Minecraft Creator Donates $250K for Software Patent Reform

Minecraft Creator Donates $250K for Software Patent Reform

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Notch warns that current patent legislation is leading software development down "a dangerous path".

Earlier this year, Markus "Notch" Persson's company Mojang was served a lawsuit over the infringement of a patent that was allegedly breached by the Android version of Minecraft. Not content with simply fighting the case, Notch has decided to take further action against software patent holders and donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights organization.

A press release issued by the EFF states that both Persson and Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, contributed a total of $500,000. EFF states that the donation will go towards the hiring of a new staff attorney experienced in patent reform, as well as the funding of activism campaigns.

The EFF has a number of projects in place dedicated to working on reforming software patents, such as the "Defend Innovation" project, which is aiming to introduce a number of fixes to the American patent system.

Notch issued a statement with his donation: "Temporary fixes aren't good enough - we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible," he said. "New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better - an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. This is a dangerous path we're on, and I'm glad to help EFF move us in the right direction."

Back in July, Notch offered a more heartfelt opinion on software patents in a blog post, concluding that "if you own a software patent, you should feel bad."

Source: EFF

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"The EFF has a number of projects in place dedicated to working on reforming software patents, such as the "Defend Innovation" project, which is aiming to introduce a number of fixes to the American patent system."

Markus Persson isn't an American, yet funded an organisation trying to reform a US system.

As someone not from the USA, get your patent system together for the good of everyone, please.

Awesome how one individual has more common sense than these major "game companies"
This should have been done a long time ago.

This is the first I heard that the mobile version of minecraft had any patent problems.

As always, Notch keeps being awesome.

Notch, Y U so awesome.

poiumty:
As always, Notch keeps being awesome.

Notch, Y U so awesome.

Cause he's Swedish and wears a hat. Instant awesome.

But whilst I disagree with the "if you own a software patent you should feel bad" comment I do agree that the patent should be within reason and also be subject to scrutiny once a better product is released or made using that patent. See the Radio for how it infringed on like 11 patents but the patent holder said "Just let him, he's making something nice using em."

For example we now have SEGA suing LEVEL 5 for "Swiping technology". A "technology" that somehow involves a patent on moving a stick across a touchscreen in a sweeping motion....

If you own a DS that motion might sound VERY familiar.

This is basically a cold hard stock inflation move where the "patents" held by a company are drummed up to seemingly make them look valuable whilst in fact they patented the motion of moving something from one side to the other side of the screen. Something that should never have been patentable because it would be the same as patenting first person perspective.

The software patent system is broken and we're better off without it. The problems aren't in the writing of the law, but the complete lack of expertise on the part of patent offices and juries. You could write the law perfectly but as long as actually writing software pays better than handling patents in a patent office, it will be broken. Do away with it and let people write software rather than bicker over the definition of "rounded edges".

grigjd3:
The software patent system is broken and we're better off without it. The problems aren't in the writing of the law, but the complete lack of expertise on the part of patent offices and juries. You could write the law perfectly but as long as actually writing software pays better than handling patents in a patent office, it will be broken. Do away with it and let people write software rather than bicker over the definition of "rounded edges".

the patent system is not entirely broken. remember that it was first introduced into the computer space defend the creators of people making hardware, but when it was found that software could be tangible they determined that it could be extended to software, and...

1337mokro:

poiumty:
As always, Notch keeps being awesome.

Notch, Y U so awesome.

Cause he's Swedish and wears a hat. Instant awesome.

But whilst I disagree with the "if you own a software patent you should feel bad" comment I do agree that the patent should be within reason and also be subject to scrutiny once a better product is released or made using that patent. See the Radio for how it infringed on like 11 patents but the patent holder said "Just let him, he's making something nice using em."

For example we now have SEGA suing LEVEL 5 for "Swiping technology". A "technology" that somehow involves a patent on moving a stick across a touchscreen in a sweeping motion....

If you own a DS that motion might sound VERY familiar.

This is basically a cold hard stock inflation move where the "patents" held by a company are drummed up to seemingly make them look valuable whilst in fact they patented the motion of moving something from one side to the other side of the screen. Something that should never have been patentable because it would be the same as patenting first person perspective.

technically the system is in place to necessitate innovation not stagnate it. think about it this way without even the bases of patent law for software there would be no need for innovation in terms of data management, or input, and we might still be playing "3D" games like Doom.

I am not saying that the system in perfect, but some of the patents that are being fought over don't pass the "litmus test of commonality" but some of them do reflect a large amount of time and effort to strive for something innovative. that is why We need reform to the system not abolition of it.

FelixG:
This is the first I heard that the mobile version of minecraft had any patent problems.

Here is the article on the Escapist about it

Basically, a man filed a lawsuit against Mojang as well as EA, Square Enix and Gameloft and others, as there games infringe on his patent of "a system and method ... for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data stored on an electronic device."

