[Ossm-members] Fwd: [FSF] ESP launches en.swpat.org: A Wiki for Anti-Software Patent Campaigns

Aleksandar D. Balalovski gemidjy at lugola.net
Tue May 5 06:08:28 UTC 2009


Monday, May 4th, 2009 — End Software Patents today launched en.swpat.org, a
wiki to document the case against software patents. Over 100 articles have
already been started to give an idea of the scope and structure of the wiki.

ESP's executive director Ciaran O'Riordan explains: "So far, we have
articles about the case law, legislation, and patent office behavior in
various countries. We have articles about economic studies, about related
books, about the various ways to fight software patents, about each of the
arguments against software patents, and most importantly, the evidence for
each argument. There are so many topics, I've only had time to scratch the
surface of each, but visitors should get an idea of how all this information
is being categorized and organized. We've also built up a very long list of
sources of information that have yet to be processed. The wiki can be edited
by anyone, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the community and other
projects make of it. If other campaigns, large and small, would like to use
en.swpat.org as a workspace, that would be welcome. It makes sense for
projects with common goals to be interconnected."

"Most of the information currently on en.swpat.org was gathered
casually. Each time I see something interesting in a document, I make a note
of it in the wiki." O'Riordan continued, "If more people start contributing
in this piecemeal manner, we can create something really useful with very
little effort. Good wikis are made sentence by sentence. There's no need for
anyone to try to write a full article."

"There were hesitations about compiling articles about individual companies
and organizations. swpat.org should become a reference, not a platform for
announcements or for smear campaigns, but there is useful info that can be
gathered about companies, so I decided to allow it and we'll keep a close
eye on how those articles get used."

"By placing all the information side-by-side, we can spot inconsistencies
and fill the gaps. I recently found information about software patent case
law in France. Everyone I previously talked to said that the only European
software patent case law was in Germany and England. On en.swpat.org,
there's a page for collecting case law, so now everyone can see that there
are three European countries with case law. And maybe there are others that
are yet to be uncovered."

As the "en" in the web address suggests, there are plans to add wikis for
languages other than English in the future. Adding new languages will depend
on finding a group of dedicated people for that language. The various
language wikis will be linked together and coordinated much like is done in
Wikipedia. That is to say, there'll be a lot of independence and each wiki
will be useful as a starting point for research by the contributors to other
swpat.org wikis. But that's for the future.

About End Software Patents

End Software Patents is a project formed to eliminate patents on software
and other designs with no physically innovative step. End Software Patents
is funded by donations handled on its behalf by the Free Software
Foundation. For more information on participating in the project, or to
access its knowledge base, please visit its website at:

To be kept informed about End Software Patents, please join the mailing list:

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer
programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom)
software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux
variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to
spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use
of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an
important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the
FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in
Boston, MA, USA.

Media contact for this ESP press release:

Ciaran O'Riordan
Director, End Software Patents
Tel: +32 487 64 17 54
email: ciaran [at] fsf.org


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