advocating warez

Discuss anything ZDoom-related that doesn't fall into one of the other categories.

Postby randomlag » Mon Sep 01, 2003 7:06 pm

Ultraviolet wrote:No, I didn't say "right," I just said "justifiable." One does what one must.
Come'on - let's not play word games. Do that in a court of law and you'll quickly find out how transparent that is to anyone. What one should always do when one makes a general statement is to see if that rationale holds up when applied to other situations.

For example, I'm just a poor hood, so like I need to grab some cash from the convenience store to buy some food. Sadly I had to shoot the guy 'cause he was going to hit me when I grabbed the cash. One does what one must do.

Obviously that's a ridiculous argument. No flame intended. One has to admit that spending just a teeny bit of time analyzing that statement to other situations reveals it can't possibly make sense. All it takes to show something is invalid is ONE example - which I just gave :wink:

I too admit to having done real thefts (and various misdeeds of youth), but never at any time did I believe (or attempt to rationalize) that it was ok to do. Just felt damn lucky I got away with it.

Either this is a complete lack of current education or what I'm seeing here is a peculiar set of individuals that are not representative. I know that warez is "popular", but none of the people I know that do so would atttempt to rationalize it in the way done here. The reason is pretty simple - it's real hard to get caught. If they could get caught, you can bet your life they wouldn't do it. Getting caught is not too far off in the future.
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Postby randomlag » Mon Sep 01, 2003 7:17 pm

wildweasel wrote:Help file authoring software? What's wrong with writing an HTML document?
Because it has a whole bunch of extra tools that support the kind of stuff required when doing help. You'd have to create a help file to realize the huge amount of tedious work required. That's why you see very few good "free" software help files. There are some, just not common.

Plus I can generate 3 documents all from the same source file - a standard help, new format chm help and an html help. Newer versions do even more.

RoboHelp/eHelp is so common that I forgot that I needed a supporting DLL. Turns out all my machines had that file from some other software I had already installed. Only with a fresh install was this file missing. IIRC, it was Enjay that noticed when he first installed XP.

There's a demo if anyone cares to check it out: http://www.ehelp.com/
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Postby Ultraviolet » Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:11 pm

randomlag wrote:yeah, whatever
You bring killing into the equation and expect people to play by the same set of rules? One has a responsibility to uphold life, and the only time killing is justified is in defense of one's own life. Upholding life (quality and quantity both considered) is a primary consideration I operate by. Theft, however, doesn't kill. Killing in order to pull off a burglary isn't justifiable because there are so many ways to steal that nobody would ever notice.

But yeah, I'd steal if I had to, and I'd kill if I had to, but I'd make sure that I really had to.
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Software patents

Postby randi » Mon Sep 01, 2003 9:43 pm

I don't normally like to get involved in stuff like this because web forum "debates" tend to be more about flaming than debating, but I do not like software patents at all. I am not aware of any instances where they are actually a good thing. One of Fredrik's articles has this section, which I consider to be the primary problem with software patents:
A patent is an absolute monopoly; everyone is forbidden to use the patented process, even those who reinvent it independently. This policy implicitly assumes that inventions are rare and precious, since only in those circumstances is it beneficial.

The field of software is one of constant reinvention; as some people say, programmers throw away more "inventions" each week than other people develop in a year. And the comparative ease of designing large software systems makes it easy for many people to do work in the field. A programmer solves many problems in developing each program. These solutions are likely to be reinvented frequently as other programmers tackle similar problems.

The prevalence of independent reinvention negates the usual purpose of patents. Patents are intended to encourage inventions and, above all, the disclosure of inventions. If a technique will be reinvented frequently, there is no need to encourage more people to invent it; since some of the developers will choose to publish it (if publication is merited), there is no point in encouraging a particular inventor to publish it--not at the cost of inhibiting use of the technique.

I don't want to worry about infringing patents I don't know about. That trivial things such as drawing graphics with XOR have been patented is scary. (And I have indeed used XOR drawing; had it not been for Fredrik, I would have had no idea that was patented). I wouldn't be surprised if every programmer has unknowingly infringed at least one patent, since there's no practical way of being 100% sure that your code is patent-free.
randomlag wrote:Btw, finding links to support ANYONE's POV is pretty damn easy and proves very little except a desire to find links.