Now a think it's pretty obvious that an idea as vague as this should not be something you should be able to patent, so good on Notch and Mark Cuban for trying to help make a better system.

gardian06:

grigjd3:
The software patent system is broken and we're better off without it. The problems aren't in the writing of the law, but the complete lack of expertise on the part of patent offices and juries. You could write the law perfectly but as long as actually writing software pays better than handling patents in a patent office, it will be broken. Do away with it and let people write software rather than bicker over the definition of "rounded edges".

the patent system is not entirely broken. remember that it was first introduced into the computer space defend the creators of people making hardware, but when it was found that software could be tangible they determined that it could be extended to software, and...

So grigjd3's post is still accurate. :)

gardian06:

the patent system is not entirely broken. remember that it was first introduced into the computer space defend the creators of people making hardware, but when it was found that software could be tangible they determined that it could be extended to software, and...

I'm not saying the patent system as a whole is broken, but its application to the software sector is. The thing is, existing rules would make 98% of software patents void - the problem being the people making decisions on what gets a patent (the patent office) are entirely ignorant of the things they are awarding patents for. So long as the government won't hire people with some expertise in software development, it won't work and the government can't afford good software developers - the money is just too good in the private sector.

1337mokro:

But whilst I disagree with the "if you own a software patent you should feel bad" comment I do agree that the patent should be within reason and also be subject to scrutiny once a better product is released or made using that patent. See the Radio for how it infringed on like 11 patents but the patent holder said "Just let him, he's making something nice using em."

Okay, let's put some perspective here. Nikola Tesla was absurdly nice, and absurdly crazy. He also owned like 250 patents, he was too busy inventing all the things and actively not getting laid to get into lawsuits.

Richardplex:

1337mokro:

But whilst I disagree with the "if you own a software patent you should feel bad" comment I do agree that the patent should be within reason and also be subject to scrutiny once a better product is released or made using that patent. See the Radio for how it infringed on like 11 patents but the patent holder said "Just let him, he's making something nice using em."

Okay, let's put some perspective here. Nikola Tesla was absurdly nice, and absurdly crazy. He also owned like 250 patents, he was too busy inventing all the things and actively not getting laid to get into lawsuits.

Yes yes I also read the meme's.

What my point was however that Patents are now the cause of stagnation because there is no limit on what can be patented nor any limit to the powers of a patent. For example a patent that has been unused for 5 years in a product is still valid despite it not serving a purpose besides killing the competition. Right now we have to fight a legal battle with Bethesda to call something Scrolls. Whilst not a patent it shows just how absurd copyright, patent, trademarking, etc. law has gotten.

Say what you like about Notch, he supports what he believes in, and that is something worth respecting.

He could have made his millions, sold his IP/company to any old publisher for more millions, and retired right after.

--

judging by how copyright law changed in USA, its going to get worse before it gets better. or not going to get better at all.

VincentX3:
Awesome how one individual has more common sense than these major "game companies"
This should have been done a long time ago.

They're concerned with money. They don't give a flying fuck about the long-term implications of their business. You think the first Oil companies thought "Hey! All of our fuel is burning and releasing noxious gases into the air. You think that might be a problem eventually?" Even if they did, I can guarantee he got three replies of "Fuck it. That's someone else's problem."

I'm always a little irritated when people bash companies and/or corporations for not being conscious. When your sole purpose is to make money, caring about anything else is inefficient, unproductive, and sometimes costly. I'm not condoning the behavior or condemning your opinion, just playing Devils Advocate.

Genuine Evil:
As much as I don't like Notch ( and I really don't like Notch ) the current state of copyright law is absolutely unacceptable. It 's stifling progress and innovation and is holing us back rather than promoting advancement as it was originally designed to do. If Notch it willing to fight against that im willing to forgive whatever stupid grievances I have with the man

What did that bearded Swede ever do to you?

Owen Robertson:

VincentX3:
Awesome how one individual has more common sense than these major "game companies"
This should have been done a long time ago.

They're concerned with money. They don't give a flying fuck about the long-term implications of their business. You think the first Oil companies thought "Hey! All of our fuel is burning and releasing noxious gases into the air. You think that might be a problem eventually?" Even if they did, I can guarantee he got three replies of "Fuck it. That's someone else's problem."

I'm always a little irritated when people bash companies and/or corporations for not being conscious. When your sole purpose is to make money, caring about anything else is inefficient, unproductive, and sometimes costly. I'm not condoning the behavior or condemning your opinion, just playing Devils Advocate.

I can see the logic of that, and of course it's always been the same way.
It's funny how they only care about making money then when things like the Apple suing Samsung or Motorola suing Microsoft there all like "DAWW BUT WHY!?!"

It's there own god dam fault.

VincentX3:

I can see the logic of that, and of course it's always been the same way.
It's funny how they only care about making money then when things like the Apple suing Samsung or Motorola suing Microsoft there all like "DAWW BUT WHY!?!"

It's there own god dam fault.

It's as close to poetic justice as we're gonna get. By the way, nice gif. Just don't piss off the otaku on the site or you'll get "sat"

Good for him. I hope things go well. I know they won't because the kind of reform he wants will take something like billions of dollars, hundred of people, and years of work, (It is essentially reinventing patent laws as opposed to patching them), and I don't think the movement will get those kinds of resources, but at least he's funding a noble cause.

That said, lots of people are taking this in a odd direction by using this as a way to attack some third party. Whatever lets you rub out your hate masturbation I guess.

 

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