en français / in French | versione italiana / in Italian

Matt Davies gets the point

I recommend seeing this excellent comic by Matt Davies.

The Software Patent Directive was rejected in Parliament

The EU Parliament has just rejected the Council's Uncommon Position with a landslide victory of 648 to 14. This is not the end of it, as national legislators may now still do what they wish, and the EPO will probably continue issuing legally questionable software patents. It is still a significant victory, as those patents weren't legitimized on an EU-wide scale. Consequently, this pledge drive has become moot. I will keep the page up for posterity, though, but the offer is no longer valid, nor will I accept new pledges.

Probably a software patent directive will be reintroduced to the political process at some point — maybe not soon, but in the interest of harmonization it would be a logical thing to do at some point. Hopefully the next time around it will be more level-headed, along the lines of the original Parliament version (which had strong limitations on software patentability). I do believe we have a chance at that, since in the end even the Council had to be coaxed into submission with phony procedural issues.

At the very least the issues are clear on the table now; we've made our voices heard, in a small part through this page. I want to thank everyone involved for their pledges, translations and other input.

European Anti-Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive

After the row of disastrously anti-democratic practices committed by both the European Council of Ministers and the European Commission (see a nice summary in FFII's Open Letter), it has become evident that the only way to fight back the tide is to use the methods that the big business is apparently also using: the good old "democracy through a vote per euro" scheme.

Therefore I have set up this European Anti-Software Patent Bribe Pledge Drive. I will not collect actual funds, but only pledges from people that are willing to send the pledged amount directly to the Luxembourg Council Presidency on the conditions below.

Now, these requirements might sound like they're against the rules of the EU, as well as undemocratic, but let's face it, these subtle lackings have never been a problem for the esteemed Presidency. If the Presidency is unable to strongarm the rest of the Council (or the Commission, or anyone else involved) into submission, it may of course, at its discretion, spread the bribes around for the desired effect (it's the Presidency's money, after all).

It is unfortunate that I do not know the exact amounts that the current Council Presidency has thus far gathered in this endeavour, and therefore I am unsure how much is required to turn the tables, so the best I can do is to list the pledges and the total here and inform the Council Presidency of this page. They will then presumably monitor the progress and accept the amount when sufficient.

As a new idea, it was proposed that people send actual money to the Luxembourg presidency, so that they cannot just ignore it. This is, of course, not for the timid; one must take into account the possible repercussions of sending an uninvited bribe. Why, it might be returned, reported to the authorities or, heavens forbid, even to the press! Thus it is important to make it crystal clear just how serious you are. Still, I am confident that the Presidency is receptive, and thus I have sent a small cash advance on my pledge to them with the instructions on how to cash in on the whole deal (here is my sample letter, and here's information on the less than subtle symbolism used). Others are, of course, free to do as they please. I already sent my express mail to the "Luxembourg Presidency" at the generic Council address (which, I'm sure, will go through), but I hear that a more direct address is Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the EU / Avenue de Cortenbergh 75 / 1000 Brussels / Belgium. I will include mentions of bribe advances I'm informed of in the pledge list.

Update: I have received the money back with a short note that mostly says that the Parliament is on this issue now. This is a bit discouraging, but I will continue to maintain this list; after all, if we get enough pledges, they may be inclined to change their corrupt minds.

How to pledge

Pledges are to be made, in euro and via E-mail only, to Mikko Rauhala. The pledgees are to mention their country of residence as well as name (no anonymous pledges will be taken). Pledges are of course accepted from outside the EU (but still only in euros, please); after all, non-European multinationals get to bribe too. The pledgees agree to send the pledged amount directly to the EU Council Presidency (who will hopefully inform me of the details of the transaction so that I can publish them here) after the abovementioned conditions have been fulfilled. The page administrator does not take responsibility for the failure of any listed pledgees to produce the funds upon the fullfillment of the conditions, but will provide relevant testimony.

Addendum: While the original idea was to gather bribe pledges from individuals, I will include also pledges by businesses and other organizations. These will go into a separate list if any are forthcoming (though they will add to the grand total).

Addendum: A well-meaning individual tried to offer €4,000,000, but I declined, as it was somewhat apparent that he didn't have backing for it. Please, folks, be generous but keep within your means, even if overbribing the big corporations is harder the honest way. This is not to dissuade all you millionaires from pledging huge amounts, but please do provide some documentation for extraordinarily large pledges.

Other ways to help

While this page is primarily dedicated to the bribing method, other ways to help include donating money to the FFII, who are very active in this pursuit, and writing articles and opinion pieces to papers to keep the issues (and the deplorable practices surrounding them) in the public view. And, of course, spread the word about this Pledge Drive; try to get it into news if possible.

Current pledges

The current pledges total to €79583.43 . Pledges by individual:

Pledges by organization: