Tough On Software Patents.

The Register informs that the new member states are already making a difference:

“The Polish government has withdrawn its support for the European software patent directive. At a cabinet meeting in Warsaw yesterday, officials concluded that the directive does not meet its original objective of limiting patents on software and business methods in Europe.

According to a statement from the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure), without Polish support the bill is 16 votes short of a qualified majority, and cannot be passed. This is due, in part, to the new voting weights allocated to each member state.

“The questionable compromise that the EU Council reached in May was the biggest threat ever to our economic growth, and to our freedom of communication,” said Wladyslaw Majewski, president of the Internet Society of Poland. “The desire of the patent system and the patent departments of certain large corporations must never prevail over the interests of the economy and society at large.”

The importance of economic integration (and some investment advice)

In the comments to one of the posts below, I raised the point that America’s prosperity owes a great deal more to its economic integration rather than to any particular shared value system, and that this was part of logic behind the founding of the EU. I want to demonstrate exactly how important a point that can be by using my own line of work as an example.

I work for a medium-sized Belgian translation firm. We have a handful of full-time staff and some 200 freelance translators who take work from us. Our freelancers can and do take work from other sources, what we do is mostly dealing with clients. Like all good middlemen, we make it possible for businesses to negotiate a single price for their translation work and we act as an insurance policy. Avoiding the middleman may sometimes cost less, but if your freelance translator is sick or busy and you have a deadline to deal with, you have to scramble to find a substitute. If you deal with us, we have many translators on tap and someone will always take your work. Few firms – only a few very large ones – still keep in-house translators. Translators generally agree to charge us less than they would charge clients directly because we can bring them a great deal of work, and we take away the cost of billing and accounting. We charge customers a bit more because we simplify billing and guarantee schedules. This is pretty much how modern translation firms operate.
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