euroVote: copyright and patents

Suggestion of what to do with this site:

Site Contents

  1. Intro and explanation
  2. Your Region
  3. Mentions by other people
  4. Other sites about the elections, copyright and patents
  5. Data for download

The item numbers are the browser accesskey to use for the link. Accesskey 0, or Home in many browsers, will return to this index.

Site last edited 2004-06-09 17:30 - added an Islamic analysis site to other sites ; 2004-06-09 15:00 - updated Wales and South West info ; 2004-06-08 17:00 - added Fiona Hall info ; 2004-06-08 15:00 - moved Diana Wallis to correct region ; 2004-06-08 14:00 - update regional pages, add national party page and write 1-page introduction ; 2004-06-08 01:00 - first regional pages .

euroVote: introduction

elections 10-13 june UK MEP elections are on 10 June. Please vote wisely. I would like you to think about the EU's role in copyrights and patents when you do.

Why are copyrights and patents important?

Both of these affect private individuals and companies more than ever before because computers play increasing roles in our lives. Even "digital satellite" television receivers are basically computers, so recording from it may involve copying by a computer.


Why are MEPs important?

EU directives often trigger production of UK laws. Stopping poor EU directives is a key step to stopping poor UK laws. The MEPs must agree with a directive for it to pass. Electing MEPs who represent our views is vital!

How should I vote?

I would like you to support those who are opposed to further copyright enforcement laws and software patents, but I try to report all data without bias. You may find that the type or lack of replies from candidates also helps you to decide.

euroVote: Your Region

Check your region and candidate lists at Europe Counts, then look up your local candidate replies and MEP actions below:

National Parties (key P) SWPAT votes
Scotland Replies (key S) SWPAT votes
North East Replies (N) SWPAT votes
North West Replies (W) SWPAT votes
Yorkshire and the Humber Replies (Y) SWPAT votes
Northern Ireland Replies (I) SWPAT votes
East Midlands Replies ([) SWPAT votes
West Midlands Replies (]) SWPAT votes
Wales Replies (C) SWPAT votes
Eastern Replies (E) SWPAT votes
London Replies (L) SWPAT votes
South East Replies (/) SWPAT votes
South West Replies (\) SWPAT votes

If you have/know of more details, please email them to me and I will post them. Parties are in the order that I received info about them, except the party "national brains" are nearest the top.

euroVote: National Parties

In general, MEPs follow their party line instead of acting independently. If they are not listed on a regional page, they followed the party line given here and did not answer any questions sent to them, as far as I know.

Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat

All three parties voted for SWPAT and for IPRED, with some "rebels" who are noted on their regional pages. Liberal Democrat policy is against SWPAT, according to FFII-UK.

What is a "national brain"?

The three largest parties seemed to appoint one MEP to decide on these issues, so you might like to look at their regions and replies. Conservatives deferred to Malcolm Harbour (West Midlands), Labour deferred to Arlene McCarthy (North West), Lib Dems deferred to Diana Wallis (Yorkshire and the Humber).

SNP, Plaid Cymru

MEP Sir Neil MacCormick proposed amendments to SWPAT. Neither SNP nor Plaid Cymru were present for the SWPAT vote, but both voted against IPRED.

Green Party

Policy says they are totally opposed to algorthmic/software/information patents (according to a party member) and they voted against IPRED and SWPAT when present, as noted on the regional pages.


They issued a press release saying that they think this "software patents fudge is a minefield" and their MEPs consistently voted against SWPAT and IPRED.

See Also

euroVote: Scotland


Struan Stevenson MEP sent a slightly edited version of "national brain" Malcolm Harbour's reply when questioned about the IPR Enforcement directive.

John Purvis MEP voted against SWPAT, with Finnish conservatives.

euroVote: North East


Martin Callanan MEP voted against SWPAT, with Finnish conservatives.

Liberal Democrat

Fiona Hall replied with two paragraphs from the Senior Policy Officer's email seen in the North West, but also explained the current EU situation. She wrote that the LibDem MEPs voted to restrict patents to new inventions "in line with the party policy of resisting the wider application of patents." While true, the success of that vote would have blocked other good amendments.

euroVote: North West


Arlene McCarthy MEP is Labour's "national brain" on software patents. She gave a long and full reply and did note that: "Opensource software must be allowed to flourish and the Commission must ensure that this Directive does not have any adverse effect on opensource software and small software developers." [MJR note: opensource does not have a position on patents, according to the OSI FAQ, so what does this mean?]

