07.28.15

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New Zealand’s Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Patents at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand

HALF a decade ago we wrote a great deal about the patents debate in New Zealand because there was serious risk of software patents invading another country. Being a Five Eyes country, if it happens in New Zealand, then it can be further expanded to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, just like many oppressive laws, especially in recent years (because “terrorism!” or “ISIS!” or something like that). Colonial/imperialist legacy has plenty to teach us about manufacturing and exploitation of public panic to sway public opinion and thereafter change laws.

A new article from the press in New Zealand points out the relationship between lobbying for software patents and so-called ‘trade’ deals (protectionism for multinationals). Paul Brislen is quoted sparingly and it says the following: “The negotiations had been conducted in secret and the New Zealand IT industry was concerned.”

Yes, same thing happened when it came to software patents. Large corporations such as Microsoft and IBM lobbied in secret.

Another quote: “One of the biggest issues for New Zealand was the country’s patent law and the issues for copyright.”

Copyright is an interesting one. As we now know, based on the Kim Dotcom case in New Zealand, the US Department of Justice and the FBI now apparently reign over New Zealand.

Another quote: “Parliament passed a new law about two years ago because the previous patent legislation did not cover software and IP, Mr Brislen said.”

Plutocrats and their corporations never rest until they get what they want. It can be a constant battle for power.

Another quote: “The legislation was held up for a long time while the Government debated how to respond to lobbying to introduce a law which would devalue patents.”

Patents needn’t be “devalued”, many need to be abolished, especially software patents.

Last quote: “The industry lobbied the Government to say software should not be subject to a patent.”

Well, that’s what companies from New Zealand said, but not foreign companies like Microsoft and IBM, which also used their lawyers in New Zealand to pressure the government,

Don’t let the media (especially in New Zealand) rewrite history. Software developers from New Zealand did a fine job mostly (not entirely because a loophole was left in tact, just like in Europe) defending themselves from patent aggressors and software monopolists from abroad. The article has flaws in it, but at least it recalls a big and important battle over software patents — one that Europe and the US hardly even have anymore. All that the press talks about right now is “trolls”.

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