More detail on the FFII: its insignificance and its venality
Posted Sep 29, 2010 16:43 UTC (Wed) by FlorianMueller
In reply to: More detail on the FFII: its insignificance and its venality
Parent article: FSF says: USPTO should publish guidelines excluding software patents
Please stop FUDing Florian.
Aigars, I'm not fudding. I stopped campaigning against software patents (my current work is focused on how to deal with them since they exist anyway) because I came to the very conclusions I outlined here.
You and me both know that when push came to shove tens of thousands of small and medium businesses supported FFII and contributed to the cause of stopping software patents.
That's what we all used to think. Maybe there are tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of people willing to say they dislike software patents. But if you have to deliver evidence of harm, you have to really prove that there's suffering. The ones who rely on those patents and favor them say that they need them and that taking them away would have disastrous consequences. If you want to counterbalance that, you have to show real suffering. And you can't.
You believe there are tens of thousands of companies, but the "Economic Majority" effort I talked about was an all-out offensive before the EU's final decision and it only took a few minutes for a company to sign up. If the FFII couldn't get any noteworthy level of support at the most critical juncture, it's unconvincing if you just substitute your belief for any demonstrable numbers.
Currently the business people are in an apathy towards software patents: don't bother me until it becomes a problem for me again.
Those patents exist all over the world including in Europe. They are also upheld by European courts all the time. So if there isn't a problem now (even if you say they're weak in Europe, they're certainly strong in the US), then there isn't serious harm.
Do you have proof of companies having gone out of business because of such patents? I've never seen any. Maybe it happens very rarely, but I'm not aware of any widespread problem.
Small business, however can not stay focused on a decade long lobbbying and counter-lobbying effort - they have to work.
They could make money available and they never seriously did. If they had a big problem, they'd spend money to fix it.
Obviously some of those companies are very small. But there are also some generating hundreds of millions of euros/dollars of annual revenues. They speak out against software patents, but it's more like "I'd rather not have them" than "they're a serious problem". Therefore, some of those entrepreneurs prefer to spend money collecting Ferraris but wouldn't give someone like the FFII (or even more serious organizations) significant money.
Apparently the only time the FFII received generous financial support was in a context where it was most probably funded by a PRO-PATENT company.
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