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Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks: Won't Someone Please Think of the Children?

Deb Nicholson

Patents, copyrights and trademark rights have been growing and expanding in scope and application. In most cases, it seems the original intent of spurring innovation or protecting creators has gotten a bit lost, if not completely inverted. Certainly, there must be a way to support inventors without enabling predators and protect creators without empowering trolls. We need to slay our own monsters, instead of leaving them for the next generation. If you've ever wondered why a smell can be trademarked or why math can, no... can't, well... maybe gets patented, then this talk is for you. The kids of tomorrow might not want to sample our music or work with our legacy codebases, but they won't thank us for taking the option off the table. There are many entities that are highly invested in endless copyright, creative trademark enforcement or patent maximalism, but what do they want? More importantly, how can they be stopped? It won't be easy, but there are some things you can do. This talk will cover why it feels so darned difficult to get common sense policies in place. You'll learn about some likely avenues for political disruption, aka lobbying, voting and affecting policy. Consider attending this talk, for the children.


6 years, 8 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2017 video · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet · lp2017 · video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.