She is willing to use Parliament's power to reinstate amendments: "If both the Council of Ministers and the European Commission refuse to reinsert Parliament's amendments, there will be no Directive. Our power on this piece of legislation is very strong we can modify it or block it if we choose to do so."

However, she led the directive through parliament and FFII really do not like her. I suspect this is partly driven by support for EPO and UKPO with phrases like "The European Patent Office is issuing patents for software legally."

Gary Titley and Terry Wynn referred the questions we asked them to Arlene McCarthy. Brian Simpson did not answer in reasonable time.

Liberal Democrat

Chris Davies answered fully and seemed knowledgeable about software patents. He seemed in favour of patenting computer software, but willing to vote for freedom of publication, freedom of interoperation and exclusion of data processing, but it's unsure whether he would vote against a directive without these.

The LibDem policy office also replied, using the notorious Bromcom patent as an example.


Sir Robert Atkins sent a Microsoft Word document reply to an email: "This builds on and clarifies the existing patent law across the European Union and makes it clear that only software which forms part of a technological process will be patentable" and the "Directive originally proposed by the Commission set a fair test for software". "We did, however, support a number of amendments to clarify the text and ensure that generic software patents were specifically excluded."

Den Dover, David Sumberg and Jacqueline Foster did not answer some software patent questions in reasonable time.

Jacqueline Foster MEP voted against SWPAT, with Finnish conservatives.


Michael Lavalette is opposed to software patents, blaming WTO direction: "This allows big busineses to patent a whole range of 'properties' and obtain exclusivity rights. It's dangerous and it's wrong."


The ProLife Party have committed not to direct its members' votes.

See Also

Russell Phillips has reported replies to his questions. English Democrats dismissed him. His replies from other parties are described above, but more text is online.

euroVote: Yorkshire and the Humber

Liberal Democrat

Diana Wallis MEP is their "national brain" on software patents. FFII issued a press release about her leading LibDems to vote against their party policy on software patents.


David Bowe MEP sent a slightly edited version of the party line when questioned about the IPR Enforcement Directive, but did not attribute it to anyone.

Richard Corbett MEP voted against SWPAT, with the socialist Rocard group. He voted in a mixed manner for IPRED.

euroVote: Northern Ireland

No data uploaded yet. Please email me any you have.

euroVote: East Midlands

Liberal Democrat

Nick Clegg MEP voted against IPRED, in line with party policy. He was not present for the SWPAT vote.


Roger Helmer MEP referred questions asked of him on behalf of an association to MEPs from the association's postal address, and "national brain" Malcolm Harbour. Neither answered. His office offered to book appointments for constituents. Call Sara on 01455 558447


Mel Read MEP sent a slightly edited version of the party line when questioned about the IPR Enforcement Directive and expressed support for "national brain" Arlene McCarthy.

Philip Whitehead MEP referred questions to Mel Read and expressed support for "national brain" Arlene McCarthy.

euroVote: West Midlands

No data uploaded yet. Please email me any you have.

euroVote: Wales


Gareth S. Williams replied with "Please find attached a statement from Arlene McCarthy MEP on this. I would follow this position if elected to the European Parliament"

Liberal Democrat

Ali Goldsworthy replied with an edited version of the policy office email seen by Russell Phillips in the North West and forwarded the enquiry to UK minister Lord Sainsbury. She added a link to Richard Allan MP who seems against software patents.

See Also

Wales resident Alan Cox sent an open letter about all this.

euroVote: Eastern

Liberal Democrat

Rosalind Gill replied that "I have concerns about the EU Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions [...]" and continued with an edited version of the reply from the Lib Dem policy office seen by Russell Phillips.

Andrew Duff MEP wrote "it may well be the case that allowing commercial control of these algorithmic building blocks and gateways creates the kind of monopolies that make a mockery of free and creative enterprise" when asked about the IPR Enforcement Directive. His office replied with a Microsoft Word attachment when asked about software patents.


