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Software Patents Good For Open Source?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the they-say-it-like-it's-a-bad-thing dept.

Australia 150

schliz writes "The Australian software patent system could be used by open source developers to ensure their inventions remain available to the community, a conference organized by intellectual property authority IP Australia heard this week According to Australian inventor Ric Richardson, whose company came out on top of a multi-million dollar settlement with Microsoft in March, a world without software patents would be 'open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.' Software developer Ben Sturmfels, whose 2010 anti-software-patent petition won the support of open source community members such as Jonathan Oxer, Andrew Tridgell, and software freedom activist Richard Stallman, disagreed."

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Flood the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053719)

Quick patent every silly software idea you have so the big corps cant! Fairly sure patent applications cost money, so this point is a bit mute.

Re:Flood the market (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053735)

Fairly sure patent applications cost money, so this point is a bit mute.

Yep, it leaves me speechless.

Re:Flood the market (5, Informative)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054001)

Fairly sure patent applications cost money, so this point is a bit mute.

Yep, it leaves me speechless.

Yes, he did mean moot, as in irrelevant. We're not all prefect[sic].

Try to let non-essentials slide. There's a lot of people on this planet whose first langauge is not Anglais. Would you prefer to try out your Polish, Cyrillic, Kanji, Thai, ...?

Re:Flood the market (4, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054141)

Dear humor impaired /.er, you should not use 'sic erat scriptum' when you are not quoting anyone, because there was nothing erat scriptum. Also don't mix languages and scripts. My native language isn't English, but that doesn't mean I have a free pass to commit every possible mistake.

Try to let harmless humorous attempts slide, perhaps you'd even have fun.

Re:Flood the market (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054919)

He didn't use "sic erat scriptum", you did. He only used "sic", which according to online dictionaries is Latin for "so, thus". The first two dictionaries I referenced came up with slightly different definitions. The first one only applies to quotes, the second one is more general. I'd say his usage is acceptable:

[1] [yahoo.com] "Thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally."
[2] [merriam-webster.com] "intentionally so written -- used after a printed word or passage to indicate that it is intended exactly as printed or to indicate that it exactly reproduces an original"

Re:Flood the market (3, Informative)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055099)

:)
This reminded me of when a dog is looking for his toy and you point in its direction, and the dog keeps looking at your finger. I better go sleep.

We use lots of Latin expressions because they are useful, have a very strict meaning, and have a usual form. I don't think I've ever read the full "sic erat scriptum", neither "exempli gratia", nor "id est"... et cetera (this is the only one that I remember having read in full). But "so" doesn't make sense alone, it is there to say "and so it was written". Meaning there was something that erat scriptum.

Sic sorry to disappoint you, but "[sic]" is to be used only when quoting, as both definitions you pasted explicitly said.

Re:Flood the market (1)

Hans Adler (2446464) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055597)

Sorry to disappoint you, but you read something into the second definition that simply isn't there. As Raenex explicitly and correctly said, "[t]he first one only applies to quotes, the second one is more general". Also, the reason "so" doesn't make sense on its own is that it is ambiguous. "Sic", on the other hand, is no more ambiguous in this context than "thus".

I know you must feel bad for making an awkward mistake while ridiculing someone else for much less, but these things happen and one needs a face-keeping exit strategy when they do. Humour works. Lying about things that are in plain sight only makes everything a lot worse.

Besides, there is an obvious need for a quick way of indicating: "I wrote something weird. It's not a misspelling but I really meant it." This need doesn't arise very often outside quotations, so we are not used to seeing "sic" in this context outside quotations. But this use of "sic" is still perfectly valid because the only way it can be misunderstood is when someone doesn't know the well established use of "sic" in quotations. With a language such as English (without something like the Académie Française), the users are perfectly free to innovate in this way whenever they feel like it. Provided they make themselves understood. Everything else matters very little anyway, but in this fact it has even made it into Merriam-Webster and Wikipedia. Wikipedia discusses it in the following section of the "sic" article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic#In_newly_generated_text [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Flood the market (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055279)

"Scriptum? Damn near killed 'em!"

Re:Flood the market (2)

Njovich (553857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055759)

You are the one mangling the Latin language, assuming 'sic erat scriptum' when just 'sic' was written. Sic by itself is a perfectly valid Latin word (at least as I recall it from my years of classes).

His joke may not be good, but it's still entirely reasonable to say 'sic', to say he really meant it that way, even when it is a little bit unusual.

Even wikipedia writes about its use in newly generated text:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic#In_newly_generated_text [wikipedia.org]

Grammar Nazi - When you have nothing better to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054269)

Perfection is not particularly important when you consider language as nothing more than a tool to share ideas and communicate. If the job is done, we all go home happy. Even native English speakers screw up, it's just not as important as the language nerds will have you believe.

Still, points to the AC the non-standard execution. :)

Re:Flood the market (-1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053953)

Quick patent every silly software idea you have so the big corps cant!

How's that supposed to happen when most OSS is clone of software that already exists?

Re:Flood the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054299)

A bit trollish, but you're probably right. Anyway, the important point is you don't patent the idea, nor what the software does, you patent the specific implementation you used to achieve it. Or you know, just do what in vogue now and append "on a mobile device" to every patent you can find. :)

Re:Flood the market (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054321)

A bit trollish, but you're probably right.

Look at this and learn. This is how astroturfers' "responses" to themselves look like.

Re:Flood the market (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054903)

Actually, no, that wasn't me. I know you probably won't believe me, and I totally understand that, but I do have a history of arguing with the moderators instead of trying to bump up my ambient rightness.

