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Freedom Needs a Champion

by Mr. Bad

2001-04-10 01:21:11

Well, they've opened up the nominations again, folks. And once again FREEDOM needs your help. Just a second of your time, a brief email, and the shackles holding down the INNURNET can be BROKEN. Do your job for liberty!

Long-time readers (do you really exist? Freaks!) will remember the open nominations for citizen members of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Public Advisory Committee ("USPTO-PPAC" -- take THAT acronym to the fuckin' bank!). PPAC is the main input point for actual non-bureaucrat human beings to make changes in patent policy in the US. Well, OK, PPAC, and buying a senator. But senators aren't as cheap as they used to be -- even the ones from pig-raising states of the Midwest are getting pretty damn pricey. So PPAC is pretty much the main input point for real humans.

Anyways, you can imagine how this board is normally packed -- with IP lawyers, CEOs, business-friendly university professors and the like. I mean, check out last year's committee. Anyone on there look like they understand Shit One about Information Freedom? Or that they would care if they did?

The fact is that the PPAC is like practically the ONLY POSSIBILITY of getting the voice of reason and liberty heard in the halls of the US-PTO. Patents are killing free information, and enemies of freedom have already said that they're setting PATENT TRAPS to undermine Free Software, limit free expression, and generally FUCK YOUR LIBERTY in the ear like a LATEX SEX DOLL. 13,000 patents per year are given out by the US-PTO! Software patents are going through the roof! Business-plan patents! All kinds of patents! It's horrible!

The HORROR is that granting of patents, and expecially intellectual property patents, is giving away a monopoly on a corner of the infosphere. It gives one group of people the right to put up fences around ideas, concepts, and practices, and keep the rest of us out. In a perfect world, this would be bad enough, but in the real world, patents are given out for practically anything under the sun. It's like someone's putting a fence around YOUR HOUSE and YOUR SCHOOL and YOUR LAUNDROMAT and not letting you in or out or around and it's wrong and there's nothing you can do.

Not only that, but software and other IP patents make a powerful tool for the powerful. Patent threats are a BIG STICK and even if the patent is lame and wrong, individuals and small groups will always have a hard time defending themselves in court, either against infringement suits or to challenge the patents. It's just one more tool in the toolbox of litigious bastardos to SHUT YOU UP. Fuck that! Fuck software patents!

Last year, around this time, I published another article describing how to nominate people for the PPAC. It had all the necessary information for people to nominate. This year, the info has changed slightly, so you should check out the instructions linked at the bottom of this page.

Basically, all you have to do is send the nomination with a name, brief description, and URL or text of a resume to Just an EMAIL! You probably send 30 to 40 of these things a day. How about sending one to some stooge at the US-PTO, eh? Just one or two? Hell, it's quick and easy.

Can't think of who to nominate? Here's the list of people I suggested last year, with resume links:

  • Richard Stallman, head of the GNU project and the League for Programming Freedom His home page is here.
  • Eric Raymond, the Open Source guy. His resume is here.
  • Tim O'Reilly, big kahuna at O'Reilly and Associates who recently had a big ol' dialog with Jeff Bezos about the Amazon patent. His bio is here.
  • Don Marti, king of Burn All Gifs and patent agitator extraordinaire. His resume is here.
  • Pamela Samuelson is director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology and a specialist in intellectual property law. Her bio is here, and her resume is here.
  • Lawrence Lessig is Professor of Law at Stanford University. His book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace covers (very nicely) issues of intellectual property in a digital world. His bio is here, and his CV is here.

I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who can think of more, and if you do, send me some mail with their name and resume/bio URL, and I'll add their name to this list for other people.

The deadline for submissions is APRIL 12th, 2001, which means that you should get that mail out RIGHT NOW. NOW! Do it! Schnell, schnell! Freedom's window closes quick!

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

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