Jeffrey Titford MEP's office promised they would do all they can to oppose the patenting of software ideas.


Richard N (maybe Richard Normington?) sent a copy of the same reply as Sir Robert Atkins to software patent questions.


No Labour Eastern MEP answered questions about the IPR Enforcement Directive.

Their region sent a Microsoft Word attchment on the first reply to software patent questions. A second, apparently new reply said "Many small and medium-sized firms in the East of England have told me of their concern that patenting will restrict their ability to write new and better software without infringing the rules. But, at the same time, SMEs will benefit if the proposed Directive succeeds in establishing clear ground rules. [...] has been difficult to strike a balance between the need for license fees on the one hand and the imperative for competition on the other. The European software industry needs a better patent system than the out-dated one we have now if it is to be helped to remain creative. [...] I will be working to ensure that nothing will be patentable in the future that is not patentable now.."


Campaign Co-ordinator John Matthissen replied and said they are "opposed to the EU proposals on software patenting, and supports open source operating systems such as Linux. The GP also wishes to see an end to the effective Microsoft monopoly in many software applications."

English Democrats

Their response didn't seem to have a party policy on this yet, but asked for suggestions and will have "a more detailed policy (if applicable) for the General Election".


The ProLife Party have committed not to direct its members' votes on these issues (source: Russell Phillips, North-West).


Martin Bell replied that "I am generally in favour of the little platoons over the big battalions. This will inform my attitude to the software patentability issue"

See Also

Much of John Seago's work can be found on the ALUG main list.

Mike Pitt's details of Eastern region candidates

euroVote: London


Charles Tannock MEP sent a slightly edited version of "national brain" Malcolm Harbour's reply when questioned about the IPR Enforcement directive.

Theresa Villiers MEP voted against SWPAT, with Finnish conservatives.

Liberal Democrat

Sarah Ludford MEP replied nearly two months after being asked about the IPR Enforcement Directive. She voted against the AFFS suggestions, according to the data on this site, and defends the directive in her reply. Some parts were unclear and clarification sought, but there has been no reply yet.


Jean Lambert MEP voted against SWPAT.

euroVote: South East


Nigel Farage MEP's office said UKIP would do all they can to oppose further IPR enforcement measures which "is being proposed for the benefit of large, often multinational, companies and not for the benefit of smaller businesses or individuals".


Roy Perry MEP's office sent the shortest reply from an MEP AFFS has ever had: "Thank you for your letter of the 4th March 2004 regarding the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive. I am most grateful to you for taking the time to set out your Association's views on the matter and have noted your comments." He went against the AFFS suggestions and voted for IPRED, according to the data we have.


Caroline Lucas MEP voted against SWPAT.


The ProLife Party have committed not to direct its members' votes on these issues (source: Russell Phillips, North-West).

euroVote: South West


Graham Booth MEP voted with his UKIP party against SWPAT and IPRED.

Liberal Democrat

Graham Watson MEP replied to an enquiry about software patents with a similar reply to Fiona Hall.

euroVote: credits

A full list of contributors and contributions will be kept here, as far as possible, as the project continues. This is an essential part of the information, so that people can make their own mind up whether they want to trust us.

Core developers


euroVote: mentions by others

I'm just trying to keep track of this. If you spot it on another site, please let me know and I'll link back.

euroVote: reference material
FFII UK site contains some related info
UK EP vote site, including candidate lists
EP main site
UK EP office site
Candidate MEP details
Current MEP details
Islamic analysis site

euroVote: Download Data

Here are the datafiles for download, as comma-seperated values (CSV files), which you should be able to import into most spreadsheets or stats packages.

If you do an interesting analysis, please email me the details and I'll publish or link them.

Christian Beauprez has extended an FFII openoffice file that scores MEPs by how they voted with some regional data. Feedback welcome.

euroVote: archive

The past plans have been archived. There's just not enough manhours to finish them.

  1. Survey of candidates
  2. Promote the results
  3. Ask candidates these questions

Copyright 2004 MJ Ray. No warranty offered and no liability accepted. I grant permission to you to do any act with my contribution to this work, including making and distributing modified or unmodified copies. Please ask me to link to mirrors. Please link to this site and credit its contributors.