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Softwarepatente und Linux

Title: The Coming Software Patent Crisis: Can Linux Survive?
Resource Type: News Article
Date: 10-Aug-1999
Source: Linux Journal
Author: Bryan Pfaffenberger

Bogus software patents pose a genuine threat to computer industry innovation. 
In this
column, University of Virginia professor and author Bryan Pfaffenberger 
what's going to happen when open-source authors start getting hit with patent 
lawsuits -- and the picture isn't pretty.

     It was never the object of patent laws to grant a monopoly for every 
trifling device,
     every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and 
spontaneously occur
     to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of 
manufactures. Such
     an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to 
obstruct than to
     stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make 
it their
     business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam 
in the
     form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax on the 
     of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of 
the arts.
     It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions 
     unknown liability lawsuits and vexatious accounting for profits made in 
good faith.

                            --U.S. Supreme Court, Atlantic Works vs. Brady, 

You just released your source code to the 'Net, and you've licensed it under 
the terms of the
GNU General Public License. But you're in for a nasty surprise. A month later, 
you receive a
threatening letter from the Software Industry Association of America (SIAA). It 
you've violated no fewer than 197 patents held by the SIAA's constituent 
members, which
include the software industry's heaviest hitters. Either you retract the code, 
shut down your
site, and cease development, or they'll come after you. Your call.

Original URL: http://linuxjournal.com:8080/articles/currents/003.html

Added: Wed  Aug  18 10:17:56 -040 1999
Contributed by: Keeffee