Please Sign Now! Support Embedded Online Content!

This was posted by Mortimer at, and some of you might have missed that issue:

As this is the last day to sign, I thought it was worth another post on the subject. Hopefuly this is explained in a way that will be clear to every visitor to this forum today who hasn’t read the other threads:

Let’s say you drive a car. You’ve been driving for years. Then one day a letter comes through the post telling you that you have to take your car into the nearest garage and have the brake pedal removed. What?!

Well, as it turns out, some small company in America owns a patent on the break peddle. They’ve just won court case to prove it, and now they won’t let any manufacturers use them any more.

Your car still works, but it’s flawed – because you can’t stop! There are alternatives. You could buy a bike. Yet whatever alternative you choose has its downsides; and what about the people who make their living from driving cars? Who would want to get into a taxi or on a bus that has no brakes? So there would be an awful lot of people out of work too. This means even more people claiming benefits, and that will result in higher taxes, not to mention the cost to car manufacturers all over the world, who will need to come up with alternatives. Who do you think they’ll pass those costs on to?

Now, if this scenario sounds stupid and outrageous to you, perhaps you may want to sign the patent petition at (closing date today!), because it’s far from fiction. Okay, it has nothing to do with cars, granted, but if passed, the new European patent laws relating to software can and will have knock on effects that you’ll notice.

A lot of the free software that you can currently download will disappear (licenses cost money!). Functionality in your favourite applications like Word, PowerPoint and Excel may very well also disappear someimte in the near future too. The games you play online and the funny attachments you send to friends in emails are already under serious threat due to a current court case which has been won, and is now under appeal. This is what’s happening now.

The court case I refer to is Microsoft verses Eolas (a company with one employee).
Eolas have won their case, and unless successfully appealed, they will be able to stop ALL BROWSERS from using the “embed” tag (the one that allows many of your favourite games, cartoons streaming video/audio AND FLASH to be embedded in the web pages you view). This has happened because these ridiculous software patent laws have already been passed in America, so let’s stop them from affecting Europe too.
“So what” you may say. “I hate Microsoft”. Well, the embed tag allows content from other manufacturers to be displayed in your browser. If the appeal fails then third party manufacturers won’t be able to continue doing this and you will be reliant on Microsoft to provide alternatives.
Java, Flash and RealPlayer and more could all be affected in this current court case. “So what, I hate embedded technologies”. Well, the embedded technologies court case is out of our hands anyway. All we want to do is stop patent law doing damage to software companies in Europe. Today it’s someone laying claim to the embed tag, but what about tomorrow?
The petition is here:
Please sign it, wherever you’re from.

There is plenty of information on the web about this.
Start here:,00.htm