EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.31.12

TechBytes Episode 72: Richard Stallman on News Sources Bias, GPL.next Misinformation, and Software Patents

Posted in TechBytes at 1:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (12:12, 4.8 MB)

Summary: The fourth part of our interviews series with Richard Stallman covers software patents opposition for the most part

TODAY we turn our attention to software patents for the most part. Here is the transcript.


Dr. Roy Schestowitz: How do you judge the reliability of a news source and which one or ones do you favour?

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: Well, how do I judge the reliability? To a large extent I look at the story, and I try to judge based on the other things I know whether this looks like it’s bullshit or possible truth. Because there are news sources that I know often slant things, but that doesn’t mean that I think that their statements of facts would wrong, because I expect that they would be caught if were wrong. I don’t know of any news sources that I could say “that’s a good one”, because they all have their positions, they all want to say some things and not others. The question is, does it seem plausible that they would say falsehoods about facts? Because there is some embarrassment involved in getting caught in saying… in giving some news that wasn’t true.

Many places are not likely to say things that are just false, but they may draw conclusions that don’t really follow, or that reflect bias.

My next question is about the GPL. More recently there has been some exposure for what’s known as the GPL.next, which Richard Fontana…

“Richard Fontana was interested in exploring some ideas, so he started a project to get suggestions about what to put in a copyleft licence.”No, no, it isn’t [called that] anymore. Basically, Richard Fontana was interested in exploring some ideas, so he started a project to get suggestions about what to put in a copyleft licence.

That name was not very nice because it implied that it would be the replacement, and of course for anyone to say “my work is going to replace your work” is a somewhat unfriendly thing to say, but that’s not what he seems to really mean, so I hope that he finds some interesting ideas through this.

My next question is, what do you consider to be the most effective strategy for elimination of software patents in the United States and worldwide as well?

“If the US trade representative is visiting, or there are a thousand reasons to protest the visit of the US trade representative, what he wants is good for business and bad for people in every country including the US.”Well, it depends on the country, because this is a matter of political activity and how to do that effectively varies from country to country. So I can’t give authoritative advice to people in other countries; if I can even do so in the US, it wouldn’t apply to other places. I can suggest possible approaches to try, you know, meet with officials, organise and make a protest in the street, have protests at events if any officials from that part of international agencies that favour software patents are coming, protest them. If the US Trade Representative is visiting — there are a thousand reasons to protest the visit of the US Trade Representative; what he wants is good for business and bad for people in every country including the US. How you influence politics in your country, you’ll know probably a lot better than I do. That’s what it involves, very likely. But it may also involve legal action, if your country’s courts could rule that software patents are not valid; that’s very important. But what you need is to find a lawyer to argue that case.

Now, in the US, when an appeal is being heard, anyone can send a friend of the court brief, which is published presenting arguments to be considered. If you are in a country which has a practice like that, that can be helpful.

But there is one point about which direction is going to be useful.

If the country does not have software patents, then it will work simply to make it clear and firm that software patents are not allowed, and put this into legislation so that the patent office can’t betray it. And you have to work hard making it ironclad, so that the patent office can’t find an excuse to betray it. For instance, there are countries in which computer programs can’t be patented, But the patent offices say, “we’re not issuing patents on computer programs, we’re issuing patents on techniques that can be used in computer programs.” Now, we think that those treaties and laws were meant to prevent that, but the patent offices reinterpret them in a way that means that [law or treaty] becomes effectively void, and doesn’t prevent any kind of patent that anyone would actually want to apply for. So you’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to study from a point a view, how could the patent office try to twist this?

“Congress can’t legislate the existing patents into non-existence.”However, there are countries which already have software patents, and in those countries restricting the issuance of software patents would still leave you with maybe hundreds of thousands of existing software patents. Well, if the courts ruled that software patents were never valid, they would all disappear. So there is some hope that that may eventually happen. But what could Congress do?

Congress can’t legislate the existing patents into non-existence. What it could however do is legislate that patents are not infringed by developing, distributing or running software on general-purpose computer hardware if the hardware itself doesn’t infringe. That way these patents would remain valid, and they could be applicable to hardware devices but not to software.

You see, patent systems don’t generally divide patents into software patents and hardware patents; it’s rather the patent would cover a certain idea, and maybe that idea is typically implemented in software, but the patent would also cover implementing it in hardware. My definition of a software patent is a patent that can prohibit programs. Because patents are not intrinsically labelled as software patents or hardware patents, you can’t just say “we are going to prohibit software patents”, you’ve got to define clearly what it is that’s not going to be issued, or else legislate about where patents apply and where they don’t apply.


The next and last part will be published in a few days.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: softwarepatents uspto monopoly gpl gplnext gnu fsf richardstallman

Download:

Ogg Theora

Past shows in this series:

Show overview Show title
Episode 66: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 66: First of the Second Series
Episode 67: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 67: Nokia Down, Android Up
Episode 68: Roy TechBytes Episode 68: Solo With Patents, Apple Bans, and Android World Domination
Episode 69: Roy and Richard Stallman TechBytes Episode 69: Richard Stallman on Restricted Boot (UEFI), Coreboot, GRUB, and Boot Freedom
Episode 70: Roy and Richard Stallman TechBytes Episode 70: Richard Stallman on How Browsers and Social Networking Sites Facilitate Surveillance
Episode 71: Roy and Richard Stallman TechBytes Episode 71: Richard Stallman on Surveillance, the NSA, and Mobile Phones
Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  2. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  3. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  4. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  7. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  8. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  9. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  10. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  11. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  12. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  13. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  14. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  15. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  16. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  17. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  18. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  19. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  20. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  21. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  22. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  23. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day



  24. Links 18/8/2014: Linux 3.17 RC1, Escalation in Ferguson

    Links for the day



  25. Gartner Group Advocates Using Defective Software With Back Doors

    Despite strong evidence that Microsoft has been complicit in illegal surveillance, Gartner continues to recommend the use of Windows and other espionage-ready Microsoft software



  26. The Microsoft Patent Trolls: Android Extortion, Vringo Versus Google, and Intellectual Ventures

    Roundup of news about patent aggression by Microsoft and some of its proxies



  27. Links 16/8/2014: Microsoft Linux, US Government Turns to Free Software

    Links for the day



  28. Links 15/8/2014: Reiser4 in Headlines Again, GNOME and KDE Events Finish

    Links for the day



  29. Links 14/8/2014: Kernel Summit Coming, KMix on KDE Frameworks 5

    Links for the day



  30. Shameless Microsoft Spin is Blaming China for Microsoft's Misconduct and Back Doors While Justifying Massive Losses in Hardware (Made in China)

    A new look at how Microsoft-friendly media takes negative Microsoft news and turns that news into some kind of scandals where Microsoft is the victim


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts