Friday, 30 June 2006

SWPATs: No Lobbyists As Such -- 377 pages for free!

Followers of MySQL AB know that we strongly oppose software patents. We have concluded that software patents are harmful to the software industry at large. This is why we support those who work for an abolishment of software patents. We also work with other companies and groups to build a joint defense against software patents.

MySQL AB as a company, and I myself as VP Community, were heavily involved in Florian Müller's campaign 2004-05 in Europe. We were involved both as sponsors and advisors.

The story of this David against Goliath campaign is now available for all as a book. Florian Müller's memoir-style book
No Lobbyists As Such - The War over Software Patents in the European Union
has been released under the Creative Commons license this month.

On 377 pages, Mueller tells the story of the legislative process that ended in July last year with a landslide vote of the European Parliament against a proposal for a software patent directive.

The book is now available on the Internet for download:
The file may be redistributed under a Creative Commons license.

Wlodzimierz Marcinski, who as Polish deputy minister of science blocked an EU Council decision in favour of software patents all alone in December 2004, has said he looks forward "to reading Florian Mueller's book that tells the story from the perspective of the citizens who became involved and through their untiring commitment made such a difference."

At MySQL AB, we have had access to drafts of the book. It connects well with our self-experienced work, talking to politicians and co-sponsors of My official quote as reviewer is that as a reader, I felt like "standing in a parliament and talking directly to the politicians who made the decisions".

Other reviewers are equally enthusiastic:

  • William New, editor-in-chief of the news service Intellectual Property Watch ( Mueller's book "really reads like a spy novel, very instructive as well as entertaining and engaging."

  • Professor Brian Kahin, former Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy: "Mueller's lucid, gripping account succeeds as an engrossing introduction to one of the major policy problems of our time and to Europe's struggle for integration."

  • Benjamin Henrion of the non-governmental organisation FFII: The book "vividly conveys the feeling of what we experienced", and is a "must-read for all who are concerned about software patents, and for those who want to know how things work in EU politics."

    The book is also available in German as "Die Lobbyschlacht um Softwarepatente",

    You can read more about the book author Florian Müller at at and at his blog site at
  • OSBC Europe in London

    GPLv3 was the theme of the presentation in OSBC Europe in London this Tuesday, where I was on a panel together with Dietmar Tallroth of Nokia and Eben Moglen of the FSF.

    I stressed four key topics:

    1. Ubiquity: We need a GPLv3 that not only achieves the same level of ubiquity as GPLv2, but goes beyond it.

    2. Software Patents: We need a GPLv3 that goes as far as possible protecting the industry from the adverse effects of legislations that allow software patents, without sacrificing the goal of ubiquity.

    3. Dual licensing: We need a GPLv3 that supports the proliferation of companies licensing their products both under GPL and under commercial licenses, as this further expands the universe of GPL software and encourages the establishment of new viable businesses.
    4. Clarity: We already have a GPLv3 draft that supports the detachment of GPL from being hardcoded one particular legal system, and makes it usable in many countries.