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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday November 28 2020, @01:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the while-you-were-out dept.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure has a call for donations against the Unitary Software Patent Trolls after Thursday's disastrous Bundestag vote. On Thursday in Germany, the Bundestag voted on ratification of a proposal for a Unified Patent Court, largely seen as purely a vehicle for introducing software patents into Europe. As software patents in the US were on the way out, introducing them into Europe would bring them back into the US after further "harmonization". Thursday's vote is the result of the software patent lobby changing its strategy in Europe by creating a central patent court outside of the control of the individual member states under which it would make its own rules and avoid democratically elected legislators.

FFII is now calling on its supporting companies and on the open source community to donate to crowdfund a Constitutional Complaint in Karlsruhe. Stopping the UPC in Germany will be enough to kill the UPC for the whole Europe. Politicians willfully ignored the problem that the UPC violates the “Rule of Law” principle, as the EPO still cannot be sued for maladministration, where there are 4 pending complaints in Karlsruhe, which should be issued in early 2021.

Next steps are a vote in the Bundesrat, according to Stjerna’s blogpost

Legal Committee of the Federal Council is currently scheduled for 02/12/2020

Federal Council can therefore be expected to make its final deliberation on the draft legislation in its 998th session on 18/12/2020

–Dr Stjerna blog, Status of the UPCA ratification proceedings in Germany (12/12/2016, latest update on 26/11/2020) https://www.stjerna.de/restart/?lang=en

German government believe that they can ratify before the end of the year, as they consider the UK still a member of the EU till 31st December. The agenda of next votes have been designed on purpose to ratify the UPC before the end of the year.

This plot twist is time-dependent and hangs upon a loophole in Brexit. Thus the time between now and New Year are crucial for preserving the ability to use or develop software in Europe. Again, this is about the uses to which software may be applied, not distribution. Usage is covered by patent law, distribution by copyright law.

The FFII is a pan-European alliance of software companies and independent software developers. It is currently working to neutralize the Unitary Patent project, which is a third attempt to introduce software patents into Europe. The previous two attempts failed, but only because of the joint efforts of thousands of companies to defend against software patents in Europe.

Previously:
(2020) UK Formally Abandons Europe's Unified Patent Court
(2020) Deadly Blow to the Pox of Software Patents in the EU
(2018) Software Patents are Harmful
(2018) A Case for the Total Abolition of Software Patents


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday November 28 2020, @05:12PM (24 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 28 2020, @05:12PM (#1081893) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, my thoughts go along those lines as well. If congress does nothing then it's unlikely that they have cost me anything. In general, the less congress does, the better for everyone.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe
    while the congress is in session." attributed to Mark Twain,

    --
    Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Saturday November 28 2020, @06:05PM (23 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday November 28 2020, @06:05PM (#1081901)

    If Congress does nothing, then you don't get appropriations bills passed, and the government shuts down. You can't run a government that way: if the government isn't even running, or spending money to actually run the country, then before long things really fall apart. If you're going to run a government that way, you might as well give up and disband the union and break it up into smaller pieces where people *do* agree on how to do things.

    Basically, the prior AC post I think highlights an important question: should we have a two-party system that forces through legislation that no one agrees on, or a multiparty system that's paralyzed because no one can agree on anything? In the first scenario, at least you have an effective government, even if it's doing a lot of stuff no one really wants except some elite group in power. In the second scenario, the government is going to break down, and either get replaced with the first kind of government, an authoritarian system, or the country will break up.

    Perhaps the answer is that large, diverse nations simply are not viable under a democratic system, unless that system is really a sham designed to keep a cadre of elites in power. Look at the countries that seem to do pretty well under democratic systems, such as Norway or Japan or South Korea: these are usually small (but not always, Japan is #11 in the world), and very homogenous. Now look at a country that seems to have very effective governance, despite being extremely large and diverse: China. Sucks to be a Uighur there, but given their economic success over the past 40 years and their handling of Covid, you can't argue that their governance is ineffective. It does seem that being able to brutally squash internal dissent actually works to make your country economically successful when that's what the leadership wants. However, there's a downside: soft power. China has none. How many people outside South Korea and Japan like to watch anime or listen to K-pop, even when they can't understand the language? Lots. How many people listen to or watch Chinese movies/music outside of China? None. America has shown how important this is, with the export of its cultural capital worldwide.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @07:15PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @07:15PM (#1081917)

      I don't think that a multiparty system will result in nothing getting passed because no one agrees on anything. I think there are things that most people do agree on and those things will get passed. Just the issues that few people agree on will struggle more to find an appropriate compromise that most people can get on board with. There is no reason to rush legislation through like there is no tomorrow. We can give everyone time to process the proposed legislature to give their input and find an appropriate compromise before allowing it to pass.

      "It does seem that being able to brutally squash internal dissent actually works to make your country economically successful when that's what the leadership wants."

      I don't think we should be willing to have our right to dissent crushed in the name of 'economic success'. I also think economic success is possible without having our right to dissent crushed just like it's possible for us to have our right to dissent crushed and still be economically unsuccessful.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @09:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @09:15PM (#1081933)

        We should also avoid the assumption that every law constantly needs changing. Perhaps this is a useful assumption for politicians and legislatures to make because it justifies their continued existence and gives them something to grandstand over but it's not one that should automatically be made.

        For instance there are some laws that should be tweaked. Copy protection lengths should be reduced for one thing and there should be other similar tweaks to IP laws in general. Other laws, like the first amendment and section 230 of the CDA, should probably be left alone for the most part.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @07:30PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @07:30PM (#1081918)

      It does seem that being able to brutally squash internal dissent actually works to make your country economically successful when that's what the leadership wants.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union [wikipedia.org]

      Do you want to tell us the Soviet leadership did not want to make their country economically successful?

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @09:47PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 28 2020, @09:47PM (#1081937)

        They wanted to enrich themselves at the cost of the proletariat.

        • (Score: 5, Touché) by barbara hudson on Saturday November 28 2020, @11:40PM (4 children)

          by barbara hudson (6443) <barbara.Jane.hudson@icloud.com> on Saturday November 28 2020, @11:40PM (#1081952) Journal
          Sounds like the current administration.
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          SoylentNews is social media. Says so right in the slogan. Soylentnews is people, not tech.
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:14AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:14AM (#1081975)

            Hunter Biden might already be collecting that 50% cut of foreign bribes for his dad Joe Biden, but technically the "current administration" is still Trump. Despite gaslighting and projection that would claim otherwise, we currently have an unusually non-corrupt administration. It hasn't been this good in over half a century. We're about to have that change, but not until 2021.

            Uh, BTW... do you also believe Obama was "scandal free" like they said?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:23AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:23AM (#1081997)

              About Obama, remember who the other guy was

              As I marked my vote, I was praying to God to forgive me for what I was doing. Even though I have been a lifelong Republican, I could not vote for that man who I perceived to be about the most heartless, arrogant, man-of-the-wealthy I had ever seen.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @11:12PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @11:12PM (#1082146)

              How's that kool-aid tasting? Least corrupt? Most peaceful? You've really detached from reality bub!

          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:15AM

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:15AM (#1081996) Journal

            And the previous, and the one before that, turtles all the way down...

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday November 28 2020, @10:43PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday November 28 2020, @10:43PM (#1081941) Homepage Journal

      That brutal squashing has worked short term for many regimes down through history. Not so well long term for most of them. The Chinese are unique though. I suppose it will continue to be effective, until it stops being effective. Maybe it will take another Cultural Revolution before things change for them. Not that I wish another upheaval on them, but that seems to be the way change happens in China.

