24 February 2009

EndSoftwarePatents.org Phase II

There's no doubt that more and more scrutiny is being applied to patents around the world, with particularly hopeful moves in the US in the wake of the Bilski judgment. So it's a wise move on the FSF's part to turn up the pressure with their EndSoftwarePatents.org campaign:

The Free Software Foundation today announced funding for the End Software Patents project to document the case for ending software patents worldwide. This catalog of studies, economic arguments, and legal analyses will build on the recent success of the "in re Bilski" court ruling, in which End Software Patents (ESP) helped play a key role in narrowing the scope for patenting software ideas in the USA.

For this new phase of End Software Patents work, the FSF has engaged veteran anti-software-patent lobbyist Ciaran O'Riordan, taking over from Ben Klemens as director of ESP. O'Riordan brings years of experience campaigning against software patents in the EU. This knowledge, combined with what was learned during the Bilski work, will form the starting point for a global information resource and campaign. The goal is to make it easy for activists around the world to benefit from existing knowledge, often scattered and sometimes disappearing with time.

That's absolutely right: one of the great things about work trying to claw back some of the ground lost to intellectual monopolies is that it all feeds into itself. The more info you have, the easier it is to build the case with further research and campaigns.

As O'Riordan explains:

"Each campaign raises new evidence and arguments for the case against software patents. The work on the Bilski case uncovered new economic studies and developed legal proposals for how to pin down the slippery goal of excluding software ideas from patentability. To make the most of that work, Phase II of ESP will work on documenting and organizing that information and making it easily reusable. We'll add to that what was learned during the years-long campaign against the EU software patents directive, and then we'll research and document what's happening in South Africa, India, New Zealand, Brazil, and so forth."

Here's to Phase III: victory.

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