According to the Slashdot article and the 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.

While lobbying by local Microsoft branches and their pet companies can be countered locally, like I and many others did in EU a couple years ago (mostly thanks to FFII), trade negotiations are very secretive affairs and it is very hard to lobby there directly. The public needs to be aware of the issue, otherwise the politicians will not be aware of its importance to their voters.

Software patents are a threat to free software as it circumvents the power of GPL and other copyright licenses if enough money is thrown at the lawyers. If a software patent is generic enough, it can easily stop development of a whole class of free software applications on a whim of the patent holder. And there are plenty of granted software patents with a very broad scope (progress bar, anyone?).

I am aware that to get Debian support for such an initiative, a GR is needed, but how about a personal word of support from the DPL or support from the SPI? It is in direct area of interest for SPI - software patents create an ever present threat of legal action against any and all software in Debian (in USA and Japan, at least) and, as the legal umbrella of Debian in the USA, SPI would be a prime target.

What do others think about this?