Stop European Software Patents

Stop European software patents! This website, like many others, is protesting an unwise EU effort to patent software. A critical vote is coming up Wednesday, 2005-07-06. Please urge the EU Parliament to implement the Buzek-Rocard-Duff amendments to save Europe from the absurdity of software patents.

Please read this information before going on to my main page.

There is a vast amount of evidence that software patents harm software developers and software users. For example, Bessen and Maskin demonstrated that as U.S. software patentability went up, software innovation went down (in contrast with the rest of industry). If software patents were permitted, typical webstores would become illegal. When the U.S. Federal Trade Commission examined software patents, they found that "Many panelists and participants expressed the view that software and Internet patents are impeding innovation. They stated that such patents are impairing follow-on incentives, increasing entry barriers, creating uncertainty that harms incentives to invest in innovation, and producing patent thickets." UK proposal respondants overwhelmingly disapproved of software patents. Software development has proceeded quite well without the imposition of patents, so there's no problem that needs "fixing".

Because patents harm software development and impede innovation, a democratically voted decision of the European Parliament on September 24, 2003 determined to not allow unlimited software patenting. This has the support of more than 300,000 citizens, and dozens of professional economists and scientists.

Nevertheless, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers are overrode the EU parliament to permit essentially unlimited patentability of software, thanks to heavy lobbying by patent lawyers. Then, through a series of possibly illegal actions, they've created a situation where a mere majority isn't enough to reach a reasonable result. If they succeed, this extreme policy will inhibit innovation and competition, and cause great harm to both software developers and software users.

Linus Torvalds, Michael Widenius and Rasmus Lerdorf have written an appeal to the EU Council against software patents in Europe. Their letter reveals: "The draft directive in question is deceptive because it leads laymen, and even those legal professionals who are not familiar with the intricacies of patent law, to falsely believe that it would exclude software from patentability. However, it is actually a compilation of the entirety of the excuses with which the patent system has, for many years, been circumventing article 52 of the European Patent Convention in order to grant patents on software ideas."

Please see Eliminate Software Patents, and the FFII for more information on the problem, and how you can stop it. Please do what you can to stop this unwise idea from becoming law.

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