Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

European Council Approves Software Patents

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the do-you-hear-that,-mr.-anderson?-that-is-the-sound-of-inevitability dept.

Patents 482

A. S. Bradbury writes "ZDNet reports that the EU Council has voted to pass changes to European patent law that will allow the patentability of software. See the FFII for more coverage. Currently, the FFII states 'The Irish Presidency's proposal was passed, with support from Germany, France and most of the other countries whose ministers had publicly promised to oppose or at least abstain. The only no vote came from Spain (to be confirmed), Italy and a few others abstained.' As you may remember, Germany had previously promised to vote against software patents. The FFII news page seems to have been showing growing support in European countries for the FFII and other organisations fighting against software patents, but unfortunately that wasn't enough. So, what now? The European elections are approaching, which means MEPs might be more willing to listen to our views than normal. Slashdot has covered software patents in Europe before."

cancel ×

482 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Awesome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187902)

EUROPE SUCKS AS MUCH AS AMERICA DOES!!!!!!


Please try to keep posts on topic.
Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads.
Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferen

Let me just be the first to say (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187903)

Ha, ha. Looks like the 'enlightened' European community doesn't think like a slashbot after all.

software patent can make happy all. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187905)


Hello, my name is Xiang, a resdent of China. I cannot use last name the goverment watch us and will put me in camp if they find me writing this.

China government make software patents illegal. It say causes bad thinks among China people. My friend Chiang was caught with software patents and put in labor camp. I miss Chiang.

In fact dr. Yu-Yee, famos scientis say that Chinese people need more software patents. he was found by goverment and put in camp like Chiang. I wonder if it same camp as Chiang. they can maybe I be in camp together making happy electronoc for western people. be happy! maybe your mouse or keyboard made by dr Yu-Yee or Chiang. I miss Chiang.

dr Yu-Yee miss to but not as much as Chiang. He and me would go hunt duck with stones! Not hit many but still hunting. In fact we hit no duck, but still call it hunting! One time Chiang throw rock at duck and it hit tree and bounce and hit Chiang in face! hahaha! I miss Chiang.

then goverment worker from Ministry of Rocks see us and chase us! we got away but good thing or we be in camp for 3 year for Rock Abuse Re-education. Maybe that where Chiang is in camp for.. maybe not for wanting software patents. I miss Chiang.



PS: excuse my english, not normal language to me.

- Xiang

Re:software patent can make happy all. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187997)

Hahah, ur just jelious that china doesn't have patents while "free" countries (wester barbarians) have restrictions on their science and programming!

muahahhahah!

Even better u are banned from doing stem cell research (the future of medicine) because your government says it will make your god angry! LOL!

Re:software patent can make happy all. (0, Offtopic)

milsim (739431) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188090)

> One time Chiang throw rock at duck and it hit tree and bounce and hit Chiang in face! hahaha! I miss Chiang.

Your friend killed himself with a rock and you just laugh at that?

Re:software patent can make happy all. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188143)


Hello, my name is Xiang, a resdent of China. I cannot use last name the goverment watch us and will put me in camp if they find me writing this.

Chiang not die from rock hitting in face, he fall down with blood spraying from nose and eyes and mouth but not dead. Then he go to labor camp for re-education.

I miss Chiang.

First post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187907)

Somewhere at MIT, Richard Stallman's head explodes. .....Rightfully so, might I add. :(

France is first to file (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187909)

France is said to be first to take advantage of this, filing the "one-click surrender" web page as their own patent.

Re:France is first to file (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187948)

You must mean that they tried to file, but gave up once they saw all the paperwork involved.

frost pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187911)

haha

First Patent (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187913)

Man, only in the EU can I get First Patent!

We'll just have to ask Monty Python... (1, Funny)

macshune (628296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188086)

GO AWAY, OR I SHALL PATENT YOU ANOTHER TIME!

crap. good thing i live in the united states, no software patents here!!!!:)

May I be (1, Interesting)

ProudClod (752352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187919)

the first to say "Fuck".

I mean, talk about a stab in the back.

