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455 comments

aarrghhh! (5, Insightful)

catalax (826962) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864349)

THESE FUCKERS!

Re:aarrghhh! (1)

un1xl0ser (575642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864389)

That was my reaction too. :-/

ugh (1, Funny)

rylin (688457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864354)

You've GOT to be kidding me. .

Eu to euro coders.. (0)

hplasm (576983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864356)

"All your basic functions are belong to us.."

see you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864364)

in the hell.

I did vote NO to European Constitution, now I know I was right. However it was for nothing.

Re:see you (1)

Jacco de Leeuw (4646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864387)

You're from Spain then, eh?

Interesting point though: would the proposed European Constitution make things better or worse in this respect? Who will gain more power, the European Parliament or the European Council / Commission?

Re:see you (5, Interesting)

JohnFred (16955) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864442)

It's not at all obvious. The Parliament is supposed to gain more power on paper, but there are several complicating factors, like the new President, Foreign Ministry, and streamlined Council. The BBC have attempted to summarise [bbc.co.uk] it..

Re:see you (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864555)

It has nothing to do with the adoption of the simplified and unified document called the EU constitution. The software patents is another matter. One is good, the other bad. Guess which is what.

It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (5, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864366)

So if the reason for letting the directive pass now was simply "administrative" and not related to its actual content and meaning, this leaves space for it to be rejected later.

Being personally deeply affected by this directive - I own a software company that does a huge amount of R&D - I really hope the MEPs will do the right thing.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (2, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864415)

So if the reason for letting the directive pass now was simply "administrative" and not related to its actual content and meaning, this leaves space for it to be rejected later.
Yes, the directive should not be rejected like this, according to proper procedure. It'll still have to pass the EC Parliament, which will hopefully send the directive back to the hell from which it came.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864460)

http://wiki.ffii.org/Cons050307En :-(

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (5, Informative)

elgaard (81259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864418)

You better start explaining to your MEP why this is so important.

The second reading will be much more difficult than the first reading because this time they need a majority of all MEP's (not just MEP's present) to change the directive.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (0, Flamebait)

the bluebrain (443451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864426)

  • I own a software company that does a huge amount of R&D
Sounds like you have a potential win either way: Keep researching. If software patents are rejected in Europe, don't change anything. If software patents are accepted in Europe, start patenting left right and centre, making sure that you build a large enough portfolio so as to be a noticable impediment to the big boys. Then get bought up my MS, IBM, Oracle, or whoever. It you time things right, you might just be the virgin princess bride in a bidding war.

So your dignity's overboard, you employees' jobs are in India - but dude, you yourself will be on the Bahamas.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (5, Insightful)

ites (600337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864571)

"Start patenting" is easier said than done. It costs a minimum of EUR10,000 a pop, which is a lot of money for a small group. And then all existing US software patents will take force with prior dates.

Lastly, patents are worthless without the means to back them up. A "large enough portfolio" mainly means you're willing to go to court to defend your claims.

If this directive is passed, European software researchers like my firm are basically put out of business. We cannot recover or protect our past investment, and our clients will not risk working with technology from small firms with no patent protection.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (1, Insightful)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864435)

Can the MEP's actually do anything? I thought it was the unelected part of the EU (the european council and their friends) that are doing all of the damage and not allowing the amendments to be made. I really hope that this all gets thrown out, if it doesn't developing software in Europe is going to get a whole lot messier.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (4, Informative)

Jacco de Leeuw (4646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864440)

The second reading will require a 2/3 majority. I.e. all hands on deck for a topic that is not likely to attract votes from ordinary EU citizens. The Dutch minister for instance seemed to be quite confident that this will not happen. The Christian Democrats' votes will be crucial.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864509)

I.e. all hands on deck for a topic that is not likely to attract votes from ordinary EU citizens.

It all depends. On the surface, this is about patents, but (assuming we're not being misled) this is about democracy, and the EU Parliament being made irrelevent.

Re:It still has to go for a 2nd reading... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864526)

Some notes from Sainsbury's responses to questions from various people here [blibbleblobble.co.uk] (about the UK view, not european).

yep (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864368)

they are all nuts and have been institutionalised

Re:yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864432)

They have been. But the institution they're a part of runs makes laws/rules for hundreds of millions of people.

People go to some institutions voluntarily, and some involuntarily.

I was an European (-1, Offtopic)

Uukrul (835197) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864369)

No I am a dissident.

Fri, 1st April is TROLL REUNITING DAY (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864371)

Mark your Calendar folks - all slashdot trolls, old and new, will be out posting their abusive, and ever so slightly amusing posts on this day.

That, combined with the ususal shit that prevails on this day of the year, should make for a chaotic day of slashdot browsing; so stock up on Cheezals and drag those old troll accounts out of retirement for this monumental day of historic nostalga.

