Sat, 21 Jan 2006

Software Patents are too much to ask for

A government will happily give any author a monopoly on software that they have written themselves (copyright). When authors ask for a monopoly on software that other people have written (patents), that is too much to ask for.

UPDATE: my friend Eric Hutchins doesn't grokk this. I understand that sometimes a work for hire results in the person doing the creation being different than the person who paid for it. I'm fine with that. There is a direct involvement between the creator and the funder. The trouble with patents -- and why they're a reach -- is that only the first person to patent software owns it. Everyone else who reinvents that software doesn't own it even though the patent holder had no involement. Patent law presumes without evidence that the thing patented needs to be patented because without the patent, everyone would copy the idea. However, if the patented item is kept quiet until it has been reinvented, that is a perversion of the patent system. It is legal extortion, and no court should entertain a patent suit unless the patent was well known to a competent practitioner of the art. No public purpose is served in any other circumstance.

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