☞ Understanding Patent Absurdity

  • I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of this documentary. It’s well worth watching, both for the opportunity to see so many of the people who are influential in software freedom philosophy and law and for the great explanations of the issues around the Bilski case and the mission creep which has led to software patents. Share it with friends as this issue is only going to get more important as ACTA promotes criminalisation of patent infringement.
  • I’m not sure what I think about this fixation on enforcement. It seems to chill confidence in the very objective that software freedom was supposed to achieve – wide usage leading to contribution leading to more software freedom. Chill usage and surely software freedom spreads more slowly?
    (tags: FOSS GPL FSF)
  • Yes, the US Trade Representative really is saying “choose your freedoms”. It seems we can only have process transparency in exchange for an early surrender of citizen freedoms under ACTA. Disgusting.

5 Responses

  1. > Chill usage and surely software freedom spreads more slowly?

    If you rewrite that sentence as “Chill non-free usage and surely software freedom spreads more slowly?”, the problem with the argument becomes apparent. Non-free usage of free software does not help spread software freedom.

    • It depends on whether you demand every participant in the value chain is active in their support. If you tolerate passive support (or “infringement” :-) ) you get wider uptake of the software as the ecosystem grows, with most participants choosing participation and only a few remaining passive. My instinct is to tolerate limited passivity, and thus I find unabated “enforcement” worrying. Given a choice, I would probably only pursue the grossly harmful violators.

      This difference in outlook is the key difference between the BSD/Apache family of software freedom and the GPL/MPL family of software freedom. The former believe the “natural gravity” of contribution being more prudent than mere consumption will win in the end; the latter believe everyone must be compelled to contribute or all is lost. Both seem to have their merits.

      • This difference in outlook is the key difference between the BSD/Apache family of software freedom and the GPL/MPL family of software freedom.

        Actually, it´s more likely the difference between Open Source and Free Software. Open Source advocates aim at maximizing the spread of the software itself, while Free Software advocates attempt to spread freedom. Infringement helps spread the software without the spreading the freedom: a partial win for Open Source, a net loss for Free Software.

  2. It’s not “chilling usage,” it’s “calming the fears.”

  3. [...] need translations so that the message gets across to as many people as possible. As Simon Phipps put it: “I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of this documentary. It’s well worth [...]

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