[Politech] Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox: Say NO to software patents [ip]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Sep 23 2003 - 21:01:21 PDT

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    Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 12:18:49 +0300
    From: Kai Puolamaki <kai.puolamaki@private>
    To: declan@private
    Subject: Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox: Please say no for software patents
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    Please find the attached press release for consideration to
    Open letter by Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox to the European parliament:
    Best regards,
    Kai Puolamäki
    EFFI ry
    * * *
    This document:
        Helsinki 22 September 2003
        Press release
        For immediate release
        Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry
    Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox: Please say no for software patents
        Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox ask for strict limitations to software
        patents in their letter to the members of the European Parliament. The
        vote on the Directive will be on Wednesday and it is expected to be a
        very close one.
        Linus Torvalds comments: "The experiences from the USA demonstrate
        that software patents don't benefit anyone but perhaps the patent
        lawyers. They will just weaken the market and increase spending on
        patents and litigation, at the expense of technological innovation and
        research. He continues: "We hope that the members of European
        Parliament see these negative sides and don't push the same chaos to
        the old continent."
        Alan Cox notes: "Currently, the companies are moving programming jobs
        offshore. The huge move away from the USA is not entirely driven by
        pricing but also by patent litigation and risk. Companies create a US
        holding company for the intellectual property rights which licenses it
        to a non US body to write the software overseas and import it, so as
        to reduce risk." He stresses: "Adopting the same kind of patents in
        the EU will drive thousands of EU programming jobs overseas, too."
        The Open Letter also strongly argues for open standards. Linus
        Torvalds explains: "Without open standards it is not really possible
        to development open systems. And in the end, without open systems the
        society won't remain open for its citizens."
        In their letter, Torvalds and Cox set three requests for the
        Directive. Firstly, it should clarify limits of patentability so that
        computer programs and business methods really cannot be patented as
        such. Secondly, the Directive should make sure that patents cannot be
        abused to avoid technical competition by preventing interoperability
        of competing software. Finally, the patents should not be allowed to
        be used to prevent publication of information.
        Electronic Frontier Finland ry (EFFI) has coordinated the campaign
        against software patents in Finland. EFFI is very pleased of the
        position taken by Linus Torvalds and Alan Cox. EFFI chairman Mikko
        Välimäki comments: "We hope that all members of the European
        Parliament now understand the real harm caused by the software
       More information:
        Open letter in English:
        Open letter in Finnish:
        Open letter in Swedish:
        Finnish version of this press release [expanded Finnish coverage]:
        Linus Torvalds
        Alan Cox
        Mikko Välimäki
        Chairman, Electronic Frontier Finland ry
        +358 50 598 0498
        Linus Torvalds is the originator and main developer of the Linux
        operating system. Alan Cox has been one of the major developers of
        Linux for a long time.
        Electronic Frontier Finland - EFFI ry was founded in 2001 to defend
        active users and citizens of the Finnish society in the electronic
        frontier. EFFI influences legislative proposals concerning e.g.
        personal privacy, software patents, freedom of speech and fair use in
        copyright law. We make statements, press releases and participate
        actively in actual public policy and legal discussions. EFFI has been
        featured in the national media including TV, radio and leading
        newspapers. EFFI also works in close cooperation with organizations
        sharing the same goals and values in the Europe, United States and
        elsewhere. EFFI is a founding member of the European Digital Rights
        and a member of Global Internet Liberty Campaign. More information
        from EFFI's home pages: http://www.effi.org/
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