      --
      Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @12:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @12:44AM (#1081965)

        There is a breaking point when you go below the two party system. In a one party system everyone in the country is a member of the same party and all politics are decided by members of the party. Assuming of course that the are no corruption and everyone has equal voting rights within the party, it's no different than a direct demoracy. I'd postulate that a two party system is the worst democratic system and an infinite party (first party) is utopia. I think the most stable is somewhere in between, where spontaneous irrational laws are stifled by agreed upon policies of the representative parties. In any case the ideal democratic governing body should be representative of the population.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:00AM (3 children)

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:00AM (#1081974) Journal

      You say that as if shutdowns due to lack of an appropriations bill is unheard of in the U.S.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:00PM (2 children)

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:00PM (#1082074)

        They aren't *that* frequent, but also they've never lasted more than a month. When they have happened, the economic effects have been disastrous. On top of that, they aren't really shutdowns: parts of the government keep operating. Personally, I think that when they have a government shutdown, EVERYTHING should be shut down federally, and that includes the military: soldiers should not get paid, and the military should stand down from anything it's doing. If your country is too stupid to keep itself running continuously, it doesn't deserve to have a defense force.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday November 29 2020, @08:10PM (1 child)

          by sjames (2882) on Sunday November 29 2020, @08:10PM (#1082100) Journal

          There have been 4 in the last 20 years, that's 20%. That's a lot for something that has well defined deadlines that can be foreseen years out.

          That puts the U.S. solidly in the lead for shutdowns with many governments that have multiparty systems having had no shutdowns.

          The big difference seems to be holding legislators feet to the fire. In many countries if the legislature can't even manage to come up with a budget, they're all fired.

          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 30 2020, @02:23AM

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 30 2020, @02:23AM (#1082192)

            4 in 20 years is a lot compared to better-run countries, yes, but it's not like they're having one every 6 months or every year.

            But yes, shutdowns are mostly unique to the US and its completely broken system of government. There should not be cases where the executive and legislative branches are at odds with each other so much they can't even pass a budget. In parliamentary democracies, this doesn't happen because the executive is chosen by the legislative branch, instead of by popular vote; in the very rare case that the two can't agree, a vote of no-confidence is called and new elections are held for parliament, which then creates a new administration.

            The best thing the US could do at this point is to hold a new Constitutional Convention and write a new Constitution. The old one sucks. It's weird how it's treated as some kind of holy document by so many Americans, when in reality it creates a horribly flawed system. I'll admit it was a good try back in 1789, since they didn't exactly have a lot of examples to go off of at the time, and I guess they were trying not to emulate the British too much since they had just fought a war of independence with them, but it's been well over 2 centuries now, and other nations have now shown us how to set up better forms of government. It's time to trash it and start over. Sticking with the current Constitution is like sticking with Windows 98 or IE6.0.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Arik on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:45AM (4 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:45AM (#1081989) Journal
      "If Congress does nothing, then you don't get appropriations bills passed, and the government shuts down. You can't run a government that way: if the government isn't even running, or spending money to actually run the country, then before long things really fall apart."

      This is what the archons want you to think - and do not doubt they'll play that out as far as they can.

      But the truth is, the government isn't necessary, or even beneficial, in trying to 'run' the country.

      The country doesn't need to be 'run' - it's not like a big company, it's an entirely different thing. The government doesn't make it run better by micromanaging it - quite the opposite, as it means constant temptation to rob Peter in order to pay Paul or vice versa. That tendency, unchecked, allowed to run rampant, is the problem we face, not a solution.

      The country would run a hell of a lot better if the government was forced to run on a much smaller budget, and to focus on it's core responsibilities.

      Of course we both know that there are elements that would do everything they possibly could to see the country burnt to the ground by the end of the year instead. Just so they could say "see, we told you everything would fall apart if we weren't running it. Now give us back our budget!"

      But a competent government with 10% of the budget would be better than just a competent government. The size of the federal budget in particular is, at this point, so huge that it's a problem in and of itself. You could run every single politician and bureaucrat out of office and replace them with verified saints and they would still be corrupted by it once in office.

