james g wrote:
I posted this within the policy committee, and have had some positive feedback, so am posting it here to run it by the membership. Are there any objections? [EDIT: Note this doesn't involve adding any policy to the page, only removing some policy that hasn't been ratified by vote, reorganising, and rewording.]
I'd like to make some last minute changes to the wiki policy page. This is in the order they would appear on the page:
Swap the position of the copyright length section with the position of the copyright reach section -- There was a poll on the main page in which a fair number of people stated that they thought the copyright reach policy was more important than the copyright length one, and I think this could be right.
Ammend the copyright reach section to specifically refer to personal activities where money doesn't change hands -- the scope of the copyright reach vote.
Remove the section on patent length -- I think this policy seems to be relatively uncommon among pirate parties, and I think it's probably a stretch to try to justify it on economic grounds. The section reads "[A 10 year term] would provide a substantial proportion of the benefit of the economically optimal term (Duffy, 2003). We see little point in a longer patent term which further restricts liberty without evidence of a significant benefit in doing so." The actual wording from the research (from memory) was that a 10 year term would provide a "substantial fraction" of the economic benefit, which is to say less than half.
Rewrite the section on patent reach -- I think it's a bit long and rambly, and was wondering about cutting it down as follows:
Patents only play a significant role in promoting innovation in a few industries (ABA, 2007, p. 108; Bessen, 2011; Cohen, 2000; Graham, 2009; Levin, 1987; Mansfield, 1986). Recent moves to extent patents to computer programs are of particular concern for a number of reasons. The inventive step is relatively small, as computer programs are closely related to mathematics which is not patentable (as with Google PageRank). The computer industry is relatively new, leading to a gold rush on trivial inventions (as with Amazon one click shopping). Computer programs are abstract, making it more difficult for the patent office to assess them, more difficult to identify prior art, and more difficult to determine whether an act would infringe a patent (for example, the GIF picture format was widely used on the Internet before Unisys realised it was covered by a patent they held). Information technology revolves around exchanging information, which patents on data formats hinder (as with Microsoft's patents on VFAT, used against TomTom and Android). Also, computer programs don't need to be manufactured in a factory, they can be copied, meaning both that they are already covered by copyright law, and that patenting them can restrict not only industry, but individual liberty.
Cohen, Wesley M.; Nelson, Richard R.; Walsh, John P. (2000) Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not) (Nat’l Bureau of Econ. Research Working Paper No. 7552).
Levin, Richard C. et al. (1987) Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 783, 794-95.
Mansfield, Edwin (1986) Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study, 32, Mgmt. Science 173.
Small nitpick; until now the idea of patents applying to software has simply been 'assumed' because there was no law explicitly excluding them. Recent moves both in New Zealand and other countries involve explicitly excluding software patents and this is something the Pirate Party fully agrees with. In fact we might be only one of a few countries left who have not explicitly excluded software patents (I can't find the source for this right now.. it was mentioned on NZOSS at some point)
The confusion around this is being spread by certain large software vendors who want to pretend that there is widespread opposition and insurmountable problems that arise from excluding software patents;http://pirateparty.org.nz/2011/06/23/pi ... e-patents/http://techrights.org/2011/06/24/simon-power-commended/