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FSFE Newsletter - November 2012

Rooting and flashing your device does not void the warranty in EU

Most of the participants in our Free Your Android workshops are concerned whether rooting your device (e.g. an Android phone) and replacing its operating system with something else voids your statutory warranty as consumer. We asked our legal coordinator Matija Šuklje and FSFE legal council Carlo Piana to analyse the problem. Their answer is: No. "Just the fact that you modified or changed the software of your device, is not a sufficient reason to void your statutory warranty. As long as you have bought the device as a consumer in the European Union." Read throughout their analysis.

We hope these news will encourage people to flash their devices with Free Software. Next opportunity to attend on of our Free Your Android workshop is on the 9th of November at FSCONS, in Sweden, and on the 16th of November at SFSCON, in Italy.

Facts about software patents by the New York Times

The New York Times published an article entitled "The Patent, Used as a Sword" about the patent system. Hugo Roy summaries it. It is about how Apple and Google were spending more on patents than on research and development in 2011. Among other issues, it focuses on the number of lawsuits filed each year in the US, which has tripled from 1990 to 2010, and how 70% of patent applications are approved after the applicant altered claims.

On the same topic, Karsten Gerloff gave a talk about "How Software Patents Are Delaying The Future", on a discussion panel organised by the European Patent Office. "Currently, a lot of policy on patents (as well as copyright) is made on the basis of faith and rather dubious argument. We urgently need to move on towards evidence-based policy making", concludes Karsten.

Something completely different

Get active: Every buck, fixes a bug!

A lot of you already signed our Petition For The Removal Of Proprietary Software Advertising On Public Institution Websites, and now we ask you for your support to enhance this campaign.

With the example of PDF readers we raised general awareness of proprietary software advertisements on public administration's websites since September 2010. Until today our Petition was signed by 80 organisations, 58 businesses and 2438 individuals. We contacted 2104 public administrations, and managed to close 552 bugs (26%). So 552 federal government departments, municipalities, and other administrations removed the advertisement, or added additional references to Free Software PDF readers. And we will continue fixing the remaining bugs. Just last month twenty Italian civil society organisations wrote a letter to the President of the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data, asking the agency to ensure that all documents published on its website can be read and used with Free Software programs.

However, we also received a lot of feedback from the public administration and other institutions and political entities. One big task is to improve the PDF readers website, as it is one of our key tools in this campaign. With your donation, we will be able to implement the planned new features for the website until the 1st of February and after it, for its maintenance.

Please donate on the fundraising page, which uses Ulule platform, and spread the news about it. Update: Turn off Javascript before you follow the link to the donation page, to avoid running nonfree software

Thanks to all the Fellows and donors who enable our work,
Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

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