Introduction of EU software patents blocked

Protest in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg
Photo of the protest in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg

Protest in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg Microsoft, IBM and co. had hoped the pan-European introduction of software patenting would help them extend their monopoly power and put free and open-source software such as Linux and Firefox on the defensive. Software patents would mean they would always be in danger of violating the arsenals of patents of the monopolists. Steep licence fees would be payable, which would put a real damper on innovation. For the general public, the consequence would be that software would become more expensive, less innovative and less secure.

In early 2003, hardly any MEPs were in a position to gauge the significance of the Software Patent Directive. However, the software companies had not counted on European citizens getting involved. Since mid 2003, activists have been lobbying and engaging in PR work, and as a result have won over numerous MEPs from all parties to their cause. Despite this, in 2004 and 2005, the Council of Ministers decided in favour of software patents. Ahead of the decisive vote in the European Parliament, small firms, software activists from the FFII, the online citizens’ network Campact and the globalization critics from Attac all worked together.

Bridge foundation funded the work of the FFII and a new kind of online demonstration: Attac and Campact called on citizens to »face up« to software patents on the internet. Nearly 5,000 people uploaded a photo of themselves on to the campaign website. The photos together formed the slogan »No e-patents!«.

On 6 July 2005, the day of the decision in the European Parliament, the online demonstration was displayed as a giant banner in front of the entrance to the parliament building. Many MEPs got talking to the activists. Two hours later, they decided against software patents! On that day, a whiff of another Europe, a Europe of the people, wafted through the streets of Strasbourg!

About us

Bewegungsstiftung supports the work of social movements with grants and consulting.

Ask for your free information package! Or learn more about funding opportunities in our film.

Newsletter Anmeldung

Wir informieren Sie regelmäßig datenschutzkonform über die Arbeit der Stiftung.

Facebook Icon (by Dan Leech) Visit us
on Facebook

(For your own safety: We recommend always to open Facebook in a special browser.)

Twitter Icon (by Dan Leech) Follow us
on Twitter

Become an endowment donor now! Strengthen social movements
as part of the network!

Make an ethical and sustainable investment and donate the interests to projects.

Make engagement possible! Become the direct sponsor of a movement worker. From 10 Euro per month.

Artilleriestraße 6
27283 Verden
Telephone: +00 49 (0)4231 957 540
Fax: +00 49 (0)4231 957 541
Twitter: @bstiftung

Bank Account
DE56 4306 0967 0046 3144 00