Preventing you from lifting other people's work without compensation is not oppression.
If by "lifting" you mean stealing, then you are not talking about anything resembling the patent law.
Actually how a gizmo does A,B,C is critically important for a patent. As another device can do A,B,C, but in a different way, and it would not violate the patent.
This is irrelevant to my argument, as I am saying that technology has no impact on patentability. It does, of course, affect the patent.
The overall problem with software patents is they define the What (A,B,C) but not the How.
Yeah they do. How? With an algorithm that takes this and gives you that. In short, with a computer. Any software that can do the same is, well, functionally the same. It is entirely consistent that we cannot write around patents, and so the problem is with their very existence. They just do more harm when it comes to software, since the latter is almost always built on top of the older software, and even a "simple" by today's standards program can have thousands of patentable algorithms in it. The kind of harm they do is the same, though, regardless of the technology involved: innovation is taxed or prevented, monopolies distort the free market, and our freedom of expression is abridged.
I'd expect this much if anything. SCOTUS cannot fix the software patents. It is not even clear what a "software patent" is. IANAL, but the way I understand the patent law, there is absolutely no difference. If you have a gizmo that does A, B, and C, then you can patent it, and how exactly it meets these claims in terms of technology is irrelevant. The patent law itself is oppressive: it infringes on our right to free expression, while providing no discernible benefit to the public. Only the lawmakers can fix this clusterfuck, and they can do so trivially, by gradually shrinking the protection term, giving the manufacturers some time to adapt. But they, of course, lack the will to do so, since they respect the opinions of plutocrats way more than those of the general public.
RMS also advocates a way to get to the same goal in discrete steps, by making patents unenforceable in certain fields (like the medical field or the general purpose computing field). The precedents exist: the surgeons are allowed to ignore patents while curing people. This is much better than defining "software patents" within the law, since any such definition will probably be circumvented by technological means. Rent-seekers could simply inject enough non-software payload into a device and patent it anyway.
This. But the problem, as I see it, is not with people designing poor passwords. The password authentication itself is the problem. One basic issue is that passwords, ostensibly, authenticate a person, but in practice they do not. It is the computer that gets the direct access, not a person, so we could as well be consistent and have a procedure designed to authenticate a person+computer pair. And that leads us to a much more secure way to authenticate: using the strong encryption, either symmetric or asymmetric. Arguably, this is also easier on the human user! Instead of remembering hundreds of weak passwords, many of which are identical, one can simply outsource this whole thing to a piece of trusted, secure hardware. Let the computer generate and remember the public/private key pairs (asymmetric) and the shared secrets (symmetric), and to use them automagically. Given a properly secured cyber-brain (a private, wearable computer with absolutely no remote control of any kind), stealing the keys remotely is impossible, even if they are kept unencrypted. The only practical way to get them is to steal the actual hardware, which is prohibitively expensive for most kinds of illegal activities.
The biggest benefit to the user, IMHO, is the simplicity of the security protocol. Keep your cyber-brain and its backups physically secure. End of story. Even the dumbest of people can do this much for their wallets today.
Their FAQ says the following about why safeplug is secure:
Oh, wait, it doesn't say anything. No description of the software, no developer access, "activation"? WTF is that? This is just another spy box, folks, just like your cellphone and your self-encrypting storage unit.
I do not believe I am taking it to the extreme. Software vendors that sell us cat in a bag are the ones taking it to the extreme--in their case, of douchebaggery.
Is it maybe reasonable for a game developer to not give anybody and everybody permission to distribute their single-player PC-only game whose design assets alone cost millions to create?
Notice that my argument above is not concerned with art in general, but since you bring it up, let me tear into that. You are talking about a game, and I'll assume that it's a work designed for pure entertainment. (An educational game, even when it includes expensive art, can and should be developed on taxpayer money, and should be free because all education should be free (as in freedom).) And with this kind of art, we have a major difference from the software as usually understood: its value is entirely subjective, and if it is not available, then any other kind of art can be used to duplicate its function, which is to merely entertain. Forget art even. One can pet a cat or stare into the fire or smoke something, and be just as entertained as by any video game out there. So what you seem to be saying is, let's give everyone censorship powers, so that they can sell them to capitalists in mass, so that capitalists can sue anyone who dares to compete with them in the market, all of that just so that we can have a CERTAIN KIND of entertainment? Like $50 million movies and games, I mean? IMHO, this is a TERRIBLE deal for us, both as consumers and as citizens. It is not even clear that big-budget titles would disappear in the absence of copyright. Some game designers are already collecting donations for non-free games, and are successful. If anything, people would be more willing to support a free project, so I fail to see what we have to gain by keeping up the censorship and the intellectual monopolies that come with it.
Actors like getting royalties for having their likenesses spread all over creation.
Um... Professional actors who want to monetize notoriety should be happy every time people talk about them, let alone share clips of them to get their friends addicted as well. The more famous and well-known they are, the more opportunity they have to make a buck. They absolutely do not need any censorship powers.
Artists don't like having their distinctive works appropriated without being credited.
Here I agree wholeheartedly: everyone should have the right to be credited appropriately. This is the only restriction a copyright law should be able to enforce. If the only requirement for re-distribution of a creative work is to provide a correct credit, then it cannot be considered censorship for any practical purposes. This right, I think, should be protected about as much as the current copyright lasts: lifetime and a half of the author or so. All other restrictions on re-distribution have to go. To say it in a different way, the only license a copyright should be able to enforce is the BSD-like license. Copyleft wouldn't hurt, but it wouldn't be needed either, as it's basically just a middle finger for the scammers who would build on free software, but refuse to share. Copyleft serves its purpose well, but educating the consumers about the nasty nature of non-free software to the point where they start boycotting it for rational and/or selfish reasons would work even better.