One reason of many why the FSF are against software patents
Posted by: Anonymous
on March 31, 2008 12:33 PM
"Is it because they don't like the principles behind software patents?"
Yes. Indeed, the FSF and many others regard copyright as sufficient to protect the original work. It's very easy to avoid infringing someone else's copyright: you just don't copy their work into your own without observing the terms and conditions of that work. So you should know whether you're infringing or not by just paying attention to what you're doing. Meanwhile, with patents, you can write a work all by yourself and still be taken to court over patent infringement because some patent holder claims a monopoly on some idea, process or algorithm, and although you may have rediscovered such things all by yourself, they will nevertheless accuse you of "stealing their intellectual property". In other words, with patents you can never really know if you are infringing because even if you've read through the mountains of dubious patent claims, it's still possible for someone to hold their patent up against your work and decide that it's time for a day in court.
Software patents are yet another tool used by organisations who feel like exempting themselves from the normal, predictable rules of software licensing. Don't feel like complying with a Free Software licence? Why not assert some patents? Software patents are not "intellectual property" - they are "intellectual robbery"!