Similar fights over patents where faced with photography and music in times past and some are still going on today. However with code it's abit more scientific to prove unlike a picture or a sound. If you don't wish to patent your code crack on, no problem,
but respect the people that have chosen too to protect their revenue.
Jamie, I don't think we can rely on the fact the Google software will stay free, the T&C point to a future where we are gonna pay and as advertising is the first thing that gets cut in a downturn Google potientially isn't going to have so much cash.
Software should be under by copyright, not patents. Usually you can put something under one or the other. For example, you can't copyright an idea, only patent it.
Patents are bad for software because they make the act of writing software illegal. Yes, WRITING software can be illegal. From scratch. Not copying software. Simply writing it. Like you just made a simple application? Good luck "making money". Did you get a
lawyer to do a patent search for you? No? You probably just broke the law. Yes, with software patents the only real way to stay legal is to have a lawyer look over your code every release, and do an extensive (and very costly) patent search. Wow! That sounds
really efficient. Do you already do this with your software? No? How do you know YOU aren't violating patents?
That's what Bill Gates ment when he spoke against software patents. If software patents are allowed to continue without restriction, it's quite likely writing any kind of software will very hard to be legal. People have put out patents on stuff like specific
HTML tags or something as simple as the generic string datatype. If you use strings in an software application and there is a patent for that, you could be sued! You might lose the ability to sell your software? Is that really fair?
And really you protect your revenue by having a better product, not relying on the government to make sure you'll never have any competition. That's actually the purpose of both copyright and patents. To increase innovation, to promote science and the arts.
It's not there their to protect business models and crush competition. And NOT suppose to hinder innovation (which is what software patents tend to do).