Home > In the News > FSF Europe on Microsoft Ruling FSF Europe on Microsoft Ruling Submitted by Rahul Sundaram 2004-12-23 In the News 22 Comments The Free Software Foundation Europe has responded to Microsoft’s failed appeal previously discussed here. About The Author Adam Scheinberg Vice President, Information Technology at Massey Services, Inc • President, Board Member, The Mockingbird Foundation • All Things Web, Umphrey’s McGee • Web Developer • Father • Foodie • Music Snob • OS enthusiast Follow me on Twitter @sethadam1 22 Comments 2004-12-23 1:30 pm Indeed, this is a nice Christmas present for us (those) who love freedom. I hope patenting gets a real kick in the ass by the European Union. (first post? 2004-12-23 2:27 pm Who wants to bet that now that MS has to play fair in Europe they will tighten their grip even harder here. After all we have software patents so that no “harm” will not come to giant coperations who don’t like to have compitition. Before too long MS will probably try to convince Congress that running anything but Windows on a PC is illeage….. 2004-12-23 3:00 pm Well said, RaisedFist. 😉 2004-12-23 3:33 pm If patents only worked for 1-2 years it would be ok. Because it would give the inovative people a little edge and not a monopoly. IT is evolving to fast for the current patent laws to work as they are intended in “spirit”. To make it worth the effort for people to be inovative and earn money on their ideas without being able to monopolies the industry. And when the end of any patent expires, specs for etc. file formats should be available to everybody to keep compitition alive. One firm I like when it comes to file formats is adobe because they deliver a killer product(etc. photoshop) and let others use their file formats. And that´s the way to compete! They simply deliver the best products and thats that. 2004-12-23 3:43 pm i agree with you here. The software patents do need a redesign. And if the software pantents story goes well in the European Union, i think it will not only provide a more stronger recognition to the non-proprietery licenses but may also in the next few years provide a base for the change of patent laws in the US. 2004-12-23 5:14 pm It would be a little step for the law and a giant leap for mankind If the EU can pull it of(I´m being very optimistic here), it would be the dawn of a new era in the IT world. If it´s done, then the EU will atract alot of programers from etc. the USA, because they can develop more freely. And that means competition, evolution and inovation. That will bring better, cheaper and more secure products to the end user. To keep up the USA have to change the law otherwise they will fall behind just like the neandertals did. But there is a gigantic pressure from the big players on this subject and it will be a hard nut to crack. And don´t worry folks if the EU fails we still have Asia and Africa to take a shot at it 2004-12-23 8:54 pm Doesn’t anyone get to the point this is in fact a kind of economic protectionism ? 2004-12-23 9:24 pm are from a time where it would take years rather then months to get a working product out to a large enough public. allso, i belived patents where designed to protect start-ups, but more and more corps like microsoft are takeing out defensive patents on stuff they maybe have had in use for atleast one version of their own product. thesamecan be said about copyright. copyright today lasts longer then the original laws said. yet it takes a shorter time to distribute and create the products its supposed to protect. this basicly creates a bigger timeframe for protected earnings. a law should not protect beyond the time it takes to earn what is needed to cover expences for makeing the original product. 2004-12-23 10:58 pm a law should not protect beyond the time it takes to earn what is needed to cover expences for makeing the original product. Ahh, so no profit? 2004-12-23 11:06 pm ‘allso, i belived patents where designed to protect start-ups” Not quite; patents were designed to protect inventors. The law of patent originated a long time before the concept of the corporation in any _modern_ sense (though not in the early sense), and certainly a long time before anyone coined the phrase ‘start-up’ 2004-12-24 12:43 am lumbergh: your allready at 0 debt, a most likely selling product and a head start on the competition (that have to get production going). keep your nerve and you should profit, the question is just how much. if the state should protect your profit then the state may well take over all production. and isnt communism a bad thing? adamw: inventors, start-ups, are they not more or less equal? but you bring on a important point, the modern corporation still make use of unchanged laws (unless they have them changed for their benefit) while they themselfs have changed into a entity that have allmost the same rights as a citizen but none of the requirements that come with these rights. 2004-12-24 6:19 am It seems to me that the ones who usually think that patents need a “redesign” are those who don’t hold any patents. Which sounds a lot like sour grapes. I’ve got bad news for you guys: the U.S. Constitution explicitly gives Congress the right to grant temporary monopolies to inventors. You may not like that fact. It flies in the face of your “software must be free” mentality. But so be it. Congress isn’t going to change the rules now, no matter how much you wish on a star. My advice to you would be to create an open source consortium with donations to fund intellectual property protection. That would give you the ability to pick and choose who to grant licenses to. You could exclude companies such as Microsoft, etc who violate your patents. The GPL isn’t going to cut it. 2004-12-24 11:35 am “Doesn’t anyone get to the point this is in fact a kind of economic protectionism?” Yes protecting the marketplace against predatory practices, don’t you get that point? 