Software Patents: Was: Re: Re: Is anyone packaging `lame' ?
> The existing European software patents were granted based on the
> assumption that you can differentiate between a computer program and
> its underlying ideas. I think such a distinction is indeed possible,
> and granting theese patents does not contradict Article 52. But I
> strongly believe that as a matter of policy, software should be
> privileged in such a way that creating, distributing and using it
> cannot infringe any patents.
Regarding software patents, it is my understanding, in the USA, of
course that algorithms (the "underlying ideas") can be patented. Both
the encoder and decoder for mp3 files are based on algorithms - the
particular coding implementation is unimportant, as long as it uses the
algorithm. This is one reason why some image, encryption and
compression (think LZH) formats are not available or are non-free.
Software code can be copyrighted, but that is an easy thing to get
around - even if you got your original idea from some copyrighted code.
Patents are not easy to get around. They totally protect all
implementations of the procedures used to do x (whatever x is).
If the EU follows the lead of the USA, then there can be some serious
future problems for the open source community.
Just my humble opinion on an old thread,