Sunday, April 24, 2005

FSF - India Hails Dropping of Software Patents

Free Software Foundation - India

Press Release

The Free Software Foundation of India hails the decision to drop the Amendments to the Indian Patents Act, 1970, with regard to computer programs. We specially thank the Left Parties for their conscious effort to get this draconian amendment removed, and all the Members of Parliament for avoiding this dangerous pitfall. The amendment would have seriously affected the freedom of software users and developers.

Free Software freedom has enabled us to provide localisation in Indic-languages, for a wide range of software applications, widely extending the reach of computers to the masses. Free software is not just about development of robust, secure and sturdy software but it addresses the larger issues pertaining to the society such as digital divide by increasing free access to technology. In a situation where India is emerging strong in the field of Information technology, such a law should have been disastrous, leading to monopolisation by mega corporations leading to closure of many software units, leaving many jobless.

We are very happy to register our gratitude for restoring the status quo, in line with our international obligations under TRIPS, and for giving considerable peace of mind to the computing community.

But unfortunately, we have come to know that the Indian Patent Office has issued a few patents relating to computer programs, in contravention of the provisions of Section 3 of the Patents Act, 1970, that should be revoked and cancelled. We request that necessary action and steps may be taken in this regard to avoid any issues under such patents.

On behalf of FSF India
Y. Kiran Chandra
Member All India Work Group
Free Software Foundation of India.

Copyright (C) 2005 Free Software Foundation of India.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Editor's note: Normally I just reprint a paragraph or so and a pointer to the original document. I've deviated from that this time as the release is currently on the front page of the FSF - India web site and I have been unable to locate a permanent link. Luckily the FSF permits verbatim reprinting, so I've decided to do this for once.

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