Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I have taken off-line in protest of Software Patents.

For those not involved in actively developing software, this is still an important issue. In a world where ideas can be born, take root, go mainstream and die within a year, a grant of secrecy to a company or individual for 18 months can be a killer.

Imagine if there was a patent on blogging technology. For starters, many would think that this is simply a handy combination of webpages with CGI and database. But it has a specific function, and so, much like the way in which the Amazon one-click-order was, it could be patented (at least under US rules). Any company wanting to implement a blogging system would have to pay the patent holder - would there be as many blogging networks as there are now? The same diversity? I doubt it. What's more, it's been proven that business models can exist about providing a service, rather than selling the rights to use a concept.

The same applies to Wikis, and will apply to new ideas in the future.

More and more people are being introduced to the idea of ideas, seizing upon new ones and weaving them into their daily lives. As we venture further into a world of co-operation (see journalism for an emerging example), it is increasingly important that the ideas allowing us to develop new communication techniques remain free for everyone, not just those with the money.

See the FFII and this summary for more information.

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