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EPC-L: Re: The importance of the public domain, software

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <epc-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: EPC-L: Re: The importance of the public domain, software
  • From: Lachlan Cranswick <l.m.d.cranswick@dl.ac.uk>
  • Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2002 18:19:52 +0100 (BST)

>So, one possible line of discussion to follow in the Computing
>Commission's redrafting of a statement of principle is an elaboration of
>the benefits to science of placing software ideas within the public
>domain; and if the Commission is so minded, some endorsement of the
>principles of open software development that lead to the same benefits
>might be in order. So, that is my first suggestion.

My feeling is that this might be too ineffective in terms of explaining 
and educating people about the legal havoc Software Patents can cause to 
Crystallography.  Emphasizing the benefits of placing software ideas within 
the public domain ignore the asymmetry of the problem - that being the very 
lucrative financial and legal incentives (and benefits) that go to the holders 
of Software Patents (who would have good financial/legal reasons to be 
unconcerned about the detrimental aspects). e.g., 

(self citation alert)
For one overview of Software Patents relating to Crystallography, 
following is an article of which a precis should appear in the next
British Crystallographic Association newsletter (was just polishing
this up as Brian's Email came through):

"The potential power of 'Software Patents' to destroy Crystallographic 
Software; Crystallographic Software Development; and Crystallography's 
Future."    - by Lachlan Cranswick 

(this is not for the Computing Commission's consideration as explained 


Though people might be more interested in some of the present 
crystallographic software patents in existance (and avoid the waffle 
in the text before this):



Vincent Favre-Nicolin is still doing the "diplomatic version" for the 
Computing Commission to consider (Vincent also has a new job in Grenoble - 
but we are sharing resources)


Lachlan M. D. Cranswick

Collaborative Computational Project No 14 (CCP14)
    for Single Crystal and Powder Diffraction
  Birkbeck University of London and Daresbury Synchrotron Laboratory 
Postal Address: CCP14 - School of Crystallography,
                Birkbeck College,
                Malet Street, Bloomsbury,
                WC1E 7HX, London,  UK
Tel: (+44) 020 7631 6850   Fax: (+44) 020 7631 6803
E-mail: l.m.d.cranswick@dl.ac.uk   Room: B091
WWW: http://www.ccp14.ac.uk/

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