Good riddance to software patents

As an independent software developer I am 100% opposed to software patents. Software patents are unlikely to help my business and are much more likely to be used against it by a multinational software company, or worse, a parasitic patent troll. Here are some basic objections to software patents:

  • Unnecessary – software is already covered by copyright.
  • Ineffective at promoting innovation. To the contrary, software patents seem primarily about shutting down competition. To see the impact of patents on innovation just observe the current smartphone patent wars. The associated litigation will not leave consumers better off or encourage innovation. We are better off without government-mandated monopolies on software ideas.
  • Increase the legal risks for local software developers. Applying for and enforcing patents costs money and large corporations are much more capable of using the legal process to their advantage than smaller entities. Contrary to arguments sometimes made (often by large corporations), software patents don’t even things up for “the little guy”.

Here are some links with a local emphasis for further reading:

Farce from the MPAA

In Making law the good way Colin Jackson recounts a delightful incident at the Commerce Select Committee hearing submissions on the Copyright Amendment (Infringing Filesharing) Bill. I repeat it here for your pleasure:

The next submitter was NZFACT and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). This was led by the MPAA’s managing director for Asia Pacific, Michael Ellis. He made much of the fact that he had flown from Singapore to New Zealand to talk to the Committee. Ellis tried to show a video to the Committee to explain how easy it was to download the movie “Boy”. The submission came dangerously close to farce as he repeatedly failed to make his laptop display the video. These attempts took up most of his allotted time. Eventually he managed to start the video without sound.

Colin’s entire piece is well worth a read.