Any idea's for themes (apart from the classic 'FIRST POST' - which, I might add gets funnier each time I see it)

Not the end of the world...yet. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864375)

Before the doom sayers start with the end of the world predictions, note the last bit of the artical:

"The directive will now be passed to European Parliament, which can reject or amend the proposal, for a second reading."

Re:Not the end of the world...yet. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864412)

Yes and to reject the directive 2/3 of the members of parlament have to vote against it. If I look at how the people who claim to represent my country's interests turn into cowards when it comes to taking the stand I'm not to enthusiastic about the 2nd reading.

Re:Not the end of the world...yet. (1)

akaempf (570205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864446)

It needs a 70% majority of all parliament members (no just those present) to reject the proposal, however, which will be tough to achieve. I also understand that they can only accept or reject, not ammend.

This is a very sad day for democracy and innovation in Europe.

Re:Not the end of the world...yet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864548)

So tough to achieve it has already been unanimously rejected by the EU parliament once already.

So much for my request for the doom sayers to keep calm.

Re:Not the end of the world...yet. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864452)

Yes, you're right, there's another possibility to reject it. But the matter is that this has been passed against some countries' opinion, the Europarliament and (that's the most important aspect) the stablished procedures and protocols about directives.

You know, the supporters of this directive (the hugest companies) have been able to break the rules of the government council for serving their interests... Sad day for the democracy and Europe.

Re:Not the end of the world...yet. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864558)

...And if I'm correct, it was the EP that wanted to restart the whole process. So in short this is just a quick way to get the current patent directive rejected completely and get to the restart?

no suprise there. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864377)

It is sad that it happened in the face of huge opposition... but my SIG says it all, no matter WHAT country they are from....

Re:no suprise there. (0)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864424)

but my SIG says it all, no matter WHAT country they are from....

--The one thing any politician must do, no matter how powerful, is stay bought.

That's actually a bastarization of the original quote: "An honest politician is one who when he's bought stays bought." -- Simon Cameron

Not done yet (0, Redundant)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864378)

In an amazing display of democracy, the parliament will still vote on the issue, according to the article.

Re:Not done yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864449)

The parliament needs to refuse to even consider the directive in it's current form. This directive is totally unacceptable and the councils behaviour earlier today was abhorent. We need to immediately remove the council from EU legislative process!

Let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864379)

What the hell on a stick with a bag of chips and a large soda consisting of coke, mountain dew, and a splash of root beer?

These people will cry the day they get a cease and desist from Microsoft because their child programmed a bubble sort in LOGO class, in first grade.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864462)

...and apparently the last to say whatever you were attempting to say.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0, Offtopic)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864522)

How's that "Flamebait"? He said...something involving beverages, then used hyberbole to point out a reason to avoid software patents. Namely, that software patents often end up being given for trivial or obvious ideas, and prevent anyone else from expanding from those ideas. There's nothing offensive at all in the post.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864545)

There's nothing offensive at all in the post.

Apart from the root beer; that's disgusting.

it's time to become (more)anonymous (5, Interesting)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864381)

we'll have to write good, patent infringing software. software that is so good it causes the downfall of a company and benefits the world while doing it. all of this, while trying to remain anonymous. i take this time to wish everyone good luck.

Re:it's time to become (more)anonymous (1)

castlec (546341) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864398)

AND if i had finished reading the article before posting...... as others have noted, we still have a chance with the parliament

Re:it's time to become (more)anonymous (1)

shibbie (619359) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864551)

We did - its called Linux.... ;)

Note that this means it goes back to Parliament (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864382)

Note that this means it goes back to parliament for a second reading (where an _absolute_ majority of 376 votes in the Parliament or something like that is needed to do *anything* about it (i.e. abstentions, absences, etc. count as votes _for_ the directive) - seems to be corruption is build into system, but there you go).

Time for a straightforward declaration of our own, I think:

"We, the undersigned, will not honour or respect european patent law any more. There are millions of us. You'll have to kill us all before you ever get your patent monopolies, you corrupt corporatist fuckers. Good day."

Re:Note that this means it goes back to Parliament (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864461)

I'd sign that and the use of "corrupt corporatist fuckers" is entirely appropriate in this situation.

Re:Note that this means it goes back to Parliament (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864539)

Unfortunately, you have to hope that those "millions" haven't forgotten this and moved on to something else in three years if they don't see immediate results in their favor. Once the corporatists have the upper hand, they just have to hold out long enough for someone to wave some other distraction in the public's face.

