Friday, February 04, 2005

Software Patent Battle
Bristol has been named as one of seven UK cities to hold a debate on the issue of software patents on 18th March this year. Why does this matter? Recently an attempt was made to push an EU law that would create very strong copyright protections for big business and massively restrict the creation of free (as in freedom) and open source software. In response various groups such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) launched a campaign to urge a think again. Indeed one such call, from the FSF founder, Richard Stallman, was issued in Bristol in 2004. The law being proposed was very much along the line of the US copyrights laws, which have been accused of stifling creative and individual freedom. Fortunately this proposed law has been scrapped and so has been forced back to the drawing board.

This gives a chance to open up the debate, which, unlike last time will allow more than just hand-picked company people to participate. Do you value open-source/free software? If you are using Open Office, Linux/GNU, Firefox, eMule, Gnutella, Bittorrent, Wikipedia or indeed Indymedia – then this ethos of technology is having some impact on your life!

If you wish to take part in the debate, you need to register by 18th February here:

If you wish to know more about the ideas of the Free Software Foundation then see here:

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