So please prove your point by providing some links indicating that software patents are good. Finding links that show they are bad is very easy. Finding links indicating the opposite is not. I don't care if there are links saying the world is 5000 years old; that has nothing to do with patents. (BTW, the earth is flat! ;-))

And since this topic was originally about warez: Warez are wrong no matter how anyone tries to rationalize it. I paid full price for my copies of Visual Studio .NET and Photoshop.
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Postby ReX » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:55 am

Ultraviolet wrote:However, if I couldn't afford footwear, I'd break into a military surplus store and steal a pair of combat boots...

The key word here is "steal". Some people may do it out of desperation, but it's still against the law. The courts may consider the circumstances surrounding the theft, and the thief may even be pardoned. However, that doesn't make stealing right, nor is it up to the perpetrator to determine if his/her actions are justified. The bottom line is that society determines what is lawful and what isn't -- the individual's rationale behind an unlawful act is often a secondary consideration.

The same concept applies to the file-authoring software example you gave. Currently, the law is designed to prevent illegal copying of copyrighted software. I won't argue the merits of copyrights, but until the law is changed, what you recommend is illegal -- no matter that the struggling graphics designer cannot afford to pay for the software.

One does what one must.

Yes, but there are often consequences. Otherwise we would be living in anarchy.
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Postby randomlag » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:19 am

randy wrote:So please prove your point by providing some links indicating that software patents are good. Finding links that show they are bad is very easy. Finding links indicating the opposite is not. I don't care if there are links saying the world is 5000 years old; that has nothing to do with patents.
You are assuming that having "links" somehow adds validity to an argument - "proves a point". That was the SOLE purpose of explaining that there are links showing the earth is 5000 years old. So do links prove a point? Obviously it does not add validity (in the same way that you'll find LOTS of posts advocating warez - IOW quantity is meaningless).

It's left to the individual to obtain basic knowledge so they can recognize subterfuge. Clearly the earth is flat :wink: The basic background of patents is by itself a clear example of "good" reasoning. Patents themself are an imaginary construct.

So one has to start at the beginning and understand some basic concepts of the patent office as codified in law. I've never stated software patents are "good" unequivocally. I have tried to show that "words" present a difficult challenge in attempting to describe anything. That should be obvious if one follows the news about ridiculous arrests and punishment (both ways - too hard and too little). How exactly do you protect valid patents using WORDS (see links below to get an idea of what has to be done).

So the challenge is first of all that to get well versed (beyond layman knowledge) in the process of patent law (not that I'm all that well versed, but I have had practical hands-on experience) and then to figure out a way that the wording prevents ridiculous software patents, yet maintains those that are clearly unique and valid.

By that I mean in the same way that more "material" patents (which I've seen no one object to, yet they are just as fluid as software - see RDRAM for a clear example - a relatively obvious hardware gimmick that's been known for years). IOW, if one wants to argue they "hold back", that argument applies to ALL patents. Hardware is just as fluid as software - it takes a bit longer to implement concepts only because of the nature of the beast. Futhermore, hardware (the processor kind) is directly "programmed" no different than software (conceptually). So how exactly does one exclude hardware software since all software runs in hardware :?:

And how exactly does one propose to protect business interests? Fred said they were the only one's that objected. Let's assume that's true. That should tell you something in the way of "proof" to the very underpinnings of our economy. Clearly people that have the most relevant business knowledge - business people - are more qualified to judge economic relevance. IOW, it's fine and dandy to argue the merits of "progress", but not in a vacuum. Economics is hardly precise, but some basic guidelines are well understood by business: You can't make a buck if you give away the store.

What I want to see is a CLEAR consistent argument as to why hardware patents do not involve exactly the same arguments as put forth by software patents. The boat universal joint is a prime example of something that held back boat outdrives for 20 years - very significant to a boater :o Why was that valid?

