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EU Software Patents Dead Again

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the happy-news dept.

Patents 325

Joe Blakesley writes "Heise is reporting (in German) that the JURI (legal division of the European Parliament who tend to be more pro-EPO) have voted to invoke Rule 55 for a total restart of the software patents process (going back through the anti-swpat Parliament with a totally new directive) following attempts by the EC to get their directive through by the back door. This is an important victory for democracy and it means we can no longer say that the JURI is out. Also see Groklaw's story."

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325 comments

Last post... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559960)

er... or something like that...

Back on topic: (2, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560391)

M$ and friends have vast amounts of money. By prolonging the process of debate the parliament keeps the meter running and members will get some real backhanders.

Linux users (0, Troll)

queef_latina (847562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11559962)

You're being left in the dust, using an inferior operating system.

I want to sniff some ASS PANTIES!!!1

Re:Linux users (4, Funny)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560177)

Dear M. Ballmer,
It looks like you failed evenly to FP and in the EEC.
Will this sudden blizzard finally dry your sweat ?

I suggest you get back to what you do best : Dancing and Rhymin [ntk.net] !

Re:Linux users (-1, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560311)

I would like to say

________) __ __)
(, / /) (, ) /
/___, _ (/_ / / ___
/ (_(_(__/(__ (___/_ (_)(_(_
(_/ ) /
(__ /

Only because it is not an inferior operating system. It has its place (EI most of the internet servers) just like Windows (Desktop) and Mac (content creation, from what i know).

Linux is in the process of becoming desktop-ready. It is almost there. It will not be an "inferior" OS in a couple years.

Re:Linux users (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560402)

it will be obsolete in a couple of a years

Rule 55 (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11559965)

It must be like catch 22: if enough private money is spent on a public issue, it's not for the public's benefit.

Rule 55 is not Catch 22 (4, Informative)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560073)

Well, Rule 55 [eu.int] is the parliamentary equivalent of rebooting.

So, you could say the current status of the patent initiative is like BSOD.

But who knows what will happen next time around?

Re:Rule 55 is not Catch 22 (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560329)

Only on /. would analogies involving computers be used to describe stuff that happens real life :)

Not 22. 55 = Not for sale. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560151)

If all private money was spent on one "public issue" we would defintely be going against the public interest. Where is the catch 22 unless you are assuming the "public issue" is for sale?

Article translated to English w/Google (4, Informative)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560399)

Software patent guideline: European Union parliament requires restart of the procedure

The co-ordinators of the responsible legal committee of the European Union parliament approximately set the switches this evening in the procedure around the planned guideline over the patenting barness of " computer-implemented inventions" seriously to restart. "we decided practically unanimously with only two abstentions that our president explained at the commission a Rekonsultation requested", to SPE Koordinatorin Maria Berger after the approximately three-hour meeting opposite heise on-line. As soon as parliament president Josep Borrell Fontelles follows that urge of the legal committee, the commission is requested to be concerned again with the guideline. Concretely the commission is to send their original guideline suggestion either again to the European Union parliament or submit a new.

Thus the legislation way was walked on completely from the front. The delegates support themselves by article 55 of the agenda of the European parliament. It plans a renewed fundamental concerning of the delegates with a guideline suggestion among other things, if the kind of the treated problem changes "crucially" or the parliament assembles again after definition of its point of view by elections. Appropriate requests had placed a group of 61 delegates as well as the Greens.

The legal committee had looked for Charlie McCreevy in the afternoon first together with domestic market commissioner for ways out of the muddled situation. The Irish had called recently the verabschiedung of the legislation still pending "key measure" for the stimulation of innovation and competition . With the meeting McCreevy spoke now of a "delicate affair". The of Luxembourg council presidency received in the meantime written promises for the Abnicken of the position of the Minister committee without further discussion during one of the next meetings. Naturally however a "constructional dialogue" is necessary between advice and parliament for the reaching of an agreement. In the question, whether the commission desire after a new start will follow, it did not want to commit itself. It stressed that "all options were open". At the same time he said the fact that the guideline was actually important since to a "considerable juridical insecurity" leads everything else.

The European Union advice is guessed/advised with its in May negotiated position into a dead end, since this limits the patenting barness of computer programs in the opinion of countries such as Poland not sufficiently . The government of the new entry country prevented therefore the Abnicken of the point of view of the Minister committee already several times . In addition, Denmark blocked past week the official verabschiedung of the advice position again .

Hartmut Pilch, executive committee of the promotion association for a free Informationelle infrastructure ( FFII ), made opposite heise on-line clear that he is for a revision of the advice position by the Minister committee. If the advice should not change its attitude however, the way for a restart, hit now, is the secondarybest solution. The Austrian Berger is pleased in particular that "we brought back movement into the thing. We must come in the long run to a legislation, which is closer at the point of view of the parliament than at the advice position ". The European Union delegates had in September 2004 in 1. Reading a guideline version submitted, which would put a latch plate for software patents forward . Also for their land woman, the Green EH Lichtenberger, is the current "courageous" initiative of the committee "a good beginning, but not yet the lucky end in the question of patenting of software."

The parliament correspondent for the guideline, the French socialist and ex Prime Minister Michel Rocard, expressed themselves however against a restart. He fears that the changes from the 1. Reading so to be lost could come and in particular a guideline still more harmful for the middle class or the procedure completely adjust could. Also Piia Noora Kauppi, Schattenberichterstatterin for the people's party, had first doubts about a renewed 1. Reading expressed. In the long run it gave in however, since there is in its opinion momentarily no other way out.

Nothing is dead, it's on hold for years again (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559971)

More years of uncertainty. That's not good for anybody.

Re:Nothing is dead, it's on hold for years again (2, Insightful)

kimba (12893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560084)

More years of uncertainty. That's not good for anybody.

That's like everything. Any law can be changed, created or whatever in 5 years time.

Re:Nothing is dead, it's on hold for years again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560135)

True, what is likely to happen now without the directive to provide a framework is a gradual creep in patentability as applications are taken to appeal in hearing at technical boards in the EPO.

Re:Nothing is dead, it's on hold for years again (4, Insightful)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560146)

I prefer the uncertainty over whether software patents are valid or not to the certainty that they are.

Sure it is. (4, Interesting)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560206)

F/OSS may very well dominate the marketplace by the time this bill comes back around. If that's the case, then every business and government that relies on F/OSS will be lobbying against it. It'll never pass.

Re:Sure it is. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560235)

I like your sig =)

Re:Sure it is. (2)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560256)

Yeah.

I wonder what Slashdot editors use since they obviously don't get annoyed enough to fix it. Surely not all are on Mac's and Safari, so that leaves IE or Konqueror?

Maybe a victory for Democracy (-1, Flamebait)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11559978)

But this is another step backwards for European National sovereignty.

This probably isn't the place to discuss this kind of thing. So I'll just toss a couple meaningless phrases out to blend in with Slashbots.

w00t! Victery 4 Freedom and democracy! Down with patents! Software wants 2B FREE!

Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559990)

National sovereignity is so 90s...

Also, that's the point of the whole EU. Give up some sovereignity and move closer together. Act as one.

Re:Oh please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560326)

Do you know what you are talking about ?

No you don't. You don't have a clue, just a silly romantic communist view of the world. Go back to your hole

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (2, Insightful)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11559998)

1) Is it? In What whay? Let me guess, you're british, swedish or danish? To those (maybe I should say us, but it's not my fault where I live) every EU decision is a step backwards for "national sovereignty".

2) Even if it was, why is that a bad thing?

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (1)

marafa (745042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560051)

y are patents bad?
ok .. imagine the caveman who invented fire patented his idea of fire in pages of whatever definition lawyers have for fire.
where would u be today? interesting question that.. would u even be today?

knowledge is free, and should be free so that we can make the best use of it, whether for profit, charity, improvement, innovation, expandability, documentation, whatever you decide.

which is why the instructions to building any weapon u choose are on the net and/or in your local library.

Hey, stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560198)

1. Learn how to spell.
2. Learn how to use your shift key.

Just because the Brits object, it's not wrong! (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560061)

Actually the Brits are probably one of the most pro-patents nations. Tony likes winners to be on his side, and MS (a fairly pro-patents organisation) is pretty much as far as he sees.

The EU is not a democratic organisation. When people elect people who elect people, democracy is not the correct term. The obvious problem is that the first stage can promise X and then turn around and do Y to elect the second stage. This is the problem that people have with the EU. With the advent of the 'net, we have the ability for true democracy within our society. I'd like to take it.

At the end of the day, there is a decision to be made - is it better to be part of an organisation that is moving and shaping the world in the local neighbourhood, or is it better to be apart ? Britain for one cannot afford splendid isolation any more. It's as simple as that. That doesn't make the EU a great choice. It's just the lesser of two evils.

In Europe, the traditional view of Brits is that of 'little Englanders' obsessed with their petty social rights and demands on society. It's far more complex. Most Brits are far less patriotic than portrayed (for example, I'd like to see a world government), but we just don't think the setup of the EU is a good framework to build on for that ultimate journey.

Under no circumstances ought the EU parliament and the EU council of ministers be so disparate in their opinion that the issue of software patents (or any issue, actually) should divide them so. The EU government (as a whole) is there to represent the people - it's a shame that the council of ministers is far too busy representing (paying) businesses to pay attention to the people whom those businesses ultimately depend on.

Yes, this is politically biased, and I apologise. I'm just sick of being told I'm "anti-democracy" because I disagree with the non-democratic (ironic, huh?) process that the EU takes on these things. I'm especially sick of being told it's "because I'm British". For crying out loud, address the ISSUES, not my nationality.

Simon

Re:Just because the Brits object, it's not wrong! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560361)

"Britain for one cannot afford splendid isolation any more. It's as simple as that. That doesn't make the EU a great choice. It's just the lesser of two evils."

