Tutos, Knopper and WineHQ are among 2500 software websites that shut down August 27th, and remain that way as of this writing, protesting the pending European Legislation on patents. They did this to make the point that patents can stop innovation. In fact, these sites will have to forcibly shut down if the proposed law (to override the current patent law) is adopted in the EU. (See slashdot for more discussion.)
Unlike copyright, patents can block independent creations. Software patents can render software copyright useless. One copyrighted work can be covered by hundreds of patents of which the author doesn't even know but for whose infringement he and his users can be sued. Some of these patents may be impossible to work around, because they are broad or because they are part of communication standards.
Evidence from economic studies shows that software patents have lead to a decrease in R&D spending.
Thanks to Frank Field for the pointer.Posted by Mary Hodder at August 29, 2003 08:02 AM | TrackBack