Re:May I be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187971)

My thoughts exactly.

Re:May I be (4, Interesting)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188010)

I mean, talk about a stab in the back.

and you're surprised because why? contradiction, hypocrisy and breaking promises are the hallmark of liberal, representative democracy.

think of this: the number of domestic votes a country like, say, germany has that would be swayed by an issue like this is very minimal. the amount of potential campaign contributions from major software vendors, contributions that can translate directly to votes, is big. the outcome is obvious.

remember that a liberal democracy is a system whereby the rulers get votes from the poor and money for the rich while promising to protect each from the other.

[NT] Frymaster for World Despot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188094)

Re:May I be (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188220)

Campaign contributions aren't such a big thing in the EU. There is a maximum limit on what candidates are allowed to spend in an election

Re:May I be (1, Interesting)

pyros (61399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188229)

so we really need to remove the financial incentives to becoming a politician. NO corporate campaign contributions, and pay the fuckers so little they need a real job to pay the bills. And no pension plan. Maybe then politicians will only consider what's in the best interest of the people.

What do you think? (1, Interesting)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187920)

Originally, I thought this would be a detrimental thing categorically.

But with all the thievery of intellectual property, and all the monopolizing tactics of the biggest corporations, maybe this is the protection that the individual/small corporate developers need?

Re:What do you think? (5, Insightful)

hcetSJ (672210) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187995)

all the thievery of intellectual property, and all the monopolizing tactics of the biggest corporations
...is exactly what software patents will be used for.

Re:What do you think? (2, Insightful)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188222)

The only companies that will be able to not only fund the process of registering patents, as well as the legal staff to sue violators will be large corporations.

Small companies will have their ideas stolen, and will have a choice: either fight, and end up going under due to financial burden, or try to compete, and hope that they have a significantly better mousetrap. Given the software patents that I have seen, that is not likely, and the monopolies will win (yet again).

As for Open Source - we have always been targets, and will continue to be so. However, we don't have the deep pockets and there is plenty of prior art on our side (hence only SCO being stupid enough to go after us, thus far, and then having to pick IBM as the surrogate 'deep pocket' for their purposes) - meaning attacks on Open Source will continue to come through FUD, as opposed to patent law in most cases.

IANAL - so don't base any business or personal decisions on my advice.

Re:What do you think? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188018)


But with all the thievery of intellectual property, and all the monopolizing tactics of the biggest corporations, maybe this is the protection that the individual/small corporate developers need?

What "thievery of intellectual property" and monopoly tactics would patents have quashed? I'm not arguing, I just can't come up with any esxamples.

Re:What do you think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188179)

That is exactly what I was thinking. We have software patents in the US and I can't think of one case of a small company taking on big company using software patents. It is usually the other way around.

Too late (5, Funny)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188025)

"But with all the thievery of intellectual property, and all the monopolizing tactics of the biggest corporations, maybe this is the protection that the individual/small corporate developers need?"

Too late, I already patented that idea. Pay up!

Re:What do you think? (2, Insightful)

Vaste (735713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188106)

Yes of course. Luckily for people with little resources patents are dead cheap to get and support. NOT.

Please, read up a bit about software patents and it's effects before posting. The ONLY ones to benefits are the very largest companies and patent lawyers.

Re:What do you think? (5, Informative)

benja (623818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188126)

The protection that we need is the protection from getting sued if we have an innovative idea and dare to publish the resulting software. Software patents make great weapons against small developers who cannot afford a patent lawsuit.

Besides, what kind of dorky attitude is it that nobody should be allowed to build on an idea for twenty years?!? Imagine that somebody has had a trivial idea and you get the same idea from elsewhere, and build something much larger on it. Well, you cannot use your ideas for the next twenty years if the first person has patented it.

You seem to be saying there should be not patents (4, Informative)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188301)

The protection that we need is the protection from getting sued if we have an innovative idea and dare to publish the resulting software. Software patents make great weapons against small developers who cannot afford a patent lawsuit.

