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Submission + - Venture capitalists lobby against software patents (

ciaran_o_riordan writes: No matter which side the US Supreme Court's Bilski decision pleases, it will be just the beginning of the software patent debate in the USA — the other side will start a legislative battle. The lobbying has already begun with venture capitalist Brad Feld arguing against software patents, mailing a copy of Patent Absurdity to 200 patent policy setters. As Feld puts it, "Specifically, I'm hoping the film will bring you to an understanding of why patents on software are a massive tax on and retardant of innovation in the US." The patent lawyers and big patent holders often tell us that patents are needed to secure investment, so it's interesting to see now that venture capitalists are refuting that. And Brad Feld's not the only vocal one, there's a growing list.
The Courts

Submission + - FSF Helps Jammie Thomas Get Expert vs. RIAA (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "With a $3000 grant in hand from the Expert Witness Defense Fund administered by the Free Software Foundation to help defendants in RIAA lawsuits, Jammie Thomas has asked the Court for an extension of time for discovery to enable her to retain an expert witness. The first time around, in her October, 2007, trial, she was unable to afford an expert. That verdict has since been set aside, and a new trial scheduled for March 9th of this year. This will be the second case in which the FSF has lent a hand, the first being UMG Recordings v. Lindor, where it contributed $2046.92 for the expert and $750.00 for the tech consultant. FSF's executive director Peter Brown told p2pnet today that 'Our concern was how the RIAA is trying to use this sledge-hammer against the poorest people in society to set precedents in copyright' and that 'the FSF still needs contributions so the fund can be used to help other people'."

Comment Bad assumptions (Score 5, Insightful) 477

This article is confused and makes all sorts of horrible assumptions. In short, the author seems to believe that the only way people make money off free software by adding "differentiating" proprietary software to it. Since the whole point of the GPL is to prevent people from making the software under its purview non-free, it shouldn't really be surprising, then, that the author finds it a huge pain in the neck. Personally, I'd say the license is a success, and I suspect a lot of the companies making money from GPLed software would agree with me.

-- Brett Smith, License Compliance Engineer, Free Software Foundation

GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - GNU Affero GPL released

Brett Smith writes: "The FSF just announced the final version of the GNU Affero GPL version 3. This is a new license, based on version 3 of the GNU General Public License with an additional term to allow users who interact with the licensed software over a network to receive the source for that program. This should help developers who are concerned about modifications being locked up in web services and other software run on servers."
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - A Quick Guide to GPLv3

Brett Smith writes: "The FSF Compliance Lab has just released A Quick Guide to GPLv3. This article provides developers with an easy-to-understand overview of the major changes in the new license. It goes through each new feature one by one, clearly describing how it works and how it helps people who create and distribute GPLv3-covered software."

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