Feeds

Shining a light on patents

We're all pinko now

High performance access to file storage

2005 in review This will be known as the year in which the killjoys were startled by whoopee cushions every time they tried to park their fat wallets on some feeble creative freedom.

Whether big business was trying to suppress software development, exploit our cultural heritage, monopolise our genes, or take control of the food chain, it kept having to beg its pardon.

The year had opened with an ominous creaking of rusty hinges, with the prospect of a whitewash of the EU software patent directive looking likely, Grokster facing thumbscrews in the American courts, and the human genome being patented in less time than it would take for a gay cowboy to truss a hog.

Then Bill Gates lightened the mood with an insightful gag, likening campaigners against stricter intellectual property law as "some new modern-day sort of communists".

This one gangly phrase brought more lucidity to the software patent debate than any amount of venomous bickering managed during three years of European Union law botching.

Biting the hand that feeds IP

Anti-IP campaigners snatched the opportunity to stick a moral pin in their lapel, Gates' comparison being accepted as praise, which between the lines, it was.

Bill reminded us that the new modern-day sort of communists, okay, have more in kin with the old sort of pre-modern kind of thing. While the old sort of, like, modern as in pre-post-modern type of communists have more in common, so to speak, with the kind of people who would patent motherhood, and probably already have.

The whole history of communism and patents can be summed up in the story of one remarkably determined man, Gordon Gould, the inventor of the laser who passed away this year.

Gould's persecution for his communist beliefs during the McCarthy witch-hunts prevented him developing a patent for his laser. But he fell out with communism, apparently when he realised how much the power-crazed Stalinists had in common with their Usonian rivals, and subsequently devoted much of his life to establishing and defending his intellectual property, and helping others do the same, for a fee.

However noble your ideals, you still need to make a living. And if there is anything the free-market orthodoxy of the last quarter century has done for us (because both capitalist and communist history taught us nothing), it has shattered any illusion about the fact that if you don't stand up you'll get sat on.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.