Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: "Ben Tilly" <btilly@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 11:11:51 -0700

On 9/20/06, Stephen J. Turnbull <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp> wrote:
[...]
>     Thomas> Then chuck copyrights and patents entirely.
>
> *sigh* Copyrights are in no way compulsion.  All you have to do is
> refrain from copying and you are under no obligations whatsoever.
> Patents are arguably compulsive in cases like simultaneous invention,
> but those are boundary cases, at least from the "free to share what
> you haven't paid for" point of view of free software.
[...]

Patents are compulsive in cases where one party has more resources for
lawyers and patent applications than the other.  This is NOT a
boundary case from the point of view of free software, because free
software supporters seldom have the financial incentives to apply for,
defend, or defend against patents.  (Luckily companies who have
resources to tempt a patent holder to sue, like IBM, are generally
equipped to defend themselves.)

Particularly given how broken the patent system is, the result is that
patents are lopsidedly against free software.  The only reason that
the problem is not worse than it is is that relatively few patent
holders have chosen to enforce their patents against free software.

Cheers,
Ben