Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft's Racketeering with Patents and Abolition of Software Patents Reexamined

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

--Mark Shuttleworth



Ballmer on patents



Summary: Why Microsoft's "extortion" is a serious offence that mustn't be overlooked; How Free software deals with software patents at present

CHIN Wong from the Philippines is an excellent journalist, but in his latest column he seems to have gotten soft on Microsoft. In writing about Steve Ballmer's potential departure he asserts the following about software patents:



Would you fire Steve Ballmer?



[...]

A US federal appeals court upheld a $290-million judgment against Microsoft Corp. and ordered it to stop selling MS Word unless it removed code that violated the software patent of an obscure Canadian company, i4i, that sued it in Texas and won.

The ruling is ironic, given Microsoft’s use of software patents earlier this year to bludgeon TomTom, a Dutch maker of car navigation systems, into settling over its use of the Linux kernel. Ballmer has bellicosely proclaimed that the kernel violates several Microsoft’s patents and has threatened to sue developers and users alike over its use. The company’s suit against TomTom in February was the first time it tried to enforce these patents against the Linux platform.


The author focuses on the TomTom case but misses the more important point about Microsoft using racketeering tactics, which ought to send people like Steve Ballmer to prison (and bring Bill Gates back to court for crimes that he too had helped commit and initiate).

Over in India, a new article from Shree Lahiri makes the decent proposition that "Freedom of software [should be treated as] our birthright" and he also acknowledges Richard Stallman, crediting him in part for the protests against software patents. Lahiri writes:

Freedom of software is our birthright



[...]

Tracing the history of free software, Abhijit said, "In 1984, Richard Stallman started the Free Software Foundation and spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against both software patents and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws."


Speaking of Stallman's contribution to saner law, where are OIN, Linux Foundation and other IBM fronts when it comes to just abolishing software patents? They have other strategies in mind. The FSF and FFII seem to be among very few who are actively committed to the cause. The EFF's squashing strategy and Peer2Patent's gardening or voluntary peer review process are still considered somewhat controversial. Here is a new article from The Register that in some way legitimises software patents for the same reason; by labeling them "good" and "bad" (mostly bad) it tacitly claims that some of these patents are acceptable. OIN very explicitly takes this point of view, whereas for Peer2Patent it is still just implicit.

The best (of the worst) patent claims of 2009



[...]

El Reg is always eager to lap up the sad, eerie, and unusual of the bunch as they fall into our sights. We've gathered up a few of our 2009 favorites published in honor of the year's end.


A patent is a monopoly, based on the words of the head of the USPTO. Schools rhetorically teach that monopolies are harmful to capitalism, so what gives? More importantly, why is there no police involvement when these monopolies are (mis)used for racketeering [1, 2]? To ignore this is to accept that Microsoft is above the law.

"IP is often compared to physical property rights but knowledge is fundamentally different."

--IP Watch on Professor Joseph Stiglitz

Recent Techrights' Posts

When Wikileaks Sources Were Actually Murdered and Wikileaks Was Still a Wiki
when Wikileaks was a young site and still an actual wiki
Why Virtually All the Wikileaks Copycats, Forks, and Rivals Basically Perished
Cryptome is like the "grandpa" of them all
Why the Media is Dying (It Sucks, No Mentally Healthy People Will Tolerate This for Long)
linking to actual news articles helps fuel the spam, too
[Meme] The Latest in the Microsoft Windows Blame Game
Microsoft found the culprit and came to everyone's rescue!
For the First Time Since May Linux.com (Linux Foundation) Published Something. It's All Spam.
Can we trust the Linux Foundation to look after anything at all? Look what it turned this once-thriving site into.
Honduras: Windows Down, Android Peaking Again
Honduras does not have many stakes in Microsoft
 
