Some thoughts on Software Patents Directive

Well, unless you have been living in a cave, you will know that last week the European Parliament voted to reject the Directive.

This is great news, not the best outcome for us, but it’s close (it would have been better to get a good Directive, but no Directive is far far better than a bad Directive).

The big question is “Where now?”. Well, we can be sure that the powerful intellectual property extremists behind this Directive won’t give up, although we can take heart that they have suffered their first major defeat, although its a shame that we didn’t mobilise in time to stop similar Directives like the EUCD.

The challenge is firstly to solidify this victory, and ensure that software patents can’t be pushed through the back door (perhaps through national parliaments, or through inter-governmental treaties negotiated by eurocrats without public scrutiny).

We need a powerful lobbying organisation to represent the interests of those who create and use computers and software in Europe. That might be the FFII, depending on the direction they want to take. I don’t think it can be the FSF-Europe, because their primary focus is too narrow and makes them easy to pigeon-hole as “hippies”. Or maybe we need a new organisation. Whatever happens, I suspect that any such organisation will have no trouble raising funds now that people have seen what such an organisation can do.

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