05.08.08

Intellectual Exclusion Makes Intellectual Abuse

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intellectually appalling

Here is just a quick roundup of news which revolves around our ‘favourite’ patents trolls, our ‘favourite’ anti-Free software laws, and Microsoft’s latest intellectual monopoly offenses.

Software Patents

Only a week or so ago we wrote Nathan Myhrvold, a patent troll who comes from Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. He is probably worse than Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which also comprises former Microsoft employees. An article from the New Yorker show just how busy he is exploiting the already-broken system.

Nathan Myhrvold met Jack Horner on the set of the “Jurassic Park” sequel in 1996.

[...]

But then, in August of 2003, I.V. held its first invention session, and it was a revelation. “Afterward, Nathan kept saying, ‘There are so many inventions,’ ” Wood recalled. “He thought if we came up with a half-dozen good ideas it would be great, and we came up with somewhere between fifty and a hundred. I said to him, ‘But you had eight people in that room who are seasoned inventors. Weren’t you expecting a multiplier effect?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but it was more than multiplicity.’ Not even Nathan had any idea of what it was going to be like.”

The original expectation was that I.V. would file a hundred patents a year. Currently, it’s filing five hundred a year. It has a backlog of three thousand ideas.

This figure is, needless to say, rather ridiculous because it says something about the poor quality of these patents. It’s all about inspiring awe and fear for settlements (royalties). Look back at this talk about computer program ideas and this one about patent trolls.

Another short piece proposes the idea of making software patents usable only for defense purposes, knowing that promises which companies make about it are only valid as long as they do well. As soon as they struggle, it becomes their obligation to shareholders to use whatever weapon can be used to attack, even if it means going litigious like SCO (with or without the bogus claims). Public image becomes a secondary consideration, a negligible factor.

A friend of mine – who recently was “paid to file a patent” said he considered requesting that – if granted – the patent only be used defensively. I asked him why. He responded that he felt conflicted and thinks a lot of his peers feel the same way. He didn’t think the patent was particularly valuable, useful, or valid.

That last statement relates this fairly recent post which is titled “My Dumb Software Patents”. It said: “Many think that Software Patents are stupid. I conceptually agree with this statement. Having spent what seems like millions of hours constructing these, baby sitting them, defending them; it is really all wasted time and effort, at least in a conceptual sense.” In conclusion, even actual owners of software patents have no faith in the system.

The Economist meanwhile speaks of the possibility of software patents getting rubbished. It refers to Bilski again [1, 2, 3, 4].

…the court took the unusual step of calling for the parties, and anyone else with an interest in the case, to address not only whether the patent should be granted, but also whether the court should overturn the 1998 case in which it first held that business-methods patents could be awarded.

The Huffington Post also has this piece which criticises scope of patent laws. [via Digital Majority]

Should we allow patents on tax-avoidance strategies? Legal arguments? Mathematical algorithms? Toilet reservation systems? Negotiation tactics? Business models?

Microsoft and Trademarks

Trademarks are separate from patents, but to illustrate Microsoft’s disregard for what it calls “intellectual property” — an imaginary umbrella really — consider this news story about Microsoft policing use of language.

Unicaresoft loses MSNLock case against Microsoft

[...]

The Dutch version of Oxford English Dictionary, Van Dale, also mentions MSN as a generic term meaning to contact someone via an instant messenger.

This won’t do any good. It won’t recover Microsoft’s stagnant popularity in a country that's already moving to Free software and ODF while complaining about Microsoft’s “arrogance”. Recall how Microsoft ‘stole’ the “Open Office” term, among others [1, 2]. The IPocrisy (a term coined by Pieter, apparently) hasn’t bounds.

Merely by chance, Microsoft eats its own poison as it has just been sued over trademark as well.

Microsoft’s TerraServer-USA satellite imagery project has been slapped with a trademark lawsuit from a small North Carolina company with a confusingly similar name.

There are other recent examples where Microsoft does not honour other people’s copyrights and trademarks. Those examples include:

More on Copyrights and Intellectual Monopoly

Over at MilkingTheGNU, a nice article has just appeared which deals with the notion of ownership and how it relates to the GPL.