      The trick isn't necessarily to break down into smaller units (though obviously democracy functions a bit easier on a smaller scale) but *to narrow the field of play* until it's small enough virtually everyone can understand and agree. There's virtually no one that objects to the functions of the watchman state, and it objectively benefits everyone. But as we shift from the concept of the watchman state to the concept of the moral state, that changes completely. As the state expands, it must rely less on consent and agreement, more and more on brute force. Less and less on building consensus, more and more on "we won (by a tiny margin) so suck it up, loser!"

      The stakes are simply too high for anything else. Again, the size of the budget, the REAL budget, not just the direct expenditures, but all the unfunded mandates - absolutely staggering. Even a 1% margin on it - staggering. There's an old saying that every man has his price.

      The President of the USA receives $400,000/year in salary. And on the face of it, that should be fine, really. Lots of people live on minimum wage, 400 grand a year isn't bad. Especially considering you get free residence and bodyguards etc. so it's all profit... but no. The thing is, running for President costs way more than you'll make in a 4 year term. Most candidates spend hundreds of millions, win or lose. Bloomberg spent over a billion and didn't even get a nomination!

      So there has to be a lot more than $400k/year to make that back. And the same math holds up for many other offices. Then we wonder that D.C. is corrupt?
      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:24AM (3 children)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday November 29 2020, @06:24AM (#1081998) Journal

        What I can't understand is why we let the bureaucrats make us do all their paperwork for them. The tax department for example, they can either send us a check or send us a bill. One way or another, they will get our signature. If we have any questions, we can go to them. *Don't call us, we'll call you*.

        --
        La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
        • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Sunday November 29 2020, @02:54PM (2 children)

          by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 29 2020, @02:54PM (#1082031) Journal

          The Tax Preparation industry, that's why. H&R Block, Turbo Tax, and others of that ilk lobby to keep income tax complicated and scary. The IRS has a lot of your numbers, but actually isn't allowed to fill in those blanks for you. Instead, those numbers are used against you, as a gotcha if there is any discrepancy between their numbers and what you report. The industry wants you, the taxpayer, to believe that you could go to jail for getting your taxes wrong, even if it was an innocent mistake. This fear is helped by the IRS's reputation for hard a$$, guilty-until-proven-innocent enforcement. They don't believe in innocent mistakes. They believe everyone cheats. But if you buy and use tax prep products, the industry guarantees they'll shield you from that. I really wonder how they have any power to do that, and suspect the protection they offer is greatly exaggerated.

          • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Sunday November 29 2020, @04:32PM (1 child)

            by fustakrakich (6150) on Sunday November 29 2020, @04:32PM (#1082052) Journal

            I really wonder how they have any power to do that...

            Because we give it to them, by reelecting their puppets for over 40 years. Ask yourself, why do we do that?

            --
            La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:52PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:52PM (#1082071)

              Because we're stupid, that's why. In other countries, it isn't like this: the tax authority sends you a pre-filled form at the end of the year showing what they think your income and deductions are, and what you owe or what they owe you. You can either sign it and send it back in (with payment if necessary), or you can amend it if you have information they missed. It isn't like this in the US because of tax-prep lobbyists as stated earlier, but in other (typically European) countries, they don't seem to have this problem or corruption.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:48AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @05:48AM (#1081990)

      How many people listen to or watch Chinese movies/music outside of China? None.

      I think you're off here. There are many Chinese movies with production values and attractivity, especially those originating in HK. Similar with music, though again strongly linked with HK, but not as dominant with respect to Korea and Japan.

      Anything east of Burma is going to be prime market for China.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:31PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29 2020, @03:31PM (#1082039)

        The most recent Chinese movies I saw was the sci-fi movies The Wandering Earth (流浪地球) [wikipedia.org] and Shanghai Fortress (上海堡垒) [wikipedia.org] both from 2019.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday November 30 2020, @02:26AM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 30 2020, @02:26AM (#1082193)

        You keep mentioning HK. HK was under a democratic system until very recently; the new security law has really kinda killed much of what make HK special. Many HKers have now left the country, and after Covid, many more will probably follow, perhaps to UK where they've been given special status.