It's not an issue of isolation. There is no way of presenting a good case for further European integration to the UK population because there simply isn't one. That's why Blair doesn't really want to get too involved into the benefits other than glossing over them.

What's he going to say ? "Join me everyone, sign away your Sovereignty to corrupt bungling Eurocrats and you will be happy"

Britain needs to have confidence in it's postion that is is somewhat aloof from mainland Europe and be very pleased with that position. It's needs to move away from European red tape and regulation.

After all, where WILL it end ? Europe (heavily lobbyed by M$) suddenly announce they want to introduce a chip that is implanted into your brain and saves all your cookies and web info, and that if we don't do this we won't be competitive....

no thanks

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (4, Insightful)

d_strand (674412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560125)

Is it? In What whay? Let me guess, you're british, swedish or danish? To those (maybe I should say us, but it's not my fault where I live) every EU decision is a step backwards for "national sovereignty".

Do you actually need to be told why this is a victory for democracy? Ok: because the majority of people (at least the people affected by it, the rest don't even know what it is) are against software patents. The only people who want software patents are rich organisations that can afford to use them to choke their competition. QED.

Or perhaps you hink democracy means "people with money rule"?

And a unified European government is not a bad thing (I want one), but software patents are.

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560008)

But this is another step backwards for European National sovereignty.

I think European National sovereignty has a bigger problem then this. The fact that there is no nation that is recognised as "Europe" would probably be a big problem. There are numerous nations in Europe that have sovereignty, but that isn't the same thing as European National sovereignty :P

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (1)

alarch (830794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560021)

it is just matter of time. i already feel to be a european (read my nation is wurope, not any part of it)

Re:Maybe a victory for Democracy (2, Interesting)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560241)

European national sovereignty has been on the way out since the end of the Second World War, and with good reason. Wouldn't you agree that it's a lot more fun and easy to live when London and Berlin aren't carpet bombing each other? The whole point of the European Union is to establish a tolerant, comprehensive framework for multilateral coordination of tasks common to each nation. This naturally includes patent law. I'm sure the United Kingdom can continue to regulate the length of bagpipe drones if it so desires.

Re: You are so wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560440)

"European national sovereignty has been on the way out since the end of the Second World War, and with good reason. Wouldn't you agree that it's a lot more fun and easy to live when London and Berlin aren't carpet bombing each other?
"

This is the 'WWII guilt argument' for abandoning Sovereignty.

But it is Sovereignty that people died for. To give it to some fat cats in Brussels is an insult to humanity.

Do you see why your agument is meaningless in everyday life?

The UK giving up Sovereignty to Europe is like the US giving theirs to China or North Korea. Ok not that bad, lets say Canada or Mexico.

If you ask Americans how they would feel about that they would die before it happens.

That is how the majority of the UK feels. We love the member states of Europe. We don't want to be run by Europe and we believe that if member states really searched their hearts they wouldn't either.

keep it up (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559979)

keep up the good work!!!

This shows the truth..... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559986)

This only shows that the U$ is on their way to fasicst/communist copyright rule inposed by the dictatorship of MPAA/RIAA.

It shows that Freewill and Free thinking is still present in the EU and has not been polluted by the deranged thoughts of MPAA/RIAA and others with similar agenda.

I it obvious that soon the U$A will be something similar to the world in Orwells 1984.
And im not blaming Bu$h, but the coperate infiltrators in the senate.

Re:This shows the truth..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560013)

Don't you mean the $enate?

Re:This shows the truth..... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560019)

"And im not blaming Bu$h, but the coperate infiltrators in the senate."

I wish Mavis Bacon would infiltrate your post and clean it the fuck up.

Re:This shows the truth..... (5, Interesting)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560071)

And im not blaming Bu$h, but the coperate infiltrators in the senate.
Actually the greatest blame lies elsewhere..

The American public are more impressed by a slick PR campaign than by where their pols stand on the issues.. they are willing to vote someone in on name recognition [ca.gov] than on a real knowlege of who that person is and what they stand for.. when you need megabucks to pay for a campaign that you may win or lose, then you have to whore yourself out to the highest bidder, and this means the megacorps.. (in my country it's a tad different, they get in and then plunder the treasury.. but the slick campaign remains)

so its our fault. after all, no one is FORCING us to vote those idiots in. if people were willing to vote responsibly, then there would be no need for slick campaigns, only a willingness to actually work for the good of the people.. until then power to the sheeple!!!

Suchetha

Re:This shows the truth..... (1)

Quelk (841846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560188)

Schwarzenagger has however proved himself a competent governor, all of the Californians I know believe him to be better then their former governor. Remember, just because someone has name recognition does not mean they must be incompetent.

