10 March 2008

EU: Ewww on Patented Software Standards

Digital Majority News points us to a fine hidalgo asking a key question about the EU's policy on software standards:

The 'European ICT crossroads: A new direction for global success' conference organised by the Commission's DG Enterprise and Industry on 12 February 2008 could turn out to have been a decisive moment for communications and information in the EU. The idea contained in the conference's title, at least, should be a turning point. It also embodies the very essence of what could be seen as the ideal framework for a wideranging and open discussion – without pre-formed ideas – on defining a European strategy on communications, in the search for tools and systems, with a major potential for the future, that are and within the grasp of a greater number of citizens. However, a quick assessment of the discussion document reveals certain worrying features, indicative of a certain tendency towards standardisation by means of patents, which in practice involve the exclusion of free software which is available free of charge. The document clearly supports the (F)RAND option with regard to managing intellectual property rights, which in practice implies not only that a choice has been made beforehand, but furthermore that this choice favours a system which benefits, and is in the hands of, the large software developing companies, rather than users.

Indicative of this is the fact that the original Spanish question is only available in English as a Microsoft Word document....

No comments: