Euro Elections 2009

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The Free Software Pact Initiative: This Action Started Friday May 22, 2009 by Manchester Free Software

Take Action in the UK and across Europe

  • The election in the UK occurs on Thursday June 4, 2009. We want to have every candidate contacted by email, phone or fax before May 31, 2009. Take these steps:
  • Get yourself a copy of the Free Software Pact
  • Prepare some email text to accompany the Free Software Pact PDF. Below are some suggestions you can try or create your own. Please feel free to add your texts for others to use.
  • Use this list of candidates to find contact info for UK candidates.
  • Remember to inform the candidates that they should sign the pact and email a copy to <contact@freesoftwarepact.eu>, or fax it to +33 1 45 65 32 90.
  • If there is no contact info listed for a particular candidate, please help track that information down and add it to this page of candidates contacted Candidate_Info
  • When you have contacted an MEP candidate also list their name here Candidate_Info
  • It is fine to have candidates contacted by multiple free software supporters, but lets make sure every candidate gets contacted at least once.
  • Contact other free software users and ask them to help out. Post this notice to free software forums and sites you visit.
  • Then contact another candidate :)

Resources

Press and Blog Coverage for this Action

Letter

Dear <candidate name>,

I am writing to you on behalf of free software users in the <region> Euro region. Free software is a growing movement with over twenty years of history, and refers not to price, but to freedom - it is software which allows its users to see how it works, make changes and share those changes with others. Examples of popular free software include the Firefox web browser, the OpenOffice suite, and the GNU/Linux operating system.

Free software has clear social benefits - it is developed by communities of businesses and individuals choosing to share their talents in ways that enable communities to enhance software which would be unprofitable for software developed in a proprietary fashion. For example, blind users might adapt free software to work better with screen readers, or speakers of less common languages like Welsh might translate software into their native tongue.

Free software also has economic benefits. Because users can examine and modify it, it becomes impossible for a single vendor to control the market. This encourages co-operation and a truly free market between businesses. As a result, free software has lower costs associated with it - both up front and in maintenance. Government, educational and business organisations are increasingly turning to free software for its economic as well as social benefits.

However, free software is always under threat from new legislation in the European parliament. A specific example of this is the patenting of software - allowing companies to have monopolies on ideas, squeezing out competition. This is supposed to allow protection for small businesses with unique inventions, but with large corporations in the US filing thousands of software patents a year, it makes it practically impossible for smaller developers to compete. Legislation mandating the patenting of software across the EU was recently narrowly defeated in Parliament, a hard-fought victory for free software and small businesses.

I therefore ask you as a candidate in these elections to please read the Free Software Pact and help protect the future of free software in Europe by signing and sending a copy by email to <contact@freesoftwarepact.eu>, or by faxing it to +33 1 45 65 32 90.

Thank you for supporting the public good that is free software!

Yours,

NAME

PS: To learn more about free software, you can watch a video by Stephen Fry for the Free Software Foundation, at http://www.gnu.org/fry/

For more information on software patents, please refer to http://en.swpat.org/

Example personalised Letter

All - try to make your letters personal! If an MEP receives a bunch of identical letters it will be nowhere near as strong as if we all take the time to make it personal from ourself as a living, breathing, voting human being!


Dear Mr Hannan,

I am writing to you in your role as MEP candidate to ask you to support 'Free Software', also called 'Open Source' software, in the European Parliament.

It is probable that you have heard of Free Software by now, if not you have almost certainly come across some of its best known exemplars such as the Firefox web browser, the 'Open Office' office suite, or Apache - the web server used by far the majority of websites on the internet. You may not know that many globally successful companies like Google and Amazon are run entirely on Free Software. In the UK alone household names like Specsavers have made the move from proprietary software to Free Software and used the benefits to fuel extraordinary growth.

Free Software is primarily an European phenomenon, remarkably successful, and providing economic, technical and social benefits across our continent. It also, however, faces various political threats from vested interests (often non-European) who would like to see market obstacles placed in its way.

As an expression of your support, it would be great if you could sign the 'Free Software Pact'.

The press release is here:

http://www.freesoftwarepact.eu/post/UK-citizens-and-MEPs-support-Europe-wide-Free-Software-Pact

main website here:

http://www.freesoftwarepact.eu/

and the pact itself (in various languages) and simple steps on returning it here:

http://www.freesoftwarepact.eu/post/The-Free-Software-Pact

Additionally, I would like to invite you to visit Sirius Corporation plc and see what a European Free Software company looks like. We are a public limited company, the first Government accredited 'Open Source' company (through Buying Solutions and on behalf of Becta), and have successfully been serving European household names (including Specsavers) for over a decade. We are also rapidly expanding counter to the recessionary trends, paying tax and employing European citizens. We would like to show you the economic reality of Free Software and how a whole indigenous IT industry could be achieved throughout our continent so long as this shift in how information technology is done is sustained.

Thank you, and best wishes,

Mark Taylor