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[ontolog-forum] Re: [ba-unrev-talk] [Fwd: software patents]

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From: Gary Richmond <garyrichmond@xxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 20:32:12 -0400
Message-id: <3F6A4E8C.5020305@xxxxxxx>
Henry and Peter,    (01)

One of the strongest voices opposing the actions of the
"corporate bosses" attempting to control innovation "from 
the top down" is Larry Lessig, whose recent books, Code (and 
other laws of cyberspace), and The Future of Ideas, both 
tackle this theme most adroitly. Here's a bit from a blurb 
on the latter, most recent book:
> The cultural dinosaurs of our recent past are moving to
> quickly remake cyberspace so that they can better protect
> their interests against the future. Powerful
> conglomerates are swiftly using both law and technology
> to "tame" the Internet, transforming it from an open
> forum for ideas into nothing more than cable television
> on speed. Innovation, once again, will be directed from
> the top down, increasingly controlled by owners of the
> networks, holders of the largest patent portfolios, and,
> most invidiously, hoarders of copyrights.
> The choice Lawrence Lessig presents is not between
> progress and the status quo. It is between progress and a
> new Dark Ages, in which our capacity to create is
> confined by an architecture of control and a society more
> perfectly monitored and filtered than any before in
> history. Important avenues of thought and free expression
> will increasingly be closed off. The door to a future of
> ideas is being shut just as technology makes an
> extraordinary future possible.
  http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/future/    (02)

I met Larry when he lectured at Cooper-Union in NYC this 
past Spring. He's an impressive thinker-speaker whose ideas 
seemed even to make an impression on some of the more 
corporate friendly folk I know who attended the talk. Here's 
a Flash presentation of a somewhat earlier version of this 
http://randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/    (03)

Gary    (04)

Henry K van Eyken wrote:
> Yes, Gary, I signed as well - and saw Peter's name among
> the names of those who signed. Twice, actually!
> My reasons same as Peter's. The original intent of
> granting patents was to promote innovation. Right now
> they hinder it because those attempting innovation must
> keep looking over their shoulders for those about to hit 
> them with lawsuits, etc.
> Widening the scope of this response, I believe the time
> has come to rethink the "social contract" between
> corporate bosses and citizens at large. This includes the
> whole patents and copyright mess.
> Henry
> On Thu, 2003-09-18 at 12:20, Peter P. Yim wrote:
>> Thanks, Gary.
>> I've signed it, and am passing it along.
>> If I may just cite one reason why I signed, I'd say:
>> "If the patent process were originally intended to
>> encourage innovation, then allowing for software
>> patents would hurt that cause a lot more than it would
>> promote it."
>> -ppy --
>> Gary Richmond wrote Thu, 18 Sep 2003 09:11:23 -0400:
>>> I'm forwarding most of an email I received from Uta
>>> Priss regarding a EU vote that could profoundly
>>> effect open-source software in Europe. Uta wrote:
>>>> The European Parliament is voting next Tuesday on
>>>> whether or not to introduce US-style software
>>>> patent laws in Europe. This legislation would
>>>> mainly help large companies, who own most of the
>>>> patents and can afford patent lawyers. Apparently,
>>>> even obvious ideas, such as the progress bar used
>>>> in software installation and the folder look for
>>>> selecting options have been patented (by IBM and
>>>> Adobe, respectively). This means that any 
>>>> open-source software that happens to implement
>>>> these ideas, could no longer be used commercially
>>>> without licensing these features. It might mean
>>>> that companies would no longer be able to use Linux
>>>> computers.
>>>> There is a petition which can be signed (also by 
>>>> Non-Europeans):
>>>> http://petition.eurolinux.org/    (05)

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