Re:Flood the market (3, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055345)

Quick patent every silly software idea you have so the big corps cant!

How's that supposed to happen when most is clone of software that already exists?

FTFY.

Re:Flood the market (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054243)

Yes Patent applications cost money. Home much money will one loose as an opportunity cost developing hours of their life in create an open source program?
Creating software isn't cheap. If you are doing something new and unique your group should find a way to get the money to patent the idea so your group can control who uses the idea. Now those big corps may have to pay you to use your patented code. Which you can put right back into supporting your project.

Re:Flood the market (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054455)

that's why I'm supporting this: http://www.ondatechnology.org/protection-fund.html [ondatechnology.org]

Stallman is anti-freedom (0, Troll)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053731)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053757)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

Yes, he may indeed disagree but nothing in the summary (or the links) says whether he does or not.

The rather torturous sentence "Software developer Ben Sturmfels, whose 2010 anti-software-patent petition won the support of open source community members such as Jonathan Oxer, Andrew Tridgell, and software freedom activist Richard Stallman, disagreed." is only saying that Ben Sturmfels disagrees. It says nothing about the views of anyone else mentioned there.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053871)

A tangent about a tangent. Maybe we should discuss Stallman's eccentric personal habits too?

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053891)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

Shavano (2541114) may disagree with Stallman but Shavano hasn't really done much of anything worth mentioning at all.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054963)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

Shavano (2541114) may disagree with Stallman but Shavano hasn't really done much of anything worth mentioning at all.

Sez Anonymous Coward. I'm wounded, really: your disdain was so biting I think I'm going to need surgery.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053911)

Here we go again- pick two communities. One without any rule. The other which says: do not bring home and hide what belongs to someone else. You're arguing that you're more free in the former. Instead your freedom will be spent building walls and training dogs to guard your belongings.

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

In other news, no criminals wants to obey laws.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (3, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053933)

Stallman is not mentioned in the article. He's just mentioned in the slashdot description as additional click-bait.

The person we should be talking about is this "inventor" Ric Richardson. This guy patented the free trial/shareware/try and buy concept that required a unique unlock code to activate its software. In 1993, this concept may have been novel (perhaps, thought I doubt it), but the fact that the patent was granted at all is ridiculous.

Since some magazines were already distributing freeware inside of floppy disks with their magazines, it's not much of a stretch to think that it was just a matter of time that a number of those developers would start distributing shareware-like software that required an unlock code to activate it.

And I don't know if this guy got all the money he wanted out of it, since the verdict was overturned so many times over these last twenty years, but this guy's patent is the perfect example of a stupidly obvious idea that's only designed to stifle innovation, not promote it in any way.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (4, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054185)

This guy patented the free trial/shareware/try and buy concept that required a unique unlock code to activate its software. In 1993, this concept may have been novel...

It wasn't. I can remember trying shareware back in the mid '80s that had limited functionality until you paid for it and entered the code. Sometimes, instead of that, the code unlocked addtional features that the authors hoped were worth the cost.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053965)

It's restrictive on purpose and those restrictions are exactly why people in the industry, including myself, use it. The GLP slogan is "Free as in Freedom" for a reason, and its "infectuous" nature is great for preserving that. On top of that it's extremely clever in changing how copyright works - retaining rights to grant different licenses to the actual author/rights holder of the software while effectively nullifying copyright on the base distrobution. That means anybody who wants to use GPL source closed can still be granted a license for it and the authority to grant such a license is in the hands of the actual authors of the source - but otherwise there's no way people can just steal the source like they could under the BSD/MIT/etc. licenses.

The GPL forces freedom and still gives me rights over my code - and that is exactly what I and many other people in the industry want.

Re:Stallman is anti-freedom (3, Interesting)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054109)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

Stallman's not a gawd. He has come up with some brilliant ideas. No, I don't agree with him on most things (especially politics), but wrt proprietary protocols, he's bang on! Lawyers and tort law flaws are destroying the US. RMS is the bleeding edge of reform of both. He points the way that you ought to go.

I don't care what he smells like or what he has between his toes. On the things he cares about, usually he's right. He's Arisotelian ("things as they could, and should, be"), which is all I ask of anybody. YMMV, and if so you suck, IMO.

Rock on Richard. Give 'em hell. No, I won't vote for you. I will follow you.

GNU software is free, not people (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054961)

Stallman may disagree, but he has shown the world how to write a "free" software license GPL3 that's so restrictive nobody in industry wants to use it.

You misunderstand the purpose of the GPL (and I did too until recently). GPL exists to make the software free. Something like BSD is meant to make the people free. Different licenses for different purposes.

Re:GNU software is free, not people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055443)

GPL exists to make the software free. Something like BSD is meant to make the people free.

That depends upon what you mean by "free." Having no responsiblity is not freedom, although it is "free" from responsibility. GPL protects the user. BSD protects the developer.

Re:GNU software is free, not people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055651)

And the vast majority of users don't care about licenses.

Re:GNU software is free, not people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055729)

Until the license bites them. Then they care.

Re:GNU software is free, not people (1)

mdragan (1166333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055679)

No, GPL exists to make the users AND the users of my users free. It is making sure that my software is never part of a proccess that robs any users of their freedom.
It is like a telecomunications company that makes sure that it doesn't step on the freedoms of their users, and if it supplies services to others, companies or governments, it also makes sure that they don't supply them to those that use them to subjugate their users or their people.
BSD is about puting it out there and saying "I don't care how others use it".