Time for a lobby (5, Interesting)

SeanJones (858119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864388)

This is now in the hands of our beloved European Parliament. I understand that most of the MEPs have long since been lobbied to the brink of resignation on this issue, but let's make them work for their croissants and travel expenses. The linkk below is to a list of UK MEP's email addresses: http://vox.org.uk/MEPMail.htm Sean

Re:Time for a lobby (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864414)

Given the current "Head up their own asses" UK position on Software Patents the best bet may be to target the UK-IP MEP's. Theres a chance we could convince them to vote against the directive simply on the basis of the blatent disregard for proper process and approval. Its this sort of thing UK-IP kind of dislikes about the EU.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864459)

It's an important suggestion. If every European member of /. was to write to their MEP it would cover a lot of ground in educating them about the issue and pushing them to turn up and vote against it.

grant us our freedom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864391)

this is achieved by breaking laws and willing to pay the concequences for it.

It's Not Oer Yet... (5, Informative)

PipianJ (574459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864392)

RTFA. The European Parliament still has to vote on it, and have rejected it before [slashdot.org] .

Re:It's Not Oer Yet... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864574)

What and let facts and reality stand in the way of sensationalised slashdot ranting?

Re:It's Not Oer Yet... (1)

ischorr (657205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864581)

Was that a pre-emptive RTFA?

Re:It's Not Oer Yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864590)

I think they should not only reject it but also quickly embrace a new law saying software patents will be forbidden forever in the realm of the union. I mean, seriously... this is going back and forth, accept, reject, accept, reject... "Ok, this is the least funny game ever" -- Chandler Bing

Parliment can still reject (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864396)

Now we need to cross every last limb on our bodies and hope that the European Parliment still has enough balls to reject this on the second reading.

Bah. Stunts like these are almost enough to make we want to vote UK IP. Almost.

Not Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864400)

This is unfortunate indeed. The EU decision to adopt software patents is akin to opening a large banana only to find that half of the fruit in the middle falls to a horrible death on the ground. It's really not fair at all; I only had one banana with me (organic), and I lost some 70% of it to the wet ground.

Maybe the parties involved in this will someday lose a mango.

Re:Not Good (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864500)

anh... far worse than that... more like biting into a really juicy apple and finding half a maggot in it...

Always go to ffii.org (5, Informative)

Baron Eekman (713784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864402)

Best information source for the EU patent-problem.

Here's the press release [ffii.org]

Microsoft to the EU: (0, Redundant)

mattr (78516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864405)

"You are 0wnX0red!!"

Down with software patents! (1, Funny)

iolaus (704845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864406)

I think I speak for all of Slashdot when I say: Rabble Rabble Rabble Rabble!

Re:Down with software patents! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864564)

What are you, Hamburglar?

Why do I have this sudden need for a cheeseburger?

Patent everything! (1)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864408)

Now's the time to flood the (soon-to-be) newly formed software division of the EU patent office with patent applications.

Get them in now! If we can flood them with a few million patent applications per day, they'll be likely to just start approving everything. Imagine your new income after you have a patent on such non-obvious things as simple boolean logic [slashdot.org] .

Re:Patent everything! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864471)

I call typedefs, floats, ints, and the semi-colon!!

Land of the Free... (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864409)

Whew!

For a second there, I thought I was going to have to move to Europe if I wanted to live in the land of the free (from enormous American corporate interests). Now if you guys could just go start a war somewhere...

Seriously though, as many times as this issue has been pronounced dead and subsequently been ressurrected (as shown by numerous /. articles) I can't imagine this is the end... right?

Re:Land of the Free... (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864433)

It's the dup that never dies, and legitimately belongs on slashdot. Seriously, I'm an american, and even I have a hard time believing it is making it through with the press it has gotten. I live the justification of it "to be consistent with other policies". WTF?

For freedom, have you considered China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864481)

They execute about the same number of ppl as does Texas (per capita). They spy on their citizens. They allow any company that is in good graces with the government to get by with murder. And in fact, they allow their politicians to get by with murder.

Not much difference

Re:For freedom, have you considered China? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864532)

"They execute about the same number of ppl as does Texas (per capita). "

Damn hadn't realized Texas had slowed down so much. Time to write some letters and get them "cooking" again.

Nothing like the smell of cooked criminal in the morning, smells like... Victory!!!

Re:Land of the Free... (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864535)

Once they get the law in, they win.
All they have to do is win once. And it's pretty much over for a long long time.
On the other hand, the anti-patent side has to win every time to keep it out.
When the Pro-Patent side are paid for by almost bottomless pockets, and the anti-patent by ethics and common sense, in todays world, it's just a matter of time.

Well there is always room in South America (1)

Portal1 (223010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864560)

Brazil will likely never adopt them, with its large movement to Open Source.
In related news, Holland has had the highest emigration since 1952 in 2004. (50.000) people.
I was one of them.

thats it! (1, Funny)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864411)

I'm moving to Canada!

The European Constitution (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864413)

If you live in a country like France where you'll have to vote the constitution, make sure you vote NO to punish the council and the commission for their behaviour.

I personally don't want to live in a dictatorship where the will of the parliament is disregarded by people who have been elected by no-one.

Today's commission is like russia's communist party. Make sure they go back to home with a lesson they will never forget.

Re:The European Constitution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864562)

I've not read the constitution, but how would it affect the decision making process? Here the problem is the will of the European Parliament (democratically elected) being overridden by the European Commission (appointed by national governments). The constitution may give more power to the Parliament and therefore be a good thing from the s/w patent point of view.

Re:The European Constitution (4, Insightful)

Khalid (31037) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864577)

NO !! the new constitution will grant more power to the parliamant. The European parliamant for now can only vote Yes or No for the commission composition not the directives per se, for which it has only a consultancy role, this is the reason why the commission ignord it's amendements and went ahead with the patent directive !

So.... (1)

Netsensei (838071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864421)

This means it's back to stones and rocks as far as near-future tech is concerned? Or are we going to get a C&D for constructing a calculus with pebbles?

Whenever interplanetary human space travel is possible, I'll be the first to start a rebel colony somewhere on Mars that opposes copyright law, patents and major corporations.

Et muss een séch schummen Lëtz ze sin! (0, Redundant)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864422)

De Krécké as och nët besser wéi de Metzleschjong!

Re:Et muss een séch schummen Lëtz ze sin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864542)

Jojo léiwe Lëtzebuerger ... wierklëch kee schéinen Daag fir ons haut :(

E.

Re:Et muss een séch schummen Lëtz ze sin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864550)

Hei elei kuck elei?? :-)

One would have thought that those crazy Luxembourgians would have enough (laundered) money to withstand bribing by Microsoft, Philips and Nokia, but nooooo....!

Re:Et muss een séch schummen Lëtz ze sin (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864584)

Et get einfach Zait dem Juncker eng Kugel an den Kapp ze scheissen, ass schon op d'Mannst 10 Joer iwwerfaelleg....

ffii article (2, Interesting)

FoeNyx (676253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864428)

I love this part of the ffii article [ffii.org] :
" Luxembourg negated the Council's own Rules of Procedure, which state that a B-item (which is at the same time a request to remove an A item) can only be rejected by the a majority of the Council, and not just by the Presidency. (art 3.8) "

Re:ffii article (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864437)

So?

The other nations surely knew that it wasn't right, but they still didn't say a word.

FFII Press Release (5, Informative)

Halo1 (136547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864430)

Available here. [ffii.org]

And as someone else already said: the Council has adopted its "common position" (although it was far from common in this case). It still has to get into the European Parliament, through its second reading (where it can be amended or even rejected, after which the whole game is immediately over).

Anyway, as far as I am concerned, the big news is not what they adopted (a directive text which codifies the European Patent Office's US practice), but how they adopted it. Three countries with the support of several others asked to reopen discussions, and the Luxembourg presidency simply denied that even though they have to let the Council as a whole decide about that according to their own rules of procedure [eu.int] (point 3.8).

Euro constitution vote (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864434)

If your country is voting on the constitution soon, vote NO to a system which would leave the Parliment even less power.

When our glorious leaders ask "Why was this rejected?", let them know:

The people we voted for to run Europe should be the people actually running Europe!

Re:Euro constitution vote (2)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864492)

Intresting. What make you think they let us vote about this? We didn't got to vote when they introduced the euro. Nor about anything else. I bet they'll force this one down our throats as well.

Knuts (2, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864436)

Kno Kmore Knoppix. Mplayer is done, Europe is finnished for inovation.

I guess we have to look to the Chinese now for inovatave software, along with everything else.

I know it isnt over, but it's like the long walk to the gas chamber. you can guess the outcome.

Sad Day

Write to your member of the EU parliament now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864444)

The only institution that can stop this madness now is the EU parliament and it has shown several times now, that it is willing to do just that.

They even asked the EU-Commission to restart the whole process, but the Commission flat out denied this request. I can't imagine that members of parliament like to be treated like that.

So please, write your local member of the EU parliament and tell him that you ask him to do everything within his power to stop this madness.

Re:Write to your member of the EU parliament now (1)

mikkom (714956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864520)

So please, write your local member of the EU parliament and tell him that you ask him to do everything within his power to stop this madness.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Every european needs to act NOW. This trickery is unacceptable.

This is the first day of my life when I'm truely ashamed to be european.