If you put it out there and don't get a patent then you can use it and it then becomes prior art to any patents. If you can't afford a patent lawyer then just put it out there. If someone else patents it then yours is prior art to theirs.

Besides, what kind of dorky attitude is it that nobody should be allowed to build on an idea for twenty years?!? Imagine that somebody has had a trivial idea and you get the same idea from elsewhere, and build something much larger on it. Well, you cannot use your ideas for the next twenty years if the first person has patented it.

This concept can be held to any kind of patent. From engines to circuit boards to anything. So, your saying there should be no patents. No IP protections.

Maybe your right (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188197)

Maybe your right about software patents not being a bad thing. If the patent office really does look for prior art and not present patents with prior art. This could be very hard though. They also need to not give a patent to a vague concept.

It Doesn't Work That Way. (4, Insightful)

HopeOS (74340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188226)

If you, as a small-time developer, hold a patent on an algorithm, you can be assured that the mega-corporation that "steals" your idea will hold a number of patents on things you do. They can cross-license with you (ie. you get nothing but the opportunity to remain in business), or they can litigate you to death. In no circumstance will you come out ahead.

Patents may have been conceived as a means to protect "the little guy," but nowadays, they're nuclear weapons on a very small battlefield. Your bombshelter is not deep enough.

-Hope

Re:What do you think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188228)

"maybe this is the protection that the individual/small corporate developers need"

agreed, they in fact do need protection from the dangers of freedom and extra money in their pockets

Audio files and transcripts (5, Informative)

benja (623818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187921)

.ogg files and transcripts of the decisionmaking process are here [wiki.ael.be] .

I'm disappointed that the German government voted for after initially saying they'd at least abstain -- my understanding is that they could have held up the process if they had at least abstained. :-(

Re:Audio files and transcripts (1)

Kor49 (748163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188020)

"ogg" files ? That's a bit ironic, imho.

Re:Audio files and transcripts (1)

benja (623818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188161)

My guess is that they were made by someone from the free software camp who managed to attend the meeting, but I don't actually know. Someone else, maybe?

no one who speaks German could be evil (1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188081)

Who'd have thought it - the Germans lied and tricked people. Based on my study of German history - now that they have liberated Poland^H^H^H^H^H^H software, they will start putting open source programmers in death camps.

Re:Audio files and transcripts (3, Informative)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188172)

my understanding is that they could have held up the process if they had at least abstained. :-(

Your understanding is correct. As odd as it may sound, an abstention is equivalent to a no vote. The reason for this is that only yes votes are counted (rather than ration yes vs no). So, an abstention is a vote which is not yes, and thus equivalent to a no. Difference is only symbolic, no impact on the outcome.

I'm also disappointed that Germany didn't do more (and that they didn't insist that their entire amendment got into the final text, rather than just the unimportant part).

I'm also disappointed about the Luxembourgish delegation: Although Butcher's Son did get 6a in, an abstention would have been in order. Especially since Greece would probably have followed suit.

I say we boycott... (5, Funny)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187926)

We should boycott software from Feb. 31st to the Ides of march! if we don't use any software for that day, the EU will......

What the hell am I talking about?

Goatse man tortured. (-1, Troll)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187934)


LONDON -- Reuters said Tuesday that the Goatse guy, while working for the news agency, was beaten, taunted and forced to put shoes in his mouth during his detention at a military camp near Fallujah in January.

After being freed from his Jan. 2-5 detention, Mr. Goatse told Reuters about his alleged ordeal but only decided to make it public when the U.S. military said there was no evidence of abuse, and news broke about the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

Reuters quoted the Goatse man as saying he was beaten and forced to make demeaning gestures as soldiers laughed, taunted him and took photographs. He told the news agency he also was degraded by being forced to insert fingers into his anus and then lick them, and to put shoes in his mouth.

"The U.S. investigation in this case remains totally unsatisfactory as far as we're concerned," Susan Allsopp, a Reuters spokeswoman in London, said Tuesday. "We would urge them to reevaluate the investigation in light of recent invents."

