[Fsfe-ie] Reply from Brian Crowley

Aidan Delaney adelaney at cs.may.ie
Fri Feb 11 10:04:43 CET 2005

On Fri, 2005-02-11 at 00:11 +0000, Robert Fitzsimons wrote:
> He did say that he could try and get us extra contact or even a meetings
> with the relevant minister(s) if that would help us get our message
> across.
Sounds like fun :)
> As for arguments against software patents:
> * We might need to promote the effects on the commercial software
> development as much as the effects on free software.
I think everyone here agrees that the use of Free Software is a choice
that is provided by the existence of a free market.  I think that
patents are detrimental to the free market that allows Free Software to
flourish.  As patents are detrimental to the free market, they are
detrimental to competition in general and thus effect _software
developers_ rather than just Free Software developers.  I'd have no
problem arguing that patents are detrimental to software development in

> * From a free trade point of view monopoly's and closed markets are
> bad for global business, patents help to promote and in large
> monopoly's and closed markets.
I think we're on the same wavelength here.

> * I would also like to see some discussion on how these patents benefit
> the common pool of knowledge after the patent expires, and if this
> extra (?) knowledge is worthily of a 20 year monopoly.
I have yet to see a patent that is worthy of a 20 year monopoly.
Nothing I have seen will be useful after a single generation of
technology nor is it non-obvious.  Thus I don't think that a common pool
of knowledge will result from patent expirations.  Particularly given
the opaque language they're written in.  I don't understand if I'm
violating a patent now and I don't think I'll understand the patent
language in 20 years to be able to use it.

Aidan Delaney   email: adelaney at cs.may.ie
                web:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney
                gpg:   http://www.cs.may.ie/~adelaney/public_key.asc
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