RestartGuide0501En

GUIDE FOR RENEWED REFERRAL TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

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Why?

The adoption of EU Council's "common position" on a software patent directive has been delayed once again. This opens another window of opportunity for the European Parliament to restart the entire process. The horrible Council text of 18 May 2004 would be cancelled that way.

Since the political situation in Europe has changed and ever more countries oppose the idea of patents that can affect standard computer software, it is almost certain that future negotiations in the EU Council would lead to a much more acceptable result.

If the directive is not referred to the parliament again the Council's horrible text would go to the European Parliament and it would have vote on it in second reading under extremely difficult condidions.

Firstly, only 3 to 4 months are availabile until the vote has to be scheduled and secondly, failure to adopt a critical amdendment under the difficult condition that each amendent requires at least 367 "yes" votes - (this means 60 to 70% of MEPs present in the plenary chamber need to vote "yes" - this is only possible with big coalitions) would make software patentable under this text.

The Council could then possibly be pressed to adopt it and the directive would enter into force. If it does not, the process would go to 3rd reading to find a middle way between the two positions of Parliament and Council. At this stage, where much more time and work has went into it, it basically never happens that a directive is rejected, however bad it is. This means, if we want a good directive and not reject in 2nd reading, the best option is to restart the process and have the central amendments of Parliament's amendments adopted in Council.

This is then a much better starting point for a 2nd and 3rd reading than the current situaion.

How much time do we have?

The calendar now gives the European Parliament time until at least the week of 21 February (next part-session) to request a renewed referral.

However, the most important decision will already be taken on 2 or 3 February. On those days, the Legal Affairs Committee ("JURI") of the European Parliament will meet. That is the committee in charge of the software patent directive. A majority of the committee responsible is a requirement for a renewed referral according to Rule 55.1 of the EP's Rules of Procedure.

If JURI decides in our favor, then it may still be necessary to secure the consent of the Conference of Presidents (Chairmen/Presidents of the groups). The !CoP will meet on 17 February.

Who is decisive?

The immediate priority are the members of JURI, but indirectly all other MEPs can promote the idea of restarting the process within their groups. Even outside of the European Parliament, you may be able to find politicians, such as national MPs, who can contact their colleagues in Brussels about this.

How to make contact?

In general, email works fine to contact a politician, as long as you don't use a standard letter (10 different letters make more impact than 100 times the same one). Make it short, to the point and put in links to more information (or attach documents with more information). Snail mail letters are outdated and take too long to reach them.

It is up to you how much effort you put into your letter. It's not necessary, and from the perspective of politicians, not even desirable that you go into too much detail. Try to explain in your own words that and why you believe software patents are negative to you, and ask the recipient to support the idea of restarting the process on the software patent directive at the request of the parliament. Make sure you remain polite at all times.

If you are a company owner or freelancer, please make sure that your mail clearly indicates your commercial background.

JURI members (by country; countries in alphabetical order)

Austria

Dr. Maria Berger, MEP (SPÖ)

Homepage: http://www.spe.at/berger/

Contact data:

Czech Republic

Pan Daniel Stroz, MEP (Komunistická strana ?ech a Moravy)

Contact data:

Doc. !MUDr. Jaroslav Zv??ina !CSc., MEP (Ob?anská demokratická strana)

Homepage: http://www.zverina.cz

Contact data:

Finland

Piia-Noora Kauppi, MEP (Kokoomus)

Homepage: http://www.kauppi.net

Contact data:

France

M. Alain Lipietz, MEP (Les Verts-Europe-Ecologie)

Homepage: http://lipietz.net

Contact data:

Germany

A special German-language lobbying guide is available at nosoftwarepatents.com and provides a lot of information on how to win the support of German MEPs, particularly from conservative party CDU.

Hungary

Katalin Lévai, MEP (Magyar Szocialista Párt)

Contact data:

Note: former Hungarian "equal opportunity" minister

Viktória Mohácsi, MEP (Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége)

Contact data:

Note: Mrs. Mohácsi is member of the liberal ALDE group in the EP. In that group, we have a number of honest politicians who are on our side and want to prevent software patents. However, in that group you also find a Dutch party named VVD, which pushes for software patents more aggressively, and with more disgraceful methods, than any other party in all of Europe.

The VVD is the party of former EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, who initiated the whole process on this directive only to legalize software patents, and of MEP Toine Manders, who constantly tries to pull the entire ALDE group in a pro-patent direction.

Please ask Mrs. Mohácsi to not adopt any advice from her Dutch colleagues of the VVD.

Italy

On. Avv. Giuseppe Gargani, MEP (Forza Italia)

Homepage: http://www.giuseppegargani.it

Contact data:

Note: Mr. Gargani is member of a group that mostly voted for software patents in 2003. However, please point out to him that the Italian government, which is led by his own party, clearly opposed the patentability of software in the EU Council last May. By asking for a restart, Mr. Gargani can help his colleagues in Rome so that the position of the Italian government will hopefully be reflected by a future proposal of the EU Council.

