OT: A Petition to Save Software Innovation in Europe
this is a bit OT for this list, but since Debian is affected by software
patents and this list is very high traffic I hope it's acceptable to
forward this to debian-devel.
It would be good if everyone of you (especially the ones living in Europe)
could sign the petition at http://petition.eurolinux.org/ .
A Petition to Save Software Innovation in Europe
For Immediate Release
Berlin, Bruxelles, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Paris, Maastricht, Metz,
Munich and Nurenberg, 15/6/2000 - The Eurolinux Alliance of European
software companies and Open Source associations launches a
pan-European petition to keep Europe free from software patents. This
petition is receiving growing support from commercial software
publishers in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France,
Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
Together with this petition, the EuroLinux Alliance publishes "The
EuroLinux File on Software Patents" a document which lets everyone
understand in less than 15 minutes the dangers posed by software
patents. This document, based on thorough economical and legal
analysis, exhibits clear evidences of the negative impact of software
patents on innovation and competition. It shows that the European
Commission has mainly taken into account the point of view of patent
attorneys, dominant players in the electronic industry and recent
rulings of the United States Patent Office, leaving away the point of
view of innovative European software publishers. Also, the decision
making process at the European Commission does not seem to implement
provisions of the Rome Treaty calling for a high level of competition,
consumer protection, public safety, industrial growth and cultural
diversity in Europe.
Frank Hoen, President of NetPresenter, a Dutch company which invented
Internet push technology, warns: "financial analysts should be aware
that the software patent system, as it has evolved in the US, does
generate many costly legal disputes but does not succeed in protecting
real software inventors or investors. It is a system which allows
companies with a strong legal team, and often no merit, to rip-off or
block innovative companies. As it has been highlighted by MIT and
Harvard economists, a system based on copyright, or copyright-like sui
generis Law, protects investment in software technologies much better
than the current US patent system."
"Thank God that Patent Law wasn't around when the French language was
born", says Jacques Le Marois, President of Mandrakesoft, who adds
"Software Patents are a major concern, not only for the Linux & Open
Source Software industry, but for the whole information technology
industry. Software publishers and innovative internet businesses in
the US constantly face the risk of a patent war, just because obvious
techniques such as publishing a database on the Web were granted a
patent. This system generates more losses than revenue for the IT
Roland Dyroff, CEO of SuSE AG, adds: "In the field of software, unlike
other industries, introducing patents can lead to counter-productive
effects on innovation. Writing software is very similar to writing a
book. It is not too difficult to come up with great ideas. But the
challenge is to provide a clean and reliable implementation of those
ideas, which is precisely what copyright protects. Granting patents
for software is the same as granting patents for generic ideas of
books. If a patent had been granted for writing a novel describing the
actual life of a historic personality through a fiction, and if
authors were required to pay licenses to write such novels, few
authors would keep on writing historical novels. Same does apply to
the software publishing industry. Therefore I believe Copyright Law
has proven to be the most adequate intellectual property framework in
order to protect software publishers while at the same time promoting
diversity and innovation".
"Internet technology has been built on patent-free software.
E-commerce is based on this patent-free technology and it is
generating one of the fastest economic growth in history." says Ralf
Schwöbel, CEO of Intradat, a leading E-Commerce software publisher in
Germany, "introducing internet patents in this complex system may just
trigger a recession cycle instead of boosting economic growth. I am
quite surprised that European Authorities never considered this
possibility, especially given the patent-free nature of Internet
Agrees Jean-Pierre Laisné, CEO of Linbox SA : "if everyone who writes
a simple web application is a potential patent infringer, who is going
to take the risk of becoming a criminal for combining a database
server, a web server and a scripting language? With the tremendous
legal risk generated by software patents, no one is free any longer to
use his or her brains to develop and market innovative services over
the Internet. And this may actually slow down the economy."
This campaign comes as a response of IT associations and software
companies to recent ideological speeches from the Directorate for the
Internal Market at the European Commission, which indicate that the
European Commission will likely issue a directive to extend the scope
of European patents to software and intellectual methods, completely
ignoring the concerns raised by leading software companies, refusing
to study the general economic effects of software patenting, and even
rejecting without explanation arguments raised by other General
Directorates of the European Commission.
Previous campaigns on this subject had quickly reached more than
10,000 signatures from software developers. This petition is just the
beginning of a new campaign based on (hopefully not yet patented)
advanced e-techniques to let volunteers participate in the lobbying
effort. It will be formally filed within three months at the European
The EuroLinux Petition for a Software Patent Free Europe -
The EuroLinux File on Software Patents -
Intellectual Property Law in a Global Economy, the hidden patent
agenda of the European Commission -
Companies quoted in this PR
NetPresenter - www.netpresenter.com
MandrakeSoft - www.mandrakesoft.com
SuSE - www.suse.de
Intradat - www.vshop.de
Linbox - www.linbox.com
About EuroLinux - www.eurolinux.org
The EuroLinux Alliance for a Free Information Infrastructure is an
open coalition of commercial companies and non-profit associations
united to promote and protect a vigourous European Software Culture
based on Open Standards, Open Competition, Linux and Open Source
Software. Companies members or supporters of EuroLinux develop or sell
software under free, semi-free and non-free licenses for operating
systems such as Linux, MacOS or Windows.
The EuroLinux Alliance has co-organised in 1999, together with the
French Embassy in Japan, the first Europe-Japan conference on Linux
and Free Software. The EuroLinux Alliance is at the initiative of the
www.freepatents.org web site to promote and protect innovation and
competition in the European IT industry.
France & Europe: Jean-Paul Smets-Solanes firstname.lastname@example.org +33-662 05 76 14
Germany & Europe: Harmut Pilch email@example.com +49-89 127 89 608
Denmark and Northern Europe: firstname.lastname@example.org
Permanent URL for this PR
NetPresenter is a registered trademark of NetPresenter B.V.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.
VShop is a registered trademark of intraDAT GmbH.
Linux-Mandrake is a trademark of MandrakeSoft.
SuSE is a registered trademark of SuSE Linux AG.
Linbox is a registered trademark of Linbox Inc.
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Inc.
MacOS is registered trademark of Apple Inc.
All other trademarks and copyrights are owned by their respective