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Patents Your Rights Online

Save the Web From Software Patents 127

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the byline-discontinued-due-to-patent-lawsuit dept.
TheNextCorner writes "PersonalWeb's software patent suit against Github and others threatens the freedom of the Web. In order to make sure that the Web can remain a free and accessible space for everyone, we need to rid ourselves of all the patents that threaten its viability. We need to end software patents."
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Save the Web From Software Patents

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  • Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by santax (1541065) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:09PM (#41520551)
    Very informative... at the very least mention this is FSF's viewpoint on the issue. Also, it's ok to write more than 3 sentences. Thank you.
    • by stevejf (2724307)
      Agreed. If this is supposed to be a news site, at least present things as news articles, not as unqualified statements of opinion.
      • by edibobb (113989)
        Right. Even though in this instance the headline opinion is correct. In my opinion. Do non-sentences count if you use a period?
      • Re:Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:32PM (#41521161)
        I disagree. Software patents, if allowed to continue, will likely destroy this site, along with many others like it. Is a man in shackles ever unbiased about his right to a trial? Are reporters unbiased when they report on freedom of the press? Should slashdot pretend to be unbiased when it comes to freedom of the internet? When it comes to survival, we are all rightfully biased towards self preservation and there is no shame in it.
    • Also, it's ok to write more than 3 sentences.

      Says the guy who wrote 2 and 1/2 sentences....

  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:16PM (#41520609)

    Remember that quite a few powerful companies have built their fortune on abusing the patent system.

    • Not going to be easy? It won't happen. Period. Too much money has already exchanged hands. Any solution to this nightmare will by necessity have to enable companies to retain the invested value of their patent portfolio and licensing while being universally applied to all jurisdictions around the world. It is the equivalent of de-weaponizing every nation-state, every NGO. In other words it's a pipe dream. Politicians could have nipped this in the bud maybe twenty years ago but now they are simply imp

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:09PM (#41520981)

        Some humans really love getting more than they give, having lots of power over others and abusing it for the sake of abusing it, and so on.

        The overwhelming majority of the rest of humanity likes being as lazy as possible in order to achieve their mediocre existence, never putting themselves out to change things that don't seem like they will make a really huge difference in their own lives. It is *so* much easier to let other people fight the important battles while watching TV and feeling smug after having voted.

        The tiny remainder who actually care about justice, and about helping humanity achieve its full potential, are completely outnumbered (by the slothful) and outgunned (by the powerful).

        Maybe we will grow out of this someday. Until then, expect widespread failure.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, yeah, yeah.

          Somehow we still develop new cures for diseases, amazing new structures to live in, work in and travel over and through. We dream up and make various ways to communicate around the world instantly, to see all of our planet and always know where we are, to look billions of years into the past or travel to the oceans greatest depths just to see what's there, to land exploratory robots on remote planets, travel around our planet faster than the speed of sound, feed the vast majority of 7 billi

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The tiny remainder who actually care about justice, and about helping humanity achieve its full potential, are completely outnumbered (by the slothful) and outgunned (by the powerful).

          Yes, but this is the remainder we refer to as, Mad Scientist, Evil Genius, Arch Nemesis, etc... It only takes a few of those to make big changes.

          I'm one of your "remainder". For instance: Let's sterilize all the retards, and institude licenses and genetic screening for all births. Let's require IQ tests for Citizenship (and thus voter's rights). Let's throw out any Judges and Jurors that can't pass a quiz on the subject the're ruling over. Let's treat the populous like test subjecs: Why roll out a econ

          • by Raenex (947668)

            As a Scientist I say: If the Patent System is beneficial, then WHERE THE FUCK IS THE EVIDENCE? Let's do a test, and see?! No, they say? Then they're insane! You don't have to be Evil or a Genius to realize we have ZERO evidence for or against patents being benefical.

            All I have is your assertion that there is ZERO evidence. The common example of where patents are important is in the pharmaceutical industry. It is very expensive to develop drugs, but cheap to copy them once developed. We have seen many successful drugs developed under the patent system. There are counter-arguments against this, but to say that there is ZERO evidence is just a biased assertion.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Oh, change will not come from people like the FSF. This is a MAD scheme, and with Apple and Google and others at each other throats, it has turned into a hot war. The difference is that here, participants can die or be severely crippled. If everybody was just protecting their own fiefdom, yes, nothing would happen. But if this goes on (and it will, because the players are incapable of stopping by themselves), the damage will grow so huge that it will become an existential thing for western civilization. Tha

        • by JWW (79176) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:58PM (#41521583)

          I am beginning to believe that our screwed up patent system is the primary reason small businesses are failing to get started and why we're struggling so much to get out of the recession.

          • I am glad you're only beginning to believe it... there's still hope for you to turn it around.

            When was the last time any one of the moderators who bumped this all the way up to 'insighful' thought about starting a business and said "oops, better not do that... I might get sued for patent infringement"? I'm betting never. And if so, did they actually get an attorney do a search to see (or do a patent search themselves via the USPTO)? I'm betting that finishes off the entire bunch if any made it past the f
      • Any solution to this nightmare will by necessity have to enable companies to retain the invested value of their patent portfolio and licensing while being universally applied to all jurisdictions around the world

        That would seem easy enough, every patent and copyright mark as a limited time frame already.

        Just stop issuing new patents and stop extending the rights on existing patents and let those existing patents and copyrights run their natural course.

        Companies don't lose anything that they already hav

    • I thought we didn't had them here?

