Software Patents: Blender Back in Chains?

For a pdf version click here for a postscript version click here


Open Source Panel

Introductions by:

  • Wiebe van der Worp; Software Patents: Blender Back in Chains?
  • Jono Bacon; The Open Source creative platform
  • Ton Roosendaal; Open Source as development method

Wiebe's slides can be found here

When and where?

Saturday, October 23, 2004 from 15:30 - 17:00, De Waag Amsterdam,


Blender infringes on a lot of international patents without any doubt. Someone out there can destroy the complete Blender Project on legal grounds. Contrary to copyright there is often no way to rewrite software to solve the issue. When Blender grabs a piece of the market pie then software patents are the answer to get it back, simple as that. The ZDNet article about OpenGL,39020387,2118968,00.htm is only one of many threats.

The presentation will give an update on the current situation in Europe where we try to turn the global tide. Europe is the last obstacle for the pro lobby (tri lateral US, Japan and Europe) and loosing Europe has serious consequences for all SME sized software developers worldwide and end users indirectly. The presentation makes clear why attendants need to spend a little of their time on the issue (signing the petition is simply not enough). For example animations a la Spitting Image could help us all in order to put it on the agenda of the press.

Short Biography

Wiebe van der Worp is the founder and chairman of the Foundation. is trying to stimulate freedom of information by promoting and protecting non proprietary digital stuff such as Project Gutenberg books, true free educational content and of course Free Software. Vrijschrift also advices governments and politicians on copyright, swpats, DRM, etc. and tries to create awareness. For a living Wiebe runs a large format on line print shop, educates traffic accident analysts from the police to combine CAD and photogrammetry for reconstructions and more... He is married to Liebeth, has a daughter Kiki and enjoys living in a farm with many animals in the agricultural "grass roots" province Friesland in the Netherlands.

Abstract | more

The short abstract describes the problem in a practical, pragmatic way. However the real problem lies deeply rooted in our society and puts it into danger. For that reason it is important to bring in discussion points, related to the real problem. It must be said: software patents are very boring, and even worse, as often with fighting, it is a waste of energy. But we cannot ignore it, because it can turn a programmer's life into a nightmare and destroy the future of our children.

Some points, not specific to Software Patents (under construction):

  • Does "intellectual property" exist? Why do we think we have a right for protection of the things we create with our minds? Can you steal an idea from somebody?
  • What is the political problem? Why is the European Parliament a gift from heaven? Are involved politicians bad people? Why not?
  • One sided lobbying, the effects and how to turn the tide.
  • Stop pie chart thinking, politicians should be driven by challenges, not fear.
  • Is dot org thinking the true beginning of a new era in the evolution of mankind? What can we and governments do to speed up the dot org revolution? The not networked people don't have the faintest idea what is going on. How can we close the cultural gap between "them" and the networked "us"?
  • The Blender community is in particular interesting because both copyrights and patents play a role, regarding both coders and artists. Blender from proprietary to free, how is this culture shock absorbed?
  • Is the Blender community willing to put efforts in free education and other areas where non proprietary animations and grapics are needed?
  • Is Freedom of Information the answer to the Lisbon agenda? This freedom optimizes, no, maximizes the possibilities to reuse intellectual effort chunks from others. Taking into account that SME's and networked development teams can stack these chunks very quickly, can it boost the economy? Is networked development a way to involve more people into the process of doing economic efforts? Is it the answer to the problems caused by our rapidly graying population?

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