Re:This shows the truth..... (3, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560229)

If someone manages to be governor it DOES however mean they are a puppet. Schwarenagger isn't competent, his puppeteers are.

i wasn't railing on the gubernator, but.. (1)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560387)

.. on the guy who came in at #9 George B. Schwartzman (Ind), 12,370 votes, 0.2%.. that guy got in the top 10 just because his name was close enough to schwarzenegger (at least that's my take on things)

i DO think arnie got in on name recognition, and i agree with n0nsensical, that doesn't have to mean he's a bad governor.. but it just shows that being a person with values doesn't really mean anything unless you have a good PR crew

Suchetha

Hasta la vista, baby (2, Insightful)

n0nsensical (633430) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560296)

Sorry, dude, but I live in California and Schwarzenegger is the best governer ever as far as I'm concerned. He's the only politician, with the possible exception of John McCain, willing to stand up to special interests and not steal more of the people's money with which to wipe his ass, the favorite pasttime of Democrats in the California Legislature. It's the people who vote for things like borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars to waste when the state is ALREADY in a budget crisis who worry me.

Chuck Norris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560454)

What about Chuck Norris as governer ?!?!

Opportunity for informed debate (4, Interesting)

saphena (322272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11559996)

This will give the EU a much needed opportunity to consider the issues properly with the benefit of major campaigning forces on BOTH sides of the arguments instead of just the big boys arguing for unlimited patentability.

Re:Opportunity for informed debate (4, Insightful)

dilvie (713915) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560044)

Let's hope so. In any case, no victory will be permanent. People will still want to protect their "intellectual property" -- this fight is far from over.

Re:Opportunity for informed debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560122)

Dumbass, the CII directive never argued for unlimited patentability.

Re:Opportunity for informed debate (3, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560327)

Exactly. The directive stated the legal equivalent of "Software may not be patented with the exception of patentable software". Ha! Of course the "with the exception" part... was written in legalese too complicated for the average computer scientist to understand, so the lawyers thought they would be able to get away with it.

Re:Opportunity for informed debate (2, Informative)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560432)

This will give the EU a much needed opportunity to consider the issues properly with the benefit of major campaigning forces on BOTH sides of the arguments instead of just the big boys arguing for unlimited patentability.
Um, the big boys arguing for unlimited patentability are one side of this argument, even though they would deny that this is their true intention.

Auxskultu Min! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11559997)

La malamiko ne estas Mikrosofton.
Gxi estas vin Slasxdotulojn!

Reassuring (3, Informative)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560006)

This is very reassuring to see that software patents nightmare will most likely never happen in European Union where politicians seem to be concerned more with public good than with lobbying, which probably will lead to their abolishment in the United States as well, because American programmers will never agree to be left behind the whole Western civilization even facing quite different priorities of politicians on their side of the pond. This is a great time to sign this letter [thankpoland.info] and start sending snail mail letters to these addresses [fsf.org] . If you know of any other place where people can easily voice their opinion on those issues in a way that actual politicians will see them, please post them here. This is a truly great news, no matter if you are a free software believer, an open source pragmatist, or a proprietary zealot. In the end, every programmer has to face the same problems with software patents. It's wonderful to see a bright future and it's quote amazing to see honest politicians acting in the best interest of Their People.

There's s/t else politicians care about (4, Insightful)

CrystalFalcon (233559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560053)

Votes.

I jumped party line the last European Parliament election to hand pick a MEP that was solidly behind FFII's line. And I let all of the involved people, including the MEP and my previous MEP, know it.

Did they care? Did they respond? Yes, they responded to my e-mail. That was a sign in itself.

Politicians ultimately need votes. Regardless of business interests, compromises, if they don't get votes they're out of a job. Let them know what counts. It works.

Re:Reassuring (4, Informative)

nickos (91443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560169)

Hey, don't just thank Poland. Denmark deserves [theregister.co.uk] some of the praise too!

Re:Reassuring (1)

The MESMERIC (766636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560214)

Ok sure
I will snog the first Danish girl I see before me :)

Re:Reassuring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560262)

I will snog the first Danish girl I see before me :)

Remember that in Denmark the age of consent is 14 so no need to worry about jail when you bang a young girl like in the US. :) And of course, for "best of 40 years Danish hardcore" see http://www.rodox.com/ [rodox.com] - at least when you're into natural hairy armpits 14 lolitas sort of thing. Who isn't?! Hehe! ;))

Date rape is accepted usage in Denmark! (1, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560354)

Remember that in Denmark the age of consent is 14 so no need to worry about jail when you bang a young girl like in the US.

Not to mention that "consent [multigraphic.dk] " has a different meaning in Denmark than in the US as well:

Irish Chairman: Belgium: abstain. And Denmark? Can I hear from Denmark please?

Denmark: I would really like to ask the commission why they couldn't accept the last sentence put forward by the Italians, which was in the original German proposal.

Ireland: I think the Commissioner already answered that question, I'm sorry Denmark. So are you yes, no, abstain?

Denmark: I think we wouldn't, we're not hap...

Ireland: I assume you're a "yes".

Denmark: We're not happy.

Ireland: Are you 80% happy?

Denmark: But... I think we...

Ireland: We don't need you to be totally happy. None of us are totally happy.

