Thursday, December 16, 2004

WOT? Apparently the EU software directive is not as dead as recent press reports have indicated. European Union governments have recently approved rules governing the patentability of inventions implemented by computers, known as the software patents directive, standing by an agreement they reached in May.

A meeting of ambassadors to the EU yesterday evening agreed to formally endorse a deal reached by member state governments in May of this year. The decision will come as a blow to opponents of the new legislation, among them the open source software community, who argue that the rules would allow the patenting of software. For approval, the legislation must still be referred back to the European Parliament (EP), which includes many opponents of the legislation.

If members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reject the EU governments' agreement, the two sides have to find a compromise, which may end up being closer to the open source software lobby's position.

Poland recently declared that they were opposed to patenting software. But this time, Poland merely issued a declaration saying that it had some "concerns" with the compromise. The declaration fell short of saying that Warsaw would block the proposal at a later date, according to a Dutch Presidency spokesman. Poland is understood to have come under severe political pressure not to undermine the proposal at this stage.

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