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Comment EFF sold out in 1992 and never recovered? (Score 1) 121

That would be around 1992, right?

So EFF was good for two years and then sold out? If that's correct, how have they managed to maintain a high profile and good reputation?

There patent work always disappoints me, but I assumed they were valuable in some other area, but I know very little about their work.

Comment Re:No no no. Wrong target. Again. (Score 4, Interesting) 121

> Jpeg and mpeg

Nonsense. Patents might have funded R&D in one building, but those patents blocked R&D in every other building.

In the 90s, everyone was after image and video compression, there were piles of people working on it, or wanting to work on it. Studies show that software patents caused money to be diverted *away* from R&D (toward patent defence, defensive acquisition etc.).

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Studies_on_economics_and_innovation
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/An_Empirical_Look_at_Software_Patents

And if you want to fund researchers, just abolish software patents and suddenly you free up a few billion in application fees, maintenance fees, freedom to operate search fees, defence costs, out of court settlements, licensing fees...

Comment No no no. Wrong target. Again. (Score 4, Insightful) 121

Why does EFF never oppose software patents as a concept?

They always want to eliminate the 10 worst software patents, but they have enough educated/informed people to know that the world isn't plagued by 10 lousy software patents. It's thickets like the 346 US patents exploited by MPEG LA.

Or the thousands of patents held by Intellectual Ventures, Apple, and Microsoft.

C'mon EFF. You have the cash and the lawyers. Give us a hand fixing the problem (legislation, court briefs) and stop trying to wipe out malaria by swatting mosquitoes! You know that doesn't work.

Comment Why does he stop short of abolition? (Score 5, Interesting) 100

He also wrote a good piece back in July:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/07/why-there-are-too-many-patents-in-america/259725/ ...where he repeats most of the arguments that people use to ask for abolishing software patents, but he stops short and instead muses on a few reforms (that probably wouldn't have much of an effect).

Here's my views on his July piece:

http://news.swpat.org/2012/07/posners-problem/

And there're a few more links about his positions here:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Richard_Posner_on_software_patents

Abolition seems like the logical conclusion of his musings. I can't see why he doesn't discuss it.

Comment A few bad apples is *not* the problem! (Score 4, Interesting) 167

MPEG LA claims to manage 346 patents (in the USA alone) which are necessary for anyone who wants to write a video player that can play this very widely used format.

Eliminating 5%, or even 95% of these patents will change nothing. Software developers will still have to ask MPEG LA for permission, and MPEG LA will continue to prohibit free software implementations.

Why bother with these complicated, time-consuming ideas? The way to fix the problem (and unblock the patent office), is to make software simply non-eligible.

* http://en.swpat.org/wiki/MPEG_LA

* http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Raising_examination_standards_wouldn't_fix_much

Patents

Submission + - New Zealand draft patent law rewritten after Microsoft meeting (legislation.govt.nz) 2

ciaran_o_riordan writes: "After two private meetings with Microsoft and IBM, New Zealand's proposed new patent legislation has been changed by "replacing an exclusion in clause 15(3A) (which relates to computer programs) with new clause 10A. Rather than excluding a computer program from being a patentable invention, new clause 10A clarifies that a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of the Bill". The difference is that the new 10A clause contains the "as such" loophole, the wording that is used by the European Patent Office to grant software patents. This is the same Patents Bill launched in 2009."

Submission + - New Zealand patent legislation rewritten after Microsoft meeting (legislation.govt.nz) 1

ciaran_o_riordan writes: "After two private meetings with Microsoft and IBM, New Zealand's proposed new patent legislation has been changed by "replacing an exclusion in clause 15(3A) (which relates to computer programs) with new clause 10A. Rather than excluding a computer program from being a patentable invention, new clause 10A clarifies that a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of the
Bill". This is the same Patents Bill launched in 2009."

Comment Re:I can't see the blog. It's blacklisted! (Score 1) 175

If you don't know how to search for cached copies of web pages

Us nerds being able to circumvent these measures isn't the point.

Most people (non-techs - think of your family and friends) *don't* know about cached copies, and we don't know when courts will get smarter and propose dynamic lists for "equivalent" pages/urls that also have to be blocked to comply with whatever law or court decision.

There will always be ways for the nerdiest 1% to access these pages, but that doesn't change that for most people in Belgium, this blog entry doesn't exist.

Comment Re:I can't see the blog. It's blacklisted! (Score 1) 175

Didn't work for me. I get redirected to the blocked page (thepiratebay.se/blog/204).

BTW, if there's a working IP address, is there an easy way to configure my GNU/Linux box to automatically go to that IP address when an application makes a request to "thepiratebay.se"? (I did this before but don't remember the file)

Comment I can't see the blog. It's blacklisted! (Score 5, Interesting) 175

I've never been affected first-hand by government censorship of websites, but when I clicked on the piratebay.se link to read his blog entry, I just got:

The access to this website is blocked in conformity with a decision of the Antwerp Court of Appeal dated 26 September 2011.

For any additional information, you can contact the Belgian Anti-piracy Federation (BAF), at Almaplein 3 P.O. Box 10, 1200 Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe - http://www.anti-piracy.be/en/.

I'm currently in Belgium.

Comment Re:He also blocks AIDS medication development (Score 1) 214

The development cost might justify the patent system for pharma in rich countries, but there are countries that have big AIDS problems and which are too poor for their populations to fund pharma development in any significant way. There the patent system for pharma isn't justified and is leading to millions of deaths. And that's what Gates pushed for via TRIPS.

And charity like this (in this case: a tiny portion of someone's ill-gotten gains) isn't making up the difference. Last I heard, the AIDS problems of poor countries isn't going away.

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