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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/ .



                                                              NO ePATENTS
                         A Petition to Save Software Innovation in Europe
                                                       EuroLinux Alliance
                           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.
   Press Contacts
   France & Europe: Jean-Paul Smets-Solanes jp@smets.com +33-662 05 76 14
   Germany & Europe: Harmut Pilch phm@ffii.org +49-89 127 89 608
   Denmark and Northern Europe: denmark@eurolinux.org
   Belgium: belgium@eurolinux.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

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