Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The European Parliament has rejected the software patents directive by 648 votes to 14 with 18 abstentions. This is apparently a good thing, but as I'm not a geek (much) I wouldn't know. (Via)

Update: Samizdata has more, as does Phil Hunt.

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael M. said...

Apparently, this is the first time the European Parliament has shot down a bill that all 25 member states agreed on. Quite noteworthy if only for that..

7/06/2005 04:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Phil Hunt said...

In short: it's bad for Microsoft, good for everyone else.

The purpose of software patents is to give a patent-holder a legally-enforced monopoly on software that does a particular job, thus allowing them to extract a monpoly rent from everyone else.

Thus the failure of the directive benefits everyone who uses computers, because we will have a wider range of software to choose from than we would have had if this immoral and economically unsound directive had passed.

More detail here.

7/06/2005 05:42:00 pm  
Anonymous -ronnie in new orleans- said...

That's great.

Open source (and standards) benefits greatly from this sort of decision. Obviously the lobbying and pressure from free software advocates all over were effective here.

Not only Microsoft is limited here. The possession of source code for a particular program has always been sufficient to protect the business interests of proprietary software companies. If it weren't Bill Gates would not be where he is. I don't mind a company that really innovates with original code getting protection for their ideas, but patents extend this too far by enjoining the application itself, not just the specific code.

Without patents software companies are prevented from taking publically available code, designing something "original" around it, and filing a patent to legally preclude anyone from doing the same with their own code without permission (read payment). Talk about limiting innovation.

7/06/2005 09:38:00 pm  

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