Denmark: Oh, I know that, I know that.

Ireland: If we were, we wouldn't be here!

Denmark: I think we're not very happy, but I think we would, we would...

Ireland: Thank you very much.

Denmark: ... we would like to see a solution today.

Ireland: Thank you very much, Denmark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm happy to say that we have a qualified majority, so thank you all very very much indeed, and thank you to commissioner Bolkestein.

Re:Reassuring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560357)

No, it's 15 normally and 18 for dependency relationships (teacher/student etc.). See here [wikipedia.org]

Very interesting Wikipedia link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560423)

See here

Indeed, the Danish (and Irish...) have some rather peculiar definition of consent...

Re:Reassuring (1)

erlando (88533) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560333)

I'd do that too, although I'm pretty sure our secretary would have some kind of objection.. ;-)

Can I hear from Denmark please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560335)

Denmark deserves some of the praise too!

Yeah right. And the brave French army won the Second World War.

Re:Can I hear from Denmark please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560436)

WTF is this? Denmark did more than 23 of the 25 EU states and you have a go at them. Either that or this is just an excuse to randomly bash the French.

Troll.

Re:Reassuring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560394)

From the article:

Denmark is understood to be a soft opponent of the directive. During the council meeting in May, which saw the Irish presidency's draft become the informal common position, Denmark expressed reservations about the draft, but voted in its favour.

That's one way of putting it. Yeah, "In the schoolyard, little Timmy, who saw Peter raise his fist, Timmy expressed some reservation about handing all his candy over to Peter, but then handed over everything he had."

Re:Reassuring (2)

brianosaurus (48471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560200)

Between this and IBM & Sun starting to open up their software patents, this could eventually lead to a change in the US.

For now IBM, Sun, Microsoft, Apple, etc, still have to keep patenting every new line of code, in case the law doesn't turn around (because if they don't, someone else will, and might start causing trouble. Patent things to cover their asses, then release the patents because its all ridiculous (unless, of course, they figure out a way to charge $10/month on one. But i digress).

I hope that after the EU rejects them (please!), the sheer absurdity of our system will outweigh the Patent Lawyer Lobby, and the laws will start to change for the better.

(Not to mention that the EU is made up of many countries with widely varied cultures. Why would they want to adopt a system where a single country could go patent-happy like the US and drag the whole Continent down with them?)

Re:Reassuring (1)

CypherOz (570528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560292)

(Not to mention that the EU is made up of many countries with widely varied cultures. Why would they want to adopt a system where a single country could go patent-happy like the US and drag the whole Continent down with them?)

Because they are a bunch of corrupt politicians. Like they say: No matter who you vote for you end up electing a politician!

Why do you think Bill the Borg visted Europse lately?

Re:Reassuring (1)

Adammil2000 (797026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560212)

"If you know of any other place where people can easily voice their opinion on those issues in a way that actual politicians will see them" Write your opinion on a dollar bill and mail it to them.

Re:Reassuring (5, Interesting)

prodangle (552537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560238)

no matter if you are a free software believer, an open source pragmatist, or a proprietary zealot


What if you just like to use what you regard as the best and most economical tool for the job?

I strongly disagree with Software patents, but I wouldn't put myself into any of your 3 categories - not everyone bases their software choices on political views.


Sorry to be a pedant :)

Re:Reassuring (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560294)

> > no matter if you are a free software believer, an open source pragmatist, or a proprietary zealot

> What if you just like to use what you regard as the best and most economical tool for the job? I strongly disagree with Software patents, but I wouldn't put myself into any of your 3 categories - not everyone bases their software choices on political views.

JEsus christ... Grandparent has a good point which you obviously didn't get, but if you insist, here's a 4th category specially for you: no matter if you are a free software believer, an open source pragmatist, a proprietary zealot, or a political ignorant. Better? Or should I also add: a freedom issues and social rights ignorant who is outraged when people suggest he might be not an ignorant? Jesus.... Get a life man..

Read all about it on ffii page (5, Informative)

Arend (170998) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560011)

http://kwiki.ffii.org/Restart050202En

Brussels, 2 February 2005 - The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI) has decided with a large majority to ask the Commission for a renewed referral of the software patents directive. With only two or three votes against and one abstention, the resolution had overwhelming support from the committee, and all-party backing.

The decision is a powerful statement from MEPs that the current Council text, and the logjam of concern it has caused, is simply not a sustainable way forward. It is now up to the Commission to submit a new, or the same, proposal to the Parliament. Parliament will then hold a new first reading, this time under the guidance of Michel Rocard MEP as rapporteur.

The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Charlie McCreevy, had in the morning assured the JURI Committee that the Council would finally adopt its beleaguered Common Position text. He announced that "the Luxembourg Presidency has now received written assurances concerning the re-instatement of this issue as an A point at a forthcoming Council". Given that A points are to be adopted without discussion, this left no possibilities for renewed negotiations in the Council. Apparently, the Members of Parliament concluded that a restart was the best solution.

