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Blocking useful freedoms

(Redirected from Freedom)

Software patents block useful freedoms, such as the freedom to write software, to distribute software, and in some case, the freedom to talk about software.

Proof that these freedoms are useful

The freedom to manufacture cars is not very practical for individuals (see: software is different). In contrast, the freedom to develop and distribute software has lead to the creation of very large software projects including the GNU/Linux operating system and other free software.

Compatibility is essential

In software, access to data format specifications holds a role of importance unparalleled in other fields. Examples of data that come in specific formats include email, images, and word processing documents. In the context of writing an email reader, a word processor, or an image viewer, being blocked from reading, modifying, or writing in the required data format is equivalent to being banned from writing a functional program for that task.

They're freedoms everyone has

Software development, like writing a book or writing music, is something anyone can do. Most people will never write a book or any substantial amount of music, but some people do, and society is enriched by the work of those people. It's also good to know that if, one day, you really do want to write a book or some music, there's nothing stopping you. No one will send you a solicitor's letter claiming they have a storyline patent on an idea that you've illegally used in your book. Similarly, if you ever want to write software, for yourself or for others, at no cost or for a fee, you should be free to do so.

Related pages on ESP Wiki

Why abolish software patents
Why abolish software patents Why focus only on software · Why software is different · Software patent quality worse than all other fields · Harm caused by all types of patents
Legal arguments Software is math · Software is too abstract · Software does not make a computer a new machine · Harming freedom of expression · Blocking useful freedoms
High costs Costly legal costs · Cost of the patent system to governments · Cost barrier to market entry · Cost of defending yourself against patent litigation
Impact on society Restricting freedom Harm without litigation or direct threats · Free software projects harmed by software patents · More than patent trolls · More than innovation · Slow process creates uncertainty
Preventing progress Software relies on incremental development · Software progress happens without patents · Reducing innovation and research · Software development is low risk · Reducing job security · Harming education · Harming standards and compatibility
Disrupting the economy Used for sabotage · Controlling entire markets · Breaking common software distribution models · Blocking competing software · Harming smaller businesses · Harming all types of businesses · A bubble waiting to burst
Problems of the legal system Problems in law Clogging up the legal system · Disclosure is useless · Software patents are unreadable · Publishing information is made dangerous · Twenty year protection is too long
Problems in litigation Patent trolls · Patent ambush · Invalid patents remain unchallenged · Infringement is unavoidable · Inequality between small and large patent holders