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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: Second patents meeting (fwd)

From: Robert (Jamie) Munro
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: Second patents meeting (fwd)
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2003 16:04:59 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030624 Netscape/7.1 (ax)

MJ Ray wrote:

On 2003-08-25 17:47:56 +0100 Wookey <address@hidden> wrote:

[...] try to limit what is patentable and what is deemed to be
infringement as much as possible (given that it is unlikely that the
legislation will simply be completely defeated).

Does this mean that no-one will be working on strategies for completely defeating it at the meeting? I am not keen on that pessimistic outlook, as I think it sends a message to MEPs that swpat is not going to lose them votes.

Completely defeating it seems like a bad idea to me. That way, we will
be left with the current status quo of "software as such" being
un-patentable, where "as such" basically means nothing.

Remember, the legislation was not designed frame the current law more
accurately (by replacing the term "as such" to describe what is not
patentable with the term "technical effect" to describe what is
patentable). We need to just get clarification on what technical effect
is supposed to mean, and make sure that it limits the types of software
as much as possible. We should try to get it made clear that software
with a technical effect basically isn't normal software, but a very rare
form of software that hardly exists at all. A possibility would be to
make it clear that by running a program on a normal computer, you cannot
be in violation of a patent. Software that does special things on
special computers, like keeping the processor cool by careful use of
certain instructions can be patented, because it does not affect every
day users.

I don't think exemptions for free software are a good idea at all. In
fact I think they are a very bad idea, because I think they could be
shouted down by the "free software is communism" type of people. Much
better is compulsory licensing for a percentage of the cost of the
software. For free software, this would mean a license fee of £0. This
would also mean that all small commercial software developers would be
saved. Something like 1% max for 1 patent, and 4% for an unlimited
number of patents, to be split between the holders of those patents

I don't think the status quo is acceptable under any circumstances. We
must have new legislation, but lets make it go in the direction of
individuals and fairness, rather than the big corporations and monopolys.

Robert Munro

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