"disagreed" link (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053743)

"Jonathan Oxer, Andrew Tridgell, and software freedom activist Richard Stallman, disagreed." *Click link, ctrl-f stallman, oxer, tridgell*, no matches found. Stop wasting my time with links that are inappropriate to the sentence they claim to be linking about.

Re:"disagreed" link (2)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053783)

"Jonathan Oxer, Andrew Tridgell, and software freedom activist Richard Stallman, disagreed." *Click link, ctrl-f stallman, oxer, tridgell*, no matches found. Stop wasting my time with links that are inappropriate to the sentence they claim to be linking about.

I think that this bit from the summary:

"Software developer Ben Sturmfels, whose 2010 anti-software-patent petition won the support of open source community members such as Jonathan Oxer, Andrew Tridgell, and software freedom activist Richard Stallman, disagreed"

was trying to say that Ben Sturmfels disagrees, and that back in 2010 Jonathan Oxerm, Andrew Tridgell and Richard Stallman agreed with Ben Sturmfels about something else. A sort of 'appeal to authority by association'.

Re:"disagreed" link (4, Funny)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054035)

A sort of 'appeal to authority by association'.

Or alliteration.

In theory... (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053745)

In theory I could see how the argument could work, but in practice, the patent system is both prohibitively expensive and incredibly slow. The cost and delay renders it mostly only usable by big players. Exacerbated by big companies having gigantic, practically unknowable portfolios at their disposal (many companies have a practice of making employees try to patent anything they can think of, regardless of plans to actually implement them, leaving a company with gobs of patents no one even really knows about....

Re:In theory... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40053917)

Yes, the article says to get in the mud with the bullies. Surely you'll get dirty, probably beaten.

Re:In theory... (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055209)

Not only that, but open-source gets to use the 'cheap' route for patents, namely that of "prior art". Code it, push it to github or wherever, and done.

Or is the idea that you want to prevent others from using the technique you used in the code elsewhere [ie, make it kind-of-open-source]? If so, open source really can't match the deep pockets of any of the significant companies that you probably want to sue, and that leaves just the little fish [the 1 - 50 employee firms that, you know, gives most people jobs in the so-called 'West'].

Re:In theory... (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054013)

And copyrights mess with this in that they protect the actual work and establish the underlying idea as being prior art (from that point on) and thus no longer patentable.

Patents, aside from being slow and expensive, create a kind of virtual property that the big players* can buy, sell, and otherwise securitize. And that game has been fixed for quite a while, making it cost prohibitive for the little guy to do anything more than sell his property into the system to those who can afford to trade it.

* The big players resemble Goldman Sachs more than Boeing or Caterpillar. They don't actually create value anymore so much as trade title to value that is 'within the system'. That is, ideas for which negotiable paper has been generated by the patent office.

Re:In theory... (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054511)

Add in the "First to File" that IIRC the USPTO adopted a while back over the traditional first to invent (a wholly bureacratic self convenience in order to simplify their own lives and no one else who is actually a productive member of society), and I think it's actually a net negative.

Re:In theory... (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054819)

"First to file" doesn't mean what you think it does. "First to file" is only a system of determining who gets a patent in the situation that multiple people file patents on the same idea. It doesn't invalidate prior art or anything else that already exists in the "first to invent" system.

Re:In theory... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055655)

Except prior art is always ignored unless brought up in some massive lawsuit, and "patent MAD" prevents such lawsuits from happening.

Re:In theory... (4, Interesting)

ghostdoc (1235612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055527)

The problem, as usual, is not with the technicals, but with the business.

Software Patents solve a business need; that of investors to feel reassured that the thing they're investing in is worth the investment they're making.

An investor usually has no technical chops, so cannot determine if a software startup is doing something clever, innovative or hard-to-replicate. They're buying a stake in some Intellectual Property, and need to know that the property they're buying is 'real'. The first question asked of a software startup is 'what's your protection strategy for your IP?', because if there's no protection there's nothing 'real' that they can invest in. Patents are currently a good answer to this question.

This view is changing, slowly. Lean Startup http://theleanstartup.com/ [theleanstartup.com] (amongst others) is beginning to get people used to the concept that execution is more important than ideas, that IP is not a static thing that remains constant and can be owned like a piece of land. A business's IP should be changing the whole time, old ideas and executions discarded behind it as they become irrelevant in a changing market, new executions being constantly tested against the current market.
With this worldview, investors invest in people, not ideas, and the whole patent system becomes irrelevant.

Of course, as long as there's a valid business model for patent trolling then there'll be a set of businesses using that model to make money. But it becomes more and more visibly broken and hopefully we can get the politicians to see that.

Re:In theory... (1, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055573)

+5 insightful!

The idea of not having any software patents is attractive, since if one is an inventor/developer and one comes up w/ an idea on his/her own, it's ridiculous that one should be penalized if someone else had patented a similar idea. Until one gets to see the person who first patented a similar idea.

As you point out, if software patents did not exist, investors would feel less comfortable financing the person who comes up w/ the idea, since before long, any number of other people will come up w/ similar ideas, and some w/ better implementation practices. So the result of that would be innovation being a higher risk, and less likely, since the investors would feel that there's less financial protection for what the inventor is coming up w/, and also, the inventor himself would stand to be upstaged by people who took his idea, improved a few things about it, and ate his lunch. Those opposed to software patents are doing a terrific job protecting the rights of the latter, but a pathetic one by jeopartizing the chances of success of the former.

That brings us to the subject of obvious ideas that should never have been granted patents. Well, the more obvious the idea, if it is granted a patent, the value of the inventor's idea goes up for the investors, and he's likely to have a high probability of success in what he does. If it is not granted, the inventor has to patent something less obstructing about anyone who wants to duplicate his invention, driving that value down.

I too had been opposed to software patents, particularly obvious ones, but I was looking from the pov of just the other people trying to duplicate the inventions. But seeing this argument for the rights of the original inventors, I am more supportive of all patents - software or otherwise. Maybe, patent laws, rather than putting an expiry date on a patent, can cap the value of a license (be it a certain percentage of the value of a product/service) so that it's not prohibitively expensive for people who want to enter the market, but at the same time, protects the income stream of the original inventors.

Re:In theory... (2)

Znork (31774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055707)

As most software incorporates many functions, any of which may or may not be patented, patents are a net liability for any startup. Even if they may have one or two, chances are high that their idea cannot be usefully brought to market without infringing on tens to hundreds of other patents.

As an investor I'd worry a lot about any of the owners of any of those patents deciding to end my investment.

It would be possible to build a non-confrontational system that accomplishes what some want the patent system to do, but the monopoly aspect has to go. Something non-damaging like the 'patent office' paying a certain amount for every use of a 'patent' like registration would be much more palatable and create an incentive for all stakeholders to grant only the good 'patents' (as the total funding would be limited and overgranting would mean miniscule payouts).

What is the history? (2)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053793)

I am not sure what an 'open slather' is, but it wasn't that long ago in the US that there were NO software patents. Is this what the software market was like back then? Was there more or less innovation compared to now? I am interested if anyone knows of a useful comparison, especially after the ridiculous Microsoft v. Motorola case

Re:What is the history? (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054133)

a world without software patents would be 'open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.'

I am not sure what an 'open slather' is, but it wasn't that long ago in the US that there were NO software patents. Is this what the software market was like back then? Was there more or less innovation compared to now? I am interested if anyone knows of a useful comparison, especially after the ridiculous Microsoft v. Motorola case

As if madness ruled everywhere outside the US where there are NO software patents.

er ... Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055365)

Imagine a world with no new Microsofts?

The Big Problem with Software Patents is... (2, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053801)

...that large multinationals tend to "Mine the Harbour" when they patent things. What does that mean? It means that Big-Capital dont't patent "One Particular Approach to the Problem". They typically patent THE BEST & MOST EFFICIENT APPROACH TO SOLVING A PARTICULAR PROBLEM + THE 3 - 6 MOST LOGICAL WORKAROUNDS TO THE METHOD. So when you try to find a way around a particular "PATENTED BEST METHOD", you wind up slamming into a minefield of "PATENTED LOGICAL WORKAROUNDS TO THE BEST METHOD", which the patent owner doesn't even put to any use. Those patents are intended to MINE THE HARBOUR, so nobody else's ship can get in or out of the harbour without running into a PATENT MINE. ------ There are often workarounds to even those Patents. But finding them can involve a lot of costly R&D + time consuming TRIAL AND ERROR. And even then, your PATENT-CLEARING WORKAROUND TO PATENTED WORKAROUNDS may be a very unelegant, complex, slow or unreliable method. --------- If it's Hardware you are developing, your hardware may wind up costing 2 - 3 times what Sony, Nokia et cetera pay for their method. If its software you are developing, it may take 18 months instead of 8 months to deliver you software to market. ---------- Either way, "Mining the Harbour" typically causes you to jump through extra R&D hoops, spend extra money, take extra time, deliver to market slow/late, and deliver with a much slimmer potential profit-margin because of your increased cost. -------- Your solution, as a result, may stand no chance of competing with the solutions of the "PATENT-PREDATOR BIG BOYS", and may not be worth delivering to market in the first place. ------ In this case, healthy competition in the market fails, because there is NO GOOD/EFFICIENT ALTERNATIVE APPROACH to what the BIG BOYS have "mined" with pre-emptive patents.

Re:The Big Problem with Software Patents is... (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053809)

For example?

Re:The Big Problem with Software Patents is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054285)

1) Video encoding.
2) The threats against the guy who initially discovered how to manufacture graphene. The larger companes said if he tried to patent his process, they would attempt to patent every other possible way to manufacture it and every little manufacturing improvement just to make sure he gets cut out.

Re:The Big Problem with Software Patents is... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055287)

A good one would be MPEG-LA because their patents are so vast and cover damned near every step in the process that it would be extremely unlikely one could make a decent encoder or decoder without running into the mines.

One also has to consider that the present as well as the future is gonna be based around portable devices and there is only so many ways to do things without wasting more power. After all what good would be finding a way around the H.26x patents if your method that avoids the patents causes your way to suck twice as much power as theirs?

Re:The Big Problem with Software Patents is... (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055457)

Did someone patent using paragraphs and you decided to work around that by TYPING WORDS IN CAPS? It won't work...

uhh? defensive patents = offensive = good? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053835)

if you want to ensure it's free - why the fuck just not release it?

just release the damn thing. it's prior art after that.

if you assemble a patent portfolio and assign them to an "open source" company, that company might be bought and the patents used to force forks to die. that's the only thing the patents could be used apart from using them in suits against commercial competitors(just purely offensive or for defensive if getting sued by said commercial competitor).

the business week article in one of the linked articles is dead btw. some guy who netted 300+ mil from having a patent thinks sw patents are good? news?

Re:uhh? defensive patents = offensive = good? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054281)

Is there prior art in Australian law?

Re:uhh? defensive patents = offensive = good? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054833)

Yes.

