There’s been an important development in the EU software patents story we’ve been covering.
Poland refused to go along with the software patent rubber stamp: “The Software Patent Directive has been withdrawn from the Agenda of the Agricultural Council. Poland’s minister Marcinski requested it firmly at the beginning of the meeting. The Commissioner expressed regret, but the A-item has been deleted and will not be decided this year.”
Thats a spanner in the works of Corporatism. -But they’ll be back. -And we’ll be ready when they are.
Back door loop holes for legislative action are not conducive to democracy.
Surely something good! However, patents attack cannot be solved by simply avoiding decision or hoping that it will be delayed.
In my opinion, there should be something more than just complaining because the more new players will enter market, the more companies will try to use patents to get money. For example, more free software (I don’t mean OSS, but free software in general) means less gains for SW companies and thus they will try to push patents to get money they lost, expecially the few of them which REALLY have something to claim.
It won’t be as simple as trying to avoid such decision. It will need to have a solution WHEN it will pass.
That’ll teach us to take them lightly O_O
Poland deserves a big applause and all our support to help them in this war against software patents. Go Poland! 🙂
Go Poland! We’re with you!
Everyone has to work HARD NOW to stop the EU juggernaut. It does’nt just threaten people in software patents alone, many of its laws are being passed into being/reality via these methods, backdoors and dodgy deals. If you have a chance to vote no, then do so, force these people to come forward and explain their reasons and actions – do not allow them to proxy your way of life away by the backdoor.
THIS LAW WAS ABOUT TO BE PASSED BY THE AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES COMMITTEES – and placed in a burden to 450 million people, HOW NUTS IS THAT ?? Are they even close to being qualified to make this call? People have to act NOW.
The EU accounts have not been audited to an agreeable state for 10 years, people MUST stop blindly accepting the EU and its methods as acceptable. Most of the people who campaigned with masses of work to stop software patents WERE being ignored, you can bank on it, this WAS going to happen, and it WILL again, breathing space… thats all we have won today
Why don’t governments value competition, the market economy and innovation?
Large companies are the majority patent holders and use their patents to limit competition, therefore hindering the successful market enconomy.
Software is already well protected by copyright which does an ok job except for the ever lengthening amount of time in which copyrights are valid (infinite minus one years), thus stopping things falling into the public domain. Copyrights work well for large companies and small equally which is a true balance for competition.
But why do we need software patents that’ll destroy small companies and therefore local jobs and hinder innovation and the market economy? Why?
In the past, almost all innovation has come from smaller companies with their new ideas. This can be seen everywhere!
Like Simon Phipps writes http://www.webmink.net/2004/12/patents-time-for-wisdom.htm the strongest supporters of software patents in the EU have been the mobile companies, so Nokia etc.
It may have been part of the culture of that industry to have a pool of proprietary technologies that each company can then pay for, license and use. But they should try to see this problem from a bit wider point of view, and see that a very general kind of non-restricted software patent legislation is not the only nor the best solution to their individual problems.
A good quote from Phipps’ article that quite a few EU politicians would do wisely to read too:
Late in the day, it dawned on many of us that the same words necessary to preserve the mobile industry might prove the death knell of the new software industry growing around the massively-connected society, allowing new cartels to move in to what we’ve all been assuming will essentially unregulated space. The realisation may have come late but that doesn’t make it invalid. As envisioned, the Directive looked to me like it weakened the social contract that patents depend upon rather than strengthening it.
I do believe there’s scope for both groups to have their needs met, through carefully worded legislation rather than through fuzziness and test cases in Europe’s courts. In particular we need to make sure that it’s not possible for the reverse-engineered interoperability allowed by European copyright law to be prevented by patent law. When I independently write software that handles a network protocol or a file format I must be protected from the collection of royalties (unless of course I have re-used the work of others).
Nokia and others have managed very well without software patents in the EU. Why would they need them in the future? (After all most of them like Nokia are mainly hardware vendors.) Just that the greedy bosses and stock owners could get a few more coins to their endless pockets? Cannot they see the benefits of supporting more open mobile standards and technologies too, also as means of doing better mobile business? Maybe there would already be much more and better and more secure mobile software too if the mobile technologies were a bit more open and not so very proprietary?
Besides, I wouldn’t personally mind at all if the next mobile phone/gadget I’ll buy will be an open source/Linux-based one… 😉
Metic, yeah what you highlighted is quite right… Its indeed a balance between different parts of the market economy.
Unfortunately, too many laws/bills are pushed by collections of self-interested companies with lots of money from just one section of the wider economy that have already made their fortunes without these laws, and they are just interested in lobbying governments (funded lobbying!) to change the law to hinder competition. They mention ‘dangers’ and all sorts of other stuff as though they are special.
I’d rather have it that these companies would still have to compete against smaller companies, they already have the natural advantage of economies-of-scale so if they remain competitive and innovative and fair (not cutting of competition with contracts etc.) then they will continue to succeed. But the moment they become uncompetitive they will fall. If there are uncompetitive laws, then they need not innovate to stay on top, the economy would be the loser.
This is the first time, that I’m not ashamed by my gov.
Congratulations Poland!!! You’ve done a great job for the open source community. Hopefully more countries will see that open source gives more innovation than crappy software patents.
Finaly software patents will only helps the big companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Marcomedia,… and not the smaller software developpers or Open Source.
Lets hope that Europe stays software patents free!!!
Congratulations Poland!!! You’ve done a great job for the open source community.
