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Software Patent Demonstration and Press Conference Today

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Brussels, 17th February. -- Today, important decisions on the software patent directive are taking place in Brussels. The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents will decide whether the procedure will be restarted. From all over Europe, software developers and company representatives will join forces today to demonstrate against software patents and against the undemocratic manoevering of the Commission and Council. This will be followed by a Press Conference.

Demonstration 10.00-11.00

The demonstrators will hand over a package of bananas and a letter to the Commission and to the Council, one for each. The letters can be found at

Conference of Presidents 11.00-12.00

At 11.00 the European Parliament's Conference of Presidents will deal with the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee and ask the European Commission for a renewed referral of the directive to the Parliament. It is not certain that the Conference of Presidents will follow the vote of the Legal Affairs Committee.

Certain forces within the Parliament are trying to interpret the rules in a way that reduces the rights of the Parliament and its members as far as possible. The Tabling Office did not want the Conference of Presidents to even discuss the JURI motion. That they are discussing it nonetheless is due to an initiative of the Green Group.

Press Lunch and Conference

After the meeting of the Conference of Presidents, there will be Press Conference in Hotel Renaissance, Rue de Parnasse 19, Brussels (near the EU parliament). For journalists, a lunch is planned at this location, around 12:30. The press conference will begin at 13:30. Among the guests are MEP Jerzy Buzek (prime minister of Poland 1997-2001 and leading initiator of the restart motion), French Green MEP Alain Liepitz and Arda Gerkens, the originator of the recent motion in the Dutch Parliament.

Members of the Commission, Council and Parliament as well as journalists are cordially invited.

Bundestag 22.00

In the evening, there will be a discussion in the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) about software patents. The Bundestag is expected to adopt a cross-partisan motion which criticises the Council's approach and backs the position of the European Parliament. FFII has published a letter to members of the Parliament that asks for further followup action

to ensure that this motion has an effect.

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About FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a non-profit association registered in several European countries, which is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports the development of public information goods based on copyright, free competition, open standards. More than 500 members, 1,200 companies and 75,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

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