Protest against software patents (in Europe)
Please read this carefully. This page is closed for 90 seconds in protest against the concrete plans to introduce software patents in Europe. Websites may soon be closed down regularly due to software patents. Software patents are a threat to innovation and competition and Open Source software (like Linux) and help support existing monopolies.
Patenting software ideas allows for patenting any basic idea without proving the origin or the ingeniousness of the idea. If we look at the US and Japan, we have ample incidents where vague software patents were accepted by the patent-office and where 'defendants have to pay for proving in court that they are not guilty' (eg. that the idea already existed before it was even patented).

Computer hobbyists, Open Source developers and small to mid-size companies that cannot afford the high patent pricing will also suffer from the existing software patent "stock market". And are obliged to settle any unfair patent lawsuit forced upon them.

Allowing software patents in Europe will instantly make those vague US patents a reality in Europe, this is a major competitive disadvantage for European companies. It is sad that this situation exists because Europe was smart in the past to not stiffle computer innovation/competition and is presently forced to its knees by US lobbying groups and economical sanctions.

There is a big difference with patents on inventions of other nature (mechanical or medical), because software can be sufficiently copy-protected by copyright and software inventions (like ideas) never require a big upfront investment. Anyone can think of ten items to patent in an hour. Applying for a patent is just a matter of paying a patent attorney.

Software patents are already applied (and abused) for 'One click shopping', the 'progress bar', the 'tree view' and a lot of other basic ideas. Verifying if an idea is already patented or making sure you're not implementing a patented idea is impractical and impossible and there's always the danger you're breaking an not-yet enforced software patent. We don't want this ridiculous US lawsuit puppetry to come to Europe too.

The European Government is going to vote on Software Patents on 24 september 2003. On 27 august 2003 there was a big protest action in Brussels. More information why software patents are bad for Europe (and the rest of the world) can be found at http://swpat.ffii.org/.

If you carefully read this information and understand the implications of software patents and its impact on Open Source software, you understand that your action is required to help fight software patents. You can help by donating some money to FFII (Europe) or EFF (US). Or talk to your local Member of Parliament (MP).

Click here if you want to go to the original page.