Harms to education
Patents on software harm education at all levels. Software patents create legal costs and risks for computer learners who study the software they use, and they introduce uncertainty regarding the use of the skills learned in higher education.
In-house software and free software
A survey by European Schoolnet found that two thirds of schools use virtual learning environments that are either developed in-house or are free software. Adding patent risks to bodies that develop or modify software thus creates risks for the majority of schools.
Costs and choice
A school with only 50 Windows machines — barely enough for one class of students — is paying $1,000 of its limited budget in patent tax, rather than buying books or other useful supplies.
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- Freedom of expression
- Blocking innovation and research
- Jobs and skills - which also deals with the problem of learned skills being unusable
- Blackboard inc. - a company which has used software patents against education projects
- Discussion paper by European Schoolnet / Insight, December 2004
- BBC: Patent battle over teaching tools, August 2006 regarding Blackboard inc.