[ILUG] Re: [IIU] Re: CAI query - patentability of software
paul at clubi.ie
Sat Jun 11 02:40:53 IST 2005
On Sat, 11 Jun 2005, Paul O'Malley wrote:
> With that last piece in mind, I really do wonder if this is what
> Charlie McCreevy and those who may wish to influence his judgement
> really want.
To be honest, I don't think it's feasible to change any politicians
minds. The bulk of them have either legal or business background. Any
academic knowledge they have of patent or copyright law will have
been either of the "It's great, it lets us charge fees" or "it's
great, it lets us 'innovate' and make money in royalty" fees. Any
professional opinions they'll have heard since then will be similar.
What *is* feasible is to pull the same trick Stallman did with the
GPL. Use the law to your advantage to create a commons.
We're *starting* to see this happen. IBM sort of gave a grant to a
bunch of patents for use by (iirc) the Linux kernel (though, not
particularly relevant patents), and Nokia gave that "We won't sue
Linux kernel contributors for infringing <this> list of patents, but
only for certain versions" (which is strange, given the GPL wouldn't
have allowed them to claim patent encumberances if they were to
distribute Linux with that new toy of theirs, but hey). At some stage
very very soon a certain other company will also be releasing patents
(more specifically implementations thereof, in an OS) with 'commons'
So that's the answer really. Build up a pool of 'Free' patents
through corporate sponsorship or contribution. Get it big enough and
you're immune. That's how the big companies do it, that's how Free
Software needs to do it.
This does of course require the right licence. The current version of
the GPL doesn't really do much to advance goal of a patents commons.
The CDDL does, hopefully GPLv3 can learn from it..
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.ie paul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
Space tells matter how to move and matter tells space how to curve.
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