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Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Posted May 6, 2004 11:56 UTC (Thu) by rjw (guest, #10415)
In reply to: Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels by eru
Parent article: Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

But it doesn't matter - even if the entire parliament was made up of card
carrying members of the FSF, they have no power to do anything if the
Commission decides to do something else.

I'll obviously vote for someone vaguely sane (Green I guess), but I don't
kid myself that it has even the tiny effect that electing someone in a
democratic body with real legislative power has - eg Westminster.

Thats why I don't get the whole EU constitution kerfuffle: Why bother
having referenda on this issue, when the whole set up of the EU as an
institution is so stridently undemocratic?


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Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Posted May 6, 2004 13:37 UTC (Thu) by rwmj (subscriber, #5474) [Link]

Vote Green or whatever, but more important, tell your M(E)P that you're not voting for them any more, and why (in a fax, or preferably a written letter).

MPs often have small majorities - perhaps only a few thousand votes the other way and they're out. If they get a letter from one person, chances are that dozens of other people are thinking exactly the same thing but just don't bother to write. So if they get just a hundred letters then that could reflect enough votes to oust them.

Rich.

Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Posted May 6, 2004 16:26 UTC (Thu) by rjw (guest, #10415) [Link]

Good advice, I've already made clear in correspondence to my MEPs that I won't be voting for the software patent shills that are the Labour party.

But it doesn't address the point that in the EU, the parliament has absolutely no power to do anything but what the Commission lets it, so it makes no difference who is in power in the parliament. If they don't broadly do what they are told, the Commission will just veto every single thing they do.

Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Posted May 6, 2004 20:03 UTC (Thu) by erwbgy (subscriber, #4104) [Link]

I expressed this very concern to Bill Newton Dunn (UK LibDem MEP) and he
responded with:

"In 2nd reading, the parliament can if it so votes, put its previously
passed amendments back in again. This is the normal process of
legislating between two houses of a parliament - as in the US Congress
where both houses have to agree - but not as in London where one house
has more power than the other (and therefore there is an inadequate
democratic check on the powerful house).
If after two readings each by both parliament and Council, there is no
agreement on the final amendments to the text, there is a "Conciliation"
negotiation between the two bodies, and then both bodies vote separately
on the negotiated text. If both vote to accept that final text, then that
is the text of the law. If they cannot agree, or if one house rejects the
negotiated text, then the whole law lapses."

So, some MEPs have a clue and it seems that it is possible for us to
succeed by convincing parliament alone.

Fighting software patents: a report from Brussels

Posted May 6, 2004 23:03 UTC (Thu) by rjw (guest, #10415) [Link]

Thats very good to know. But....

If that happens, then the individual states will come under tremendous
pressure from the US State Department, IBM, Nokia, etc etc to "harmonise".
Given that the UK PTO is the driving force for this change, if it doesn't
happen on an EU level, they'll be screwing up my dayjob anyway.

But if some large economies stay out of the mess, hopefully all out patent
crackdown can be avoided. I'm not feeling hopeful though.

OT : EU un-democratic rules

Posted May 6, 2004 18:20 UTC (Thu) by bockman (guest, #3650) [Link]

"""
Thats why I don't get the whole EU constitution kerfuffle: Why bother
having referenda on this issue, when the whole set up of the EU as an
institution is so stridently undemocratic?
"""

Sorry for the OT, but I couldn't pass the option to vent my feeling on this :-).
As you probably know, today EU is more a diplomatic institution rather than a democratic institution. In some areas, it is as powerless as ONU, or even more. I usually smile when Americans compare USA with EU : we have a long way to go before having one democratic EU. Hey, I'm not even sure that the majority of today citizens _wants_ a really democratic EU...

Back in topic, given what I said before, I agree that making pressure at national level (but cordinating at european level) is the more effective way to put some sanity back in the IP legislation ... if this can be done.

OT : EU un-democratic rules

Posted May 6, 2004 22:59 UTC (Thu) by rjw (guest, #10415) [Link]

Thats interesting, but the last time I checked, the EU creates laws that
trump the laws of individual states. ( Even if the state forever delays
implementation of EU law into local law).

What kind of citizen wants an entity that can do that to be undemocratic?
I'll tell you: amoral corporate officers who feel they can have an easier
time influencing the decisions of a supra national quango than those of a
parliament.

I'm very pro Europe, but the current state of the EU is totally
inexcuseable. I'm sick of defending such a vile mess to the xenophobes
that populate my country - I wish I had something much better to defend.


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