I attended the FFII demonstration against software patents in Europe. Here’s a good summary of the politics from the demo site:

In February 2002, the European Commission proposed a directive that would legalise software patents. However, the European Parliament decided in its Plenary Vote of 24th September 2003 to fix all the loopholes in this proposal and explicitly banned software patents.

Currently, the European Council of Ministers is discussing this directive. Their internal working party proposes to simply discard all clarifying amendments from the Parliament. They want to make everything patentable.

That is not an option Europe is willing to accept. We showed them this on 27 August 2003. We will show them again on 14 April 2004.

It was good fun—the weather was fantastic (and I got a little bit of sunburn) and the march was incredibly orderly.

getting ready
at the EU Parliament building
the march

The first two photos are mine; the third is a crop of one taken by Harmen van der Wal, who has many more.

EuroNews were also there and have a report. It’s gratifying to watch their report—they have really got our message across.