Two Years Later, Lobbying By Microsoft & IBM Creates Loophole In New Zealand To Allow Software Patents

from the tried-to-wait-it-out? dept

You may remember a few years ago there was some controversy down in New Zealand over software patents. There was a plan to explicitly outlaw software patents, but then someone accidentally leaked the fact that big tech companies (mainly US ones, like Microsoft and IBM) had lobbied hard against outlawing software patents, leading to a change in plans. After that leak resulted in more public outcry it was claimed that the proposal would go back to outlawing most, but not all software patents. Well, it seems that the supporters of the big US software firms were just biding their time. As various reports are noting, more than two years after all of this, proposed amendments have finally been made to the bill, and they appear to create a massive loophole for software patents, which certainly seems to reflect the desires of Microsoft and IBM's lobbying efforts in the country. One hopes that further public outcry will finally make Kiwi politicians realize that they don't have to do what American companies demand...


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    Chargone (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:31am

    Goddamnit!

    Damnit, National!

    pretty much their entire damn platform is 'We're Corporate America's Bitch'. they only got elected the first time because Labour was starting to make mistakes after three terms, and only got Re-elected because the media spun things enough that 1/4th of electors didn't think voting was going to achieve anything.

    hopefully the reforms go through and the Conservatives can get some traction so we can have a not-left option that ISN'T corrupt and/or insane... (National only really gets most of the votes it does, so far as i can tell, on the basis that it forms the centre of the bloc that Cannot result in a Labour government. Act is pretty much delusional and was only getting in on the basis that it's leader was well liked in his electorate. that's no longer true. the rest are more centre than anything and either disliked for the things they back to stay on the good side of the bigger parties or for being ineffectual. or both. (or they're New Zealand First, which is a weird one I've never really been able to pin down.))

    our Courts might be shiny, but our parliament is a Mess. oh, it's not corrupt or tyrannical, particularly... but it's certainly dysfunctional in it's own way...

     

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    Pixelation, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:33am

    "...they don't have to do what American companies demand..."

    In this world, Corporate America runs you.

     

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    relghuar, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:39am

    "...they don't have to do what American companies demand..."

    Weeeeell, they already do what American government demands, so why not the companies? Not like there's much difference anyway ;-)

     

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      Chargone (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:09am

      Re: "...they don't have to do what American companies demand..."

      it gets better: they already Know they don't have to.
      in fact, not doing so (with varying degrees of honesty, admittedly) is part of pretty much Every Other Party's platform, at this point...

      Labour's difficult, but not impossible, to get to buy what the US is selling. National's default state is 'sell everything. to anyone. at bargain prices. then blame those who are consequently unemployed for the resulting problems'. much more in line with US corporate interests.

      it's got to the point the more significant minor parties (those which aren't basically de facto extensions of Labour and National or completely ineffective) are making nationalism an increasingly significant part of their platform... along with actually intelligent economic and tax reforms, even if each of them only has part of it right.

      Chinese corporations buying our land and US corporations buying our laws and a government who's position on such seems to be 'make it easier!' are NOT a popular combination. particularly when combined with a dairy industry which raises domestic prices because 'that's what the global market will bear' while the government makes deals that cripple our internal industry in order to support more and more dairy exports...

      the way the government's been responding to the economic situation over the last few years I'm surprised they haven't tried subsidising dairy production again. they seem quite keen on repeating every OTHER mistake from the Muldoon era... (only instead of 'think big' projects building hydro-electric dams and the like that actually benefit the country in the long run, they're floundering around failing at earthquake recovery (while using it as a mask for undermining democratic government and passing IP laws) and making a big deal about how much of a difference a Bicycle Trail will make... and generally getting their numbers wrong and not completing things... )

      in case you didn't notice, i have an intense dislike of the current NZ government :P (though i'm hardly a fan of the previous one either. and Yes, i need to clarify that. National/Labour can get almost as bad as Democrat/Republican here. only difference is that the percentage of people who realise they're both crap/third parties are actually a viable option is quite a bit larger.)

       

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 3:59am

    Demand???

    Those companies are not demanding anything. They are purchasing legislation. The Kiwi politicians didn't just make a loophole for free.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:23am

      Re: Demand???

      actually, they sort of do.

      kind of.