      Sounds like a US problem.

      Doubt it would kill the web globally.

      FUD ;)

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Remember that quite a few powerful companies have built their fortune on abusing the patent system.

      Yeah, those law firms aren't about to throw away their meal ticket ... or were you referring to someone else?

  • Realistically, how? The notion that an idea can be property is firmly ensconced in the Zeitgeist, and billions of dollars of wealth depend on it staying that way.

    Who or what has the kind of realpolitik oomph to go up against that? I don't see it.

    • Please note, the story is about software patents, not all patents. Europe currently does a better job at patents than USA seems to be doing.
    • Re:Ok but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:32PM (#41520745) Journal
      Sounds trollish but I am serious : come in France, or any European country with sane dispositions. VLC could probably not have existed as a US project, or could not have read DVDs.

      Show the US government that software patents hurt innovation so much that it causes migration of innovative firms.
      • by donaldm (919619)

        Show the US government that software patents hurt innovation so much that it causes migration of innovative firms.

        The problem is how? Enough words have been spoken with regard abolishing software patents some hysterical and many others logical however software patents continue to be given out with the result of billions of dollars been given to the patent lawyers and patent trolls, One possible way is for other countries to abolish software patents and don't export possibly infringing software to the USA. Easily said but in a global economy it is a brave company that can afford to do that.

  • Time to end patents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:25PM (#41520675)

    I was convinced they were needed, if only for Pharmaceuticals, where the testing time is long but the time to copy short, but now I'm having doubts even there:
    http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

    The test for me is the cure for aids vs the cure for limp penis. Patents simply haven't delivered a cure for a major disease in 30 years, they have however invented many ways to get a penis erect and a seemingly endless way to cure headaches.

    US is stagnating, down from 1st to 3rd with China taking second spot on the exporters list. This I think is a direct result of strong IP laws.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_exports

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by santax (1541065)
      Well the pharma's have no reason to cure cancer or aids. It would cost them heaps in medicine that just prolong the patients life and already are incredible expensive (not to make, but to buy). Curing these people is like cutting yourself off from a really good source of income.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's because Pharma is a few players, and all of them make big money from keeping cancer patients and aids patients alive. For a cure, you'd need a smaller player without that vested interest.

        As it is now, the only thing they're doing is researching and patenting around any possible cures to prevent that cash cow being taken away.

        • The lack of cures is simply down to the fact that most of the 'low hanging fruit' in terms of pharmaceutical treatments has already been discovered.
          Also the costs of getting a drug approved has gone up and up. It is probable that some drugs such as paracetamol would not be approved nowadays either, at least not as available OTC (over the counter) without prescription.

          AIDs is an extremely complex disease which shows some ability to adapt itself when under attack. No cure is likely to be simple

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if all those people talking about software freedom use iPhones.

    • I wonder if all those people talking about software freedom use iPhones.

      I love how comments like this get modded up, then later we get up-modded comments about how there's too much Apple hype.

      Oh, and if there is a 'freedom' phone out there, it's not running Android.

  • I'm surprised... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedirock (1453977) on Monday October 01, 2012 @09:44PM (#41520805)

    that no one mentioned the very well written article posted on ArsTechnica yesterday about the patent system and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. As expected, a very US-centric view on the problem, but it does raise some obvious issues. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/how-a-rogue-appeals-court-wrecked-the-patent-system/ [arstechnica.com]

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Monday October 01, 2012 @10:49PM (#41521259)

    We need to end software patents

    I seem to recall that back in the day it was pretty fucking obvious what would happen if we allowed them in the first place. Fat lot of fucking good that did, however...

    • We need to end software patents

      I seem to recall that back in the day it was pretty fucking obvious what would happen if we allowed them in the first place. Fat lot of fucking good that did, however...

      Oh yes, I remember well the fear of software patents back in the day, and the big relief felt by most programmers when it appeared the issue was dead. Software was not patentable, the issue was settled, and the nascent PC software writing community heaved a sigh of relief went on about its business. It's worth noting that that was an era of absolutely stunning innovation, with new software ideas cropping up everywhere, seemingly overnight. Nobody worried about patents, and the industry flourished. And yet,

      • by Type44Q (1233630)
        I seem to recall that they got their foot in the door with software patents in Europe first and after that, it was only a matter of time...
  • A patent in this case is rather specific and
    is unlikely to have been implemented and not grafted into
    a real product.

    Rummage about your old notes and old email and find
    where this "invention" was first discussed and published.

    Note that git was developed as a reaction to someone stepping on
    the cash flow of bitkeeper and friends. A Git2 that works differently
    is possible ....

    To me this is a normal and obvious extension of a unique hash lookup
    table. It can be done at the end of a network link a fiber channel
    o

  • The oldest patent in the case is for de-duplication in storage using a cryptographic hash. Most web sites don't do that, although some caching systems do.

    • So do you feel that such a patent should have been granted in the first place? If f(d_1)==f(d_2), then allowing for the hash-space collision error, you can infer that d_1 == d_2 and de-duplicate. Should math isomorphism inferences be patentable?
  • My naive take on it is that the problem seems to be in allowing patents that are patently [punny, sorry] obvious to be granted. Many things that were probably common knowledge prior to allowing software to be patented were allowed to be patented, and many new patents cover crazy things like "one-click" shopping.

    The "one-click" patent shows the key absurdity: almost every interaction on the internet (except for text entry) requires a response to a click on a link/hyperlink. (text entry requires a response

  • Please Please Please, just leave the union already!

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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