I hope Gnome is able to take a Newegg approach here and kill the patent.
: "A Florida inventor named Leigh M. Rothschild is the largest single NPE based on the number of defendants who have been added to patent lawsuits he filed, according to the the report." https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2016/0106/Despite-crack...
Nikonn CoolPix had wifi support in 2005. I'd imagine if you could select specific pictures to upload wherever from the device, that's the whole patent claim invalidated by 4 years. Hell, this article even references a device that Nikon offered to wirelessly transmit images as early as 2003. Find one of these, bring it to the law firm defending Gnome and that should invalidate the patent.
...filter the plurality of photographic images using a transfer criteria wherein the transfer criteria is
a subject identification of a respective photographic image within the plurality of photographic images, wherein
the subject identification is based on a topic, theme or individual shown in the respective photographic image;
and transmit, via the wireless transmitter and to a second mobile device, the filtered plurality of photographic images.
Invaliding prior art has to cover every single thing in the claim. (And my hunch is that it's out there).
A. Classifying images based on a (pre-existing?) identification;
B. Filtering images based on classification;
C. Wirelessly transmitting images
were all known at the time. Then you could argue that a "person having ordinary skill in the art" would have known to combine A+B+C to solve the problem. Thus the prior art teaches the invention and the patent should be declared invalid.
You are much better off defending again infringement suits with novelty arguments.
filtering the plurality of photographic images using a transfer criteria wherein the transfer criteria is a subject identification of a respective photographic image within the plurality of photographic images,
wherein the subject identification is based on a topic, theme or individual shown in the respective photographic image;
The patent system is so broken. It's as if drug companies, instead of patenting a specific treatment for cancer, were able to patent "treating cancer".
I understand it's not patenting facial recognition in general, just in the specific case of using facial rec or other techniques (which the lawyers called transfer criteria/subject identification) to identify subjects of images before filtering by subject and transferring them wirelessly.
I stand by the meaning of the simile though. There's nothing original enough to be patentable in that claim.
A specific method for doing facial recognition should be patentable. "Use facial rec to identify individuals in images, then filter for specific individuals, then transfer those images" should not. If we allow patents on use cases, every use case will be patented and eventually the trolls will have a collection of patents that together cover the very idea of recognizing faces.
I do agree that the patent is too unclear and broad, and that everything described must have been already known by 2008.
Which would make the patent even more laughable. "Wirelessly transfer all images I've tagged with 'Vacation 2017'" is patentable?
“yes, I would like to patent the sale of a spade when you buy a rake”
This could be accomplished with a legal mechanism that allows the defendant to counter-sue the plaintiff as a patent troll. In this scope they could bring in previous litigative history of the plaintiff (or any related entities, piercing the corporate veil). If the judge rules in the defendant's favor, then all of the plaintiff's patents (and any related entities) are immediately released into public domain.
This would go a long way to preventing patent trolling. And not just because of the direct incentives. Any entity engaging in a patent lawsuit would put their entire portfolio at risk. The larger the portfolio, the higher the risk. The individual or small company with one or a few patents has very little risk. Whereas the large company that hoards thousands and thousands of patents would bear enormous risk on any single lawsuit.
This basically destroys patent trolling, which only works because of the asymmetrical difference in cost between obtaining a patent and defending a patent lawsuit. If the troll prices the patent too low, the person they are suing just buys it, if they charge too much, they have a massive recurring tax bill (and an incentive to settle quickly, not to drag it out in the courts for years).
This is one of several related reasons why I hate the term "intellectual property". Ideas are not property, and shoving them into a property-rights framework and thinking of them as such leads to all sorts of perverse results.
If you can’t make the thing event slightly useful in five years, society doesn’t gain much for you having an exclusive monopoly on the thing. So long as the tax is low percentage wise, the yearly cost to keep it as your own would be well worth it.
It would disable "defensive" patent strategies where companies don't patent their actual technology, but the path to it, which is against the spirit of patents, and disable patent acquisition as an IP strategy.
Meanwhile companies like ARM, which live off IP licensing but wouldn't be punished because they're the original patent authors.
Seriously, want to solve all white collar crime ever? Put some jail time on the table and watch everyone straighten right out.
The main criteria in the EU is whether the method embodied in the software is “technical.” (Image recognition as opposed to say a business method.) See: https://mewburn.com/resource/patentability-of-business-metho...
In the US, under Alice, Section 101 has morphed into a very similar analysis.
Plus if you toss lawyer in jail and disbar them you will run out of lawyers to sac pretty quickly.
There's also a difference between sitting on a handful of dumb patents v. most or all of your patent litigation cases being over dumb patents.
Though that doesn't help against NPE.
Or maybe not, maybe they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. But you know, it’s not like it would take so much time or effort that it would be much of a shame if it did nothing at all.
These sorts of trolls tend to operate with a minimal amount of staffing since they're usually subsidiary spin off companies (so nothing but bare bones is allocated in terms of payroll) and since patent trolling is such a gamble (if you're trolling 200 patents with the expectation of getting one or two hits then you should try and minimize costs)
I'm sure his phone or internet access don't at any point rely on such software.
> An image-capturing mobile device, comprising
Shotwell is not an image-capturing device.
Any more info about this? Never heard of it admittedly.
Lee furthermore pursued a strategy of trying to win by invalidating the patent. Newegg got enough of a reputation for this that patent trolls would mass-file a lawsuit, realize that they had included Newegg in the lawsuit, and withdraw the suit. So then Newegg started a strategy of chasing down any patent troll dumb enough to file a suit against Newegg, and aggressively sue them in retaliation -- again, seeking to invalidate the patent (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/newegg-sues-pate...).
Cheng and Newegg eventually went their separate ways, and I haven't heard much from either one since. But, for a while, Newegg was in the tech news every few months for doing real damage to another patent extortion outfit, and it was glorious.
How do you propose paying for that? It is fantastically expensive.
I'd be happy if someone held me to that.
Nonetheless I'm throwing some money into the pot, hopefully it is used to fight this troll case, which thankfully may be so facially ridiculous that it is thrown out.
I'd happily donate to a legal fund to fight this lawsuit though.
GNOME Foundation could probably just use GitLab.com, it wouldn't take a full time staff if their focus was infrastructure. It seems like the GNOME Foundation is predisposed with gaining institutional power over the symbols of GNOME, to egoistically control the community.
We have to start getting more aggressive in these scenarios. If the patent isn't killed, they're just going to turn around and sue someone else with it. So if we want a world where small players can compete with the likes of Microsoft or Facebook, we need to retaliate against trolls who go after small players.
Honestly I wish more countries would take New Zealand's approach and just outright ban all software patents. There is no reason any software patent should exist.
And the owners both bankrupted and jailed, or they'll just do it again.
But if every one of their threats resulted in someone dragging them into an expensive fight over whether or not that patent was valid, maybe eventually they'd just go bankrupt from the legal fees.
Essentially, use their own strategy against them. Whenever they sue someone, they have two choices: roll over and let the patent get invalidated, or fight an expensive lawsuit against a party that refuses to settle.
* The lawyers got paid so much money there is no more money left to pay the receptionist and the power company and the copier rental.
* The troll is protected from paying any damages to the legal team that defeated them.
So the lawyers/executives suck up all the money and move on, leaving a wake of destruction behind them. In many cases, that should be considered criminal.
oh, that American health insurance website.
Put me down for $20 if it comes up.
Wow, that's all? That's actually really encouraging, if true. I would have assumed it was millions.
I could already see this story making headlines in pretty much every tech news outlet there is. They'd get a few thousand individual donations for sure.
Or will some of the money be recovered if the case is won? Thinking about it, wouldn't it be fair if you were more than compensated in case you won a lawsuit filed against you?
Patent trolls obviously act in bad faith.
