EU software patent critics united: Nosoftwarepatents.com becomes an FFII Platform

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Munich, 30 March 2005 -- In advance of the European Parliament's second reading on a software patent directive, the resistance movement against software patents in the EU regroups. Today it was announced that the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure), the leading organization that opposes software patents in Europe, will take over the Nosoftwarepatents.com campaign.

Through content in 17 languages, NoSoftwarePatents.com addresses a pan-European audience and delivers easy-to-understand information on the controversial topic. The campaign was brought to life last year by software industry veteran Florian Mueller with the help of three sponsors -- 1&1 (a German company that is the world's largest Web host), Red Hat, and !MySQL AB. NoSoftwarePatents.com quickly became known for not mincing words in its criticism of companies and organizations that lobby for software patents.

"NoSoftwarePatents.com is by far the best introductory Web site on the subject of computing idea monopolies to date", said Hartmut Pilch, president of the FFII. "Florian Mueller has contributed an important missing link between various communities. Together with 1&1, Red Hat and !MySQL, our media team will now leverage the NoSoftwarePatents.com platform to further boost the morale of the large majority of companies and individuals whose freedom and productivity is currently under threat."

The NoSoftwarePatents sponsors approved the transfer of the NoSoftwarePatents.com site to the FFII, and will work with the FFII in a similar way as they previously did with NoSoftwarePatents.com while it was an independent campaign. "!MySQL AB believes in copyright law as the proper mechanism for protecting the rights of software authors, and we consider software patents harmful to the industry at large", said Marten Mickos, CEO of Swedish database company !MySQL AB. "Together with 1&1 and Red Hat, we funded the creation of the NoSoftwarePatents.com platform, and prior to that we had already been supporting Florian's political work for several months. NoSoftwarePatents.com has had an enormous impact, and we are excited to be working closely with the FFII."

Florian Mueller, the founder of NoSoftwarePatents.com, believes that the take-over of NoSoftwarePatents.com "will further cement the FFII's leadership role". He pointed out that his biography on the campaign site had been stating all along that he "temporarily interrupted his own software development project" in order to campaign against software patents. According to Mr. Mueller, the time had come for him "after a fantastic year in politics" to resume his own project (a computer game), but he said he will still be involved in the fight against software patents from time to time.

Current Status of the EU Software Patent Directive

On 7 March, the EU Council, commonly referred to as the "Council of Ministers" because it is comprised of ministers from the member countries of the union, adopted its "common position" on software patents. The decision was taken against strong resistance by various national parliaments and despite a request by the European Parliament to restart the entire process on the controversial directive. A long list of countries, among them six that had originally supported the proposal, added unilateral declarations by which they basically distanced themselves from the decision and suggested substantial amendments in the further process.

The Council's proposal is now on its way to the European Parliament, which is widely expected to begin a second reading in mid April and to vote on possible amendments, or rejection, in early July. In order to take any such decision, the EP now needs a majority of its component members, which represents a minimum number of 367 votes irrespective of absences and abstentions. If the EP amends the proposal, then it goes back to the EU Council and then on to a possible conciliation proceeding, which in turn might be followed by parallel third readings in both institutions.

About the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, 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. The 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.

About the NoSoftwarePatents.com Campaign

The NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign was launched on October 20th and is supported by three IT companies (1&1, Red Hat, and !MySQL AB). The views expressed by the campaign are those of the campaign manager and not necessarily those of the aforementioned companies.

Through Web content in 17 languages, the campaign addresses a pan-European audience. More information on the campaign is available on its Website.

Contact Information

For further information concerning this announcement or the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, please contact:

Hartmut Pilch President, FFII telephone +49 (89) 18979927 phm@ffii.org

Florian Mueller Campaign Manager, NoSoftwarePatents.com telephone +49 (8151) 651850 press@nosoftwarepatents.com

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