[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Ian's DFSG2 would harm Debian and Free Software

On 4 Dec 1998, Jens Ritter wrote:

> Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> writes:
> > On 3 Dec 1998 john@dhh.gt.org wrote:
> [...]
> > > How does the GPL endanger the original copyright or the continued freedom
> > > of that source?
> > 
> > It isn't clear to me that it does. I am still looking for some expert
> > copyright lawyer to give me some guidance on these issues, but that hasn't
> > been easy. I made a comment to an environmental lawyer I know, and his
> > first response was,"Your can't copyright software, you must patent it.".
> > I, of course, immediately threw up in his lap ;-)
> In Germany it is generally impossible to patent software.

I wish that were true in the US. It is truely a rediculous idea, but in
the US, what can be patented is determined by the patent office. That is,
if the patent office issues a patent number then it is patentable.

There currently exists a patent on the use of exclusive or to create a
blinking cursor that allows the character under the cursor to be visible
during the blink. This patent is held by a holding company which doesn't
produce anything, much less software. If they decide to enforce the
patent, ever program that takes user input using such a cursor will owe
them a royalty. Now that is truely rediculous.

Worse the courts have recently decided that "Business Processes" are
patentable, so now you must first pay royalties to own the wheel barrow
and may also owe someone else a royalty if you plan to move that wheel
barrow through patterns of use that happen to be patented.

Sorry for the rant, but this stuff really steams my collar ;-)


_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide"  _-_-_-_-_-_-

aka   Dale Scheetz                   Phone:   1 (850) 656-9769
      Flexible Software              11000 McCrackin Road
      e-mail:  dwarf@polaris.net     Tallahassee, FL  32308

_-_-_-_-_-_- If you don't see what you want, just ask _-_-_-_-_-_-_-

Reply to: