Australia seems to be headed for software patent legislation in 2010. The bad news is that there was a consultation, and we missed it. The good news is that the consultation was just a preliminary step, so if we start organising now, we can still participate fully in the legislative phase. Other good news is that when I discussed software patents with people in Australia six months ago, there was plenty of interest.
First, here’s a public mailing list I’ve set up for coordination. Please join this list, this is the main purpose of this new item:
And the swpat.org public wiki page where you’ll find info, and where your contribution of info would be very useful:
There were 38 responses to the consultation in Australia. I’ve skimmed them all and put initial analyses here:
As usual with public consultations, the people who’ll suffer the negative aspects of software patents didn’t participate. This doesn’t imply that the consultation was dishonest – it just means there was a systematic failure in the method of soliciting responses. Software development isn’t like pharmaceutical development or car development – the developers can’t be assumed to have legal departments that are monitoring these consultations and that know how to follow the procedures and usefully participate.
We’ll have to explain that this consultation seriously under represents certain groups, and we need to build the case against software patents in Australia. Help wanted. Did I mention the mailing list? firstname.lastname@example.org