Not only for the open source community, also for small corporations, who do not benefit from sofware patents (big corporations want you to believe otherwise, but they are lying for their own interests). We also have to thank the Polish lobbyists and those who helped them, mainly ffii.pl
it may look stupid that the committee for agriculture and fishery gets to decide this matter, but it’s perfectly logical if you take a closer look at the decision making process in the eu:
before things get decided in the eu, they are discussed for a long time, with experts involved. it takes months if not years to pass a law. when a consensus is reached, the law is “ready”. then they mark it as “grade A” and pass it in their next session. marked as grade A means that such a broad consensus is reached between the member states of the eu and the different lobbying groups that a law is fine and can be put into effect. so it’s perfectly fine that any committee accepts it, no need to call the special committee that already debated heavily on the topic together AGAIN.
the software patents thing kind of went downhill for the industry lobbyists. things were already almost decided when the public outcry affected the eu parliaments decision to modify the directive. what happened now is also very unusual. marking a topic as grade A means “no further discussion needed”. marking as grade A was a big lobbying success by the pro patents lobby. but everyone knows that there is no longer really a majority for the directive in the eu council. so it just needed one brave guy (dzien kuje, polska!) to turn down the “A” grade status. that’s a big lobbying success for the anti patents lobby!
“THIS LAW WAS ABOUT TO BE PASSED BY THE AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES COMMITTEES”
This was not a law and it was not about to be passed. It was a convention that was about to be returned to the European Parliament for a second reading. A convention is not a direct law, but an agreement which requires all EU member states to pass a law to a certain effect. I’m not saying I disagree with the thrust of your post, but you need to be more precise and accurate.
And you need to stop splitting hairs, and focus on the real issue, that being that we have escaped by a hair’s breath, and only for now.
Hmm… Wasn’t it so that if this thing had been accepted now (by the agriculture and fisheries committees, SIC…), it would then have become much more difficult for the EU parliament to disagree, as they would have needed a really big majority of votes (so a simple majority of 51% of votes would not be enough anymore).
The truth is that the supporters of software patents counted and hoped that if they get the unrestricted software patents proposal sneaked in now, they would have practically won the battle already. And from there on, the software patent party could put much more pressure on other non-western countries too, in the third world world etc.
If the EU was a true democracy (even only this single proposal has been surrounded by a surprising amount of corruption and behind the scenes plotting, just read some past news to find out more), however, I think that the much more democratically designed proposal by the EU parliament should/would be the one voted for, not some unrestricted software patent proposal designed mostly behind the doors and only according to the interests of a few biggest hard-lobbying EU corporations (plus due to some pressure from the USA lobbyers who fear that the USA might have made a huge mistake by accepting unrestricted software patents if the EU countries don’t follow them).
Not quite – they would have needed a simple majority only, but a simple majority of *all representatives*, not a simple majority of those voting. This is quite hard to achieve because attendance rates in the EU Parliament aren’t great. (As I understand this, imagine there are 400 representatives. If 300 vote and 100 do not, 180 vote AGAINST patents and 120 vote FOR patents, the patents would still go through, as 180 is not a majority of 400).
I take back all the Polish jokes I have ever told. It is nice to see a country have to guts to stand up to the corporate world.
We could need some who are awake and listen less to the lobby and more to the people who are concerned.
unfortunatly I cannot say the same for mine since they are stupid enough to vote for this without listening to the anti arguments.
The EU is not democratic. Period. Anyone who claims otherwise is misled and misguided, or is deliberatly lying to you for benefits in kind.
Yes EU is not much democartic but USA are far less demaocratic.
You’ve gained a lot of extra respect from people worldwide.
and boo! to the Nerthelands.
– ” ah but is not our fault you see we ran independant enquiries into the matter you see you can’t criticize us for this you know is not fair you know ..”
– shut up!
> and boo! to the Nerthelands.
Yeah, i’m ashamed of being Dutch b/c this… but not all people from NL are pro softpats, and there’s currently no majority in the 2nd chamber for this either! Also, there’s been an anti-softpats lobby going on from Dutch people as well.
E-mail international AT d66 DOT nl (the party of Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst) with your concerns. Google for what this guy exactly did (misinformed 2nd chamber, refused to abstain voting in favor of ‘losing his face’). While you might argue its almost a crime what he and others have done, it makes sense to remain calm and rational; if you remain polite they’ll most likely read your complete e-mail instead of stopping after the insults…
The European Parliament -the legislative branch – is perfectly democratic. The judicial branch is not directly elected, but then it isn’t in most political systems. The executive branch is not directly elected either (the EU commissioners are appointed), and it has substantial powers, which does rather diminish the overall democratic value of the system. Mind you, interestingly, there are other systems generally considered ‘democracies’ in which the executive branch is not directly elected. The U.K. is one example; no-one votes for the Prime Minister, you vote for your local parliamentary representative (M.P.) and the leader of the party with the most elected M.P.’s becomes Prime Minister. If you want to vote for the Labour parliamentary candidate but you’d rather have a Conservative Prime Minister, there’s no way to register that preference, as there would be under other systems (for example, the U.S.A.) It’s a bit hard to describe any system with democratic elements as completely ‘undemocratic’, and it’s hard to find any political system which is _completely_ democratic (you can’t vote for the Supreme Court, Americans!), so your absolutism is rather unwarranted. Better to say that the E.U. is less democratic, in some important ways, than many other political systems.
It’s OK dpi its just a matter of time
With good people like you and others – the Netherlands will shine once again.
Just get rid of those nasty politicians and lobbyist.
They do no justice at all – to your people.
Again am sure that soon enough – this will be but a blip in the past and the Dutch will reign as OSS most avid supporters.
oh and Merry Xmas.