God Bless America!!! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864448)

Apparantly God hates Europe! :)

Okay I'm kidding... I don't believe in god. I hate to say it, but this is just what happens in a world where money is the primary motivator for things. It's important -- I work for money too -- but I also love my job and wouldn't leave it unless there was a profoundly good reason to do so...(such as an offer of much more money!) Nothing I say here will likely change anything, but when your motivator is money, think about what you're doing to the world and take interest in it -- the older I get, the more I realize the world is mine too and that I'm not just some kid who was born into this ride -- I want to drive too!

Looks like the anti Linux law suits will start (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864456)

This has been the one thing that MS before going after IBM, HP, SGI, etc. over Linux. In fact, the only company with a get out of jail free card is Sun (and probably SCO).

Next couple of months are going to prove to be interesting.

Nah (1)

gregm (61553) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864575)

MS isn't going to go after IBM etc. They're all useing each other's patents and they all know it... this is designed to keep the new little people down. Some developer writes a new kernel patch and the big guys will get together and decide who's turn it is to sue the little kernel hacker directly. If I patent some little code snippet/idea and MS decides to use it, do you think I'm going to be able to have my day in court with MS?

Flipped around, if I impliment some obvious idea that happens to be patented, do you think I'm going to be able to defend myself against the like of MS?

At some point only our current "hero" IBM will be the only ones able to introduce kernel patches because they can afford the lawsuits and they will effectively own Linux.

This is the end....

Extremely high suckiness coefficient (4, Insightful)

Bud (1705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864458)

In other words, the EU Council has just stated that form is more important than meaning, and that it is more important that the bureaucrats are able to create legislation quickly and effortlessly than the legislation being fair and correct.

This is the crappiest thing I've heard in a long while! What's next, stopping citizens from seeing official documents because it creates unnecessary expenses and only whiners ask to see them anyway? Or removing the right to vote for all citizens of the EU, because recurring elections could hamper the ability of EU politicians to make long-term plans?

--Bud

Re:Extremely high suckiness coefficient (2, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864503)

This is the crappiest thing I've heard in a long while! What's next, stopping citizens from seeing official documents because it creates unnecessary expenses and only whiners ask to see them anyway? Or removing the right to vote for all citizens of the EU, because recurring elections could hamper the ability of EU politicians to make long-term plans?

I can just see some EU and US politicians reading this and thinking "huh? is this parody, i don't get the joke"

What have YOU done? (2, Insightful)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864472)

Have you signed the letter [thankpoland.info] ? I have. It took me five seconds. But there were only 30000 signatures when it was delivered [ffii.org] . Slashdot alone has hundreds of thousands of members, for crying out loud! All of us waste time posting idiotic flames in every signle story about software patents, but how many of us have devoted five miserable seconds of our pathetic lifes to actually do something about it? 1%? 0.5%? 0.1%?

What have you done for the democracy, liberty and human rights? Yes, I mean you! If all you do is write on Slashdot then you have done nothing. that's what! People, when will we finally wake up? When will we understand that we, the people, have the responsibility for that failure? When will we understand that we are the ones who have the real power? When will we finally do something instead of bitching all day? When will we finally open our eyes? When?

Somethins is rotten (5, Insightful)

Underholdning (758194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864488)

From TFA: Last week it was reported that Denmark would attempt to have the directive listed as a B-item, rather than an A-item, allowing the text to be renegotiated.
And so they did. Try, that is. But was told that it was impossible for an A-item to become a B-item. They believed it, and didn't object further. This is bogus, because there's nothing that prevents A-items to be ruled as B-items. I smell a rat!

Implications for a European believer in democracy (5, Interesting)

born_to_live_forever (228372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864495)

I've been fundamentally opposed to the EEC/EU for as long as I've been an adult voter. I first voted "No" to a proposal to expand EEC powers in 1986, and I've consistently followed this path, ever since.

In recent years, however, I had been considering a number of arguments in favour of the EU, and I was actually leaning towards voting in favour of the new constitutional treaty, at the upcoming referendum (in my native Denmark).

Not any longer.

If I had any doubts about voting "No" at the upcoming referendum, this situation has removed them. The process has revealed a complete disinterest in democracy at the highest levels of the EU - and a servility towards "business interests" (for which read: certain major corporations and their vested interests in maintaining their monopolistic powers) that borders on the shameful.

The autumn, I will go to the polls and vote "No". I urge any Europeans with similar concerns to adopt the same position.

Re:Implications for a European believer in democra (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864613)

The directive will now be passed to European Parliament, which can reject or amend the proposal, for a second reading.

It seems to me, judging from the above quote from TFA, that Democracy still has a chance to deal with this matter. Furthermore it seems to me that rejecting the European constitution out of hand simply because of software patents is a bit short sighted. The way the matter of Software patents has been handled in the EU may leave something to be desired but it is still no worse than the horsetrading and sculduggery that goes on in the national parilaments of various EU member states every day. I'm not the biggest fan of the EU but it is still better than the old fragmented Europe of feuding nation states.

