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Re: Getting rid of software patents = All software becomes free?

From: Andy Baxter
Subject: Re: Getting rid of software patents = All software becomes free?
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 05:09:38 -0000
User-agent: pan 0.120 (Plate of Shrimp)

On Sat, 08 Dec 2007 18:11:34 -0800, mike3 wrote:

> Hi.
> I saw this:
> Note:
> "It's not as if the various manufacturing companies don't have very
> good reasons for keeping the code
> and specifications closed. They all infringe on each other's patents,
> however none of this can be
> proved without the various plans. Releasing anything is a big risk,
> not necessarily a certain one,
> since they could countersue for whatever the opponent infringes, but a
> possible problem
> nevertheless."
> So if there were no software patents, there'd be no more to sue over,
> and hence the "very good reasons" for (eternally!) hiding the source
> code would evaporate like mist in the heat of the day. Poof, like
> magic, they'd be gone! And suddenly there would be no problem with
> releasing software as Free and we'd finally have FREEDOM on the PC!!!!
> Ain't it great? Get rid of software patenting!
> But alas the companies don't want that, they *want* patents on their
> software...

If you replace 'companies' with 'large companies' (who have the resources
to lobby government, and the money to pay lawyers to enforce their
patents), it makes more sense. Individually some of them might want to get
out of it, but over the smaller companies and other interests (e.g.
individuals) that patents affect, they have a collective interest in
getting the government to support patent laws. So they do. It's called
'regulatory capture'- we studied it in a course I did on technology policy

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