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IDG.net: Stallman at Brussels conference; Hague treaty may outflank EU software patent decision

Feb 05, 2001, 19:20 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Meller)

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"Civil liberties are under attack in Europe in the form of software legislation and cyber-crime codes, open source software guru Richard Stallman warned this weekend. Stallman called on like-minded Europeans to organize themselves to fight the new legislation, speaking at a two-day conference hosted by the Flemish Free University of Brussels."

"The European Commission, the European Union's executive body, is the main culprit in eroding civil liberties, he said. "The part of the Commission in charge of deciding how to shape European patenting laws for the software industry isn't the part that's in charge of software development," he said. "If it isn't stopped it will push the EU to adopt a software patent directive."

"The European Parliament and national government ministers would have to approve any Europe-wide legislation on software patenting. Stallman said one encouraging sign is that German and French governments appear to be set against such legislation. ... However, even if the pressure from the US is not successful, European civil liberties could still be jeopardized by the proposed Hague Treaty... [that] would allow companies in one country with software patents to defend those patents in another country that doesn't have such laws."

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