[ffii] McCarthy's first public answer

PILCH Hartmut phm at a2e.de
Fri Jun 13 23:39:59 CEST 2003

Arlene McCarthy, Member of the European Parliament for UK labour and
rapporteur of the JURI committeee for the software patent directive
proposal, has for the first time directly answered arguments from
critics at


More detailed questions designed to clarify her ambiguous positions,
as formulated at


have so far received no answer from Arlene McCarthy.  Likewise, Arlene
McCarthy has so far never answered or taken into account criticism of
her writings on software patents


Invitiations to participate in scientific conferences of IFRI in Paris
and IVIR in Amsterdam as well as in hearings of the Greens/EFA at the
at the European Parliament last November and May did also not find
Arlene McCarthy's interest.  She instead used the time for complaining
to journalists in her office about "failure of eurolinux lobbyists to
conduct an open and democratic debate" with her, see


In her most recent letter to the Guardian, McCarthy once again assumes
a the position of defending herself against aggressive opensource
lobbyists who are allegedly pushing their business model on the world.

Although Microsoft's FUD department could hardly have done a better
job, nobody should be provoked into a flamewar with Arlene McCarthy
about free vs proprietary software.  The real question is what should
be patentable and what not and whether McCarthy's proposal in general
achieves what McCarthy claims she is aiming for.

Arlene McCarthy, Dr. Joachim Würmeling and Malcolm Harbour are
currently discouraging discussion of all amendments except their own,
i.e. 1-20 and "Compromise Amendments".  Most of these amendments make
matters worse than they are, e.g. by introducing program claims,
adding additional rationales for patentability or making concepts more
fuzzy.  McCarthy et al say that only these proposals are "realistic"
and "have a majority", and claim that they are designed to limit
patentability.  Given that MEPs are, unlike national MPs, not used to
voicing strong criticism in public, and that McCarthy is assembling
journalists around her office, other MEPs could be discouraged into
submission or silence.

JURI will conduct a session on monday afternoon and the voting session
on tuesday 10-10.40.  Sessions are supposed to be public, but there
are obstacles to entry which we can help you overcome.

After the tuesday session, a few MEPs and journalists may be present.
We also have a room at 11.00 for an analysis of what happened.  More
details are appearing at


We have t-shirts and a flyer in 3 languages, which presents our case
in a nutshell:


More translations would be useful.

A detailed analysis of the upcoming JURI vote is found at


Hartmut Pilch, FFII & Eurolinux Alliance              tel. +49-89-18979927
Protecting Innovation against Patent Inflation	     http://swpat.ffii.org/
145,000 votes 400 firms against software patents     http://noepatents.org/

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