1997-02-05 - Re: Silly Americans

Header Data

From: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
To: Rick Osborne <osborne@gateway.grumman.com>
Message Hash: 66f610405ab109c11ab6b03939643488f2bf0ca8f1f3bda12d8c5af7a8a7eb34
Message ID: <199702051527.HAA28821@toad.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-02-05 15:27:52 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 07:27:52 -0800 (PST)

Raw message

From: Bill Stewart <stewarts@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 07:27:52 -0800 (PST)
To: Rick Osborne <osborne@gateway.grumman.com>
Subject: Re: Silly Americans
Message-ID: <199702051527.HAA28821@toad.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 09:37 PM 2/4/97 -0500, Rick Osborne wrote:
>The original poster was talking about the UniSys GIF
>patent, and this was the reply:
>>Broaden your view. I can do anything I want with the GIF format 
>>without asking _anyone_, and so can almost everyone in the world -
>> except those poor americans who chose to live under a "broken" 
>>patent law which allows protecting _algorithms_. Totally silly.

Not true, of course - other countries also have broken patent
laws that permit patenting algorithms.  For instance, IDEA is patented
in places besides the US.  The differences in the US are that
perhaps our patent people became stupid earlier, and that US patent
law allows you to apply for a patent up to one year after publishing,
while European patent laws don't let you patent anything that's
been disclosed to the public.

>a philosophical note, why *do* we allow the government to regulate
>algorithms?  (Implementations, I can understand, but *algorithms*?)

Because they're bigger than we are and better-armed?
Because there's lots of money to be made by people patenting things?
Because big companies can use it to interfere with competition?
Because it's good for the economy because it encourages inventors
	of algorithms to publish them and make money by doing so?

(I'll take the first three of those arguments :-)

#			Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, +1-415-442-2215 stewarts@ix.netcom.com
# You can get PGP outside the US at ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto/pgp
#     (If this is a mailing list, please Cc: me on replies.  Thanks.)