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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Software patent - any action?

From: Chris Lale
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Software patent - any action?
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 18:07:21 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0

Thanks for the comments. I am still trying to get to grips with all this!

Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Tue, 2002-12-31 at 12:50, Chris Lale wrote:
>> Copyright protects a software author's rights. Patenting software
>> would by-pass the author, slow up or stop the fixing of bugs and
>> the development of new software. It would also allow the creation
>> of huge monopolies and be anti-competitive.
> I'm not sure this paragraph is really useful - it gives me no idea
> why Copyright protect's an authors rights, what the rights are, and
> why patenting does what you say. I don't understand what the notion
> of 'bypassing' the author is about either; the authorship of software
> is irrelevant with regards to patenting (more or less).
That is the point I was trying to make - that copyright is overridden by patenting. I understood that software patenting was a threat to free licencing such as the GPL. Is that not right?

>> This analogy may explain why.
>> Suppose that a rose
>> breeder were allowed to patent the gene(s) that give a rose its red
>> colour. That would inhibit or prevent someone else from developing
>> a new variety of red rose. I could also inhibit or prevent someone
>> else from developing a new red flower of any sort.
> A call to the ridiculous is usually a weak argument when the
> ridiculous is real :(

I know that patenting of plants has happened in the US which is why the
analogy came to mind. It just provides an illustration. Do you think that it weakens the argument? AFAIK US plant patents are not patenting genes.

> It would be more useful to re-order what you say a little:
> give a brief outline of the differences between patents and copyright
> (in all truth, they're not very similar at all), then show why
> patents are bad for software, and then reach your conclusion.
Can anyone help me here? What are the essential differences between patents and copyright that make software patents undesirable?


|  ___   Chris Lale   <address@hidden>                  |
| /   \                                                           |
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