End software patent wars by making it always legal to run code on a general-purpose computer - Richard Stallman

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16 Responses to “End software patent wars by making it always legal to run code on a general-purpose computer - Richard Stallman”

  1. Funk Daddy says:

    What kind of douche surgeon patents a procedure? I can see them wanting recompense from textbook makers, uni’s or such, as long as it isn’t so much to prevent it’s proliferation, since that would be against their interests too, but a royalty for or license for performing it? C’mon!

  2. End patent wars by ending patents.

  3. robcat2075 says:

    So if I made a new filter for Photoshop or some audio editing app or whatever or developed some new app entirely, I could no longer have real patent protection for it because it would be used on a general purpose computer.

    That makes sense.

  4. qwerty says:

    Yeah, this is not going to happen.

    First, note this fact presented on the website of the patent office:

    “IP-intensive industries accounted for about $5.06 trillion in value
    added, or 34.8% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), in 2010.
    Merchandise exports of IP-intensive industries totaled $775 billion in
    2010, accounting for 60.7% of total U.S. merchandise exports.”

    Second, note this excerpt of the Fortune 50 list:

    1. Apple
    2. Google
    3. Amazon
    5. IBM
    17. Microsoft

    …and the fact that these companies are centrally focused on creating, patenting, and licensing software.

    Third, note that during the debates, both of the leading candidates for president openly referenced the transformation of the U.S. economy from manufacturing to information. Obama noted that manufacturing jobs are not coming back stateside, and that we should be moving toward more R&D – we should be training more engineers and fewer factory workers. And Romney promised to strengthen the enforcement of IP rights around the world, especially against China.

    Adding up those three facts – we have an economy that’s heavily based on commercializing software, companies that recognize the role of  patents in protecting that software, and a federal government committed to upholding those protections in defense of the economy.

    Against all of that, you have Richard Stallman’s urging a fundamental reversal of a huge segment of the economy, in pursuit of idealistic and unproven notions of the value of free (as in speech) software.

    • Magnus Redin says:

      Making all that costly corporate bueraucracy irrelevant and making tens of thousands of skilled lawyers, economists, MBA:s etc and square miles of office space avaliable for new jobs would be a major efficiency boost for the economie! It is almost as good as automation  is for the physical production, market economie for humanities win!

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

      amazon is not centrally focused on creating, patenting, and licensing software, though it has done all 3 on occasion.

      in addition, its not just stallman. any BB reader knows that there are a variety of tech companies starting to speak out about software patents are negatively impacting their business plans and prospects.

  5. Florian Bösch says:

    A general purpose computer is quite easy to define.

  6. robcat2075 says:

    Perhaps a better idea would be to reform the patent-granting process so that patents for trivial notions are either not awarded or limited as to what they can pursue for licensing.  Much in the same way that there are limits on punitive damages for medical malpractice in some states.

    That would make more sense than invalidating the whole notion of patents.

  7. robcat2075 says:

    There is a concept in copyright law already, “mechanical rights”, that allow you to record a new performance of any song that has already been recorded by the original artist, with only the payment of a standard fee, and not needing to negotiate permission.

    That idea could be expanded to trivial software patents.  That would eliminate court cases except perhaps in cases of actual non-payment.

  8. pjcamp says:

    That would have a pretty interesting effect on Apple. Since their world is curated, they are arguably not general purpose computers.

  9. Richard Kirk says:

    Alan Turing described a universal calculating engine which could solve any solvable problem given enough time, electricity, and memory tape. This machine was probably not in itself patentable because of prior art from Babbage, Lovelace and others; but it does anticipate all possible programs, and so should serve as prior art for them all.

  10. lorq says:

    Speaking of relevance…

  11. EH says:

    Thanks for sharing, Mr. Ballmer.

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