The Reuters staff said the abuse happened at Forward Operating Base Volturno, near Fallujah, after Goatse was detained while covering the aftermath of the shooting down of a U.S. helicopter near the Iraqi city. He was held at Volturno, then at Forward Operating Base St. Mere, they said.

The U.S. military, in a report issued before the Abu Ghraib abuse became public in photos shown around the world, said there was no evidence the Goatse guy had been tortured or abused.

On Monday, the news agency said, it received a letter dated March 5 from U.S. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq, that he was confident the investigation had been "thorough and objective" and that its findings were sound.

Reuters said the Pentagon has not responded to a request by Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger to review the military's findings about the incident in light of the scandal over the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Think about righteous patents for once (4, Insightful)

Random Web Developer (776291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187945)

It's not so much the possibility of patents that's a threat. It's also the way they are issued.

If the european patent office seems more sane than the us (a little like the japanese seem to do) and not issue patents for obviously stupid stuff, the problem might not be that big

Here we go again (1)

Vaste (735713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188184)

Well, so let's think about it. Where do we draw the line?

The problem with software isn't coming up with the idea, but coming up with the implementation (and writing it down). That's what copyright protects.

Re:Here we go again (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188272)

It does not work that way for drugs, engineering and every other industry.

Re:Think about righteous patents for once (1)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188198)

EPO is as silly as the USPO.
Many stupid patents have already been issued, disregarding the fact that it wasn't legal!

Would a sane patent office issue patents that is illegal? Hardly.

Re:Think about righteous patents for once (5, Insightful)

benja (623818) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188279)

I think they issue patents for obviously stupid stuff, but that's not really the big problem: who cares if infinite compression is patented, given that we know you cannot do it anyway?

It's much more of a problem that obvious things are patented -- for example, a LOT of webshop features [ffii.org] that you would think obvious have been the subject of patents that have been issued by the European Patent Office.

The point of the directive, as the EU parliament made it, was to outlaw all software patents. The point of the directive as the council made it (and the ones who actually wrote it are the patent office officials) is to allow all those patents in practice.

So where do I apply... (4, Funny)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9187962)

Ok, now that software is patentable, where do I apply for a process which decodes digital content which has been encoded in MPEG2 standard? And while we are at it, what about a process that converts 3 numbers which range in values from 0-255, into visible light? Or better still, converts a group of eitht(8) ones(1's) and zeros(0's) into human readable text and numbers?

Re:So where do I apply... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188002)

I already beat you to it!

And these patents are (255, 255, 255) hot!

Re:So where do I apply... (1)

Paladine97 (467512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188085)

Don't you mean (255,0,0) hot?
Yet technically (0,0,255) would be the hottest ;-)

Re:So where do I apply... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188142)

He can't use (255,0,0) and (0,0,255) and neither should you, since I patented them.

Re:So where do I apply... (2, Informative)

Vaste (735713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188249)

Well, except that software still isn't patentable in Europe (according to the law).

Parliament gets to speak next. It must pass both EP and Council when it's co-decision. This was not such a surprising result.

So what? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9187969)

Patent laws exist in the US and OSS continues to thrive . . .

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

lcde (575627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188158)

Yeah but it could force OSS underground.

Saving IP is one thing, but to limit someone to do the same thing with totally different code is another.

already stated but once again. Fuck.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188167)

Because patents haven't been used against OSS yet. Basically, we're depending on the good will of the patent holders. So everthings fine as long as OSS doesn't become a substantial threat or some patent holder doesn't see a way to make money by filing lawsuits or threatening to file lawsuits. Etc. Yeah, I feel good about the current situation

Re:So what? (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188171)

For now. Wait a few years until the patent enforcement infrastructure is well established world-wide.

Re:So what? (2, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188261)

So what indeed! So what if OSS continues to thrive:

1. OSS is a prime example of software that can be developed anywhere.

2. One cannot expect to gain as much from suing an OSS project as from suing a corporate software developer.

3. How do you even go about suing an OSS project? Who would be the defendant?

4. The patent wars are only beginning. It can get much worse.

So, the point I am making is that not many OSS projects have been sued _yet_, but that's far from saying it will stay that way.