Open source and implicitly the GPL (well explicitly but not everybody realizes it) question the very nature of property and ownership. If you’re skeptical, think about this: why are open source proponents almost always anti-DRM, always among the first ones to advocate for a free distribution of music, games and movies?

Note that the point here is to offer a new set of glasses to look at the world, not to make a political statement. Besides, asking people about the nature of property usually transcends traditional barriers. In the US for instance, it’s almost impossible to infer people’s opinion just by knowing whether they are Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians. How property must be controlled or by whom, is subjected to political debates but the very nature of property seems to trigger such a very personal, emotional response that opinions largely eludes partisan cleavages.

There is a rather amusing discussion also at The Register where copyrights around sporting events are put at stake.

Iain Connor, an intellectual property partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “A football match is not a performance for the purposes of copyright because you can’t reproduce it. It isn’t choreographed.”

A good and recent article on “Intellectual Insanity” you’ll also find here. It puts the whole problem in better perspective. At the end of the day, it’s all about perception, which comes from education. This is something that Microsoft too has recognised and I attempted to frame this as a risk factor to Microsoft with the following message from yesterday (mind Reason #3):


    Subject: What Makes GNU/Linux Microsoft’s #1 Rival
    Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
    Date: Thu, 08 May 2008 17:32:31 +0100

What Makes GNU/Linux Microsoft’s #1 Rival

Reason #1: it forces Microsoft to lower its prices, regardless of market share. Microsoft adjusts its prices in order to remain relevant. Free software keeps it on its toes in that respect. Apple, on the other hand, makes sales for Microsoft (Office), keeps its prices up (fixing), and has Microsoft as a partner and shareholder.

Reason #2: Linux dominates the embedded space, which is very large (probably orders of magnitude larger than the desktop, in terms of CPUs). It also controls supercomputers that are increasingly becoming part of the more universal network, including search engines (Hadoop comes to mind, bigtable).

Reason #3: it shatters misconceptions about Microsoft’s foundations, which are intellectual monopolies and other nasties like DRM. That’s why Microsoft talks about ‘education’ (pollution of minds) as an anti-Linux tactic in its latest SEC filing.

Looking at (1-3) again:

     * Linux lowers cost.

     * Linux enables real innovation, performance, efficiency (environment)

     * Linux enables people to be free and it democratises

February 2008:

http://www.news.com/Feeling-the-heat-at-Microsoft/2008-1012_3-6232458.html?tag=ne.fd.mnbc

“[If I ask you who is Microsoft's biggest competitor now, who would it be?]

[Steve] Ballmer: Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that…”


The responses so far have been interesting.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/05/08/intellectual-abuse-against-foss/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 16, 2021



  2. Hate Letter Against FSF (Concern Trolls): 1415 Committers, Letter in Support of FSF (With Its Founder Back): 5116

    Taking into account people who asked for their names to be removed from the defamatory hate letter (inciting people, based on falsehoods), it's not impossible that the support letter really triples or quadruples it in terms of number of signatures



  3. Richard Stallman: Sharing is Good... We Need to Legalise It

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains his take on copyright and the artificial restriction being used against sharing



  4. Nadine Strossen and Hannah Wolfman-Jones Rebut Accusations Against Stallman and Choose Him as Coauthor

    "Here are her thoughts and the response she received from Nadine, extracted verbatim with their permission from the original article"



  5. Links 17/4/2021: GNOME 40 in Tumbleweed, Devuan 4.0 Alpha, Kate Editor Makes a Leap

    Links for the day



  6. EPO Staff Union Takes the EPO 'to Court' (the ILO's Tribunal, as the EPO Cannot be Taken to a Proper Court)

    The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Committees are preparing a legal battle over unlawful and unjust measures taken collectively against hard-working (overworked during pandemic) members of staff; the European public should support them



  7. The Latest Anti-RMS Coup Attempt Targets the GNU Project (Because the FSF Coup Has Clearly Failed) by Infringing and Disregarding Trademark Conventions

