Originally posted by predator.hawk
I saw this about a month ago, its not really news nor is it directly related to linux.
I strongly disagree. If the wrong bills get passed, by such diverse and underhanded means such as getting the department of agriculture and fisheries
to pass it, possibly causing GPL to disappear completely in a tide of patents (companies buying out any good ideas they like), then this directly affects the way anyone can program anything new for the open source world.
If, for instance, you wish to write a new kind of editor and ask for some advice on the net, if this bill went through then any company with a good lawyer could apply for a patent for your idea. Then, one year later (when the patent finally goes through, just as you release your software to the open source community) you will be sued for using patented "ideas".
If a patent is well thought through then all is well, however if this bill goes through the patent office will be flooded and plenty of stuff will just get put to one side or pipelined to a quick decision (the patent offices are not filled with programmers) and a programmer would be hard pushed to find out if the project he just started is legally worth it. Copyrights, on the other hand protect you from people copying your code. Copyrights are not the answer but at least they work, a flood of stupid patents would just destroy open source, GPL would disappear and become no use to anyone unless you just happen to have written something which isn't covered by the mountain of patents on the "todo" list!
Linux only has freedom if no-one owns its ideas.