On. Giorgio Carollo, MEP (Forza Italia)

Contact data:

Note: Mr. Carollo is member of a group that mostly voted for software patents in 2003. However, please point out to him that the Italian government, which is led by his own party, clearly opposed the patentability of software in the EU Council last May.

By asking for a restart, Mr. Carollo can help his colleagues in Rome so that the position of the Italian government will hopefully be reflected by a future proposal of the EU Council.

On. Antonio di Pietro, MEP (Italia dei Valori)

Homepage: http://www.antoniodipietro.it

Contact data:

Note: Mr. di Pietro is member of the bureau of the liberal ALDE group in the EP. In that group, we have a number of honest politicians who are on our side and want to prevent software patents. However, in that group you also find a Dutch party named VVD, which pushes for software patents more aggressively, and with more disgraceful methods, than any other party in all of Europe.

The VVD is the party of former EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, who initiated the whole process on this directive only to legalize software patents, and of MEP Toine Manders, who constantly tries to pull the entire ALDE group in a pro-patent direction.

Please ask Mr. di Pietro to not adopt any advice from her Dutch colleagues of the VVD.

Sig.Ra Monica Frassoni, MEP (Federazione dei Verdi)

Homepage: http://www.monicafrassoni.it

Contact data:

On. Francesco Enrico Speroni, MEP (Lega Nord per l'indipendenza della Padania)

Homepage: http://www.europarl.it/europarlamentari/index.asp?id=125

Contact data:

On. Nicola Zingaretti, MEP (Democratici di Sinistra)

Homepage: http://www.europarl.it/europarlamentari/index.asp?id=182

Contact data:

Lithuania

P. Aloyzas Sakalas, MEP (Lietuvos socialdemokrat? partija)

Homepage: http://www.vrk.lt/rinkimai/2004/euro/kandidatai/kand_biog_l_260852.htm

Contact data:

Netherlands

De Heer Bert Doorn, MEP (CDA)

Homepage: http://www.bertdoorn.nl

Contact data:

Note: Mr. Doorn has a very good voting record from the 1st reading in the European Parliament. He voted very clearly against software patents. Also, his party supported a motion in the Dutch parliament on 1 July 2004 against software patents.

However, that party has a government coalition with a Dutch party named VVD, which pushes for software patents more aggressively, and with more disgraceful methods, than any other party in all of Europe. The VVD is the party of former EU Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, who initiated the whole process on this directive only to legalize software patents and of MEP Toine Manders, who constantly tries to pull the entire ALDE group in a pro-patent direction.

Nevertheless, it is extremely doubtful that Doorn would blindly follow Manders, and simply not mentioning Manders to him may be the best tactic. He has also already complained about a lot of mail he gets on this topic and he will soon have a personal meeting with some experienced people, so it may be best to leave him alone for now.

Poland

Andrzej Jan Szejna, MEP (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej - Unia Pracy)

Homepage: http://www.sld.org.pl/index.php?view=1&art_id=4107&pid=18&ret_id=125&rsid=0

Contact data:

Marek Aleksander Czarnecki, MEP (Samoobrona RP)

Contact data:

Marcin Libicki, MEP (Prawo i Sprawiedliwo??)

Homepage: http://www.libicki.pl

Contact data:

Tadeusz Zwiefka, MEP (Platforma Obywatelska)

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Spain

Sr. Antonio López-Istúriz White, MEP (PP)

Homepage: http://www.europarl.es/diputados/diputado.php?id=94298

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Note: Mr. López-Istúriz White is member of a group that mostly voted for software patents in 2003. However, please point out to him that there is broad consensus in Spain that software patents are detrimental. Software patents only benefit companies from some other countries than Spain. For Spain, open-source software is a particular opportunity that already plays a major role in public administrations throughout the country.

Sr. Antonio Masip Hidalgo, MEP (PSOE)

Homepage: http://europa2004.psoe.es/index.php?inc=candidaturas&id_candidaturas=41&ini=1

Contact data:

Note: Please point out to Mr. Masip Hidalgo that the Spanish government, which is led by his own party, clearly opposed the patentability of software in the EU Council last May. By asking for a restart, Mr. Masip Hidalgo can help his colleagues in Madrid so that the position of the Spanish government (in particular, minister Montilla) will hopefully be reflected by a future proposal of the EU Council.

United Kingdom

Mrs. Theresa Villiers, MEP (Tories)

Homepage: http://www.theresavilliers.com

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Note: Mrs. Villiers represents London in the EP. Her party, the UK Conservatives, voted for software patents in 2003. However, Mrs. Villiers did not vote 100% as radically for software patents as Malcolm Harbour, who is the driving pro-patent force within his delegation and flatly denies that the legislation he supports would allow for software patents (although that is what it does, and there can be no reasonable doubt that he knows he spreads misinformation).

Mrs. Diana Wallis, MEP (LibDems)

Homepage: http://www.dianawallismep.org.uk

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Note: Mrs. Wallis represents Yorkshire and the Humber in the EP. Her party, the Liberal Democrats, are critical of software patents in the UK but basically voted for software patents in 2003. Approach with care.

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