Former french prime minister Michel Rocard MEP, PES (FR/PS), gave a very strong speech at the meeting with the Commissioner. Apart from noting several "inelegancies" by the Commission, such as not taking into account any of the Parliament's substantive amendments in its recommendation to the Council, he also took issue with the Dutch and German governments ignoring their respective parliaments and the attempted ratifications of the political (dis)agreement at several fishery Council meetings. He furthermore mentioned that at a meeting with the Polish government, the industry players had confirmed that the Council text allowed pure software patents, and he wondered how the Commission could continue claiming the reverse. He was also curious about how the Commission's perfectly tautological definition of the concept "technical" could help in any way to distinguish between what is patentable and what is not.

Despite his own abstention when voting on the restart later that day, the fact that almost everyone else supported it is probably his personal achievement.

The Commissioner made clear that "any agreement will need to strike a fair balance between different interests", and that "a constructive dialogue between the Council and Parliament will be vital for an agreement". He does have the option to deny a new first reading. But given the strength of feeling in the Parliament and the concerns of so many member states in the Council, the Parliament request looks like the best way to achieve a clean way forward for this Directive that everyone has been looking for.
Comments

Jonas Maebe, board member of FFII:

The Commissioner can jumpstart the constructive dialogue by submitting
a new and more balanced proposal to the European Parliament this time. By
taking into account the countless new facts that have surfaced since the
start of this procedure in 2002, the Commission has a great opportunity to
reinvigorate the Lisbon strategy.

Dieter Van Uytvanck, president FFII Belgium:

We owe this victory for democracy to the members of the European
parliament. Today they have shown once again that they really care
about the concerns of the European citizens. And of course we would
like to thank those as well. I'm sure that without their impressive
support for an innovative climate that is freed of software patents,
this step would not have been possible.

André Rebentisch, FFII Media

The Commissioner was not prepared to take blame for Bolkestein's policy.
Charlie McCreevy is a very straightforward Irish politician.
But unfortunately he adopted a pathetic phrase style. Today at JURI
he 'read poems' while JURI members talked plain language.

There is an option for him: It was old Commissioner Bolkestein who was
grilled, poorly defended by his party colleague MEP Toine Manders (VVD).

The JURI committee was upset with Bolkestein's policy and the lack of preparation
from his successor McCreevy. MEP Kauppi pointed out that it was very easy to agree
on McCreevy's phrases but it was also important to serve the interests of European
innovators.

McCreevy has to change the position of the new Commission if he wants to
survive in front of Parliament. MEP Maria Berger suggested he shall learn
from this case. Kauppi said we did not need a new proposal from the Commission
as Parliament already dismissed it but we needed a real 'common position' from the Council.
The wordplay of MEP Lichtenberger clearly indicated the state of the debate:
national parliaments and Austrian parties say goodbye ("verabschieden sich") to
the Council proposal from May, not that the Council should adopt it ("verabschieden").

MEP Berger indicated she would feel kidded if she had to discuss a "Common Position"
in the 2nd reading with many unilateral declarations which state the opposite.

There is little to add.

Jan Macek, board member of FFII:

This is a real victory of choosing the strategically safest way of getting out
of the Council deadlock. A new 1-st reading gives the European Union a chance of
having a real debate in all countries which I believe will having a really clear
directive preventing software patents in a few years, which would not be possible
within a limited 3 months time of a second reading.

I am really happy that members of the Committee didnt listen to any pressure from
corporations to adopt the directive as is as fast as possible.

Re:Read all about it on ffii page (1)

citog (206365) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560204)

There's fuckall 'straightforward' about McCreevy and he's the last person who should be involved in an issue like this. He and party colleagues are far too easily swayed by large MNCs at the expense of the small indigenous development outfits in Europe.

McCreevy (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560370)

Well, it was nice to get rid of McCreevy from the Irish government - but I hope he doesn't cause too much trouble at a European level.

He is typical Fianna Fáil, more concerned with helping business pals than looking after the public.

I mean really - his Minister of Finance period was so heartless (Rich-poor gap growing hugely despite the country rolling in dosh) that after he left the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) declared himself a Socialist just to placate the public. (Quite an absurd statement, there's nothing remotely leftist about Fianna Fáil!!!).

In other news... (5, Funny)

startling (717697) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560031)


In other news, the Gates Foundation was reported as saying that Poland had been evaluated as an unsuitable recipient for any of Bill's money.

It will come (4, Insightful)

wintaki (848851) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560034)

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but sooner or later , they will get their way and software patents will come. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely against them. But they will never rest until they get them passed, and even if the opposition is strong now, sooner or later, someone will come into office who will work to pass the patents and then retire to a nice comfy spot on the board of some tech companies.

Re:It will come (5, Informative)

Sarastrobert (800232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560225)

Actually, we already have Software patents in the EU. The layers have been using a small loophole where a computer application is said to be patentable if it has a "technical effect", meaning a physical effect. The technical effect has been quite loosly interpreted to the point where it,for example, can be a technical effect if you compress data before before transmitting if across a (physical) line, since it will be transferred faster.

