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Software Patents, Copyrights, Morality, and Pragmatism

Regardless of your philosophical leanings on the issue of software patents, if you’re in the software business, you need to worry about them.  A lot of people, such as the inventor of modern e-mail, are opposed to software patents.  I have certainly written patent applications with many software engineers who did not like the idea.  V. A. Shiva, the e-mail inventor, sums up the point of view in this video clip: if you want to protect software intellectual property, use the copyright laws. This is a legitimate point of view.  Indeed, can even proponents of software patents deny with a straight face that the law surrounding the patentability of software is, at best, uncertain, and, at worst, deeply troubled?  I hope to tackle policy prescriptions as this blog evolves, but for now, let’s accept the facts and move on to consider practical implications. Regardless of your philosophical leanings on the…

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