As far as "clear examples", that's a loose shoe - hope the ones I gave make for some more thought. "clear" is subjective. So although someone may think it is clear, someone else may not. I'm not going to research ALL the software patents to find one that satisfies a particular idea of "clear", but I do remember one. I think the first software patent by SyncSort on a sorting method way back in 1978 or so. Nobody really objected back then.

I specifically am in the process of implementing an "invented" algorithm for temperature control that is being patented. If competitors were able to just copy this method then the original company would have forfeited all the money and effort they took to invent it in the first place. It somewhat obvious (as many inventions are once you see them) and yet no one has done it. In both cases of "hard" or "soft", the amount of money invested to verify the idea is REAL money. When it's YOUR money on the line, one takes quite a different view.

As I recall, if you can prove you had "prior art" you can use a patent free of royalty - you just can't sell it to someone else (unless that's been changed?)

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mp ... _rules.pdf
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mp ... d_laws.pdf

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/o ... /index.htm

Here's an example of the kind of legal speak complications you get into:

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/da ... 772/b3.htm

All that said, it's pretty obvious that software does not really have any unique characteristics that distinquish it from "other" patents (speed is not enough of an argument). The problem is mainly getting the lawyers better trained so they can tell the difference between real patents and trivial ones. Just "discovering" something is not enough.
The prevalence of independent reinvention negates the usual purpose of patents. Patents are intended to encourage inventions and, above all, the disclosure of inventions. If a technique will be reinvented frequently, there is no need to encourage more people to invent it; since some of the developers will choose to publish it (if publication is merited), there is no point in encouraging a particular inventor to publish it--not at the cost of inhibiting use of the technique.
A good example of total b.s. (using fact to lead you to invalid conclusions). Historically it's extremely common that once someone invented something, a whole bunch of people where about to do the same thing (think airplane). More a jelling of common knowledge. Again software is not special in this regard. Do the research and you'll find this is common for many inventions (I earlier referenced the automatic transmission).

Due diligence (a word of art) is always the responsibility of a user/business. It's like saying you don't want to worry about the slightly different driving laws in each state - for example "free right turns". One has to learn the rules of Rome - even if it's ridiculous. It would be nice if one didn't - unfortunately each place has their own set of preferences and who are we to tell them they are wrong? Wait till you start a company and get the full brunt of the tax laws :x

And last but not least, if the pace of "progress" is too fast, it will destroy business down to the smalllest shop. Remember the Osborn? A classic case of a slip of the tongue. Company was going like gang busters and he mentioned a "new" model coming out. No one bought the old one, anticipating the new one. Bankrupt just like that. That's what would happen if change was even faster than it is now. Total fear on the part of the consumer of obsolescence. If you have discussions with people they commonly mention holding back for fear of something newer and faster coming out (which of course is true). It's a tactic Intel and MS used deliberately to battle AMD/etc - announce something way before it's available.
Last edited by randomlag on Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bimshwel » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:28 am

Has any participant in this budged from their original stance the slightest amount? That's what it's about, isn't it? Changing other people's minds?
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Postby randomlag » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:34 am

Trolling is NOT productive. Rome wasn't built in a day.
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Postby bimshwel » Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:44 am

Nice segue. The question now is: How many days was Rome built in? A question up there with how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop. If we are to go by the Age of Empires example, not one whole day, but twenty minutes, a mere fraction, was Rome built in.
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Postby Ultraviolet » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:32 pm

Accusing people of trolling is NOT productive.
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Patents

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:53 pm

A good example of total b.s. (using fact to lead you to invalid conclusions). Historically it's extremely common that once someone invented something, a whole bunch of people where about to do the same thing (think airplane). More a jelling of common knowledge. Again software is not special in this regard. Do the research and you'll find this is common for many inventions (I earlier referenced the automatic transmission).

Randomlag, what is total B.S. is that you always insist that your opinion is correct and everyone else is wrong! Did you ever stop to think that your conclusion (from the above quote) could be an example of "using a fact to lead you to invalid conclusions?" Who are you to definitively state what is and is not a valid conclusion? Realistically, every human being is often wrong, and that certainly includes you. History has shown that over and over although people think they finally have things right, later generations will reflect on how wrong those people were.

