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Re: Patents and Linux

** Reply to message from Chadley Wilson <chadley pinteq co za> on Mon, 17 May
2004 08:39:01 +0200

> He there,
> I received this in a mail form mandrake.
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Flash: EU Software Patent Legislation: a real threat for Linux and Open
> Source
> Mandrakesoft would like to alert all users and the software community at
> large about a recent clandestine attack by proprietary interest through
> covert adoption of EU Software Patent Legislation.
> In direct contravention of the recent vote by the European Parliament to
> curtail Software Patents, the Irish Presidency of the European Union has
> surreptitiously reinstated unlimited software patent language into the
> text of a statement to be adopted by the European Council of Ministers
> on Monday May, 17th, without further debate!
> "What does this mean?"
> The new text, if adopted, will extend Software Patents to every piece of
> software, including computer programs, data structures, and process
> descriptions.  This will directly harm most software firms and all Open
> Source projects unable to pay patent licensing tribute, and amounts to
> an appropriation of the public domain by proprietary interests.  A
> direct beneficiary will be a new class of pure patent companies without
> any real business or contribution to employment, which will use the
> threat of litigation to extort payments.
> Of note is that a sponsor of the Irish Presidency is Microsoft,
> currently building a large patent portfolio.  If the Software Patent
> text is adopted, Microsoft may use this patent portfolio against Linux
> and other Open Source projects.
> Mandrakesoft would like to forewarn and mobilize its users and the
> software community about the very real threat of such a law.  Please
> contact the media, your political representatives, and your government,
> and urge them to vote against unlimited Software Patents and to revert
> to the previous European Parliament position.
> For further information please see the following links:
> http://swpat.ffii.org/journal/04/cons0507/index.en.html
> http://kwiki.ffii.org/SwpatcninoEn
>         Mandrakesoft Online Team.

We can discuss this at length among ourselves without any effect at all.

I'll propose that all of us living in the EU write to our EU Parlament members
and to our national politicians so that they at least are aware what risks they
run with these silly laws and that the open source community will hold them
politically responsible (remember we are voters).

Erik P. Olsen

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