EU software patent opponents turn up lobbying

Opponents of a proposed European law on software patents have overhauled their lobbying efforts in a last ditch attempt to turn lawmakers’ opinions in their favour.

Next Wednesday the Green Party in the European Parliament, which agrees with opponents such as the open source and free software communities, will host a conference on the draft law which is scheduled to be voted on at the next plenary session of the European Parliament towards the end of this month.

Unlike previous such events, the list of speakers at the half-day event come from the academic mainstream, and also include consumer representatives.

Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium and the inventor of the Web, is expected to give a virtual address and then participate in an online debate with conference attendees.

Dr. Alan Mycroft from Cambridge University will present a petition signed by fellow scientists urging lawmakers to re-think their supportive views about the draft law before they vote.

Dr. Luc Soete, Founder of Merit at the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, will present a letter co-signed by fellow economists also urging European Parliamentarians to change the position they appear set to take at the plenary vote.

Jim Murray, head of the Europe-wide consumer group BEUC, will explain to delegates that the directive as it stands is too unclear to pass as law. “I doubt a few amendments by the European Parliament will fix that,” he said Thursday.

As a consumer representative he will argue why it is in the interests of European citizens that European Parliamentarians should take more time to understand the complex issues at stake before voting on the text.

The conference will also hear from representatives of local government in Europe who have already opted for open source structures for their office software needs. Jens M

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