      NZ's a lot stricter about the whole 'bribery' thing than the US is.

      the Problem is that the current government consists mostly of people in the same/equivalent class as the US corporate types who lobby for this sort of thing. They Benefit From It. they also don't actually give a damn about the country or people, for the most part, or have clue bloody One about macro-economics. they can make money on a currency exchange or share market and think that means they understand economics, and that everyone else, no matter how badly off, can too. nevermind that the vast majority of NZ citizens have 2000 or less NZD in the bank and an income of under 30kNZD a year. the 'average' kiwi apparently earns somewhere around 40. said kiwi is a myth. my family is on a government benefit for various reasons, and we Look downright rich from the outside compared to most. this is entirely due to a lack of Debt. most people here owe a Lot (mortgages are the prime offender, but there's hire-purchase, lay-by, credit cards, car loans... ) then there's bills, shifting the tax burden from income to sales (and hence from the rich to the poor. the 'average' kiwi would gain... a couple of dollars a year. most Real kiwis lost out something closer to ten or more a Week, to my understanding. richer folks, on the other hand, often came out thousands of dollars better off a year, though that's only from memory. they Did close up a lot of loopholes in the system though, supposedly.)
      on top of all that, mum Did have substantially more saved up... the vast majority of which got spent on repairing the house. a lot of what she had to pay for was just damage from age, but with the way the earthquake recovery is going (actual inspectors inspected and said this and that were major problems and earthquake damage and needed fixing. random 'inspector' on behalf of whoever would have to pay out comes into the room, doesn't even LOOK at half the things, and then says all but the most insignificant issues couldn't Possibly be earthquake damage and talks to mum like she's an idiot to think otherwise. my mother is well enough educated to know that it's a load of bullshit and calls him on it (politely.). which doesn't change anything, as he's the one signing the forms. this kind of thing is Common.) if i have kept track properly, Mum's ended up paying for fixing a fair bit of actual earthquake damage too. (if you can manage it, actually having money in the bank is MUCH better than having an insurance policy if anything goes wrong. it also Gains you money rather than losing it in between times. too bad our entire economy, and the government's welfare/tax system, are set up to discourage any attempt at saving while ALSO being set up to cause most of the money you spend to leave the country rather than move around our internal economy and actually benefit anyone here...)

      *sigh*

      the pet rants escaped again. sorry 'bout that.
      not sorry enough to kill the comment, mind you. but still.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 4:50am

    "...they don't have to do what American companies demand..."

    Tell that to Kim Dotcom.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 5:00am

    Patent Abolition

    Why not just abolish the NZ patent system? NZ has universities, they have professors of economics. If the profs could just get together and announce that the patent system is a dead loss, a failed experiment and nobody actually inside NZ would miss it if it was gone, then some pollies would listen. Agreed, most of them are deaf, but some listening would give the NZ electorate something to work with.

    Then the electorate could punish the deaf ones and reward the listening ones. Progress could happen.

     

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    Rekrul, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    After that leak resulted in more public outcry it was claimed that the proposal would go back to outlawing most, but not all software.

    New Zealand is going to outlaw most software?

     

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    Michael, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 5:42am

    Any country would benefit from doing away with patents, as well as IP. Copyright needs to be drastically reduced both in length and breadth. Then we can begin having discussions about progress and innovation unhampered by corporate intervention.

     

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      ChrisB (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      I agree. Copyright and patents are similar, but patents have stayed at 20 years and copyright has escalated. The reason is companies can either benefit or be hurt by patents, depending on which side they are on, so the term stays near the sweet-spot of around 20 years. Copyright has been hijacked by corporations, and hence the terms have steadily increased.

      Software patents are idiotic. Could someone copyright a story written in Tolkien's Elvish language? Of course not. So patenting code makes no sense, because code is simply a derivative of the programming language. Copyrighting code is the only thing that sort of makes sense.

       

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    gorehound (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    And yes they do not have to nor should they be Caving in to my Nation.

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 30th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    What kind of shilling is this????

    What's going on? IBM was a client of yours, and Microsoft is a member of the CCIA, one of the organizations who sponsored "The Sky Is Rising."

    Yet here you are, writing a story that criticizes both of them, and advocates against their direct interests.

    This is totally unacceptable! What kind of shill are you, Pirate Mike?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 12:16pm

    in fact, all they need to do is take a leaf out of the NZ courts book over Dotcom. they didn't follow the US orders, why should these?

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 30th, 2012 @ 9:10pm

    In National's Defence ...

    ... they were the ones who repealed the prohibitions against parallel imports.

    Still something worthy of note, I think.

     

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