[Fsfe-ie] why patent lobbying must mention Free Software

Ciaran O'Riordan coriordan at compsoc.com
Tue Jun 15 02:18:25 CEST 2004

A while ago, there was a discussion that I can't find now, I think it was
between Justin Mason and Ian Clarke - but the point was that we shouldn't
confuse the patents issue by talking about Free Software.  I was a bit
snowed under for joining the discussion at the time but it's imperative that
we talk about Free Software.

Small&Medium enterprises can't afford to apply for patents, enforce their
own patents, and defend themselves from patent litigation - so what if a
solution was found whereby our government set up a patent assistance fund
for SMBs?

I can't take credit for that idea, I think I heard Mary Hareny suggest it
but I can't find the reference now.

So our own government could pay of Microsoft and IBM instead of our SMBs,
(in effect, MS would simply launch twice as many litigation suits because
there would be more cash to grab), and free software developers would be
absolutely screwed.

(which is a reason why MS might whisper this suggestion into the ear of an
MS-loving person with political power.)

So what I'm saying is, if you don't ask for what you want, you may not like
what you get.

(not that our argument should be purely free software based, but I struck
what I think was a good balance in the last letter - but then, of course I'd
like my balance)  http://ifso.ie/documents/swpats-council-00.html

BTW, I got a comment published on the rte.ie site:
(but the site is down right now)

And I saw software patents were mentioned on the front page of France's main
national newspaper Le Monde during the week - so the non-english speakers
are as busy as we are.

Ciarán O'Riordan
Free Software in Ireland: http://ifso.ie

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