May Be Better. But Open Still Means Open (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053851)

a world without software patents would be 'open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.'

Well, yes -- that is pretty much the essential nature of "Open." Anyone who has the skill, time, and energy can build whatever they want, even if it is based on someone else's work. It has its ups and downs, but saying the software world would be more Open if it were more restrictive is an internally inconsistent statement. It is logically self-contradictory.

There are those who believe that using the system against itself is better than changing the system. Some believe the GPL is better than would be the elimination of software copyright. I actually fall into this camp (though I do believe in reducing the strength and duration of patent and copyright). But it would not be more Open. Open has some shortcomings, and that may lead a rational person to believe that absolute Open-ness is less efficient than some degree of Closed-ness. But that does not mean you can redefine Open to mean partially Closed. Just say you believe in a balance between Open and Closed. It's OK to believe in shades of gray.

Not every question demands an absolutist answer, but rational discourse does rely on words like Open having a clear and unequivocal meaning in a given context. Dilute your hard-core ideology, not the terminology you use to describe it.

Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054853)

-a world without software patents would be 'open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.'

Isn't the point of patents :"...to promote the progress of science and useful arts"? By the logic of the original post, patents are supposed to do the opposite.

Missing freedom (1, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053901)

The problem with patents is that it at the core cuts one human freedom, the freedom to think, and open source is all about freedom. Given one problem, you won't be able to solve it in the ways you think if those paths are being taken by patents all around the field. If i want to go to the second floor, i could build stairs, or an elevator, climb, and a few more options, if all those solutions (or close/similar enough) are patented, you can't solve that problem, no matter how you indepently got that solution.

There are a point in attribute the authorship of an idea to the first one that got it or published it, but that should not limit others to get that idea too. Getting it verbatim and trying to make a profit from someone's else idea is one thing, reaching the same conclusion indepently or even evolving/improving it is another. And if that attibution is "being able to make profit" that should not stop open source to implement that idea for no profit.

Re:Missing freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054375)

This is not an infringement to freedom of thought. You are free to think through any solution to your problem. Patents only restrict your freedom to implement your ideas and bring them to market. I don't know much about patent law but if it actually prevents you from freely distributing your work in some cases then it's an infringement to freedom of communication between consenting parties which is pretty evil but still not at the level of freedom of thought.

Thankfully, we do not have the technology to really have thought crimes yet but this will come and those who naturally feel they should be free to think about absolutely anything will come into violent conflict with authoritarians who believe certain really bad thoughts should be illegal and begin to enforce this.

Re:Missing freedom (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054871)

> This is not an infringement to freedom of thought

Sure it is. You can't use the labors of your own mind because some jackass got a bad patent on something any CIS student could come up with. Bad patents are THEFT. They are theft from you and from me (assuming you are a CS professional).

Software patents allow Apple and friends to claim ownership of things I have created. This isn't just some theoretical idea or academic idea. Someone like Apple or Amazon can sue me for re-implementing some blatantly obvious thing.

THAT is the very real problem with patents generally and software patents in particular.

Trivial shit is patented granting "exclusive ownership" to whatever lucky company was granted that patent. That means that NO ONE ELSE can recreate it. Doesn't matter if it is trivial shit that 10 companies are re-inventing at the same time.

1 company can get a patent, sue the other 9 and create massive chaos and stagnation in the industry.

Re:Missing freedom (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054393)

Your logic is faulty, as is your understanding of what a patent is. Patents don't prevent you from thinking about anything. Using your example you can think all you want about patented methods to go to the second floor, and you won't get into hot water because fundamentally patents DON'T cover ideas, they cover IMPLEMENTATIONS of ideas.

It's only the construction and use of the patented implementation that infringes the patent. Also there is no problem with improving on an idea - you can get a patent on an improvement.

The problem with open source and patents is simple - companies making a profit off an invention that they put time and money into development thereof generally have a problem with an open source project giving that same technology away, which reduces their chance of recovering the investment they made.

Re:Missing freedom (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054521)

Software patents cover ideas, not specific implementations. You can come up with a more efficient implementation if you want, but it the US, I believe it infringes on the patent. That is precisely *why* they are bad. Copyright can be used to cover a specific implementation, and should be.

Re:Missing freedom (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054889)

Patents aren't supposed to cover ideas but they really do in practice because if you try to re-create a particular sort of device it is up to you to try and convince the clueless trial court that your fundementally difference device is not a patent violation. I believe that companies have already been bit by this very thing with regards to Tivo workalikes. They tried to design around the patents but got declared "in violation" anyways.

Patents aren't supposed to cover "ideas" but they do in practice.

That is part of why patents should be considered toxic waste and not candy. Every patent stifles innnovation. Every one. The question is whether or not the relevant trade secrets are worth the tradeoff.

This mindless "everything is intellectual property" nonsense is very destructive. It leads to the default view being "it can be owned" and "it should be owned'. The opposite is really true.

The actual arguments (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053979)

Here is the point made:

“If a group of open source collaborators can secure a patent, it can choose to grant a royalty-free licence to the open source community to use it just as open source software is licensed,” Bates noted.

“This secures the invention for public use immediately. In other words, it blocks the ability for another party to patent that invention and prevents that other party from exploiting it for commercial gain.

“Secondly, it secures the open source community the right to continue using the patented invention subject to the terms of the patent licence.

“Thirdly, open source patented innovations reside on patent databases and thus form part of the same public record, which makes the public record more comprehensive and useful to the community at large.”

None of these techniques benefit open source, they only try to limit the damage done by software patents, fighting fire with fire.

Re:The actual arguments (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054279)

It also ignores one of the fundamental aspects of patents - that is a patent holder of licensee DOESN'T necessarily have the right to practice his invention because it may merely be an improvement on another invention which is patented by another party.

Definition: A patent is a contract between the inventor and the government in which the government grants the patent owner the right to prevent others from practicing his invention in exchange for a full and public disclosure of the best way to practice the invention.

The entire premise of this proposal is a howler to anyone with any knowledge of patents because the basis for it is a complete misunderstanding of what a patent is.

Re:The actual arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055741)

This secures the invention for public use immediately. In other words, it blocks the ability for another party to patent that invention and prevents that other party from exploiting it for commercial gain

Don't understand. If someone releases something as open source, the same cannot be patented can it (prior art)?

Not a story (3, Interesting)

kegon (766647) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053995)

The core of the summary is this:

Patent attorney Michael Bates of 1Place agreed that developers could use the patent system to ensure their inventions remained open source. “If a group of open source collaborators can secure a patent, it can choose to grant a royalty-free licence to the open source community to use it just as open source software is licensed,” Bates noted.

What a joke! Let me guess, Bates wants people to pay him to check patent applications for OSS. Prior art invalidates a patent. Simply publishing or releasing your software open source makes it prior art therefore preventing someone from claiming an "inventive step" - the usual requirement for a patent. Save your money.

Lawyers earn money from software, let's hit back. (1)

darthium (834988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40053997)

This patent nosense is making lawyers get a lot of money as parasites of software development. We developers must work in improving AI to make the lawyers each time less necessary, so any CEO, CFO can use the expert system and minimize the need of lawyers. Same for patents. With clear and strict rules (also aimed at using only patents only when extremely necessary), less litigation would be needed.

If you ask me, an "open slather" (4, Insightful)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054003)

... "for anybody who can just go faster than the next person" would be a good thing for software.

Re:If you ask me, an "open slather" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054387)

There is a word for that in English. What was it? Oh yeah. Competition. That's really bad for incumbent corporations, but good for consumers.

Protect the wealthy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054047)

All the arguments so far on the benefits of software patents come from the rich.
A man who was award millions of dollars from patents says they are good. Government that makes millions of dollars from patents say they are good!
How does a small , non rich, developer do this, or small open source project get patent protection.
It cost 1000's upon 1000's of dollars just to put in applications. (Not including the legal mumbojumbo and hoops you need to jump through.)
Then when you've blown 80% of your development budget on government fees, the Apple, Oracle or Microsoft types come along and steal your idea anyway, and now you need millions of dollars to fight them in court. (In the mean time they throw their patents at you, ie you used a "software button" or "bouncing icon" etc, so they claim millions of dollars in damages from your $2 company)
Software patent are killing many open source projects and smaller development, limiting innovation in general.
No one can write even the simplest of program without breaching someones so-called patent.
Software should be protected under copyright law, in that the code itself, and the graphics are protected. If someone rewrites software to do exactly the same thing but without using any of the original code then that should be good.
Patents should be only for mechanical physical devices, and even then should only be for a couple of years to give the inventor time to utilise. If they don't then bad luck, its open for all!
In reality small developers have to simply ignore the patent system and hope they aren't targeted by Apple and co if they happen to create something profitable or too popular!

This story smells funny... (4, Insightful)

WombleGoneBad (2591287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054149)

It is as if someone is trying to create the impression there is an ongoing 'debate' about about the pros and cons of software patents. There is no debate. Software patents are harmful nonsense. and this is the general consensus amoung people who write software (supposedly the people that these patents 'protect'). I'm sure you could scrape up some guy who swears blind that smoking cured his sinus problems but that doesn't mean an article 'Smoking - good for your health?' should hit the front page.

There is nothing good about software patents (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054207)

Even if it were possible to keep track of all software patents the difficulty of writing any program without infringing some patents becomes exponentially harder the more patents there are. Large corporations might still think they can win in this "game", not by not infringing patents but by suing other companies, but even this is becoming a more and more pointless, tyring and expensive strategy. Basically, it just keeps companies from innovating and ties up their resources.

And then, of course, there are other issues like the total lack of control about prior art, the fact that you can take known mathematical methods, disguise them, and get a patent for it, patent portfolios whose only purpose is MAD, etc.

Programming is a creative activity not unsimilar to, say, writing (I do both, so I can compare them). It is based on combining small building blocks into larger ones in a logical way. Nobody should be allowed to patent such building blocks. You shouldn't be allowed to patent plots and storylines of books, rhyme patterns in poems, or how to boil an egg. And for the same reason there should be no software patents.

So to answer the question of the headline: No.

Re:There is nothing good about software patents (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054247)

Why does increasing the number of patents make it exponentially harder to avoid infringement?

It's think it was linear at worst, and perhaps sublinear as because the more you work to avoid patents, the more efficient at it you would become.

Re:There is nothing good about software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054945)

It's like dodging bullets. Linearly increasing the number of bullets flying through space at odd angles vastly increases the difficulty of dodging them all. You don't just have to dodge more bullets as a linear effort, but each dodge must also avoid putting you into the line of another. It is a combinatoric problem.

Re:There is nothing good about software patents (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055055)

Checking is not the big problem - even if its makes it impossible for small firms to write computer programs since the minimum number of patent checker to be able to follow the patents applied to will be too much too handle for a small 1-man firm. Sadly programs like Minecraft that was initially written by 1 person will probably never see the day of light if everyone would do what you suggest.

The bigger problem are code.
Because then you have to rewrite the program to go from A to B. Without patents you can write straighforward code. If you got 1 patent you have to program around its doable. But with 1000 patents you have to program around your straightforward code will soon look more like a maze of twisty passages that you have to navigate to be able to write your program.

The cost of development go up the more hinders you have to program around. Think about it like if the city suddenly would close the traffic on a highway and everyone have to find another way - traffic will have to go around and it will take longer to get to work. For the programmers it will take longer and cost more to program. The time to get to B can increase alot more just because of one more patent since it affect alot of other patents that now form a wall you have to go around trippling the distance (the number of lines of code you have to write ) which you have to travel to get to point B.

Re:There is nothing good about software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055551)

And -as a result- programs are becoming more and more hugely inefficient. You need several times the processing power to do a simple task, resulting in crippled-down performance.

Software patents are the most damaging and devastating garbage I ever came across. It holds back any efficiency, innovation and development. On top of that this is killing all small developers that do not have the deep pocket resources to do endless research, make work-arounds or defend themselves against patent trolls. It is becoming obvious this only results in some big company's having everything, and there is no longer any room for even the most trivial development of a starter company.

Needless to say any innovation will slow down and, in a not too distant future, come down to a grinding halt. It wont be long before the country's where software patents are not allowed will be becoming more important, while country's that do allow this patents will sink into some medieval dark software age.

I is obvious anyone whom wants to make a living from programming hast two choices in the coming years. First - join some BIG company that has a big and inflexible organization structure, and restricts your creativity by stetting walls around any idea you could have. Or secondly - leave the country that is on it's way to named dark medieval software age, and move to the free country's (like Europe), where this patent absurdity does not count. There is a big market there, and there is still room for small developers and software innovation.

Re:There is nothing good about software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055661)

Absolutely! And in this world we live in now where all the countries are deep in recession we need opportunity for small people to be able to make their own opportunities more than any other time. But the politicians don't get it or are too corrupt to care.

Just recently Cameron announced a new tax break of 50% (from about 20% to 10%) to help innovation. He announced it like he believed it. The catch was that to qualify you had to own a patent. He just gave a 50% tax break to large companies right in the people's faces.

We don't want no software patents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054259)

Patents only hinder software development. Technically, open software developers don't even invent anything, they develop things. They fit components together with a little glue to fill specific needs. One could argue that's invention, but I don't see it that way. Where would you draw the line. The entire document editor gets patented, so no one else can create a software document editor? The specific undo implementation gets patented? How you link the undo action to the document? Isn't a software document editor mostly a format shifted physical document editor. Why should someone have to patent his/her implementation on every format. Anything physical can be emulated by software and it's possible (though much more difficult) to create fully mechanical devices that mimic software products. Will we have to repatent everything on quantom computers? All that's not worth the trouble.

Software is already covered by copyright and the GUI can be covered by design patents. Most software patents I've seen aren't novel or non-obviouse. Just because it's obvious doesn't mean someone has done it before. For example, Amazon's single-click patent. It's obviouse to many people that doing a bunch of actions (selecting default address, shipping, and payment options) through a single click is faster than having to go through each indivitual step. However, many people saw the potential for accendital purchaces and decided the trade-off wasn't worth implementing a single-click buy option. Selecting a different component to fit your needs isn't patent worthy when others had to make the same choice, saw the same components, but selected to better fit their needs.

If you want to argue a patent for some awesome new algorithm, that's applied math and not patentable.

> open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person
That already happens with software patents. The person who moves fastest tends to have the most money and completely fucks the other guy, no matter who developed it first. Really, it doesn't even matter who moved fastest, just who has the most money, 'Oh you did it first? No, we did. Willing to spend a year of your life in court trying to prove otherwise?'

Richard Trevithick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054327)

seem to remember reading about Richard Trevithick working on steam engines, a patent lawyer came to him and said he violated one on Watts (I guess) patents,
He tied a rope to him and put him down a well. Never had any problems with lawyers after than I think ....

Re:Richard Trevithick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054549)

seem to remember reading about Richard Trevithick working on steam engines, a patent lawyer came to him and said he violated one on Watts (I guess) patents,
He tied a rope to him and put him down a well. Never had any problems with lawyers after than I think ....

There is probably an obscure rule against that.

Patents are Generally Bad (1, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054333)

Software patents are bad.
Patents on life/DNA/etc are evil.
Generally patents are bad over all and should only be granted for VERY short periods, say five to seven years at most. If you can't make money with your monopoly by then get out of the way so someone else can use it.

Fact is, many people come up with the same ideas. Most patents are obvious and should never be granted.

Re:Patents are Generally Bad (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054897)

Yes. Patents are generally bad. This idea needs to gain more traction. The idea that "patents are good" is actually very harmful.

It encourages people to treat toxic waste like it's candy.

Didn't see Stallman in the linked article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054461)

But as far as i'm aware these hes opposed to them: http://archive.org/details/Patent_Absurdity

Moralization (4, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054513)

Sure, software patents are good for open source, like HIV is good for fidelity.

What sickens me is that people still try to sell their poor ideas with moralization.
Using categories like "good/bad" or "nice/evil" is the typical way it's used.
This way, if you disagree with my opinion, you are "bad/evil", while I'm "nice/good".

BTW, I think that software patents are a huge waste, both of time and money.
All this energy is spent on trying to defend ideas, but ideas are unlimited and patents are limited.
Instead of trying to protect your ideas, try to find new ideas !

Slashdot jumps the shark once again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054693)

What sickens me is that slashdot posted this piece of crap.

