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Demonstrations Against EU Software Patent Plans

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the insidious-plots dept.

Patents 33

Halo1 writes "On Wednesday August 27th, there will be a demonstration at the European Parliament in Brussels against the proposed directive on software patents, organised by the FFII. As an additional (or alternative) action, people are encouraged to participate in an online demonstration that day, replacing the main page of their website with a text explaining the dangers of introducing unlimited patentability in Europe. The proposed directive would make it impossible to refuse patents on algorithms and business methods such as a recently uncovered European patent from Amazon on ordering a gift for and automatically delivering it to a third party, which is even broader than its infamous 1-Click patent."

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First Post (1, Redundant)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6743571)

Who's got the time to write this up and modify their web site? Better if somebody makes up a standard page we can all copy.

Re:First Post (1)

__past__ (542467) | more than 10 years ago | (#6743638)

Better if somebody makes up a standard page we can all copy.
Like those listed on one of the linked pages?

Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 10 years ago | (#6743640)

They have got one... just copy the front page of the FFII...

But that FFII logo isn't snappy enough... we need a simple one like those Aids Ribbons or the Free Speech one that went around some years ago. And have it placed at the front of websites taking part, at the top, right across... not lurking at the bottom of the page several scroll screens down like some I've seen lurking in territory that very few browsers scroll to.

I'm all for this campaign but it really neds a better logo.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744499)

That page is too full of rambling text. We need something more compelling that will either jam itself into the average reader's brain in minimum time, or else make them *want* to find out more right away. Like a professionally composed advertisement.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744622)

This page [] can maybe be used as a basis to draft something like you propose. It's way to lengthy as just a splash page though, imho. It won't be easy to get the whole problem wrapped up in one paragraph.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6745742)

Yes that looks a lot better. But again, it seems to be preaching mainly to the choir. We need pithy points that will reach the minds of the currently uniformed, not just people who are already versed in our vocabulary.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 10 years ago | (#6746081)

I'm not sure what you mean by that. I think the patents on e-commerce are quite convincing. The behaviour of IBM too. All statements that can be interpreted as purely my opinion are backed up with links. It's organised as answers to the questions why the patents are bad for most people and who does benefit from them (as there must be people like that, otherwise it wouldn't have any supporters). I'm not sure how you can better inform the uninformed than with a short Q&A page, and why that would be construed as "preaching to the choir".

PS: note that I'm not offended, I'm simply curious why you think it's mainly preaching to the choir.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6747462)

It's mainly a presentation issue. Look, when someone hits the link or types in the URL for a particualr web site, and they see this, they're going to go: "What the...where's the web site...what's this? Oh, blah blah...zzzzzz. Fuck it, I'll just go to instead."

The top of the page needs to be more pithy, sensational and attention-grabbing. You need to use more psychology to incentivize people to actually READ the very valid political points you have written up. Otherwise most of them will just turn off.

Bear in mind that most people - even most professional IT people, believe it or not, neither know nor care what a software patent is, and they don't see why they should want to know or care, either.

In my humble opinion, of course.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 10 years ago | (#6747582)

Ok, as I said in my original post, I also think it's not fit at all to be simply put up as a replacement page (at most, it might be linked to from such a page for people who want more info). That's something different than preaching to the choir, however. I think you also have to take care not to become too sensationalist, because then you lose credibility.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6748715)

I think you also have to take care not to become too sensationalist, because then you lose credibility.

Nobody said this was easy!

I think we need both approaches - an attention- grabbing headline and a series of easy-to-digest bullet points with some extreme worst-case examples to provoke people's interest, with links to more specific and reasonable texts.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (2, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | about 11 years ago | (#6756487)

This [] is what I prepared for our own site ( It may still change somewhat, of course.

Re:Snappy Campaign Logo - was Re:First Post (1)

ralphclark (11346) | about 11 years ago | (#6758568)

That's more like it!

Sample page (1)

Holger Blasum (250938) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744451)

Here is a sample page

Re:Sample page (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744526)

Too blunt for most people and it doesn't say one thing about why people should want to prevent this. They'll probably just get annoyed about the disruption and move on somewhere else.

You want example pages? Get them here! (4, Informative)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744718)

Who's got the time to write this up and modify their web site? Better if somebody makes up a standard page we can all copy.

How about these example pages [] ?

/. management, please send this article into the main page...

Yay for software patents!!! (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 10 years ago | (#6743824)

Perhaps if we allow all these shit patents clog up the 'system', the people and other companies will revolt?

Just an idea..

Re:Yay for software patents!!! (2, Interesting)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744391)

That's like saying maybe you can get a free hospital visit if you shoot yourself. Put down the reefer!

Re:Yay for software patents!!! (3, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744650)

That's not the way the patents problem works.

Interestingly, Microsoft has never taken anyone to court over patent infringement. It's not that they don't enforce them, they just do it by intimidating emails and threatening letters.

VirtualDub is a GPL'd media player. M$ told the author to remove the ability to play .asf movies because they are patented by M$.

Large corps can't possibly develop software without infringeing others patents so they crosslicense, thus forming patent sharing cartels that shield the Mega Corps from the problem and locking out any new competition.

The blinking cursor, and the nested menu structure are both patented. The owning companies only use the patents at strategic times. Is it possible to develop a competitive software package that doesn't have a nested menu structure?

A revolt is nearly impossible. Patents are state created private property. It's hard to regulate monopolies at the moment but it will be harder when their positions are held based on legitimate use of private property. If the EU adopts software patents, they will become a global "asset". That's when the real problem will begin.

Ciaran O'Riordan

Re:Yay for software patents!!! (1)

Lysol (11150) | about 11 years ago | (#6792544)

Expect this to change if M$ ever is in need of ca$h, ala SCO.

Yah, I'm a bit disappointed in the EU. I figured they'd have figured out soft-patents uber alles would not be a good thing. Maybe it'll change at the last minute. One can hope.

All I have to say tho, is that once China and India start flexing their IT muscle, then that's going to be interesting. 2+ billion people is a lot of licensees or a lot of non-licensees.

patented unlimited patentability (2, Funny)

muirhead (698086) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744021)

... explaining the dangers of introducing unlimited patentability in Europe.
You can not introduce unlimited patentability with paying a royalty.
I'm sure someone in the U.S. of A. must have patented [] unlimited patentability.

Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6744404)

The EU is a collection of countries and doesn't have to answer to people, just countries. Don't feel bad that you have no legal recourse to stop what we're doing, silly demonstrators, it's not like we care what you say/think anyway. Just keep being a good little worker.

Re:Useless (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 10 years ago | (#6744545)

The voters are just a collection of people and don't have to answer to parliament (european or otherwise), just ourselves. Don't feel bad that you have no legal recourse to stop us from voting for or against you, you silly electee, it's like we care what you say in parliament. Just keep being a good little servant of us.

EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6744711)

i guess my vote (yea or nay) this september depends on the outcome of that stuff...

Re:EU (1)

LeftOfCentre (539344) | about 11 years ago | (#6768843)

Why? A No vote to the EMU won't make this go away. It won't make a difference.

Make this a "main" news (5, Interesting)

steelneck (683359) | more than 10 years ago | (#6747997)

Why isn't this article on the /. main page? If europe would say no to SWP it would send a very strong signal to the US, and maybe act as a catalyst world wide against SWP. I think this "online-event" can be a quite effective demontration if it gets adopted by _many_ sites world wide. [irony] But of course, i am dreaming now, people are way to lasy and have the politicians they deserve [/irony].

Slashdot is US oriented!!! (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | about 11 years ago | (#6791983)

It seems that the slashdot editors doesn't give a damn about what happens in Europe, nevertheless the fact that many of their readers are from outside the US, they clearly state that they are a US oriented site, and will remain like this.

Please move this news to the front webpage (1)

zoobab (201383) | more than 10 years ago | (#6749100)

I don't why this webpage is not published on the /. frontpage, but this news is call to ask people to be there next week...Hurry up and please move it...

our voice is being heard (3, Interesting)

misterpies (632880) | more than 10 years ago | (#6749245)

It sounds as though people already are making their voice heard on this issue. Today I was listening to a radio debate [] on the future of the European Parliament broadcast on BBC radio 4 [] . (The broadcast will be repeated Saturday 10:15pm.) One of the participants, a British MEP, said she had received many messages from constituents about the new software patent directives -- proving, as she said, the importance of the EP in representing citizens' interests in EU legislation. Personally I'm in no doubt that the unofficial /. campaign against the directive was responsible for a large number of said messages.

Why it's not main news (1)

Wolfbone (668810) | about 11 years ago | (#6750238)

Maybe to most /. readers a story about obscure machinations in the bureaucracies of far off lands is a little too dull. I'd suggest spicing it up a bit with some catchier headlines:

"Patent War in Europe: Brussels to be razed to the ground"
"Evil tyrant McCarthy to face wrath of the people"
"World faces patent doom - Heroes march on Brussels"

When I submitted something on the same topic a while back I just used the old trick of mentioning RMS - works every time ;-) What really bothers me though is the lack of interest in the mainstream press. If it was literature, art or music facing this nightmare the likes of John Humphries of BBC Radio 4's Today programme would haul in the senior cabinet ministers and McCarthy would be MEP in charge of banana curvature the very next day.

If any fellow Brits are still reading this, I'd be interested to know if anyone has any experience of approaching the media. I mean the Today prog. people for example who aren't stupid and could surely be made to understand the issues. Considering the power they wield I'm wondering if any efforts have been made to get them on side.

Re:Why it's not main news (1)

panurge (573432) | about 11 years ago | (#6792190)

Todat tends to parrot uncritically anything corporate to do with copyright and patentability. The BBC makes a lot of money from selling its productions, and I suspect they might see software patents as a possible tool in their battle with Murdoch.

What about /. ? (1)

Simon X. (700576) | about 11 years ago | (#6792018)

Are we going to see the protest page at tomorrow?

Amazon's too convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6794709)

I would like to claim that I boycott Amazon. But the convenience of finding especially used books for low prices it too enticing. If another company could do as good a job with providing a market for used/3rd party buying options I would drop Amazon altogether permanently.
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