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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.[1] Adding patent risks to bodies that develop or modify software thus creates risks for the majority of schools.

Costs and choice

Patents, according to the European Schoolnet study, would narrow the choice of software on offer and increase the costs passed on to buyers of software.

As found in a study by Software Freedom Law Center, for every copy of Microsoft Windows, the buy pays US$20 for patents.[2]

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.

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References