And besides, a system can be bad even if it does not negatively affect OSS.

Finally! (5, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188017)

My patent papers are in for the following ideas that I invented:

1) A method for translating program source code into a machine runnable format.

2) A method for displaying a computer's file system (see earlier patent for details) based on the top of a typical desk.

3) A number system based solely on the numbers 1 and 0.

4) A method for having sex with a computer (you know it'll happen one day... and when it does... I'm rolling in the cash)

-m

Re:Finally! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188282)

And by publishing your inventions at this stage, you have just invalidated your patents.

The law is a bit different here you see.

Its not so bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188029)

Just take all the patents Ms has been filing and file the your self.

Passed AGAINST the will of the parliament (5, Insightful)

gspr (602968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188032)

I may be mistaken, but it is my impression that this was passed against the will of the EU Parliament. Yet another example of how the EU's internal structure can be undemocratic.

Re:Passed AGAINST the will of the parliament (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188221)

Actually the article is somewhat missleading - this law will now go back to parliament - it's not really passed yet.

And while i'm writing anyway. The germans certainly did not just say yes but lied a little bit more cleverly by saying they changed the law enough in the discussions before agreeing to it (they managed to do some minor corrections which won't change the fact that software can be patented).

Now it's official... (-1, Flamebait)

Universal Nerd (579391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188037)

Only criminals use free software.

Apparently the Germans forced some changes through (4, Informative)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188047)

According to Heise [heise.de] (german), the Germans forced a collection of amendments through. The idea behind the changes was to protect free software and avoid trivial patents.

Re:Apparently the Germans forced some changes thro (4, Insightful)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188253)

According to Heise (german), the Germans forced a collection of amendments through.

Not quite. Their amendments were gutted of the most important parts. Here an extract of the Italian speech, nicely summing up the situation:

We have said that we agreed on the German proposal on the meaning of technical contribution, but we had meant the original German proposal. Now, I see that the Germans have left the last two sentences of their proposal and whilst the first two sentences might be left out without particularly constituting any change, the last sentence - "processing, handling, presentation etc [of information] do not belong to a technical field, even where technological devices are employed for such purposes - that sentence we think is essential, if we are to give our agreement to the German text. So we would want that sentence to be included again. If you could change it in that way, we will be able to vote in favor of the Presidency's and Commission's compromise proposal. We will be unable to accept the Commission's proposal, in other words. (abstention)
Basically, the German amendment was meant to define what "technical contribution" means (i.e. sth technical, with the exception of anything that happens within the computer itself). Now, what's left are vague formulations such as "computer programs as such are not patentable", etc. which have been shown to be weasely and highly ambiguous.

Re:Apparently the Germans forced some changes thro (1)

ttldkns (737309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188270)

it is my impression that recently all these amendments were voted out of the law and that now the origional law on software patents is going to be passed. This is a bad day in the fight for freedom to innovate and create in software.

Re:Apparently the Germans forced some changes thro (1)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188316)

The only good solution would have been to stop patents totally.
Amendments sucks.

And in other news... (4, Insightful)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188048)

...the Pope is found to be Polish, and bears are found to be rather partial to crapping in the woods.

C'mon, didn't we all see this coming? Did we really think that those unelected officials which govern in our name would make a decision that reflects our best interests?

As i've just posted in Groklaw minutes ago... (5, Interesting)

AlfredoLambda (654892) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188054)

Pending a second reading in European Parliament

Brusselles-- EU Competition Council reached a political agreement about the patentability directive of inventions applied in the field of computer science, with span ish representative voting against it who stated the directive lacked enough guarantees to prevent computer programs being patented.

The Irish Presidency and the European Comission introduced amendments to satisfy Belgium, Germany, Italy and other countries refusing the proposal. But Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Alberto Navarro, 'after consulting Madrid' decided to keep his negative vote.

The proposal, which has raised refusal among Free Software advocates, is still pending a second reading in European Parliament

[...]

The Spanish Government considers the advantages of the protection given by patentability are not clearly exposed, as computer programs are already protected by copyright law.

