Patent intervention gives Poland the popular vote

More than 25,000 people have registered their signatures on a Web site to thank Poland for stopping the EU from ratifying the patent directive last week
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
A Web site set up to thank Poland for its last-minute intervention, which prevented the EU Council from ratifying the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive last week, has collected over 25,000 names.

The directive was due to be adopted, without discussion or a vote, during an Agriculture and Fisheries meeting on 21 December. But the Polish undersecretary of science and information spoke out at the meeting to ask that the directive be removed from the agenda.

A Web site was set up after the meeting so that individuals could add their name to a thank you letter that will be sent to the Polish Ministry of Science and Information Technology. In the past week, over 25,000 names have been submitted to the site.

Webmasters are also being encouraged to put a 'Thank you, Poland!' banner on their Web site. The Free Software Foundation has put the banner on the GNU project Web site and are encouraging people to sign up to the campaign and write a letter to the Polish undersecretary.

Free software developers at the GNU project are not alone in their concern about the threat posed by the directive. Linux creator Linus Torvalds has said that software patents constitute the single biggest threat to the future success of the open source operating system.

Klaus Knopper, the founder of Linux Live CD Knoppix, said the project will not be able to continue as public and open, downloadable software if the patent directive is passed.

"No money that I could charge for Knoppix would allow me to pay for the upcoming lawsuits or patent claims of companies who sue me for violation of about 900 software patents that are possibly used in the public Debian Linux software," said Knopper.

"Even researching all possible violations is too expensive. So, the only possible thing for me to do would be to make Knoppix a closed, non-public project, like an explicitly non-commercial registered association where only members have access to the CD, and it can never be sold in a magazine or used in a commercial context again."

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