Groklaw: Software Patents are Like Smoking
Oct 27, 2005, 01:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Marten Mickos)
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"Society crossed an invisible but decisive border when it
started to allow patents not only on tangible inventions but also
on computer software. It must have felt good at the time, but today
it is becoming increasingly obvious that software patents do no
good. In that regard software patents are like smoking--it started
with an experiment to improve health. It tasted quite good and it
soon became a fashion statement. But today smoking kills not only
those who smoke but also those who breathe nearby. And yet it is
very difficult to completely eradicate smoking. Those who smoke
stubbornly defend their right to do so. Perhaps there is even an
argument to be made where smoking is good in some circumstances.
But overall it is a habit that would deserve to be stopped. The
same applies to software patents.
"The rights of an inventor or author need to be properly
protected. Otherwise we will soon have no inventions or new
creations. But when it comes to software, copyright is quite
sufficient protection. In my mind software should be treated like
architecture, music, literature, and journalism and not like
mechanics, electronics or biochemistry or other traditional
industries. Here is my logic..."