GWB, We Need You! (-1, Offtopic)

m4rgin4l (808941) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864499)

Perhaps George and his merry sidekick Tony would like to "promote democracy" on the EU. Let's hope they don't kill to many italian journalists this time.

Hey, at least they're being honest... (4, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864511)

Instead of coming up with asinine excuses, they tell us the truth, we're doing it DESPITE the protest against it!

Or as they put it, "We are adopting the position for institutional reasons so as not to create a precedent which might have a consequence of creating future delays in other processes."

In other words, they want to do what they want to do, and they don't want protests or disagreements getting in their way, now or ever.

I guess Europe just fell to corporate interests.

I think it's shocking that we're giving all tech freedom to China. It'll be the only country on they planet where it'll be legal to double click and include a help icon with your software.

This says it all.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864516)

Libre Culture Manifesto

A constellation of interests is now seeking to increase its ownership and control of creativity. We are told that these interests require new laws and rights that will allow them to control concepts and ideas and protect them from exploitation. They say that this will enrich our lives, create new products and safeguard the possibility of future prosperity. But this is a disaster for creativity, whose health depends on an ongoing, free and open conversation between ideas from the past and the present.

-- In response, we wish to defend the idea of a creative field of concepts and ideas that are free from ownership.

1. Profit has a new object of affection. Indeed, profiteers now shamelessly proclaim to be the true friend of creativity and the creative. Everywhere, they declare, "We support and protect concepts and ideas. Creativity is our business and it is safe in our hands. We are the true friends of creativity!"

2. Not content with declarations of friendship, profiteers are eager to put into practice their fondness for creativity as well. Action speaks louder than words in capitalist culture. To display their affection, profiteers use legal mechanisms, namely intellectual property law, to watch over concepts and ideas and to protect them from those who seek to misuse them. While we are dead to the world at night, they are busily stockpiling intellectual property at an astonishing rate. More and more, the creative sphere is being brought under their exclusive control.

3. The fact that the profiteers are now so protective of creativity, jealously seeking to control concepts and ideas, ought to rouse suspicion. While they may claim to be the true friends of creativity, we know that friendship is not the same as dependency. It is very different to say, "I am your true friend because I need you", than to say, "I need you because I am your true friend". But how are we to settle this issue? How do we distinguish the true friend from the false? In any relationship between friends we should ask, "Are both partners mutually benefiting?"

4. The profiteers' insatiable thirst for profit clearly benefits from their new friendship with creativity and the creative. Unlike physical objects, concepts and ideas can be shared, copied and reused without diminishment. No matter how many people use and interpret a particular concept, nobody else's use of that concept is surrendered or reduced. But through the use of intellectual property law - in the form of patents, trademarks and particularly copyright - concepts and ideas can be transformed into commodities that are privately regulated and owned. An artificial scarcity of concepts and ideas can then be established. Much money is to be made when creative flows of knowledge and ideas become scarce products or commodities that can be traded in the market place. And, increasingly, intellectual property law is providing profiteers with vast accumulations of wealth.

5. Informational, affective and knowledge-based labour has now become a central driver of profit. Indeed, immaterial labour is increasingly replacing industrial manufacture as the main producer of wealth in the age of technological capitalism. With these developments in the productive processes, a new embodiment of profit emerges. Alongside the landlords that controlled agriculture and the capitalist factory owners that controlled manufacture, vectors-- the owners of the distribution, access and exploitation of creative works through valorisation-- have emerged. It is these same vectorialists, of course, that are now so vocal in their claim to be the true friends of creativity and the creative.

6. For many of us, the thought of intellectual property law still evokes romantic apparitions of a solitary artist or writer seeking to safeguard her or his creative work. It is therefore unsurprising that we tend to view intellectual property law as something that defends the rights and interests of the creative. Perhaps, in some removed and distant time, there was a modest respect in this notion. But this romantic vision of the creative is certainly ill at ease with the current capitalist reality.

7. The world in which creative people now find themselves is a social factory or a society-factory [1]. The vectors view the whole social world of creativity and creative works as raw material for commodification and profit. Creative people have thus become de facto employees of the vectors, if not their actual ones. Each concept and idea they produce is available to be appropriated and owned by the vectors through the use of intellectual property law. What is more, the vectors continually lobby to extend the control of these laws for greater and greater lengths of time. Because the vectors have now made intellectual property law their own, we can from now, more accurately, term these laws, 'vectoral laws'.