With this kind of definition of a technical effect almost anything becomes patentable. It has not been tested in court though. But we do already have thousands of software patents approved in the EU. This would just have put an official approval on the whole buisness.

Not having it go through will still leave all software patents where they are, but it will also give us a better chance to fight them off.

Re:It will come (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560428)

"With this kind of definition of a technical effect almost anything becomes patentable. It has not been tested in court though. But we do already have thousands of software patents approved in the EU."

But according to the national laws in many member countries, software is not patentable (at all). If the current directive would pass, every country would have to change their national laws to accommodate the directive. That is why the patent lobby want it so much, because in the current situation, their patents are just papers, but if the directive would pass, they would suddenly become valuable assets.

Re:It will come (2, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560443)

Maybe I'm just too cynical, but sooner or later , they will get their way and software patents will come.
I refuse to believe that Europeans would be so stupid as to make a law that would require sending money to the US for something as trivial as selling an item with one mouse click.

Not dead! (5, Informative)

pesc (147035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560074)

No, European software patents are not dead yet. But we managed to close the backdoor so it won't be introduced that way.

The patent lobby has not given up. The process will now be restarted and they will try with any means possible to get their way. Fortunately, awareness is rising. Politicians begin to understand that not only big companies and patent lawyers are interested in whether software can be patented. And some of the FUD and lies from the patent lobby is beginning to be exposed. So there is hope for the future.

But the battle is not over yet! PLEASE write your politician and support ffii.org. Now you can make a difference.

Re:Not dead! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560273)

The later they attempt to pass it, the better for us: as open source is becoming more popular, many entities (governments) will become dependent on it, hopefully some day govts will get enough dependent to not let to pass any legislation which could harm FOSS. When your infrastructure works mainly on open source and does not cause many technical problems (virii etc.) or costs (forced upgrades, expensive support from foreign supplier etc.), you are free to alter it any way you want, all money spent on support come back into your region because supplier is a local firm etc. switching back to propiertary solutions seems to be a crazy idea.

I just have to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560075)

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!!!!!
This is indeed a great day for Europe and for democracy in Europe.

However, if I understand the story correctly this isn't really a binding decision. The commission could still decide to go ahead with what they were planing (though this is probably very unlikely) and the president of the European parliament still has to forward it to the commission.

Anyway, this really looks like common sense has one over the interests of a few big global players this time aroung. But don't think it's over just now, this merely means that the process will start anew, so the fight against software patents in Europe is far from over.

First step.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560089)

It's a first step but the patents are not dead yet. Now we need to REALLY get into gear and lobby for the new text saying "software can not be patented", period.

I've donated to FFII, I will write letters and emails again. What will YOU do?!

This is our democracy! Let us take it back!!

Thanks so much, (4, Interesting)

avocade (608333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560134)

everyone in the EU (and around the world, I'm sure) who helped in driving this decision through. I was a bit worried at the end, but this shows that democracy can still work.

I sent a handful of faxes in myself to some of the more critical MEP's, and some emails to the Swedish government explaining my position. While that was the most I could do with my resources and time, it would certainly be interesting to see how far other people went to further this cause :)

Re:Thanks so much, (4, Interesting)

jez99 (840185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560324)

Well, I kept tuned txs to the FFII, and emailed with very polite and personalized texts to both the two spanish members of the JUI (One was against patent, the other was in favor of it). I also posted in the official web page. That was not too much, but, you see, I had this thinking yesterday. Why is it so important what 'media' says? (newspaper and so on), and why does politicians care about it?? It is not because of the 'power' of the media. They don't have any by themselves. The can't lobby, they don't use to have much money, neither contacts. Their power is based on the people who read them, because they can change their mind. And why politicians are afraid people change it's mind? becaouse that people may not vote them, or may talk to another about it, etc ... So, If you post a politician, you're getting over the whole 'media-in-the-middle' proccess. One always expect the media to cover one's concerns, in the hope that that can change it. Anyway, if one just post it straight to the politician, he may get the same result .... Whoa! sorry for this amount of 'nothing'.

great victory (4, Interesting)

cg0def (845906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560165)

Patents are necessary however not in the state and form that they are now. I personally belive that there should be a databas of who invented what however, there is no way that a coumpany should be allowed to charge anybody for using technology that the first company owns just the pattent for. Sure if you make your money off of something that you invented then you would like other companies that use the same technology to pay you. However, if you no longer use a pattent or you are a company that goes arround and buys patents for profit this sux. I think that companies whose treat patents as assets should be illegal. Pattents exist to protect a company's means of income and not to create ways of legasing mafia like behavior.

I really hope that one day patents become just a registry of who invented what when ... a true open source society.

Intelectual PRIZE. (1, Troll)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560406)

I think non-transferable patents would be an excellent idea. Software is more suited to copyright.

