23 November 2009

Software Copyright vs. Software Patents

Here's an noteworthy story about the different kinds of protection that can be given to software:


Mit einer Stellungnahme vom 16.11.2009 (PDF) hat sich der Bundesverband Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie e.V. (BIKT) zur anstehenden Urheberrechtsreform (dem so genannten “3. Korb”) geäußert. Der Brachenverband, der nach eigenen Angaben die Interessen von über 600 kleinen und mittelständischen Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie (IKT-)-Lösungsanbietern auf nationaler und europäischer Ebene vertritt fordert von der Politik, dass der Urheberrechtsschutz an Computerprogrammen gestärkt und gegen Patente auf “computerimplementierte Erfindungen” (also Softwarepatente) abgesichert wird. Der Verband sieht die Interessen der Software-Urheber wegen eines Anstiegs von Softwarepatenterteilungen durch das Europäische Patentamt (EPA) in Gefahr.

BIKT weist in der Stellungnahme darauf hin, dass sich die internationale Politik beim Rechtsschutz für Computerprogramme bewusst für einen “copyright approach” und gegen einen “patent approach” entschieden habe. Ein paralleler Patentschutz, der sich an vielen Software-Patenten, die vom EPA gewährt würden, manifestiere, gefährde diese Entscheidung und die Integrität des Urheberrechtsschutzes am Programm. Er führe dazu, dass “Softwareautoren im Wirkungsbereich von Patenten an der wirtschaftlichen Nutzung ihrer eigenen Programme gehindert werden.”

[Via Google Translate: With an opinion (PDF), which was published on 16.11.2009, has the Federal Information and Communications Technology Association (BIKT) for the upcoming copyright reform (the so-called "3 Basket") expressed. The industry organization representing the interests of their own statements to over 600 small and medium-sized information and communication technology (ICT) solution providers at the national and European levels of politics requires that copyright protection for computer programs and strengthened against patents on "computer-implemented inventions" (ie software) is secured. The Association considers the interests of software authors because of the high inventory and further rise of software patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) in danger.

BIKT notes in the comments that are aware of international politics in legal protection for computer programs for a "copyright approach" and had decided against a "patent approach". A parallel patent protection, which manifests itself in many software patents that were granted by the EPO, the decision and threatens the integrity of copyright protection in the program. It leads to that "be prevented from software authors in the scope of patents in the economic exploitation of their own programs."]

What's interesting here is that this position - preferring copyright rather than patent protection - comes from small to medium-sized software companies, but aligns with that of the free software world, which depends on copyright for the efficacy of its licences, but cannot accommodate patents, because they act as a brake on sharing.

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4 comments:

Peter said...

Another huge problem are trade secrets. For instance, trade secrecy on how a file is formatted. When specifications are not fully published, it hampers interoperability efforts and keeps users from truly owning their data.

glyn moody said...

@Peter: yes, that's certainly another issue.

Anonymous said...

In April BIKT also wrote an amicus letter to EPA referring to EBA proceeding G 3/08 based on the same arguments. The press release and the amicus letter is available also in english under
http://www.bikt.de/pmdetail.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=2&tx_ttnews[backPid]=75

glyn moody said...

Thanks - I'd missed that.