Insulting Free Software Users in Social Control Media (Proprietary, Bloated With Opaque JavaScript) is Like Insulting Amish on TV
Why bother? Don't take the bait.
statCounter: Dutch GNU/Linux Usage Surged 1% in Summer
Microsoft is running out of things to actually sell
Microsoft's "Results" Next Week Will be Ugly (But It'll Lie About Them, as Usual)
Where can Microsoft find income rather than losses as its debt continues to grow and layoffs accelerate?
Julian Assange is Still Being Dehumanised in Media Whose Owners Wikileaks Berated (With Underlying Facts or Leaks)
Wikileaks and Free software aren't the same thing. Nevertheless, the tactics used to infiltrate or discredit both ought to be understood.
A Month Later
We're optimistic on many fronts
Links 23/07/2024: Downsizing and Microsoft and Still Damage Control
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: Friends and Solitaire
Links for the day
Censorship in Eklektix's Linux Weekly News (LWN)
Medieval system of speech, where the monarchs (Linux Foundation) dictate what's permissible to say
10 Years of In-Depth EPO Coverage at Techrights (Many Others Have Abandoned the Topic)
Listen to staff
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 22, 2024
Links 22/07/2024: Overworking and Performance Issues From Europe
Links for the day
Microsoft Eliminates 67% of the Building Occupancy - That's Some Truly Massive Layoffs
Half a dozen floors? Microsoft cuts that down to two.
[Meme] Signs of a Dying Patent Office
"Bribe the media to say you excel"
This Month's General Consultative Committee (GCC) Webchat ('Meeting') Covered the European Patent Office's Attacks on Its Own Interpreters
The Central Staff Committee is currently circulating a report with appendices about the GCC meeting [sic] (webchat) that took place less than a fortnight ago
A Byzantine European Patent Office Where Staff Must Beg for Help With Contraception (Worse Than the Rest of Europe)
The Central Staff Committee (EPO staff representation) has just circulated a report
[Teaser] EPO Run by Children
"Daddy, why was I born?"
Let's Encrypt About to Fall Below 100 (Capsules) in Geminispace, It's Basically in a Freefall
The "self-signed" portion keeps growing
Gemini Links 22/07/2024: Spacewalk Dies and Old Computer Challenge in the Rear View
Links for the day
[Meme] Twitter (X) Will Reject the Concept of a Female President
Twitter (X) is controlled by misogynists, who socially control (or socially-engineer) their fake concept of "media"
Second Family Photo of Julian Assange Since His Release (First Since His Birthday)
His wife shows the 4 of them for the first time (2 hours ago)
Protesters in Kenya Need Software That is Free (Libre) and Supports Real Encryption in Order to Avoid Capture and Torture (Sometimes Execution)
There's more to fight over than economic issues
The Ludicrous Idea That GNU/Linux is a "Poor Man's" Operating System
Seeing the trends in countries such an Norway, it ought to be abundantly clear that adoption of GNU/Linux has nothing to do with poverty
Links 22/07/2024: Internet Optimism and Kamala Harris Policies Debated
Links for the day
Something is Happening at OFTC
It looks like it shrank by 20,000 users
GNU/Linux Usage in Guadeloupe Rises Closer to International Average, Based on Web Data Collected by statCounter
It should be noted that the estimates of GNU/Linux usage are now in 4.5% territories
The Impact of OFTC's Latest Changes on the Perceived Scale of IRC Globally
IRC is still one of the more potent alternatives to the social control media conglomerates
New: Why They Really Went After Assange
Uploaded by Chris Hedges
Links 21/07/2024: Health, Politics, and Kamala Harris in Focus
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, July 21, 2024
A Drop in Half (From 208 to 104): Sharp Decline in Number of Gemini Capsules That Use Let's Encrypt CA Since December
Gemini is increasing its independence from Certificate Authorities (CAs)
Gemini Links 21/07/2024: Last of Old Computer Challenge and Forth Language
Links for the day
Links 21/07/2024: Climate, Politics, and More Squashed Patents
Links for the day
Only a Quarter of Web Requests in Micronesia Traced Back to Microsoft Windows (It Used to be Well Over 95%)
Micronesia has over half a million people in it
Your F.U.D. is Already Showing, Microsoft
That talking point is quickly spreading so that CrowdStrike discussions become about "Linux" instead of Windows
Andrew Feinstein on Why Freeing Julian Assange is About the Freedom of the Press in General
Feinstein points out that truth itself is being challenged by people who value power, not truth, and typically seek to do things like sell arms and start proxy wars
In Palau, Windows Has Fallen to 16%
15 years ago Windows was at 98%
Gemini is Blossoming and More Capsules Are Self-Signing, Rejecting the Defunct and Falsely-Marketed Certificate Authority (CA) Model
Gemini is still very fast, not only because objects are lightweight but the protocol itself - i.e. the underlying logic - is as simple as it needs to be and only as complex as it must be
Gemini Links 21/07/2024: New Garden and New Gemini Arrivals
Links for the day
Links 21/07/2024: Extreme Heat and Fortescue Layoffs
Links for the day
GNU/Linux Lifted Up 0.03% Closer to 4.5% "Market Share" (or 50% More Than a Year Ago)
How many businesses and homes are permanently giving up on Windows after recent days' events?
Giving the False Impression That the R blogosphere is Microsoft's Microcosm
Curation that culls "astroturfing" isn't censorship but quality control for relevance
High Adoption Rates for GNU/Linux in Albania, According to statCounter
Albania has been a central point of some GNOME and diversity scandals
It'll Soon Be Half a Decade Since COVID-19's Breakout, We Still Need Verified Facts (Not Corporate Dogma) and Proper Media Reporting
COVID-19 has meant different things to different people
For the First Time, Microsoft's "Market Share" in North Macedonia Falls to Only a Quarter
Microsoft only has Windows
Evan Versus Julian
Published by Julian Assange's wife some hours ago
What The Internet Can Achieve When Put in the Hands of the Good People and Not Censored by the People Who Already Control the Mass Media
albeit Wikileaks put that in social control media owned and controlled by oligarchs
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, July 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
[Meme] Hate Speech
This is also what makes TikTok so dangerous
Shark-infected Water on the Web
Don't turn Gemini into another "Web"
OpenHarmony, HarmonyOS Next, Deepin, Kylin, and openKylin: How China's Various Manoeuvres Away From Windows Get Covered in the West
Kylin was openly based on Ubuntu
WikiLeaks Wonders: Major Leaks That Shook the Worlds
Published 14 hours ago