Patent Absurdity

Unattributed, Jun 27, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a good explanation of why software patents, as currently employed in the U.S. and as proposed (repeatedly) for Europe, are such a bad idea. Consider what would happen if they applied to novels. Instead of protecting specific text, the patent would protect, say, "the concept of a character who has been in jail for a long time and becomes bitter towards society and humankind." Or worse, "Communication process structured with narration that continues through many pages." These are the sorts of patents being filed in software today, and just as they would have prevented the publication of numerous great books, they will also prevent the authoring of useful and needed software.
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