[Fsfe-ie] Re: Patents, current situation?
s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Tue Sep 23 00:37:56 CEST 2003
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On 22 Sep 2003 at 10:39, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> My understanding is that you could write an mp3->ogg converter without
> requiring a license but you could not write an mp3 player. I don't
> see the big win here, patents would still be an obsticle and patent
> infringement suits (legitimate or not) would still be a threat.
Pro-patent lobby groups are targeting the interoperability clause the
hardest. They quite rightly realise that if passed it would represent
a major blow to enforceability of patents.
Your example is the most obvious, but we can go much further. For
example you could write your mp3 player in two parts - one converts
the mp3 to wav, and the second part plays the wav - of course you do
this internally. You've just got around the patent.
> The Free Software amendment would be great, it would encourage
> companies to release Free Software as a means of avoiding patent
> requirements. The down side is that I'm not sure this amendment will
> get majority support.
I STRONGLY oppose such an amendment. The biggest threat of software
patents is not against non-commercial software at all because
royalties are usually waived (proof is in the US). The single biggest
loser from software patents are SME's and most especially technology
I know most free software believers think software is the free
property of all mankind but I absolutely urge you not to create a two
tier environment. GPL believers may not like it, but there is no
realistic business or economic model for making GPL software - RedHat
only turn a profit because they do very little of the overall work.
No company can possibly make a profit selling the most popular kinds
of free software.
The solution here is alternative types of free software, but I'd
doubt if the OSI would approve.
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