    A fake "GNU" (not the original GNU, just riding the coattails of the name "GNU") is trying to find/gain traction and we must oppose it because it's an extension of the very same coup attempt (same plotters) that manufactured a whole bunch of libel to incite people and blackmail the Free Software Foundation (FSF)



  8. Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

    Links for the day



  9. The EFF Attacks Software Freedom and Promotes Fake Privacy Linked to Microsoft

    Only weeks after attacking Software Freedom (the ad hominem way, which is easier) the EFF endorses a Microsoft-linked privacy abuse, misframing it as some sort of privacy champion



  10. Richard Stallman on How Corporate Media Limits What People Are Allowed to Think and Say (Updated)

    What the founder of the FSF told yours truly a number of years ago about the behaviour of corporate (funded and controlled by corporations) media



  11. Exposing Hard Truths is the First Step or the Path Towards Justice

    A reflection and a moment taken to set aside tribalism (shallow differences based on allegiances of personal comfort), for we need look back at actual facts — however inconvenient at times — and consider the reality of the situation



  12. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 15, 2021



  13. [Meme] Laundering Bribes as 'Cooperation Money'

    Germany has financial interest in ensuring that EPO abuses carry on and nobody holds the EPO accountable



  14. Articles in Support of Richard Stallman

    Reproduced with permission



  15. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 20: Taking Stock

    Benoît Battistelli's legacy at the EPO is a legacy of corruption and cover-up; we take stock of how illegality was defended and persists to this day



  16. Links 15/4/2021: Zorin OS 16 Beta and Pushing Linux to GitHub- and Microsoft-Connected Rust

    Links for the day



  17. [Meme] Enemies With Common Interests

    The Software Freedom Movement (or Free Software Movement) has many enemies; some of them just hide in the shadows or speak out through shadowy front groups/NGOs that they semi-officially sponsor



  18. [Meme] Germany's Red Cash Cow

    EPO brings a lot of money to the German state. But at what cost to citizens and Germany’s public image?



  19. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 19: The Deafening Silence of the Media

    "There has been speculation that Maas might have had his own political interest in protecting Battistelli and the Balkan Express because of certain allegations about financial irregularities involving the German Patents and Trademark Office (DPMA) which were doing the rounds at the time."



  20. The Indirection Game

    How to attack institutions and concepts by personifying them, then proceeding to character assassination based on lies and deliberate distortions



  21. Links 15/4/2021: LXQt 0.17, Proxmox Backup Server 1.1

    Links for the day



  22. The Patent Battles in Europe Are Connected to the War on GNU/Linux (as a Community-Led Effort)

    Monoplisers of GNU and Linux want us to think that OIN is the solution while they actively lobby for software patents in Europe and the people in charge of Europe’s second-largest institution and Europe’s largest patent office help them; this long video contains thoughts about news from the past couple of days



  23. Richard Stallman: Freedom is the Goal (Updated)

    What Richard Stallman (RMS) told me in person on his trip here



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 14, 2021



  25. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 18: Zero Tolerance for “Lawless Zones”?

    "It comes as no surprise that Maas appeared as a guest of honour at the European Inventor of the Year Boondoggle in Berlin in 2014 where he was seen on stage clapping along with the EPO President."



  26. Richard Stallman's Honors and Awards (and Why He Resigned in 2019)

    Reproduced with permission



  27. Links 14/4/2021: Alpine Releases and X.Org Server 1.20.11 Release (Security)

    Links for the day



  28. Links 14/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7, Tor Browser 10.5a14

    Links for the day



  29. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 17: Jawohl, Herr Minister!

    A French-German co-production of "Yes, Minister!" starring Raimund Lutz, Heiko Maas and Christoph Ernst. Directed by Benoît Battistell.



  30. Over 1,000 EPO Workers Initiate Legal Challenge Against the EPO's Attack on Salaries (in Defiance of Assurances Made to Workers Who Relocate to Another Country With Whole Families)

    The EPO’s attack on workers and pensioners isn’t going ahead without challenge; while the “Mafia” (what EPO workers call the management) loots the organisation it takes away money from the workers — i.e. from besieged folks who do all the work and face growing workloads during a pandemic


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts