[Fsfe-ie] Met MEP Mairead McGuinness

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at RealMeasures.dyndns.org
Thu Mar 31 19:06:10 CEST 2005

David O'Callaghan wrote:
> Also, I don't think the conflict between copyrights and patents that you
> mention is really a strong argument. The copyright you hold on your
> program doesn't grant you immunity from patent infringement.

You're not susceptible to the charge of patent infringement for
any other kind of copyrightable, expressive work.  Neither are
you susceptible for describing a patent, either in poetry or

It is important to emphasize the difference in the kinds of
things covered by copyright and patent, and specifically to
convey that code is an expression (therefore appropriate for
copyright) of an algorithm (therefore inappropriate for patent).

There is a real difference between the domains of copyright and
patent in that copyright covers expression and patent has not
ever before and should not now.  All that's needed is to make
clear that software is an expression.

When you keep that point clear, that code is an expression of
pure abstraction (even if it's in a FPGA or any other "hard"
form), you can maintain a clear distinction between code as the
same thing as a written representation in any other language, and
fields of technology as such.  In short, any kind of technology
that serves as instructions provided to a generic logic
processor, is the same as words written on a page, or any
copyrightable expressive work fixed in a medium.  Fields of
technology can then be distinguished as other kinds of processes
that aren't being used basically as a recording of abstract
logical and mathematical operations.

> Article 7 says "The protection and enforcement of intellectual property
> rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation
> and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual
> advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a
> manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of
> rights and obligations." This gives us some hope that arguments about
> the detrimental social and technological effects of software patents may
> have some impact.

Good point.


> Kind regards,
> David
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