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May 22, 2004

Tenor of software patents

COMPSOC -- Ciaran O'Riordan of IFSO recommends people listen to the recordings of the EU Council's meeting on software patent legalisation. The proposal hinged on the use of the phrase "as such" to sneak a loophole past the Council members. The tone of voice in the transcripts is revealing.

O'Riordan admits "the people in the room didn't understand the implications of the text (that's our fault)." The amendment, "computer programs will not be patentable as such", fooled most people into thinking that software would not be patentable.

As O'Riordan explains, "the Council members were on our side, we just hadn't told them precisely what we want .... We told them 'no to software patents', and they think they've done that. We should have said 'no to as such'. and similar textual lobbying rather then implication lobbying.

Justin Mason -- "The 'as such' loophole"
Ciaran O'Riordan -- "Free Software and digital rights"
AEL -- "Transcription of the Council debate on software patents"


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