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188057)

Yet another reason why the European Union is a threat to citizen's freedoms. I hope you world government liberals are happy. Fuck European bureaucrats.

Noooooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188059)

Gosh darn it.
I guess I'll have to move to sealand.

The world keeps getting dumber (2, Funny)

mamer-retrogamer (556651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188062)

I'm moving to international waters... who'll join me!? We can even raise the old jolly roger. ARRR!!!

Re:The world keeps getting dumber (1)

milsim (739431) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188138)

How about Sealand [sealandgov.com] ?

Re:The world keeps getting dumber (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188297)

Would we then be called Seamen?

Re:The world keeps getting dumber (1)

TheDredd (529506) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188196)

We can even raise the old jolly roger no you can't, I own the patent for that!

Re:The world keeps getting dumber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188288)

The Oakland Raiders own the Jolly Roger as their trademark.

Thanks to the new patent laws... (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188063)

...we can expect to see the ailing European software industry rise from the ashes like a phoenix and produce software that will rival that of the US where software patents have resulted in the best software in the world.

Er...wait...what am I saying?

This is Good (4, Interesting)

blunte (183182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188073)

Indirectly.

This will hopefully hasten the collapse of the software industry, highlighting exactly why software patents are bad.

The next 10 years could really be a mess, but hopefully people will learn from it.

This is all so typical. There is always someone, somewhere trying to twist the system to squeeze out some self-benefit, but always at the greater cost of society (and ironically, also usually at the long term cost of the selfish people themselves.)

Re:This is Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188290)

Yeah. Just like the collapse in the US software industry. Oh wait. It didn't.

Where do I patent a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188083)

Can somebody tell me how I go about patenting specific grammar usage as that relates to a sentance or paragraph? Because this is exactly the same thing.

Different laws... (2, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188101)

Although I do agree that software patent laws are being abused in the US, I don't believe the idea software is patentable is categorically evil? How is software engineering different from classic engineering in this respect?

The law systems in Europe allow for less bullying by corporations. Therefore, I'm not overly concerned.

Re:Different laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188314)

The problem is that the US didn't recognize software patents early enough. The case of Gottschalk v Benson [cornell.edu] holds that algorithms cannot be patented, more or less because they are laws of nature. If the court had struck the patent for obviousness, the patent office would have gained the necessary expertise in software to now be making intelligent decisions.

Yeah, great! (4, Insightful)

Lispy (136512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188107)

As a german citizen I am really angry that this happend although there was an intelligent debate. Seems like the big cash won over the judges. I am deeply concerned about what this means for the german software industry.

The sad part is that I believe that most of the propatent folks really believed that they are doing the software firms a favour and helping local developers up on their feet again. The Irony! The only thing that will probably happen is that the bigshots (i.e. Microsoft and the like) will further dominate the market instead of, growing, newcomers that could produce the next big thing and create jobs instead of outsorcing. ;-/

Let me be first first American to say: (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188111)

"Welcome to our world." Furthermore, this had better be the end of Europeans slamming Americans because they don't like the laws our legislators pass.

Look, I feel bad for you, really, but all we've been hearing for years on Slashdot is that Americans are idiots who keep electing bad leaders. The USA doesn't have a patent on bad lawmaking, so please keep that in mind, would you?

Re:Let me be first first American to say: (0, Troll)

vitojph (638205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188188)

Your words just show how idiot you can be. You shouldn't be so happy, it's a very sad day because we all are getting more stupid white men :-(

Not quite yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188232)

The EU still has a very long way to go before reaching US levels in governmental stupidity and corruption.


I don't think it's due to most Americans being greedy, arrogant and stupid, but some times you've got to wonder.

Re:Let me be first first American to say: (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188262)

Quick, someone patent bad lawmaking worldwide. Just think of the license fees.

That apart, you still have a really bad leader, although we can argue as to whether he was actually elected or not.
The Italian leader was elected, the Greeks have also made some interesting choices recently and as for the Russians . . . think Boris 'the drunk' Yeltsin and his KGB successor.

How right you are. (1)

Lispy (136512) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188306)

About a year ago I wrote a petition to the bavarian primeminister because I wanted to learn about his position about software patents since I was planning on voting him and didn't like the idea of beeing in the dark about a vital aspect for my business.
Believe it or not, after three days I got a response from an actual person (!). Sadly the response told me that their party didn't favour any particular Operating System (Linux or Windows) since they believed in the forces of a free market. OK! He must have gotten confused about the ongoing campaign about Linux in my hometown munich or something but I hadn't asked him that. It was totally obvious that he had absolutely no idea about software patents and simply assumed it had to be related to that linuxthingy he heard about.

I wrote another response to clear up the misunderstanding but never got an answer. I still voted him since the other party offered an even worse outlook. Well, here we go! Sometimes it's just not funny to live in a democracy.

Damn... (3, Interesting)

HeLLLight (748979) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188127)

I really cannot beleive that this is happening. A sstte of denial? No. Just shock at the possibilitys of this draft if it makes it into quote "...'sudden death' reconciliation committee..."

But there does look like there is some hope quote "The catch is that if the Parliament still doesn't like software patents, it has to have a majority of all MEPs to put its amendments, which means that in practice they need a two-to-one or three-to-one majority in the chamber,"

Hopefully this draft gets stopped in the next round of voting. If not, this could be a very bad thing for Europe developers of OSS.

Also on news.com.com.com (1)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188139)

Here [com.com] .

I'd hope that the EU Parliment votes the way it should and not approve the new resolution. From what that article says, it seems that opponents of the new draft have an arduous task ahead of them.

The BBC has a different story (2, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188153)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3726375.stm

They say that the patent plans have been shelved indefinately. Who is right?

Re:The BBC has a different story (4, Informative)

Doctor7 (669966) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188322)

They say that the patent plans have been shelved indefinately. Who is right?

They are talking about a different proposal, for having a single patent 'territory' covering the whole EU, rather than patents within individuual countries. The directive on what is patentable will still have to be implemented by the individual countries, even if the EU-wide patent never happens.

OK, Euro-voters, do your thing (4, Interesting)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188160)

When this sort of thing happens in the US, there is a huge cry of "you don't like it, you voted for them. Vote them out." Well, now it's time.

I'm in the US, so I can't do it this time. But to all the Europeans on Slashdot: Your own governments just lied to you about an EXTREMELY important issue. Your own representatives said they would vote against software patents, and then voted for them. Your next move is very simple.

1) Send a letter to the appropriate bureaucrat stating that you are upset, and inform them that they have lost your vote.
2) In the next election, send a letter to their opponent telling them why the incumbent pissed you off (software patent support), along with a check.
3) Vote for the challenger.
4) Watch as a few people wake up and realize that the voting public is not completely stupid and full of sheep.
5) Profit (not in money, but in Freedom).

Your turn now. You take out those bosos while we work against George "Fascist" Bush here on this side of the Atlantic. If you don't, you only encourage our slide into an information dark ages.

first patent! woo! (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188195)

I will be submitting two patents for the DO loop and the NOP very shortly. I will then order up my Bentley... oops, Bentleys, need to keep a cold one in the freezer, don't you know, in case the air conditioning conks out.......

Holder company (1)

lcde (575627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188199)

Wasn't their a 'holder company' that you can file a patent for an OSS project and they would look out for your best interests?

link anyone?

Bolkestein (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188210)

Well, alongside Darl, this should put one of the leading forces for European software patents, Frits Bolkestein [ffii.org] , right on the Axis of Evil of the software industry...

Slashdot applies for European Patent (3, Funny)

Deaper (659229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188211)

In a surprising development, internet news site Slashdot has become one of the first companies to apply for a European Software patent. The patent, describing the proccess of "seeing into the mysterious future by becoming a Slashdot subscriber", has caused much controversy over karma whoring. In response to the controversy, one Slashdot reader said "Imagine a beowulf cluster of karma whoring /. subscribers rushing to apply for various patents at the announcement that EU software patents have been approved."

