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24th September as a day against software patents - Debian support?

According to the Slashdot article and the StopSoftwarePatents.org website itself and on Digg, the anti-software-patent activists are attempting a world-wide event on the 24th of September as a world-wide day against software patents. USA has them via a weird court ruling, Japan has them as well (not sure why), there have been efforts to force software patents on EU, India, Australia and many other countries either by Microsoft lobbies or even via US trade treaty pressure.

It just came to me that if we accept the...

It just came to me that if we accept the definition of "industry" (from the text of the software patent directive that EP had in first reading where it it was said) that industry basically is mass production of material goods, then there is no need for neither software industry not movie industry nor music industry - the production and distribution of copies is very efficiently achieved via the Internet. These industries are no longer needed by the society - they have no reason to exist.
Some might object - but where will the first copy come from? Well, that is not product of an industry, but a product of an artist. If originally said industries were created merely to copy and distribute works, now they are morphed into structures "supporting" artists. That is a clutch, that is not needed. There are other ways for artists to make a living off their art. Fanart and free software movement clearly shows that. Patents and copyright are just clutches for the falling industries. The clutches must go and giants must fall for progress towards knowledge society.
I would be glad if we could have professional musicians getting a minimal wage from the government. If your art has been downloaded by 10 000 people last year, you can get government pro-artist payroll. If you want more then minimal wage - do tours, sing in clubs, do advertisements, work in more then one art or get another job. I would be very glad to pay a tax for that if I could have free and unrestricted (copyright-free) access to all art of all artists. Call it art tax, device a maximum number of pro-artists the country can support via the tax, make qualification competitions, whatever. There is art without copyright. It is just not that expensive.
However, while the society will allow industries to suck their money, it will be very hard to change the situation as the very same money will be used to prove that said industries are worth supporting.
There are two ways: kick the crutches out (abolish patents and copyrights) or just move forward and ignore them and their crutches as we step through them towards freedom (develop free software, free media, free ... movements). Of course we can do the second until the first becomes viable.

In that context it is nice to see some funny lawmaking in France (a law project for "copy all you want for 5€/month") or WIPO saying that copyright is not really a right and it is quite a shame that word "right" is part of "copyright". Even reading about each new patent horror of USA court system becomes fun, because them worse it gets, the closer is the end. (Same with Bush :P)

Okay, why this ...

Okay, why this, the fact that I had to talk a lot about my involvement with the anti-swpat campaign in EU on my my second Google job interview, and the fact that they have contacted me for a third phone interview (seemingly from a different department) seem to make my brain go *click*?

SOFTWARE PATENTS REJECTED!!!!!

Hurrray!
648 in favor (of rejection), 14 against, 18 abstentions

June 30

A slow start of a slow day - I broke my 5 am rule :(. I only woke up at 9:30. The breakfast hall had a lot of Russian tourists - you cann't avoid them anywhere :).
Nothing FFIIish to do today - all Latvian MEPs are gone. For that reason I am in the FFII apartment catching up on my mail, filling Google SoC application and tax forms (I hate taxes!) and helping all the guys here to make the decision that they do not want to make :)
It turns out that at least five separate groups have tabled our "Rocard-Buzek compromise" amendment sets and there is a bit of a confusion in the tabling office regarding the name of this set in the official papers.
It's a pity that I've not yet started writing anything for the SoC - that is bad. I will spend the whole of the next week on that to catch up with the schedule that I still have to make :)