Now, my own opinion on this matter is that your examples could certainly be used as evidence of why many (or possibly most) patents of any kind are neither necessesary, nor beneficial and hamper the pace of invention and inovation.

One reason that many, including myself, believe that it is best if software patents are not allowed is the for the very reason that Randy mentioned, algorithms and methods in software relatively easier Additionally, the competance needed to judge between those ideas and algorithms that will be obvious to programmers and those that really are unique and non-obvious largely does not exist within the patent office, among lawmakers, or among judges and lawyers. The patent office has not shown even its competance in dealing with regular (non-software) patents.

The bottom line is that the current pace of developments has largely been due to the lack of patents filed during the infancy of software. There simply is no need to try use patents to encourage invention since the stated purpose of patents (by the founders of the USA) was to encourage invention.

The patent office costs money to operate and no one is entitled to a monopoly on anything. Patents are a purely artificial thing and therefore if they are not encouraging invention, there is no need to grant them.

If someone went over DeepSea with a fine-toothed comb looking for patent violations, they would inevitably find some. Commercial software developers are actually told not to look at patents so that they will not be accused of knowingly violating a patent. It is judged so difficult to develop software that does not violate any patents that this is done in preference to trying remove all violations.
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Postby randi » Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:24 pm

What is wrong with just being able to copyright your implementation of an algorithm? Why do you need to prevent other people from even thinking the same thing? You don't need to publish the algorithm, so anybody who wants to recreate the algorithm would still need to do their own work. Patents effectively punish anyone who redevelops an algorithm later than the patent filer, even if they had no knowledge of the patent or the work the filer did to arrive at the algorithm they patented. I don't think its too uncommon for more than one programmer to arrive at the same idea independantly.

If programmers actually worried about not infringing patents, there would be a lot less software written because they would have to devote far more resources to wading through the copious text of all the existing software patents. Even this would offer you no protection if you happen to use a patented technique after the patent is applied for but before it gets approved. As I stated earlier, every programmer has likely infringed at least one patent without even realizing it. And rereading what I just wrote here, I suppose this paragraph is basically a restatement of Jim's last paragraph.
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Postby randomlag » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:43 pm

Jim wrote:
Randomlag, what is total B.S. is that you always insist that your opinion is correct and everyone else is wrong!

Now that is a typical example of a childish personal attack. I've never attacked a person here, only the concept. And I've backed it up with explicit REAL world examples vs hypothetical that had no basis except as a theory. There's no way you can actually show that I "insist" (are you insisting you are right? lol) more than the next guy - IOW it's a lame and false accusation and can be passed around to anyone that posts here :D

So if you want to argue, stay away from personal attacks and show me how my points are invalid. I did, whether you understood it or not. Is it or is it not true that when "inventions" occur many people had the same idea at the same time? History shows that to be correct, not my opinion. Same things apply to my business examples. They are not opinion, but events that have happened. Please stick to the topic and material presented.
History has shown that over and over although people think they finally have things right, later generations will reflect on how wrong those people were.
And? I'm certainly not saying I have things "right", quite the opposite. I'm showing there's much more to think about then the transparent surface glossy picture presented. Water is wet and the sun shines. Meaning if you state trivial events that happen, it doesn't lead to anything else.

For example: History has shown over and over that some people are right and some people are wrong. Does that sentence mean anything? Of course not - it's a pretend basis, which is my point about "b.s.". It's easy to use something that is "true" and then attempt to derive something else which is pure speculation, not fact.

Most people are NOT in business, thus have no clue what it means to put a huge investment in something only to have it taken away for "free". Please explain how BUSINESS people would survive in this model of no patents? Also please explain why patents and copyright laws were created in the first place. Expressing an "opinion" without knowledge is not convincing. Patents to a consumer appear to hinder. Patents to a company lead to investment (jobs) and help the company make money. Business 101.

Since the point that a rapid "pace" of innovation is not a good thing was obviously missed (at least it wasn't countered), how do you propose to amortizing plants, research costs, and so forth to investors or to company owners? It's not nearly so simple as all that.

