integer on 30 Nov 2000 22:48:45 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] [ot] [!nt] \n2+0\ simply SUPERIOR

>The following is an opinion I sent to the European Commission concerning
>their "consulatation" on issue of patenting software. The consultation
>is supposedly designed to clarify whether patenting helps to enhance or
>discourage innovation. For those not familiar with the issue, computer
>programmes per se are not eligible for patenting (and least, not yet)
>while inventions which use computer programmes can be patented.
>If you are interested in sending your own opinion to the EC (for what
>it's worth) you can get background information to the issue from
>or send your comments and opinions directly to

John Horvath <> = obv!ouzl! 01 non.!novator
.hu - hou un4tunat.

l!ztn du lo.tekk marzup!al du

The personal PC is the most powerful information processing device
ever accessible to individuals. Personalizing it significantly improves
one's ability to locate, understand, transform, and communicate information.

The most flexible way to personalize a PC or information appliance is to program it.

Software development is not a product-producing activity. It is a knowledge
acquiring activity. Software is not a product, but rather a medium for the 
storage of memes. It is the fifth medium for storage of knowledge.
the others being, in historical order: DNA, brains, hardware, and books. 
Software is the selected storage medium for memes because memes in software 
are active. They escape the confinement and volatility of knowledge in brains; 
they avoid the passivity of knowledge in books; they have the flexibility 
and rapidity of change missing from knowledge in DNA or hardware.
Being creative is a highly personalized process in which a person searches
for original and novel ways of thinking and doing. Creative life forms [artists] 
resist rigid, formulaic approaches. They are not afraid to select pathways fraught 
with risk and potential pitfalls. 

Software and computer languages authored by technologists with little or no knowledge 
of creative practice prevent creative life forms from selecting, 
accessing and defining the underlying structure, effectively preventing them 
from being creative [giving life].

patent - dze onl! val!d 4rm ov art dur!ng dze korporat fasc!zt revoluz!e
         dzat = dze evoluz!e l!f 4rmz = kurntl! eksper!ensz!ng.

>Finally, it must be realised that in face of the so-called "information
>society" a patent is an outdated mechanism that is no longer relevant

dze korporaz!on = outdatd. 
=cw4t7abs = dze futur++



Netochka Nezvanova    - simply SUPERIOR - patent applied 4
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>Knowledge: The Key to Success
>by John Horvath
>Without a doubt, there are many arguments both for and against the issue
>of software patents. While many of these arguments are based on a
>technical framework, there is a more fundamental basis for the rejection
>of software patents. In essence, software patents act as a restraining
>influence on the free flow of knowledge.
>We often hear of the "information society" being knowledge-based and
>knowledge-driven. Computer software epitomizes such a paradigm. The code
>contained within a program is merely a set of instructions based on what
>is known or can be learned from the hardware available. It is the
>mechanisms for information input and output through this hardware which 
>enable users to interact with computers, and which differentiates these 
>types of machines from others.
>Software, as a result, is foremost a "knowledge" product. Subsequently,
>knowledge (and the ideas they produce) is most efficient when there are
>no restrictions on its use (i.e., it's free). Admittedly, producing
>knowledge can be expensive -- sometimes very expensive. Even so, it must
>be recognised that knowledge is a cumulative commodity: existing
>knowledge is the most important element in producing new knowledge. Not
>only is knowledge most efficient when it's free, but the fast and full
>dissemination of knowledge indubitably raises its economic value.
>Consequently, delimiting the use of software through the vehicle of
>patents invariably stifles innovation and the application of numerous
>combinations of different kinds of knowledge. This includes research and
>technical development (RTD), which is compromised as it becomes geared
>more toward profit-oriented activities (establishing patents being one
>such activity). This, when it should be neutral and indifferent to such
>Along these lines, software becomes a market commodity, with computer
>code -- expressed in the form of a language -- treated as a trade secret
>which is to be protected, as opposed to knowledge which is to be shared.
>This, too, runs counter the basic precepts that have traditionally
>driven the free flow of information and unhindered access (which,
>incidentally, was one of the driving forces behind the development of
>the Internet). Such a framework clearly does not promote innovation.
>The best example of a successful, non-patented language, which can be
>described as a form of open source software development, is that of
>Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). The success of the Internet not only
>has to do with a graphical interface that stretches across different
>platforms, it also had to do with the fact that HTML code is freely
>available. Not only has this enabled innovation in this area, it has
>also contributed to more users using the medium and becoming more
>involved in the generation of new knowledge than otherwise would have.
>Finally, it must be realised that in face of the so-called "information
>society" a patent is an outdated mechanism that is no longer relevant
>nor applicable in this "digital age" of ours. There are many alternative
>models already in use: the development and dissemination of Linux is but
>one example of a solution which both encourages innovation and provides
>an environment of competition among software developers. Thus, more time
>and effort should be put toward developing such alternative models
>rather than looking for ways to somehow preserve an archaic regime
>within a new world order.

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