If you want to see a very coherent and logical explanation of why software patents are such ridiculous nonsense see http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/3/9/93357/91614.

Can you imagine a world where the particular genius of your favorite author’s rendering of an archetypal story would violate a patent? Quite often I read a novel for the characterisation and the inner life of the characters, but if the plot was patented then it wouldn’t exist. All those fantasy novels

  1. Problem – evil in the good land
  2. Gathering of the good guys
  3. Gathering of the forces of evil
  4. The impossible quest
  5. The struggle to complete the quest (sub plots, party gets split, is betrayed etc.)
  6. Quest is complete and good triumphs (always at the last second)

I read them if the characters are interesting and well-written. I know what the plot is, the interest is in the execution! Maybe I should copyright this, only problem is I don’t want to get any money from the really bad ones because it would be too embarassing.

Imagine if physics was patented. You would be paying money to the patent holders when you read a book explaining it, instead of which the author has to acknowledge who did the work, had the idea.

I mean, what if they patented breathing?

See how silly it is?

Has Knuth patented his fundamental algorithms (well he gathered them together and validated them, but you know what I mean)? There’s a scary thought.