And again, I never said all software patents are legit. However to exclude ALL patents is ridiculous. SHOW me the DIFFERENCE between software and hardware (esp cpus) as I asked. IOW, any opinion has to be codified, not just tossed out as "I don't believe".

Why you repeated exactly what I said about the competence in the patent office (re lawyers) is beyond me. Build a foundation for what? You still need to give EXAMPLES of incompetence in the other areas you claim they are incompetent in. That presumes you are competent, so please give your qualifications.
The bottom line is that the current pace of developments has largely been due to the lack of patents filed during the infancy of software.
That is a guess, not a fact. Only time will tell if that is true or false. I personally doubt that it will make much difference. Or no more difference than it has made in the electronics hardware field (FULL of patents). Business has a right to secure a financial reward for the work put forth.
There simply is no need to try use patents to encourage invention since the stated purpose of patents (by the founders of the USA) was to encourage invention. The patent office costs money to operate and no one is entitled to a monopoly on anything. Patents are a purely artificial thing and therefore if they are not encouraging invention, there is no need to grant them.

Why is there no need to use patents to encourage invention? And how exactly does having software patents discourage inventions? The very premise of patents is indeed a monopoly. So I guess you are saying all those people in the past did not know what they were doing? Now who exactly thinks they are "right"?

I clearly mentioned patents as a purely artificial construct - yet you make make it sound as if I did not. Why? Your opinion of patents flies right in the face of the historical reason for patents/copyrights and the changes since then. Expressing an opinion without any explanation of how this would affect a REAL world business (as it now exists) is insufficient for me to comment on, other than to say you failed to give a model for how the current business/investment model would survive if no ideas (material or "soft") could be protected.
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Postby randomlag » Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:12 pm

randy wrote:What is wrong with just being able to copyright your implementation of an algorithm?
Easy - once you express the algorithm it's very easy to bypass the copyright. I'm sure you know about printed circuits (the kind components are placed on)? Well they are copyrighted, but it's duck simple to bypass the copyright. So much for that idea. All that work and it's so easy to "copy". Exactly how the Far East was able to "duplicate" so much in so little time. (Copyright is also a much misunderstood issue: Here's an example that I hope gives some insight : paintings are copyrighted, but if you sit there and paint a duplicate of the original you are not violating the copyright and can sell it as your own).
Why do you need to prevent other people from even thinking the same thing?
That's an assumption on your part. It doesn't prevent people from thinking the same thing. It prevents people from stealing your time (which is your money) by directly using something that took you a long time to prove as a concept. That's exactly what I'm doing now. It's not even sure this will work, but we think it will. And once we prove it works, then I sure as hell don't want some competitor being able to literally steal the concept just by changing a few "copyright" issues.

They just have to come up with their own unique solution. There are many ways to solve the same thing. Sometimes one is way better and everyone has to wait 20 years (or license). It's been that way in the hardware world for a long time (I gave examples - you don't think Ford and GM paid the tranny guy do you? That's why their automatics sucked for so long :) ).

Please explain why the hardware patents should go away, since to me they are one and the same thing. (Excluding competence in the patent office ).
You don't need to publish the algorithm, so anybody who wants to recreate the algorithm would still need to do their own work.
That's not exactly so. The biggest motivator for me when solving a problem is knowing that it's been solved because I know there is a solution. Then it's just turning a mind crank till I solve it myself. If I come up with a different algo, great. If it's the same and patented too bad for me.
Patents effectively punish anyone who redevelops an algorithm
How about they REWARD anyone who develops the algorithm. Everyone keeps looking at the negative side, totally ignoring the positive side as if that doesn't matter. It's the whole reason for patents re business.

