The ongoing saga concerning software patents in the EU keeps looking worse and worse. Richard Stallman (bias obvious) has written up an opinion piece on the issue where he notes that at least one of the defenders of software patents from France, apparently doesn't understand the difference between patents and copyrights. When asked to defend France's backing of software patents, the politician in question, Patrick Devedjian, focused on the copyrights of Victor Hugo and how important they were. Stallman goes on to point out how, if copyrights were like patents, it's quite possible that Hugo never would have been able to write Les Miserables as someone might have already had a "patent" on the various storylines within the novel. After all, that is, essentially, what software patents are. They're patents on the idea of what the software represents, rather than the technical details of how it's done. It's an interesting analogy in rethinking the question of software patents -- but, unfortunately, it seems that too many politicians don't understand the real issues as all, and only think as far as the idea of "we must protect our industries, and patents do that."
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