Copyright Information for this Site
Since I have concerns over the concept of intellectual property, I can't
justify any restrictions on what is done with the information posted. As long as
legal action isn't taken against me, I really don't care what is done with what
I post (that's the whole point of posting it!). In light of this, any code, writing,
art, or music I post here -- I won't be posting anything illegal -- can
be freely downloaded and used as desired.
diatribe against patents from slashdot:
More badness of software patents (copied from this
Okay, reasons: (Score:3, Insightful)|
by TheDullBlade on Monday January 31, @12:23PM EST
|Patents (like any IP) are not an inherent right, and their purpose is not to benefit the patent
holder but to benefit society as a whole; they were created with the specific intent of encouraging innovation by
trading full disclosure of the details of the patented mechanism in exchange for a short-term monopoly on its use.
They were created (in their modern form) to prevent excessive secrecy and completely snuff out the stifling guild
model of protecting trade secrets.
Mathematics and facts of the natural sciences are specifically noted as unpatentable in patent law. This is
because it was recognized that there was no need for patents in these fields; people already shared their discoveries
freely in hopes of the recognition and prestige they could gain by it. Patents would only interfere with this and slow
Computer science is not only a branch of mathematics (algorithms are as old as the abacus, and were formalized long
before the first programmable computer), but shows all the same behavior that makes it an unsuitable field for
patents. People proudly explain their clever algorithms and data structures for no direct monetary gain. Allowing
software patents has only interfered with the progress of the field.
Practically every software developer breaks software patent laws. There are a great many software patents on
simple, obvious, and common practices, and it is generally not feasible even to check whether you are infringing on
anyone else's patents. It is also not economically feasible to legally challenge every bogus patent that one wishes to
use. If one were to attempt to remain in full compliance at all times with patent law, it would be hundreds or
thousands of times more expensive than the actual software development.
Not only are software patents useless and harmful, they are impossible to obey or generally enforce, thus becoming
merely another weapon for competition through litigation so whoever spends the most money on lawyers wins.
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Voodoo Extremist Gabe Newell; Valve Software -- What advice would he
give other developers to help preempt patent litigation?
John Carmack -- I just don't know what to do
about software patents.
There probably isn't another issue that can make me feel so helplessly
Patents are supposed to help promote invention and allow benefits to
accrue to inventors. By most definitions, I would be considered an
"inventor" of sorts, and patents sure as hell aren't helping me out.
The idea that I can be presented with a problem, set out to logically
solve it with the tools at hand, and wind up with a program that could
be legally used because someone else followed the same logical steps
some years ago and filed for a patent on it is horrifying.
To laymen, all of programming is alchemy, and trying to convince them
that any given software patent is "obvious" or "clearly follows from the
problem" is really tough.
The only way to fight it is with legal and political means, and I
don't have the skills or tools to even formulate a plan of attack. I
give money to
causes that try to fight those battles.
The only scenario that I can see would be to have enough truly,
blatantly stupid patents prosecuted that someone could make a stand in
congress and show the public in an understandable way just how wrong
On a personal level, I refuse to patent anything that I am involved
in. Anyone that has ever gotten an idea based on any of my work and done
something better with it - good for you.