Subject: Re: GIF/LZW patent
From: Santiago Gala <>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2006 13:26:57 +0200
Wed, 27 Sep 2006 13:26:57 +0200
El mar, 26-09-2006 a las 19:57 -0700, Lawrence Rosen escribió:


> I happen to believe that patents can work FOR open source in much the
> same
> way that copyright was supposed to. Even better, if we do it right.
> Just the
> opposite result if we continue to close our eyes to the reality of
> software
> patents.
> I'll be blunt about it: If we didn't have copyright on software and
> only had
> patents, we'd be much better off. At least then monopolies would be
> based
> upon innovation instead of mere writings by armies of programmers of
> mostly
> me-too code. Programmers would be rewarded for being innovative, and
> the
> rest of us could otherwise copy and reuse any non-patented or
> off-patented
> software we wanted, regardless of who wrote it. That's how
> intellectual
> property works in every other area of technology! Wouldn't that be a
> better
> world?

I don't think so: gags where the laugh is caused by someone falling off
a cliff would be patented, and the firms would fight for added claims
extensions as now.

Lawyers are social lubricants, and they (you?) are interested in
situations where friction exists, as it is where there are incentives to
negotiate/litigate, etc.

My bet would be that no friction in the software development (i.e., no
patents, and lightweight copyright) would have the same big impact as
the printing press invention had: carrying us from, say, 100 new books a
year to today's 100K/10M new books a year.

Which adds to enormous global social value, even if it is not easily
accountable because it is not concentrated in *that* few hands.

When you say that sidestepping a patent is an enormous incentive to
innovation, reminds me Spanish's writers, when Franco, saying that
"censorship is a big incentive to creativity, it forces you to work
around it for your work to be published". Believe me, I don't like
fences to make me stronger except when it is *me* and not other people
who puts *and moves at will* the fences.

Santiago Gala <>
High Sierra Technology, SLU

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