Red Hat Fights Software Patents at the Supreme Court


Thank God, there is at least one company under the Sun willing to fight software patents.  Red Hat has petitioned the Supreme Court to review the legality of software patents.  I read about this on one of my favorite web sites: Groklaw.net. Click on the link for the full article.

Here is an excerpt:

RALEIGH, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced it has filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court. In the brief, Red Hat explains the practical problems of software patents to software developers. The brief, filed in the Bilski case, asks the Supreme Court to adopt the lower court’s machine-or-transformation test and to make clear that it excludes software from patentability.

Written code is already protected by copyright law.  Software patents cost millions of dollars in the most ridiculous litigation you can imagine.

Remember Amazons ‘one click’? Patent trolls sued for that.  Then there is the classic suit, of NTP vs. RIM over “Single Mailbox Integration” patent.

Here is brief description of the patent:

Using this patented technology, Blackberry integrates seamlessly with a user’s existing e-mail account providing a wireless extension of the user’s regular e-mail mailbox. The user can read, compose, forward, or reply to messages from their mobile device while maintaining their single, existing e-mail address and mailbox.

This is patentable???  It’s so obvious, has anyone heard of IMAP…?  How could anyone get a patent for this?  Delivery of email regardless of how many mail boxes should NOT be patentable.  Software patents are an attack on FOSS, Free Open Source Software.  United States patent law gives a distinct advantage to gigantic corporations whom can extort money from smaller companies that are less capitalized and likely to settle.  It’s bullshit and it is stifling innovation and competition.  The real losers are the citizens of the world, of whom pay a hidden tax in patents and monopolies.


Obama Administration Appoints Former RIAA(Recording Industry Association of America) lawyers to Justice Department

CNET has an interesting article on Obama picks for the Justice Department.  I like the president and I totally expected some greedy special interest goons to get in, but why on one of the few issues I care about?  The problems with Intellectual Property law in the United States are many.

Years ago I was part of a major class action law suit to get back money from the Recording Industry.  Remember BMG CD music clubs?  Buy 7 CD’s for a $1 a pice if you buy so many CD’s at full price?  Well they got sued for price fixing… and lost.  Even though CD’s are extraordinarily cheap to produce as compared to Vinyl and cassette tapes, the cost of an album has quadrupled in my life time. Does that seem odd?  400 percent inflation?  I guess the Federal Reserve is more out of control than I thought!

Below is a couple excerpts from a CNET.com article.

The April 2 letter, signed by groups including Public Knowledge, the American Library Association, and the Consumer Electronics Association, said that, “To date, several of (Obama’s) appointees to positions that oversee the formulation and implementation of IP policy have, immediately prior to their appointments, represented the concentrated copyright industries.”

from the letter,

“We ask you to consider that individuals who support overly broad IP protection might favor established distribution models at the expense of technological innovators, creative artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and an increasingly participatory public,” the letter said. “Overzealous expansion and enforcement of copyright, for example, can quash innovative information technologies, the development and marketing of new and useful devices, and the creation of new works, as well as prohibit the public from accessing and using its cultural heritage.”

For the complete article on CNET click here.

The strategy of Media producers is to lock in top talent, commercialize the crap out of it and control the means of distribution by deciding the type of media it will be available on.  Like having the final decision whether to release a movie on DVD or HD-DVD.  It might cost the same in either format, but these greedy bastards screw the entire market place by deciding what media type should cost more or less. Supply and Demand should dictate

The truth is that the RIAA(Recording Industry of Association of America) has attempted to crack down with limited legal success for years. Attacking middle class families with limited knowledge of how to properly monitor their teenagers Internet use.  These threats and lawsuits and turn their own customers against them.  The funny thing is that even though piracy rates continue to rise, so has the profits of the Music and Movie Industry.