Thursday, July 07, 2005

Software Patents in the EU

Looks like the guys at the EU arent stupid at all. An overwhelming majority (648 - 14) voted against software patents yesterday, and I think many people WORLDWIDE breathed a sigh of relief. This means that just because software patents are legal in the US, it doesnt mean that the entire world has to follow suite.

I think that software patents are so easily open to abuse, and software is adequately protected as Intellectual Property under copyright. As it has done so since the first bit of source code was written.

The strange thing is, the abuse seems to be hitting the big boys first, and ironically its the big boys who want software patents to be legal worldwide.
I guess they just think its a small price to pay to weather the initial gold diggers aiming for the big targets, for future world domination or something.

Unfortunately I have a feeling that more and more people in the US (or places where software patents are legal) would jump on the IP litigation bandwagon for the big payback by patenting something and hitting the big boys for a fast buck. It will be relentless.

Here are some, just on Microsoft (best target: big payoff, good precedent)
Excel Access converison
Dynamic TCP Offload
Forgent JPEG

and the list just goes on....

Its real scary because once these people win their patent fights, they get to sue other companies to "exploit and maximise their returns on their investments in intellectual property," so that eventually everyone in the world who touches a computer pays them something.

Not completely unrelated I was just reading this article called Art and Computer Programming which interviews the best and brightest programmers on this planet to get their views on their craft. I too feel that programming is not just a process of churning out code; there's far more to it than that.

And interestingly enough, all Artists are happy to protect their work with copyright.


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