[LINK] EU gives green light to software patents
glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Wed Mar 9 11:22:54 EST 2005
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
> EU gives green light to software patents
> "Despite the protests of Denmark, Poland, and Portugal, the EU Council
> has approved legislation (the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive)
> that introduces software patents into the EU. From what I understand of
> the EU's organizational structure, this means that the patents directive
> will now go to the EU Parliament for a vote, where it will most probably
> be voted into law.
This doesn't give the flavour of what happened.
Denmark's parliament voted to oppose the adoption of software patents
as an A-item on the agenda (an A-item is an agenda item which is
passed without discussion, any member can ask that an A-item be made a
B-item, an agenda item for discussion at a future meeting). Denmark
has a minority government, which supports software patents. So the
chair of the EU meeting and the Danish representative colluded so that
the issue before the meeting was procedural -- should opposition to
A-items be permitted as a device to allow council decisions to be
delayed -- rather than about software patents.
The European Parliament can vote down the result, but only if it
gathers an "for" majority -- "against" votes and abstentions counting
against the vote. The level of abstentions is huge on this issue --
Microsoft, Nokia, Intel, etc have promised retailiation against
countries which vote "for". So the expectation is that numbers will
not be found.
The only hope is that the sheer anti-democratic nature of the EU
Council shenanigans will become the issue and that, as much as the
software patent vote in the council meeting was supposedly about
procedure, the software patent vote in the parliament will be about
the parliament making the council subject to its democratic will.
I can say I'm surprised. The AUSFTA is another example of the
non-democratic way that laws about intellectual property are being
made. It seems to be the preferred machanism of the people advocating
for these laws. Probably because these laws are not in the interests
of the people.
Glen Turner Tel: (08) 8303 3936 or +61 8 8303 3936
Australia's Academic & Research Network www.aarnet.edu.au
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