Monday, May 16, 2005

Blocking Software Patents in the European Union - FFII Urges ACTION

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has sent me the following e-mail which I pass on here to the readership and crosspost to EU Pundit.

**************** FFII E-Mail, May 16, 2005 *******************

"The debate in the European Parliament on software patents is reaching a critical phase. We expect the vote in the committee for legal affairs (JURI) to take place on 20 or 21 June, and the European Parliament second reading vote to be on 6 July.

MEPs realise that there is much at stake and both sides are devoting a lot of resources to support their case. The companies that remain silent are simply not being counted.

NOW is the time to act. This is the message to pass on to people running businesses most at risk from the software-patent threat.

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

The FFII is organising a conference on 1 June 2005 in Brussels.
We hope to see you there; see below for details. If you are representing a European enterprise yourself, there are several more things you can do to help us to prevent software patents in the EU. If possible, please take all of the following actions:

*Unless you already did so, please sign the EuroLinux petition (http://petition.eurolinux.org) and the FFII supporter list (http://aktiv.ffii.org/euparl/en).

* In addition to this online "signature", please print out the Call for Action III (http://patinfo.ffii.org/material/cfa/), sign it, and fax it to the FFII at +49-201-755440. We are collecting these signatures in order to attach them to a (paper) letter to the MEPs, similar to what EICTA did in April (see: http://swpat.ffii.org/log/05/eictasme04/pro-patent-smes.pdf). The signatures will not be published anywhere else.

* Please add your company to the "Economic Majority Against Software Patents" list at http://www.economic-majority.com/ .

* Please continue to write (paper) letters to your representatives in the European Parliament explaining, in your own words, why you are concerned.

* Please visit our conference on 1 June in Brussels (see the invitation below). Your presence makes a difference for the MEPs you will meet there.

* Please go to Brussels and explain your concerns to the MEPs. We can help you to arrange a meeting and, if necessary, to find a hotel. Please send questions and possible dates for meeting MEPs to <brussels@ffii.org>. We have already arranged and held several meetings, and each one is very significant because it helps MEPs see how important this issue is.

* The week of 17-20th May is constituency week for the MEPs, which means they will be in their home countries. This is an excellent chance for you to get in contact with them and pay them a visit without the need for travelling to Brussels.

For basic introduction to the topic, we recommend (in this order): http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/basics/index.html http://patinfo.ffii.org/faq.en.html http://swpat.ffii.org/log/intro/index.en.html
If you are convinced about the urgency of this matter but you have difficulties communicating this to your business partners or to your superiors, the following presentation could be useful to you: http://patinfo.ffii.org/material/ing-it/

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Thanks to the continuous work of the FFII and its supporters, theMEPs are beginning to understand the problems induced by software patents. It has become obvious that neither the industry nor the academic institutions support the Council version of the directive:

* UEAPME, an umbrella organisation representing 11 million European SMEs employing around 50 million people, finds large companies misrepresenting SMEs' stance on software patents. See: http://wiki.ffii.org/Ueapme050427En

* A German survey of more than 1,000 companies took the German government by surprise when the vast majority spoke out clearly against software patents. See: http://wiki.ffii.org/Ifis050404En

* More recently still, 10,000 to 15,000 students, teachers and staff at more than 35 Spanish universities protested against the directive proposed by the Council. See http://lucha.proinnova.org/ for photos and information.

Several MEPs, including the rapporteur Michel Rocard, have submitted good amendments to the preparatory JURI report on the directive.
Now they need to see their actions legitimised by your support. Your voice will give them the necessary moral backing to convince theircolleagues, and needs to be heard now more than ever.

INVITATION

The FFII cordially invites you to its

Conference on the proposed Software Patent Directive on 1st June 2005 in Brussels
in the European Parliament and the Renaissance Hotel.

Please find the preliminary program here:

http://swpat.ffii.org/events/2005/bxl0601/

The conference is co-organized with the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and four European People's Party (EPP) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different countries. The conference is free of charge. You can register either by replying to this email with the form at the bottom filled in, or by visiting the above web page.

Please help us to defend your business against software patents!

With kind regards,

Erik Josefsson Felipe Wersen

Hartmut Pilch Dr. Peter Gerwinski

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII)

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION AND SUPPORT

[ ] I will participate in the morning session (Parliament).
[ ] I will participate in the afternoon session (Renaissance Hotel)
[ ] Please contact me to provide help with hotel rooms (Renaissance Hotel, Maison du Dragon Hotel or Gogh Hostel).

[ ] I am representing a company and I wish our company logo to be on the program to show support by sending it to em-logos@ffii.org. (Note that you can do this even without attending the conference!)

[ ] I am representing a company and willing to publish a statement like http://www.economic-majority.com/testimony/wuensche/, Please contact me for details.

.

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