If you have "prior art", you can use your implementation.
I don't think its too uncommon for more than one programmer to arrive at the same idea independantly.
Agreed. But so what. It's not too uncommon for ANY engineering type discipline to have multiple people arrive at the same idea independently. Are you against all patents or just software ones? I don't see them differently. If you see them differently, explain how one is different from the other. Speed is not really a difference per se in defining. Think about how you would put your concepts into law and what words you'd use to split areas. Esp the cpu hardware issue.
If programmers actually worried about not infringing patents, there would be a lot less software written because they would have to devote far more resources to wading through the copious text of all the existing software patents.
Not true. That's a false scare tactic. What really happens in the real world is that you code as if nothing existed and let the lawyers worry about it. That's the way Boeing operates (that I know for sure). If I know about a patent I don't use it (that's why I don't use GIF), but otherwise I don't worry at all. And I doubt ANY programmer worries at all - except to use it as a false problem.
As I stated earlier, every programmer has likely infringed at least one patent without even realizing it.
I doubt it. EVERY is a pretty big universe. And you have to live with ACTUAL events, not hypothetical which neither you, Jim, nor I can prove or disprove. I find hypothetical scare tactics pretty worthless. If one doesn't know for sure, don't make the claim that it's "likely". I'm sure it's happened, but think it's actually unlikely.
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Postby Jim » Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:58 am

What really happens in the real world is that you code as if nothing existed and let the lawyers worry about it. That's the way Boeing operates (that I know for sure). If I know about a patent I don't use it (that's why I don't use GIF), but otherwise I don't worry at all. And I doubt ANY programmer worries at all - except to use it as a false problem.
That's exactly what I was saying! Do you find that satisfactory (really, I'm wondering)? That at any time, someone could sue you for using an algorithm that you thought you first invented? Microsoft was recently sued for violating a very broad patent on plugins, and the current judgement holds them liable for about $500 million in damages (check this amount, its close anyway). Microsoft is not planning on licensing this patent Plugins are ubiquitous in browsers and if this is upheld it could set back all browsers significantly by forcing them to remove this functionality and pay damages. Now, this amount certainly won't break Microsoft, but even a smaller amount would put many companies completely out of business (not to mention what even a completely unsubstantiated patent lawsuit could do to an open source project).

The reason that Microsoft, IBM, and other huge corporations dealing in software do not worry about patents and welcome the introduction of onerous patent laws in Europe, is that they do not have anything to worry about for most patents that they infringe upon. They have cross-licensing deals that allow them to use the patents of their fellow large software companies without paying directly or leaving themselves open to lawsuits. These agreements are beneficial to large software companies because they help ensure that small companies are When large companies infringe upon the patents of small software companies they can usually convince the small company that it would be unwise to sue when the small company is itself doubtlessly infringing upon some of the large company's patents. That leaves one group that can safely sue large software companies for patent infringement: software patent holders that have not even implemented their patents.

The point that I was making about patents being an artificial construct is that this makes them different from physical property. You are very posessive of ideas. Patents and copyrights are artificial property because they arise from artificial constructs. I am not suggesting that this makes it okay to violate patents and copyrights. I am simply suggesting that the laws allowing and protecting them should only be continued so long as "the common good" of society is served by their existance. (What is "the common good"? Perhaps the rate of useful invention and its availability is a good place to start in this case).

The fact that patents have existed for hundreds of years neither means that they have always been effective nor that they will be in the future. It is quite possible that all types of patents most often have more negative effects than positive effects. Perhaps it is also fairly common outside of the software industry for inventions to occur nearly simultaniously. However, software really is different as I will explain.

The reason that software is different from other areas is that other patentable things cannot also enjoy a copyright. A counter-argument to this point that is sometimes made is that you could write a book about a patented invention. However, the difference is that software enjoys copyright protections in all cases, not just in some hypothetical case. Software copyrights actually serve a very similar purpose to patents. A copyright on a piece of software essentially means that you cannot duplicate the program without the authorization of the copyright holder, whereas a patent essentially means that you cannot copy a certain "invention" without the permission of the patent holder. I ask the question: Why should software have both of these protections, unlike everything else?

Randomlag, the thing that I was really referring to was the arrogant way in which you suggest that people that disagree with your opinion are do not know how to properly make a point. You are by extension questioning everyone's intelligence, which is certainly a personal attack. In my so-called "personal attack" on you, randomlag, I simply critisized your reasoning, as you are so fond of doing to everyone else. I used the expression total B.S. because you used it in the very section that I quoted in reference to Randy's reasoning! It was meant to be ironic and give you a little taste of your own medicine. The only difference was that I refered to you more directly.
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