In related news Slashdot is reportedly in the proccess of filing for another EU patent for the beowulf cluster.

Full Story at 10:00

In other news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188216)

France, Germany, and the Netherlands reported larger-than-expected budget surpluses, and the BSA is auditing every local and state government in Spain.

Not all bad news, though. Microsoft reported that its cash reserves decreased 0.0023% in the last day alone.

FFII? Isn't that a bit outdated? (1)

gregvr (518483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188234)

I mean, I just saw news about FFXII.

Time for some Anti-Eu rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188243)

OK, now turn about is fair play.

We got some good Anti-US rants (that got modded Inciteful) from the previous Germany Software Patent article. Time for some good Anti-EU rants.

I'll be the first to start off with bitching about how I hate Germany because Germany doesn't live up to the ideals they so loadly proclaimed early this month.

But, of course, I love German people, just their government and companies are bad.

Ha! Take ZAT, you silly English Kniiiiigggets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188252)

Now all you smarty-pants Europeans can sympathize with us for a change!

What is the problem exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188296)

I don't get it.

If I invent an algorithm that's worth patenting, why shouldn't I get to do it?

Doing the AC thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188307)

http://vrijschrift.org/swpat/press/final_factsheet 1092003.pdf

Pus a different spin on the patents, what the cover, and don't....

http://www.ccp14.ac.uk/maths/software-patents/so ft ware_patent_links.html

More patent links than you can shake a stick at..

I was part of the Dutch FFII delegation (5, Informative)

motown (178312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9188315)

This afternoon, 5 of us officially presented a petition against software patents to Dutch MP's responsible for Economic Affairs.

We were rather lucky, since one of us had good contacts with one of those MP's, who was sympathetic to us and had considerable influence, resulting in a quick arrangement to hand over the petition. Normally, the procedure would have taken weeks.

Many MP's were quite interested in our information, and were particularly concerned about the fact that our minister of Economic Affairs, Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst, who was to vote in the EU council on our country's behalf, had apparently misinformed our national parlement.

They even announced they would be holding an extra debate, probably tomorrow.

During the day, we were kept informed through our mobile phones. It was nerve wreckening. We kept receiving conflicting reports about wether we would be getting a majority against or not. Near the end, we even heard that the Netherlands would probably have the deciding vote! You can understand that nearly drove us crazy. :)

Eventually, the news broke...

And again, mister Bolkestein seems to have played a crucial role on the side of the software patent supporters. :(

On behalf of all the people in the Netherlands, I would like to apologize to all the people of Europe for mister Bolkestein. He makes me ashamed to be Dutch. :(

The fight is not over, however! It will be more difficult now, but the European Parlement seems to be really pissed, and most Eastern members that are joining the EU now (and will be part of the parliament after the next elections in June) appear to be opposed against software patents.

Also, it amazed me how easy it can be to get in touch with influential people, as long as YOU KNOW THE RIGHT PERSONS that have the relevant connections!

In spite of the defeat, I'm still impressed with the difference we managed to make today. At least more people in our government are informed now. And we won't be giving up the fight! We made a few mistakes the last few days (hey, we were new at this), but we also accomplished a lot and also learned A LOT of lessons.

I would like to end this post with two pieces of advice:

1) I'm calling upon ALL European Citizens to VOTE IN THE NEXT EUROPEAN ELECTIONS! Even though there is much wrong in European politics, not using your vote and at least applying that little influence you do would be insanely foolish!

2) Let's all coordinate our lobbying efforts! If you have even just one or two hours a week available to help out, spend it by contacting certain EP's (preferably try to start a dialogue with one or two specific EP's, so you can concentrate on them and build up more personal relations) and contact FFII to notify them of your efforts and inform them who you are in contact with. There were only five of us, and look how far we have come in only 5 days time!

Let's get to work! Autumn will be upon us before we know it! And the elections are even less than a month away!

Told you so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9188319)

Just wanted my comments recorded on Slashdot, so when Im old and gray I can say I told you so. This sucks.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>