Just more evidence that slashdot has jumped the shark.

Re:Slashdot jumps the shark once again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055301)

What sickens me is that slashdot posted this piece of crap.

Just more evidence that slashdot has jumped the shark.

For $99 they will remove it.

Jumping the shark is ok to thicken the plot. Letting the shark jump you is not so much ok.

Better title: Software patents bad for Australians (5, Informative)

sturmy (1869828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054737)

I (Ben Sturmfels) am saying is that software patents are bad for the whole software industry and the Australian public. Software patents inhibit innovation for *both* proprietary software and free software/open source businesses. Getting rid of software patents is something the entire software industry should be working towards.

Re:Better title: Software patents bad for Australi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055603)

Australia doesn't have software patents. Question was asked in parliament about October last year and Roxon's department replied there was no plans of changing that. Ever.

Pure software is not patentable in Australia.

newspeak (1)

cas2000 (148703) | more than 2 years ago | (#40054749)

later in his talk, he explained how War Is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.

It's just the exact opposite. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40054861)

a world without software patents would be 'open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.'

That contradicts a lot of anecdotal evidence.

Netscape wrote the first widely-available browser. Most of its features were not patented. Microsoft was late to the game, and yet somehow they were able to crush Netscape.

Facebook crushed MySpace. Again, most of the features were not patented. Again, the first guy to market lost.

However, if you have enforceable patents, then the first guy to market is very often the winner. Just look at the pharmaceutical industry.

It's much more realistic to say that in a world WITH software patents, it's open slather for anybody who can just go faster than the next person.

Also, software is a very creative endeavour. So if the original quote was true, then it would also be true for many other creative endeavours (literature, art, etc.) that are not subject to patent. For example, if somebody writes a book before I do, he would have "open slather" over me. If someone creates artwork before I do, he would have "open slather" over me. The original quote is completely nonsensical, and collapses under the most shallow examination.

Isn't that the same question as.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055031)

...Isn't fraud good for business?

Fuck no - stop the spread of the disease (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055071)

Keep the software patent disease contained within the USA and preferably eliminate it there at some point. The only advantage software patents give over normal copyright is as an extra weapon for those with large legal departments against those that don't. That skews the playing field towards those that are already well established and stifles innovation - which is exactly the opposite of what patents are supposed to do.

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (2)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055465)

"Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word 'no'"

Australia doesn't have pure software patents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40055587)

Unless it's part of a hardware solution, essential for it to work, Australia doesn't have and has no intention of having pure software patents.

Troll OP I guess. Possibly not an Australian or if so, not very well informed.

Open Source will supercede the Patent Office (2)

dweller_below (136040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055721)

We just need to be patient, and keep publishing good code.

It takes decades to teach Government new tricks. At this point, it is barely aware that software exists. But, it is learning. It just takes time and lots of informed input.

Judge Alsup (the current judge in Oracle vs Google) is an example for our future. Once Government is seeded with individuals that understand software, we will finally see changes that make sense.

It is inevitable that eventually the Patent Office will acknowledge Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as a partner. Both have the same general objective: To Advance Art and Science. Patents are an ancient tool. Patents are a poor tool for software. Patents are optimised for the physical world. FOSS is a modern tool that is optimised to properly handle societies need to advance the art and science of Software.

In the field of software, FOSS is a superior solution. FOSS provides all the goals of patents without the enormous costs of patents. FOSS provides: Publication; Implementation; and Motivation. FOSS creates stable and enduring infrastructure. All cheap and self organising. And without a crippling burden on the legal system.

The end-game is certain. Eventually Patents will not constrain FOSS. Probably we will see a statement along the lines of: FOSS has an automatic license to all patents. Therefore FOSS can not be sued for patent infringement. The only bit of uncertainty is the time-frame. It could be decades. It could be centuries.

The future for proprietary software is less simple. Proprietary software appears to be in need of patents. Proprietary software doesn't Publish. Society can't inspect Proprietary implementations. Society can't learn from and extend Proprietary software. And, any Proprietary software infrastructure can vanish in the blink of a vendor's eye. There are good reasons to keep Proprietary Software shackled to the Patent Office.

Miles

Existence proof: we know who is right (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055777)

I love the way software patents advocates present dystopian hypotheticals as a form of argument when we already KNOW what the world looks like without software patents.

It's a world of Turing Machines (1936) and von Neumann architecture (1945), machine language and assembly language (1951), compilers (1952) and loops and switch and if / then statements and LISP (1958) and packet switching (1960s).

It's a world with operating systems and databases and word processors and spreadsheets and browsers and web pages.

It's a world with the ARPANET, TCP/IP, the internet and HTTP and FTP and DNS.

In other words a world where the most fundamental, most visionary, most complex, most resource intensive, most ambitious and most beneficial contributions to humankind are conceived, created, disseminated, taken up and used in creating incalculable social, scientific and economic benefit for all.

So just remember this next time you hear someone going on about what a bad place the world will become if we abolish software patents.

And please, give generously each year. Your continued ability to pay your bills depends on it.

http://www.ffii.org/Donations [ffii.org]

https://www.eff.org/ [eff.org]

Going radical? (0)

Ian.Waring (591380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40055783)

Patent systems were originally put in place to stop inventors hoarding ideas that would help society at large. Open source is the ultimate share - there is inherently no hoarding taking place. So, if you manage to release something under a recognised open source license, should the work be immune from patent claims anyway? Sometimes wonder what the world would be like if patent systems were all killed off completely anyway, but that's a longer story.
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