Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure or FFII is a non-profit organisation based in Munich, Germany, dedicated to establishing a free market in information technology, by the removal of barriers to competition. The FFII was largely responsible for the rejection of the EU software patent directive in July 2005, working closely with the European Parliament and many partners from industry and civil society. FFII is not a lobbying structure as such.

CNET awarded the FFII the Outstanding contribution to software development award for this work, which was the result of years of research, policy, and action.fact|date=July 2008 Today FFII continue to defend a free and competitive software market by working towards adequate patent systems and open standards. Currently the FFII fights against software patents lobbies, not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world.

Views

FFII's view is that software patents present a burden, not a benefit to society, as it is found by Economic studies such as:

* [http://www.researchoninnovation.org/swpat.pdf An Empirical Look at software Patents] (PDF) Bessen (MIT) & Hunt (Federal Reserve Bank)
* [http://www.researchoninnovation.org/softpat.pdf The Software Patent Experiment] (PDF) Bessen & Hunt 2004.and suggested by the
* [http://www.ffii.org.uk/swpat/ftc/ftc.html Federal Trade Commission 2003 patent report]
* [http://swpat.ffii.org/archive/mirror/impact/index.en.html and lots of other material] .

FFII has been active on this front at least since 2000 when, according to the FFII, an attempt to change the European Patent Convention to legitimize software patents failed. In 2003, it strongly but indirectly lobbied the European Parliament against the proposed Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.

FFII is the leading European NGO on this issue. Through its partnership with many other European organisations with the same goal, it has a reach across all nations of the EU.

FFII is directly supported e.g. by more than 1500 SME, many thousand software developers, tens of thousands of software users system administrators as well as a number of scientists, academics and economists.

FFII represents:
* about 1,000 registered members
* more than 1,500 companies
* more than 2,000 CEOs of SMEs
* more than 90,000 supporters worldwide
* more than 400,000 [http://petition.eurolinux.org] signatures for a software-patent free Europe.

FFII organizes Conferences about the topic in Brussels, about twice a year, the last one took place on April 14, 2004 (together with a demonstration of more than 400 people against software patents) and November 9-10, 2004. In Karlsruhe, FFII organized a demonstration of about 1,000 people against software patents. See external links for details.

Structure

The FFII was funded originally by donations from SuSE and Infomatec. The Open Society Institute has contributed regularly, as have Red Hat, and [http://www.nlnet.nl/ Stichting NLnet] . The historical list of donors from 1999 to 2005 can be found [http://www.ffii.org/money/donors/index.en.html on the FFII web site] .

The FFII exists as a [http://www.ffii.org mother organisation] with more or less formal chapters in many countries. The national FFII chapters (such as [http://www.ffii.fr FFII France] ) handle national membership, media and lobbying, while the mother organisation operates at the EU level and in countries where there is no formal FFII organisation.

The FFII board currently consists of Alberto Barrionuevo (President), Laura Creighton (vice president), René Pfeiffer (vice president), Hartmut Pilch (treasurer and co-founder of the association), David Vuorio (secretary), Georg Jakob, and René Mages.

Campaigns

Besides software patents, FFII promotes various campaigns aimed at disencumbering computing and software development. These include supporting author's rights and Interoperability enforcements, such as working to improve Copyright Regulation by providing technical analysis, amendments and voting recommendations that may influence the European Parliament.

Partners in Europe

EuroLinux, EFFI, ABUL, AFUL, FSF Europe, Vrijschrift, SKOSI (see links to lists of organisations below)

See also

* Software patent debate
* Software patent
* Patent
* EU Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions
* Hartmut Pilch
* European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Associations (EICTA)

External links

* [http://www.ffii.org/ FFII main site]
* http://webshop.ffii.org/ - 20 examples of software patents

National sections

* [http://www.ffii.org.uk/ FFII UK Chapter]
* [http://www.ffii.org.pl/ FFII Polish section]
* [http://www.ffii.se/ FFII Swedish Chapter]
* [http://www.ffii.fr/ FFII French Chapter]
* [http://www.ffii.be/ FFII Belgium]
* [http://www.ffii.cz/ FFII Czech Republic]

FTC/DoJ hearings and the report

* FFII: [http://eupat.ffii.org/papri/ftc02/index.en.html some written submissions]
* FTC: [http://www.ftc.gov/opp/intellect Competition and Intellectual Property Law and Policy in the Knowledge-Based Economy]


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