(Geneva) From December 10th until 12th, 2003 the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Geneva, Switzerland, adopting on United Nations level a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action towards a global information society.
News Archive for 2003
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(Geneva) During the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),
the Civil Society Patents, Copyright, Trademarks (PCT) Working Group
is holding a workshop "Free Software, Free Society" with a group of
top speakers, including Richard Stallman and Lawrence Lessig.
The workshop will take place December 10th, 2003 from 17:00-20:00 in the Palexpo building in Geneva, Switzerland.
A patent gives the owner a temporary monopoly on an invention, preventing economic appropriation from third parties. Article 52 of the 1973 Munich Convention excludes the patentability of computer programs.
On the 24th of September the European Parliament voted for the first time the new directive on the patentabilitiy of computer-implemented inventions. The text (passed with 364 votes in favour, 153 against and 33 abstentions) includes several amendments that hold back the threat of unlimited patentability, envisaged by MEP Arlene McCarthy's initial report.
Accepting the invitation for the 2003 edition of SMAU (Milan, 2-6 October) by Firenze Tecnologia and Media Innovation Unit, Free Software Foundation Europe will take part in the "Free Software, Patents and Information Technology. The upcoming future" meeting, on 3rd October at 14.30, at Sala Ambasciatori, Palazzo Cisi (2° stage).
In its plenary vote on the 24th of September, the European Parliament approved the proposed directive on "patentability of computer-implemented inventions" with amendments that clearly restate the non-patentability of programming and business logic, and uphold freedom of publication and interoperation.
The Italian Government signed the "Government Security Program" agreement with Microsoft; moreover, the "Microsoft Partners in Learning" initiative aims at providing 1.500 Italian schools with discounted software, recycled hardware and less restrictive licenses.
FSF Europe, Associazione Software Libero and PLIO (OpenOffice.org Italian Language Project) sign an open letter to Letiza Moratti (Italian Minister for Education, University and Research), concerning the agreement between the Ministry and Sun Microsystems about the adoption of StarOffice in Italian schools. The authors acknowledge a step towards interoperability and the use of free and documented formats, furthermore they ask the Ministry to equally promote the OpenOffice.org suite, whose truly free licence provides broader rights to its users.
From July 15th to 18th, a preparative conference towards the World
Summit on the Information Society will be held in Paris, at which the
future and destination of the information- and science- society shall
be discussed as requested by the UN- General Assembly.
As a nominee from the coordinating circle of the German Civil Society for the WSIS, Georg Greve, president of the FSF Europe will take part in the meeting as a member of the German governmental delegation.
FSF Europe was heard by the Commission on free software in the public administration, set up by the Italian Ministry for Innovation and Technology. Two documents are available: a transcription of the presentation held by the FSF Europe during the hearing, and the answers given by the FSF Europe to the questionnaire submitted by the Commission.
The 2003 general assembly of the FSF Europe in Milano, Italy on June 21st 2003 seems like a good opportunity to briefly recap some of the activities during the first two operational years of the FSF Europe.
After the Free Software Foundation Europe was proclaimed with a "Declaration of Intent - Free Software Foundation Europe"  in which all interested Free Software advocates from all over Europe were invited to participate in the creation of this common vision, the FSFE officially began its work March 10th, 2001 and finished the founding process April 24th, 2001.
Italian Ministry for Innovation and Technology launched project "Vola con Internet" ("Fly with the internet"), setting apart 93 million Euros for the IT training of Italian young people turning 16 in 2003. FSF Europe, which is developing and promoting free information technology for a better society, agrees on the goals of the project, and asks the Government that investments do not discriminate Free Software, which laid the foundations for the development of the internet.
Uncorrect and misleading information is being given to the 160,000 enrolled into For TIC (Training Plan for Information and Communication Technology Teachers). FSF Europe Italy, heard by the Italian Government Commission on free software in the public administration, asked Minister Moratti not to hinder schools from adopting free software, which is more suitable than proprietary software to both teachers and students.
FSF founder and GNU Project leader will attend the "Liberi e binari. Software libero, movimenti sociali e diritto internazionale" conference, taking place on March 20th 2003 at 9.30am, at the Centro Congressi dell'Università di Roma "La Sapienza", via Salaria 113, Rome. The following subjects will be discussed during the day: national laws on copyright and licenses in the globalisation age; free software, copyright and proprietary licenses; free software as a goal and as a tool for democratic transnational movements; free software programmers and cyber-activists: hackers vs crackers.
Free Software — especially the GNU/Linux operating system — and the FSF Europe have recently become more visible on the political agenda. This article will seek to explain some of the larger economic, social and political benefits that Free Software offers the European countries and Europe as a whole. It will also give an insight into the work of the FSF Europe.
Press-release of the Free Software Foundation: "Brussels, Belgium - Saturday, February 8, 2003 - The Free Software Foundation (FSF) bestowed today its fifth annual FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software. FSF President and founder, Richard Stallman, presented the award to Professor Lawrence Lessig for promoting understanding of the political dimension of free software, including the idea that 'code is law'. Lessig has also promoted ideas similar to free software in other related fields."
Press-release of the FSF Europe: "The Free Software Foundation Europe is proud to announce the first publicly available version of its Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA); an agreement that will help securing the legal stability of Free Software by allowing the FSF Europe to act as the fiduciary for Free Software authors and projects."
FSF Europe press release: "On the occasion of the American Microsoft Corporation President's speech at the sala Zuccari, Free Software Foundation Europe offers the Senators a short introductory note on the subject of free software, in order to help lawmakers, while respecting their free mandate, to acknowledge different approaches to technology."