8. The creative multitude is becoming legally excluded from using and reinterpreting the concepts and ideas that they collectively produce. In addition, this legal exclusion is being supported by technological means. Using technology as their delegates, the vectors seek to enforce vectoral law by instantiating their interests within the technical code that configures information, communications, networks and devices. To do so, they are currently developing and configuring ever more closed technologies and disciplinary machines. Digital rights management software, for example, sequesters and locks creative works, preventing their copying, modification and reuse. The vectors can by using these prescriptive technologies deny access to those who cannot pay or to those whose sympathises and support are not assured. They can also exclusively determine how ideas and concepts are to be used in the future. In the current era of technological capitalism, public pathways for the free flow of concepts and ideas and the movement of creativity and the creative are being steadily eroded -- the freedom to use and re-interpret creative work is being restricted through legally based but technologically enforced enclosures.

9. This development is an absolute disaster for creativity, whose health depends on a free and ongoing conversation and confrontation between concepts and ideas from the past and present. It is shameful that the creative multitude is being excluded from using the concepts and ideas that they collectively produce. Creativity is never solely the product of a single creator or individuated genius. It always owes debts to the inspiration and previous work of others, whether these are thinkers, artists, scientists, paramours, listeners, machines or friends. Creativity, as a fusion point of these singularities, cannot subsist in a social nothingness. Concepts and ideas depend upon their social life -- and it could not be otherwise.

10. An analogy can be drawn with everyday language: that is, the system of signs, symbols, gestures and meanings used in communicative understanding. Spoken language is shared between us. A meaningful utterance is only made possible by drawing on the words that freely circulate within a linguistic community of speakers and listeners. Language, then, is necessarily non-owned and free. But imagine a devastating situation where this was no longer the case. George Orwell's depiction of a 1984 dystopia -- and the violence done here to freethinking through newspeak -- helps to illustrate this. In a similar way, the control and ownership of concepts and ideas is a grave threat to creative imagination and thought, and so also a danger to what we affectionately call our freedom and self-expression.

11. Until recently, the creative multitude could decide either to conform or rebel. In conforming they became creatively inert, unable to create new synergies and ideas, mere producers and consumers of the standardised commodities that increasingly saturate cultural life. In rebelling, they continued to use concepts and ideas in spite of vectoral law. Labelled "pirates", "property thieves" and even "terrorists", they were then answerable as criminals to the courts of global state power. In other words, a permanent state of exception, a political emergency, was declared, which, together with the disciplinary norms of a propertised control society, was then used to justify and extend the coercive use of state power and repression against an increasingly criminalised culture of creativity. But as we will soon discuss, a growing number of the creative have now moved beyond both conformity and rebellion, through an active resistance to the present and the creation of an alternative creative field for flows of non-owned concepts and ideas.

12. The vectors and their representatives will make immediate objections to all we have said. The profiteers will turn proselytizers and exclaim, "If there is no private ownership of creativity there will be no incentive to produce!" The suggestion that the ownership of knowledge and ideas promotes creativity is a shameful one, however plausible it may seem from the myopic perspective of profit. To say that creativity can thrive while the creative lack the freedom to reuse concepts and ideas is clearly upside-down. After giggling a little at this, we should now turn this thinking the right way up.

13. According to this "incentive" claim, there cannot have been any creativity (i.e., art, music, literature, design and technology) before the ownership and control of our concepts and ideas. This seems like fantasy. Historians frequently profess to us that creativity was alive and well in pre-capitalist times, before the advent of intellectual property laws. But even so, we might concede that history is now enough of a fiction to raise some doubt about the form of previous incarnations of creativity and the creative. The incentive claim, however, is even more risible when it implies that there cannot be any creativity currently operating outside of the vectoral property regime. This of course contradicts our current experiences as historical actors and witnesses. We can now be sure of something that we have always already known -- creativity is irreducible to the exploitation of intellectual property.

14. A new global movement of networked groups that operate across a variety of creative media (e.g., music, art, design and software) is now emerging. These groups produce a gathering [2] of concepts, ideas and art that exist outside the current vector property regime. The creative works of the Free/Libre and Open Source communities, for instance, can all be freely examined, challenged and modified. Here, knowledge and ideas are shared, contested and reinterpreted among the creative as a community of friends. The concepts and ideas of these groups, like the symbols and signs of language, are public and non-owned. Against the machinations of profit, these groups are in the process of constituting a real alternative -- of constructing a model of creative life that reflects the force and desire of the creative multitude.

15. Through the principles of attribution and share-alike, existing works and ideas are given recognition in these communities. This means that while creative work may always be copied, modified and synthesised into new works, previous creative work is valued and recognised by the community for its contribution to creativity as a whole (and rightly so). Attribution and share-alike are constitutive principles of the Free/Libre and Open Source movements, and chromosomes of the new mode of creative life that their social practice intimates.

