[LINK] EFF Patent Busting Project

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Sat May 16 10:05:08 AEST 2009

On Fri, May 15, 2009 at 03:57:49PM +1000, David Boxall wrote:
> On Fri, 15 May 2009 at 09:00:29 +1000 Craig Sanders wrote:
> > the problem with bad patents isn't just limited to software, nor is
> > the fight against them.  For example:
> >
> > http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/13/1230215
> >
> >     "The ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation have filed a lawsuit
> >     charging that patents on two human genes[1] associated with breast
> >     and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. ...
> That one hit a nerve. Anything that allows someone to assert ownership 
> of any part of a human being is akin to slavery. For me, it invalidates 
> the concept of "Intellectual Property" in totality.

yep. whatever their original purpose, regardless of whether they
initially served any public good or not, the current situation is that
patents, copyrights, and trademarks are being abused to privatise all
knowledge, all ideas, all facts, and all languages.

it's a corporate "land grab" on things that should not have any
individual owner, things that are the common heritage of all people.

copyrights are supposed to protect(*) particular unique expressions -
a book, a play, a song, a movie, etc. they are not meant to protect an
idea or a theme, or even characters. e.g. copyrighting "Gone with the
Wind" was legitimate - preventing publication of "The Wind Done Gone"
was not.

trademarks are supposed to prevent consumer fraud and ripoffs by
preventing one company from falsely representing themselves or
their products as those of another.  They were not meant to lock up
the languages that people speak or write, by claiming ownership of
particular words or phrases or slogans or unusual spellings.

and current patents are a particularly egregious abuse - patents are
supposed to be for protecting particular inventions or processes
(specific instructions on how to do or make something), they were never
intended to lock up *ideas* or scientific discoveries about the world
("facts"), or mathematical expressions. these things are NOT inventions,
they are facts about the universe that will inevitably be discovered and

so, while it may be valid to patent a particular method of extracting a
gene, it is completely illegitimate to patent the gene itself or any use
of the gene.

same with pharmaceutical drugs. patenting a process to extract or
synthesize a drug may be valid, but patenting the drug itself or any use
of the drug is wrong.

the corporate land-grabbing vermin love to talk about "intellectual
property" and label everyone else as thieves - but THEY are the thieves.
They are stealing from the intellectual commons and claiming it as their
own when it really belongs to everyone and no-one.

(*) and the protections, for patents, copyrights, and trademarks, are
both limited in scope and limited in duration.  they're not permanent, 
and they're not all-encompassing.  they are short-term limited monopoly
rights on specific actions.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

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