software patents

    The Sound of Audio Formats

    Amusing that in the same week that I post a criticism of software patents, the final patents on the MP3 format expired. Some people are characterising this as the “death” of MP3, which is just nuts.

    In fact, far from being dead, it can finally come to life, as Marco Arment makes clear.

    Software patents: they’re what needs to die.

    In other software-and-the-law news, here’s a story about a case of alleged GPL violation coming to court. The judge so far seems to have made a good decision, by stating that the existence of the GPL and the defendant company’s use of the software does mean there was a contract in place.

    Software patents: dead in Europe

    In other good news, over on BoingBoing, Cory is telling us that Euro software patents are dead:

    The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.

    The bill was reportedly rejected because, politicians said, it pleased no-one in its current form.

    Responding to the rejection the European Commission said it would not draw up or submit any more versions of the original proposal.

    This is excellent news, though as Cory goes on to say,

    Software patents have been staked through the heart before, but they keep rising from the grave. There’s too much monopoly rent waiting to be extracted by anti-competitive companies for them to simply give up and go home. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    A year or so ago the number one or two hit on Google for “software patents” was an article by an old friend of mine, John Gray, who is a Patent Attorney, in favour of them.  With well-reasoned arguments, as I recall.  Sadly the article appears to have gone now, though links to it remain.  Such is one of the weaknesses of the web, unfortunately, when you can’t trust (some) publishers to keep their URLs pointing at something.

    Update: asajeffrey found a mailing list post that, if not John’s article that I was thinking of, certainly discusses the same ideas.  Thanks, Alan.  Note that I am not the “Martin” referred to in that post.