16. These movements adopt an ingenious viral device, implemented through public licences, known as copyleft. This ensures that concepts and ideas are non-owned, while guaranteeing that future synergies based on these concepts and ideas are equally open for others to use. Whereas copyright operates through law to prevent the modification and re-use of concepts and ideas, copyleft ensures that these concepts and ideas remain openly available and not capable of being privatised. In this way, copyright ('all rights reserved') is stood back on its feet by copyleft ('all rights reversed'). It now stands the right way up for creativity and can once again look it in the eyes.

17. More broadly, we can say that non-owned creative works are created by singularities formed into machines of struggle (e.g, GNU, bit-torrent, nettime.org, autonomedia, SchNEWS, the Zapistas, Linux, Indymedia, Loca Records). These are horizontal and decentred molecular networks of actors, both human and non-human. These can and should be differentiated from the more centralised, disciplinary machines to which the concept network is now so liberally applied (e.g., "network firms", "network states", "network wars"). As such, they should also be distinguished from vectoral machines (e.g., capitalist corporations, WTO, IMF, the World Bank), which are closed, hierarchical, proprietary machines that configure and territorialize networks, concepts and ideas.

18. Machines of struggle are continually being enrolled into new alliances and relations. As the vision and practice of non-owned creativity gathers in strength, these rhizomatic arrangements are both deepening and widening. Just as the violence of the vector's disciplinary regime is seeking to intensify, it is being met with a real counter-power. This countervailing force finds its form and strength, not through any individual nucleus or singularity standing alone, but through broader relations and alliances. More accurately, therefore, we are talking here of circuits of counter-power - machines of struggle in creative alliances.

19. These circuits of counter-power bring forth the scope for resistance, the capacity for agency and thus the hope and promise of future worlds. When linked together, machines of struggle are able to confront and challenge the vectoral regime as a real force, collectively armed against the territorializing effects of vectoralist capital. Circuits of counter-power provide the conditions and capacity for transformative constitutive action. Such circuits are but one moment of the potential power of the creative multitude as organised and effective transformative agents.

20. We believe that the creative multitude should form themselves into machines of struggle and establish alliances with broader circuits of counter-power. In so doing, they contribute towards the idea and practice of non-owned creativity and the untimely model of creative life that it intimates. Through collective production and shared creative alliance, they will defend and extend creativity against those who shamelessly remain wedded to the language and practice of private property and profit, and who continually attempt to territorialize and configure for the purposes of control and ownership.

21. Indeed, we -- who are already quite a crowd -- must defend the idea and practice of non-owned creativity. For it is only the creative multitude, when organised and enrolled into circuits of counter-power, who will determine whether a possible transformation of our times is realised. This is a movement that is acting 'counter to our time and, let us hope, for the benefit of a possible time to come' [3]. -- Creativity is creating resistance to the present.

Notes

[1] Virno, P. & Hardt (1996)

[2] Versammlung (Heidegger 1951)

[3] Nietzsche (1983, p60)

(cc) 2004 The LibreSociety.org Libre Culture Manifesto is made available under the Attribution-Share-alike Creative Commons License 1.0. from www.creativecommons.org. Providing this notice is included, this manifesto may be freely distributed and published. See http://www.libresociety.org for more info.

Re:This says it all.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864583)

This is from http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/free_issues/ [freesoftwaremagazine.com] which has lots of other good articles too!

As often happens, ad well matches the topic (1)

marat (180984) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864519)

That's what I'm seeing:

"Does Linux add up to lower TCO? Ask the experts. Although Linux is nominally free, the overall costs fat outweigh the initial savings. (Micro$oft. Get the facts.)" They only have to add "You see - we are working on it."

Although it's strange - even large software companies in Europe are small compared to US giants, so latter will get most patents. Who might want it? American companies cannot fund EU political parties, true?

Maybe Alan Cox was right (-1, Redundant)

tabkey12 (851759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864561)

when he voted for the UK Independence party to keep Britain out of EU Software Patents.

I never thought it would come to this - a very sad day for Europe

How traditional... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11864572)

Repeatedly ask the same question till you get the "correct" answer

and if you get bored doing that demonstrate that you didn't give a damn anyway. :(

I don't fathom how I can possibly write any software that doesn't infringe "something", all the more amusing if I sat in a room for some time and worked out an "obvious" way to solve some problem.

I think it's fair to say that China is going to kick us all inside out with technological advancement now. Well, serves us right in some way I guess :(

Good say I (-1, Flamebait)

DisprinDirect (755967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864592)

Now I have the law on my side to protect my investment of blood-sweat and money in MY INVENTION from all you hackers who would happily steal my original idea and deprive me of the profit from it.

Re:Good say I (0)

Badflash (812406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11864611)

We are doomed! Money will prevail... and it's slave will succomb...
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