2004-12-24 12:23 pm You are right in that the US Constitution grants temporary monopolies to inventors – from the start in 1790! But you should see the _temporary_ in this: first 14 years with ONE possible extent. of another 14 years. After that the “invention” would become public domain. Now take a look at how this good idea got perverted by the congress. The intention was not to create a money cow for the inventor but to encourage them to invent and later give their invention to the public. How can an inventor/… benefit from his/her invention or be encourgaed to invent more if he/she is already dead for 40 years? Patents are not for the sole benefit of the inventor but should also benefit the public. Thats I see it having recently read a book about copyright and such ) AZ 2004-12-24 2:07 pm It´s not about “software must be free” it´s about “competition must be there”. Don´t you want a better product? If there is no copetition there is no inovation or the it is so slow that after 10 years the only progress is that the box it comes in has changed color. Lukily we have competition today, but at a smaller scale so inovation is there. Think about how much faster the inovation could become if the patent laws was redesigned to fit the industry and not only fit the patent holders. Patents are granted to corporations that didn´t ivented shit, like the patent that covers “the menu on the left side of a webpage!”. 2004-12-24 3:25 pm patents are supposed to be time limited, but the timelimit was set when all creations where physical ones and could take ages to assemble. and then the timelimit was extended ,rather then shortend, for all things equaly over and over. i dont have a problem with the concept of copyright or patent as i see the idea behind them. what i have a problem with is that they are made to affect everything equaly, even when the time from prototype to working product may be hours, not years, for some products. any kid with a computer and some time can trow together a new program and put it on the net. this is very unlike the inventors of old that often used expendable resources in their attempts at getting something to work. the only thing the kid is expending is time. this is why i wrote that patents should allow you to safely pay of any debt that you may have buildt up while produceing the original product, but after that it should be free market for everyone. 2004-12-24 6:27 pm Congress didn’t “pervert” anything. The Constitution gave Congress the explicit perogative to decide what “limited time” means. I’m sorry that you don’t agree with Congress’s decision — but you have a right to disagree. One consolation: Congress could always change its collective mind on this matter — but I wouldn’t sit by the phone, if I were you. 2004-12-25 2:21 am It´s not about “software must be free” it´s about “competition must be there”. Don´t you want a better product? No, for you OSS-oriented guys, it’s about what you can copy from others without investing any of your own sweat. That’s not “competition”. That’s thievery. If there is no copetition there is no inovation or the it is so slow that after 10 years the only progress is that the box it comes in has changed color. Lukily we have competition today, but at a smaller scale so inovation is there. Think about how much faster the inovation could become if the patent laws was redesigned to fit the industry and not only fit the patent holders. No, you have that backwards. In general, people are not willing to invest their own time and effort in building unique products unless they will have some guarantees that someone else won’t step in at the last second and rip them off by copying their design. Not granting patent protection will DECREASE innovation. Patents are granted to corporations that didn´t ivented shit, like the patent that covers “the menu on the left side of a webpage!”. Define “inventing shit”. I consider “inventing shit” to include ways of organizing and accessing information. Don’t like it? Invent your own way of organizing information. Patent holders don’t hold a monopoly on all possible ideas. And, no, all the good ideas aren’t taken. Instead of trying to rip off what others have done, why not simply license their work and add-on? That’s only fair. But you guys aren’t interested in fairness or compensation. You’d rather put some poor guy out of business by stealing his ideas — and then spinning it as “freedom”. 2004-12-25 3:51 am Take a good hard look at the OSS world – there’s an awful lot of sweat and ingenuity. And there are no shortages of proprietary companies either using or stealing from OSS. In fact, since the source is open, thievery by OSS devs should be easy to expose. Too many corporations use patents as a cudgel, to stomp the smaller, smarter and more nimble upstarts from encroaching on their hallowed ground. That’s also not competition, that’s cowardice. 2004-12-25 4:38 am Take a good hard look at the OSS world – there’s an awful lot of sweat and ingenuity Let’s be honest here. There’s a lot of sweat in the OSS, but very little ingenuity – not that there’s much ingenuity in the proprietary world either. But OSS is continually playing catch-up because of manpower shortages and the fragmentization of development effort. 2004-12-25 5:02 am No, for you OSS-oriented guys, it’s about what you can copy from others without investing any of your own sweat. That’s not “competition”. That’s thievery. No. FOSS is about working with (FOSS) developers or as a developer, investing time and sweat. FOSS is about starting something new (possibly from a known base). That is not thievery, the original developer chose the license to govern their code for a reason – to SHARE, to keep it OPEN and to PROTECT it all for the BENEFIT of OTHERS. 2004-12-25 6:48 am Your name says it all. With few exceptions, OSS projects are primarily involved in replicating existing technologies (ie. Samba, KDE/Gnome, Wine, Mono, etc). That’s not innovation. You can pretend that it’s innovative — but, in point of fact, it’s designed to put commercial companies out of business. That’s all.