...
> =======
> [1] Mr.ir. R.B. Bakels.  Connected to the Centre for
> Intellectual Propertyright of the University of
> Utrecht. Author of the "JURI 107" report about
> Softwarepatents for the European Parliament
> (together with prof. Hugenholtz). He is considered
> as one of the leading experts on the subject of
> Softwarepatents.
> --------------090001040703070402060103--
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