Stallman crashes Computing Conference patent session

Free software advocate protests presence of patent official at World Computer Congress in Australia

The World Computer Congress in Brisbane, which had been described as sedate and boring by one Australian blogger, got a dose of life when GNU founder and free software advocate Richard Stallman crashed a session in a protest about software patents.

Stallman was in Australia to speak at the Congress, but took exception to the presence of another speaker, Ralf Abbing, patent officer at the European Patent Office.

With an accomplice, Stallman crashed Abbing’s session, holding up placards opposing software patents.

He told iTNews that “what I’ve discovered is that the European Patent Office is here to campaign in favour of software patents in Australia”.

Australia’s council on IP is currently preparing a report on patents, which will be released next year.

New Zealand has come out against software patents, with a clause in the upcoming Patents Bill that opposes software patents being retained, following debate and lobbying on the issue.

Stallman’s address at the World Computing Congress is titled “Toward a Just Digital Society”.

The congress is being held in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

Pictures of Stallman’s protest can be seen here.

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