[Osia-discuss] Re: [Linux-aus] Re: Software patents: Munich has put Linux project on hold!

Steven D'Aprano steve at cyber.com.au
Fri Aug 27 10:16:02 UTC 2004

On Fri, Aug 20, 2004 at 12:43:02PM +1000, Con Zymaris wrote:

>  Software patents are not automatically evil. It makes little sense to say 
>  that if you build something ingenious, non-obvious yet useful from 
>  hardware then you can patent it, while exactly the same functionality in 
>  software cannot be protected. Companies who use patents to make money 
>  aren't evil either -- corporate organisms are amoral money-making 
>  machines, and all you can ask of them is that they obey the law.

No, corporations don't do anything. *People* do things.

Remember the old saying about the Devil, that the greatest success he ever 
had was convincing the world that he doesn't exist? Well the greatest 
success the amoral and/or immoral people in the world ever had was to 
handball the blame for their actions to some imaginary faux "legally 
human" entity, the corporation.

It has given carte blanche for people to act in ways which match all the 
psychiatric symptomes of sociopathy, but because it is done in the name of 
a corporation, we excuse their behaviour.

It was one of the greatest con jobs (no pun intended) of all time, the 
granting of legal recognition of the supposed "personhood" of 
corporations. That means that a real actual person can hide behind the 
corporation and avoid the consequences of his or her actions.

Worse, the publicly traded, limited liability corporation is designed to
encourage and facilitate the abuse of power for the exclusive benefit of a
privileged elite. It is an institution which, by its very nature and legal
structure, is programmed to behave like a sociopath irrespective of the
ethical beliefs of the people who make up the corporation -- including the

See, for example, for more.

But now this is where the conversation is moving further and further 
off-topic, and certainly I wouldn't wish to suggest that corporations must 
always do bad. Many corporations do in fact manage to resist becoming 
outrightly harmful to society.

(Sociopathy is characterised by a total amoral unconcern for the needs of 
others, and is not in and of itself evil.)

In any case, at the moment we have to work with corporations, not against 

Steven D'Aprano 
Operations Manager 
Cybersource Pty Ltd, ABN 13 053 904 082 
Level 4, 10-16 Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000 
Tel: +61 3 9621 2377   Fax: +61 3 9621 2477 
Web: http://www.cybersource.com.au 

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