June 29

I woke up at 5.00 local time without any alarm clocks! That is one hell of an accomplishment. :)
Today I planned to visit (without prior notice) all Latvian MEPs. I had a small setback when I found out that most of them have the whole day busy at different group meeting and then all of them leave home this evening. After finding that out I changed the strategy a bit and gave all the revelant information to the assistants asking them to give it to the MEP and still to try to schedule a meeting with me today. It worked in some cases.
At first I was simply walking around and telling everyone how we would like to fix the directive using the "Buzek-Rocard compromise" amendments. After the lunch, Erik came up to me and asked to also collect MEP signatures on these amendments to table them. At first I went to Lansbergis from Lithuania and spend almost an hour convincing him to sign. In the end he was convinced and did the signing.
After that success I called the assistant of Andrejevs and asked if his MEP would have a few minutes to meet and sign the amendments. The assistant replied that Andrejevs liked the amendments and will sign them as soon as he gets back to the office. This one was easy :)
After that a call came from assistant of Girts Valdis Kristovskis saying that he will meet me at 17.00. I was very glad about getting the previose two signatures, but a bit discuraged by yesterdays talk with Krasts, who is in the same party as Kristovskis. To my surprise Kristovskis didn't mind that his party mate didn't agree with us - after 5-10 minutes of explanations, Kristovskis was ready to sign the amendments. That signature came as a pleasant surprise :)
All Latvian members of EPP followed Dombrovskis and Piiks and signed the amendments - I consider that a great success, especially as I didn't even have to ask them for that :D
After the very busy day at the Parliament I went to the FFII apartment to assess the Web. Me and Jan were there. We were late for the regular FFII status dinner at 20:00 which was taking place at my hotel - 20-25 minutes from the apartment. It was raining. I wanted to take a taxi, but Jan wanted to walk. We made a compromise - we would walk until we see a taxi, and that we'll take it. Unfortunately there was no taxi in sight untill we were 100 meters from the hotel. Doh.
Some bits of Chinese food and dinner talks later I went to bed. This was one of the hardes days in my short lobbying career :P

June 28

I arrived to Brussels, slept two hours on the plane. When to the FFII apartment to check the mail and forgot to change the clothes in the hotel. That's why I had to go meet Latvian MEPs in jeans and shirt instead of the nice suit I had bought earlier.
First I met with the assistant of Georgs Andrejevs. He has not followed the issue too closely, but in the end was very positive and interested. I need to send him more details about JURI amendments and our "Buzek-Rocard compromise amendments" and he will inquire the ALDE position.
Then I met with Guntars Krasts from UEN - he seams to be very poisoned by the EICTAs lobbying and would very like to see another Microsoft emerge in Latvia, claiming that we would definitely need patents for that :P. I did some convincing and presented our industry position, that got him thinking. I need to send him more anti-swpat arguments and also the amendments with justification.
I missed both FFII meetings (12.30 and 20.00) - first because I needed to be at the first meeting and the second one because I needed some sleep. When I returned to the hotel at 17.00 I put up an alarm clock for 20.00, but it couldn't wake me up. So I only woke up on the next morning.

Sleep disbalance

At this moment I've not slept for 46 hours. In two hours I will go to the airport to catch a plane to Brussels. In ten hours I will meet with three members of European Parlament that are very influential back in Latvia. My task will be to get them to spend a lot of their time to help us with the software patent directive.
I wonder why I feel a bit sceptical :P

The Economic Majority Against Software Patents

The Economic Majority Against Software Patents

You only need a few minutes to submit a testimony against software patents - anyone can do that.

Software patent situation

For those that do not know yet, I am closely involved with FFII in fighting against software patents in EU.

Yesterday there was a vote in the JURI committee of the European Parliament. Out of 10 critical amendments - 5 were accepted, so it is not a complete failure as some media portray it to be. One additional amendment was accepted that is good to us, but is not critical. These amendments will go to the EP plenary vote as a bundle and we want them to be accepted (total majority is neede for that).

After that additional amendments will be voted upon. Our supporters will file 5 critical amendments that were left out by the JURY vote and those amendments will be voted along with other amendments to the respective articles. Just before the vote, when the voting order will be known, each MEP (Member of European Parliament) will receive a clear and simple list from FFII with the list stating which amendments to vote for and which to vote against.

Currently it is critically important for all EU businessmen to contact their MEPs to express their concerns about software patents and to ask them to follow the FFII voting list. You can do this either directly or trough:



The E-M people can also help you to get to Brussels and to get in personal contact with MEPs. To arms, brothers!

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