[Fsfe-ie] patents letter stuff

Ian Clarke ian at locut.us
Wed Jan 14 20:58:33 CET 2004

Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> A request:
>   Can people find a few great technologies that *aren't* patented?
> I'm thinking about SMS text messaging? is that patent-free?
> Does anyone know of other technologies that have really taken off?

Um, the Internet? :-)

Seriously, the Internet would never have happened were it not for
exactly the kind of open standards and interoperability that software
patents inhibit.  It is the perfect example of a revolutionary
technology that thrived exactly because nobody had a monopoly over its
standards and protocols.  If the current software patent culture existed
during the early days of the Internet we simply wouldn't have an
Internet in its current form today.

Quite simply, software patents would have slowed or even prevented the
emergence of the greatest intellectual and educational tool since the
printing press.


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