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  4. <title>FSFE - Karlsruhe Memorandum on Software Patentability</title>
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  6. <body>
  7. <center>
  8. <h1>Software Patents in Europe</h1>
  9. [ <a href="/campaigns/swpat/swpat.html">Introduction</a>
  10. | <a href="/campaigns/swpat/background.html">Background</a>
  11. | <a href="/campaigns/swpat/status.html">Status</a>
  12. | <a href="/campaigns/swpat/documents.html">Further Reading</a>
  13. ]
  14. </center>
  15. <h2>Karlsruhe, June 2005</h2>
  16. <h2>Memorandum on Software Patentability</h2>
  17. <p>We, the undersigned, share a vision of Europe as a lively, creative
  18. and competitive part of the world. This vision is based on the
  19. principles of participative democracy and the freedom to innovate; these
  20. rely on Europeans being free to develop software and to distribute
  21. their work, free from the threat and the restrictions of software
  22. patents.</p>
  23. <p>Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play a central
  24. role in all areas of the economy today, and they are the foundation
  25. of the knowledge economy, in which Europe continues to excel.</p>
  26. <p>Our vision is to see the European ICT industry become the most
  27. vibrant in the world - and the European Parliament shared this
  28. vision, when it made the necessary amendments to the directive on
  29. computer-implemented inventions during its first reading on 24
  30. September 2003.</p>
  31. <p>That directive is better known as software patent directive
  32. because in its original version it not only allowed patents on
  33. computer-aided inventions, it also allowed patents on the
  34. algorithms and logic of the software itself.</p>
  35. <p>In what was the one of the best and most laudable examples of
  36. democratic participation, companies and non-profit organisations
  37. together outlined the likely harmful consequences to democracy,
  38. competition, innovation and employment.</p>
  39. <p>On 18 May 2004 the Council of the European Union frustrated
  40. those democratically-reached positions - they restored the
  41. original proposal with unlimited patentability of software.
  42. They ultimately adopted this position on 7 March 2005 in
  43. defiance of regional and national political processes, as well
  44. as the <a href="">scientific findings by the German Monopolkommission</a>,
  45. which regularly reports about dangers to competition to the
  46. Federal Government of Germany; the <a href="">Massachussetts Institute of
  47. Technology (MIT)</a>; the <a href="">Boston University School of Law</a>;
  48. <a href="">Deutsche Bank Research</a>;
  49. <a href="">Price Waterhouse Coopers</a>; and the
  50. <a href="">US Federal Trade Commission</a>.</p>
  51. <p>Patents on software are among the worst threats to knowledge-based
  52. industries, by restricting software development: they make
  53. computers less secure, less reliable and prevent
  54. competition on a basic level. Lack of competition and
  55. uncalculable legal risks raise the cost of ICT and cost jobs
  56. wherever the economy depends upon them.</p>
  57. <p>The most essential discoveries in the field of ICT were successful
  58. because they were not patented, for instance the invention of the World Wide
  59. Web by Tim Berners-Lee. If software patents are enacted, the
  60. world will never know which discovery could have been the next
  61. World Wide Web.</p>
  62. <p>On 6 July 2005, the directive will once again enter the European
  63. Parliament for its second reading: In the interest of Europe and
  64. its democratic roots we urge you to once more make the necessary
  65. amendments to turn this software patent directive into a directive
  66. that allows patents on computer-aided inventions, but clearly
  67. prevents software patenting.</p>
  68. <p>Georg Greve<br />
  69. President<br />
  70. Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)</p>
  71. <p>
  72. If you wish to see your name or the name of your organisation added
  73. to this list, please contact
  74. <a href=""></a>.
  75. </p>
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