Last week at the Open Source for Education in Europe an ad-hoc group called "No e-Learning Patents!"
was formed to start campaigning against any possible new European-wide
software patent directive that would cover the patentability of
software including also the area of e-learning and computer & network
supported learning applications.
The group "No e-Learning
Patents!" is preparing for "Round 2" after the directive on Computer
Implemented Inventions, also known as software patent directive,
was voted down by the European Parliament last June 2005. This
directive sought to regulate the scope of patentability of software
within the EU. A new one can be anticipated.
The idea now is to create a pre-emptive position paper outlining
what are the possible ramifications of a European-wide software
directive on e-learning in Europe. This position paper will be signed
by e-learning practitioners in Europe and elsewhere who believe that
software patents would be harmful for innovation within the field of e-learning and hinder the good development that is currently taking currently place in Europe.
We are concerned about the potential reduction of access to Lifelong Learning and global digital knowledge.
- First, the cost of applications could become higher because of the
software patent system; the choice of available software could become
limited, and costs of using underlying communication structures,
operating systems and any software could increase.
- Second, it could have a negative effect on "in-house" and/or open
source development of educational applications. Many European
Educational authorities, universities and small and medium size
entreprieces (SME) develop educational platforms and applications for
educational use. Money spent on defending against software patent
litigation would be better spent on development, education and training.
- Third, the roll-out of educational FOSS in education could be jeopardised by the danger of software patents.
Join us on the No e-Learning Patents! community website at the forum (you are asked to register) to discuss about some more good arguments against the European-wide software patents.
Help us to brainstorm the campaign strategy and get the word out once the pre-emptive position paper is ready to be signed at the end of 2005.
Go to http://community.nolearningpatents.org and register!
The message is: No Software Patents! No e-learning Patents!
ps. If you blog about this campaign, please use technorati tag eusoftpat
Also, if you socially bookmark pages that are relevant for this, use the same tag (eusoftpat). You can find some reading at http://del.icio.us/tag/eusoftpat