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How are software patents and copyright related to net neutrality? Those are minefields. Laid down to defend properties from invaders. The mines are silent and invisible to the oncoming enemy, and while they will not necessarily halt it's attack, it will reduces it's force and delay it. The problem is, it will also effect any attempt in going forward.
Here is an anecdotal case: A former researcher in a major US corporation left the company. A few years later he came across a possible implementation of an idea he was developing while still in the company. The idea was patented by the company while he was still working for it, so the company had all the rights to this idea. Being straight and sensible entrepreneur he approached the company to license the patent (which he developed). As the department he worked for no longer existing, there was no one left to evaluate the patent for licensing. The only person who could do so, was him. The company then took what they seemed to think was the most sensible solutions: They refused to license the patent to him.
This is the same approach taken by Oracle regarding OpenSolaris and Java2, and Google's attitude to Wireless networks. In trying to protect their assets they are not only blocking innovation and entrepreneurship of others, they are also blocking their own.
What seems even more bizarre to me is political and technical small mindedness of Google in this case. While there is interest in this agreement from outside the US, this has agreement has no direct impact on non-us carriers or politicians3. Has Google gone local, or just loco?
Claiming that cellular should be treated differently just because it is currently limited is dis-indigenous at best. Anyone who grew in the days of analog modems will attest for that. If anything, net neutrality pushed forward broadband, and not held it back. I can easily see why Verizon has a stake here, I cannot see what Google has, apart may pushing some of it's products.
What this will mean? More BSD server, less Java development, and less enthusiasm for the upcoming Google Me. Worse of all for those companies, Microsoft now seems like the cool kids...
- 1. Jeff Jarvis is actually less offensive in his critique then others.
- 2. One can argue that Sun halfhearted approach to open source is to blame, but that point is mute now
- 3. apart from giving them bad ideas