Why does everyone have to pay homage to the creator. If it's for private use then why the hell do I have to pay somebody? If I put together a lawn mower from parts I find at the tip and donate it to charity I'm a hero. Why can't I create something for my own amusement from software/music/dvd's and share it (or gasp the original) with everyone on the planet who is "wired"?

What would be fair and reasonable compensation would be a mandated gratuity based on the profit a copycat has earned. Not forgeting to keep and even refine "fair use". You would also still have the opportunity to negotiate directly with the creator for bulk licenses. You would not be responsible for any dues incured before a judgement was made against you in the "small claims court". For added kick to deliberate abuse the judgement could come with an IP audit attached. If the 'P' in IP signified "prize" rather than "property" then a free speach, cheap access, internet would have a chance to live up to the Guttenberg V2 tag.

Re:great victory (3, Insightful)

stygianguest (828258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560430)

In our economy we often see specialisation in companies. We see this in a lot of area's, for example the music industry where we've got different parties supplying different components of the final product. eg music + nice face + studio artists + marketing + legal 'protection' ... -> britney spears.

Although I don't like most music that's been produced this way, I don't oppose to the method (apart from the extreme copyright protection). It's the consumers 'fault' that they buy it.

I think the same thing should be possible in technology/research etc. Patents can allow companies specializing in research only and sell patents as their product. IMHO it's not neccesary that the company should actually produce the stuff themselves. If it's not possible to sell patents when a company goes bankrupt, investors would be much less willing to invest in a research-only company.

So although I see your point, I think the flexibility of patent ownership isn't neccesarily bad. However it is true that a shopping-cart patent does much more harm when it can be sold this easily. But that is more a problem of patents that shouldn't have been granted.

Help us EU-1-Europa, You're our only hope! (4, Insightful)

alexwcovington (855979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560176)

Perhaps that's being a tad overly cute about it, but the situation is fairly grim. If Europe can't hold out on software patents, then the entire developed world is pretty much SOL as far as technology innovation goes. As far as I'm concerned, software should be just like the halcyon days of pure research science, when discoveries were freely available to anyone who wanted to apply themselves. It's from that sort of spirit that you truly make progress. If it's all about the Benjamins, you just put enough work in so that you don't lose your job. Just like Linus Torvalds alludes to.

Re:Help us EU-1-Europa, You're our only hope! (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560416)

Luckily, in Europe it's not all about the Benjamins. We have politically correct, culturally-neutral drawings of fictional bridges on our Euros... blech :-)

I'm wondering what this says about the EU itself. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560254)

It seems like the EU is starting to assume powers similar to that of a federal government, but it doesn't seem quite yet to be treated as if it has the responsibilities of one. That is, the EU reps don't seem to behave as if they're directly responsible to the people, and the people don't seem to treat the EU elections as if they're electing people to govern them. Maybe this mindset needs to change.

I mean, I'm not in Europe but from everything I've heard the governments, the EU reps and the people of Europe all approach the EU as if it is an arbitration body between governments, yet it's now making decisions-- such as the patentability or nonpatentability of software-- which very much directly effect the people of Europe on a day to day basis and should not be made by a body which does not unambiguously feel it is directly responsible to the people.

Things in the EU are still taking shape of course but, well, that just means that this is the best time to address these things. I don't think it's a bad thing for the EU to centralize power but if it's done, it needs to be done in a very deliberate and careful way.

Am I making sense?

Re:I'm wondering what this says about the EU itsel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11560319)

You got that exactly right.

Now I've said it before and I'll say it again I think there is some misunderstanding in other parts of the world in regards to what is happening in Europe.

Europe; the EU is a fundementally about 2 things. a kind of post WWII guilt and establishing a new super power (particularly with collapse of the Soviet Union)

As the Europe 'project' has festered on it has become more and more of a nonsense (it already was) and is literally about lots of unelected cronies and toads getting huge sums of money to shape and introduce laws and regulations that they have no remit to be involved in at all and trying to establish control and take sovereinty (sp) from those member state countries.

Seperately but related the Euro is a flop and has damaged several economies, notably Germany and his been an excuse to drive up prices across the board.

It is only a matter of time before some so called 'enthusiastic' member states get cold feet and want out of the whole project.

Like the USSR Europe is seeking to absorb more new countries all the time.

People (especially in the US) might look fondly toward how Europe treats the Software Patents issue and other related subjects, but understand that any little thing that Europe does that seems good, there are 20 things which are imposed on member countries against the will of those people that are bad by completely incompetent and corrupt Eurocrats that have no right to be interfering in how other countries run their affairs. Yes I said corrupt and I stand by it. The whole European project is ridiled with corruption.

The strength of Europe has been and always will be the individual member states, a federal Europe is a disaster for everyone.

Are we sure? (2, Funny)

thogard (43403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560275)

'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
Look, matey, I know a dead patent law when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

In italian (3, Informative)

Vajsvarana (238818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11560429)

A nice page in italian on the JURI decision by an italian member of JURI itself (Monica Frassoni, verdi):

http://www.monicafrassoni.it/detail.php?id=771#

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