Bonum Certa Men Certa

The New Zealand Computer Society Opposes Software Patents


Summary: While groups representing the interests of foreign companies lobby for software patents, actual computer scientists from New Zealand reject them has this new Wiki/Kiwi page about software patents in New Zealand. Some days ago we showed that NZICT, which lobbies for software patents, actually represents multinationals; it does not represent the local software industry. It is unfortunate that journalists pay attention to NZICT (also posted here without attribution to the lobby in the URL) because it does not know what it's talking about and it lobbies not from the point of view of New Zealand; it promotes foreign interests and makes ludicrous statements such as this one to support its position:

He said that they consider that it is vital for firms to keep hold of the alternative to shield their originality under copyright law, if that is their option.

This is proof of ignorance (maybe deliberate). It's not at all about options. If a company is being attacked by patents, then it does not get to select which law will apply to it. It's like saying that by choosing conventional weapons over nuclear a country can guarantee that it won't be attacked by nukes.

Among some other articles about this (not just from New Zealand [1, 2] we have the voices of the New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS), which says "no" to software patents. From IDG we have:

The New Zealand Computer Society has come out in support of a ban on software patents, sending a letter yesterday to Minister of Commerce Simon Power supporting a Commerce Select Committee recommendation to remove patent protection for software in New Zealand law.

The move comes after a quick poll of NZCS members, IT professionals from around New Zealand, found 80 percent opposed patent protection for software.

"The Society acknowledges this is a complex issue with many reasons for and against patentability of software. However on balance, it is in New Zealand's best interests for software to be covered through the provisions of copyright in the same way movies and books are, rather than through the patent system which has significant problems," NZCS chief executive Paul Matthews says in a blog post.

The New Zealand Computer Society does not speak just for Free software. Developers of software in general find that copyrights alone cover and suit their needs.

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