Software patents no bigger threat to Free Software
Posted Aug 9, 2004 17:37 UTC (Mon) by ironhacker
In reply to: Software patents no bigger threat to Free Software
Parent article: Software patents no bigger threat to Free Software
than to proprietary software
>"Software patents may be more of a threat to proprietary software."
I agree, but not for the reason that you state. Proprietary software faces the biggest patent risk because companies that directly profit from the code have money worth taking. People with minimal assets are not very attractive targets. Only a few companies will spend money on this type of pursuit. If that is not enough, I can think of a number of ways for OSS people to make themselves even more difficult targets. Besides, once the code is out "in the wild", good luck putting the genie back into the bottle (e.g. P2P, DeCSS).
Suing the users of the code is not any better -- ask SCO how well they are doing with Daimler Chrysler and Autozone. Statistically, end users face a more plausible threat from a BSA audit than a patent infringment lawsuit.
When I was 18 years old, I was shopping for car insurance. The minimum legal coverage was $40,000. Naturally, the insurance agent wanted me to buy even MORE insurance, despite the fact that the rates for 18-year-old drivers were exhorbitant to begin with.
The sales pitch: "If you had an accident and the damages exceeded $40,000, wouldn't you want to protect yourself from liability?".
My response: "I don't own anything of value, so having the minimum legal coverage is the ultimate protection. Nobody will sue me because there is no reward for winning. "
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