I would personally donate hundreds each year if such organization existed, patent trolls are my worst software nightmare.
Revenue (2014) - $667,370
Donations are not necessarily consistent over years.
You'll also have expanses.
Is there a precedent?
Are they after the usual troll thing, a quick settlement less than lawyer fees to fight it?
Does nonprofit status of the victim become relevant?
(I just donated $50 - good luck guys)
It would be like Target patenting "a system for selling goods to consumers" and suing any other retailer with a checkout.
The closest analogue I could imagine would be a test in which your patent includes a problem statement and a solution which solves that problem, and the test for obviousness is to present the problem statement to a group of skilled professionals and see if the solution they craft for that problem statement matches the patent, and strike any claims they propose.
This is a very unreliable test and a lousy and expensive standard, but it's the best I've got.
It's my opinion that in order to sue for infringement, a patentee should first have to convince a court that their invention is nonobvious, using objective tests such as these. The PTO is poorly placed to guage nonobviousness, for several reasons. First is simply the sheer amount of knowledge required to be able to judge what is obvious and what isn't. Second is the incentive structure at the PTO: examiners are rewarded for closing applications one way or another, not for rejecting arguably obvious patents. Third is the fact that some relevant evidence, namely the commercial success of the invention, simply isn't available yet at application time, and won't be until months or years later.
So the situation we have now is one where the courts tend to defer to the PTO on obviousness, but the PTO isn't set up to do a good job judging it in the first place.
For all these reasons I think it would be better if the burden of proof were on the patentee to prove nonobviousness, rather than on the PTO or defendants to prove obviousness; and if that proof had to be given in a court before an infringement suit could even be filed. This system would be very efficient given that closer scrutiny would have to be applied only to those patents whose litigation was seriously contemplated, a small fraction of all patents issued.
IPR is a step in this direction, certainly, but I'm not sure it goes far enough.
Several valid patents can be directed at the same exact problem as long as they solve it using different techniques.
Take as an example the "Drinking Bird." Imagine the inventor has applied for a patent. You get some materials engineers and a physicist or something in a room, describe a device which resembles a bird and continuously sips water, and ask them to devise a way to build it in a few hours. If they describe a bulb full of dichloromethane with a tube leading up to a beak, then it's not patentable.
Proving non-obviousness is well trod ground in litigation and in patent examinations. It is often the hardest criteria to get over.
Though typically obviousness can be proven by finding two or more printed publications that in combination disclose the claimed invention.
In this example, the novelty in the claim at issue is related to using a transfer criteria that is a subject identification of the image...wherein the subject identification is based on a topic, theme or individual shown in the image. This was added as the final amendment to get the patent over the prior art the examiner cited.
If one can find evidence in [edit: one or more] printed publications that this was going on before 8/8/2008, the patent can be invalidated easily. Otherwise, it will be a slog of litigation.
That seems pretty specific ... what would be an analogous software scenario?
Programmers/UX designers brainstorming session includes several ideas, including this one: What if we remembered customer addresses and credit card info and just had a single button that said "buy"?
My guess is that it's not necessarily that people at the patent office have a hard time telling if something is obvious, so much as that the incentive structures at play are all wrong.
I imagine that, if a patent reviewer denies a patent application, they potentially have a fight on their hands when their decision gets challenged. Whereas, if they approve it, any argument ensuing from that decision will be the court's problem. It's a classic "keep your head down and don't cause any trouble for yourself" situation.
Assuming I'm right on that guess, I'd further guess that it's also a classic "I'm not paid enough for this shit" situation. I don't have any friends at USPTO, but I have friends who work in other government offices, and, from what they've said, I would assume that that is a deciding factor in a large percentage of decisions that are being made by rank-and-file government employees across all branches. And I doubt patent clerks are any more likely than any other kind of clerk to be getting paid "dealing with this shit" money.
Obviousness requires a reputable, dated source stating something like "I have combined these two elements" or "Someone should combine these two elements". While magazines or trade literature are acceptable sources, the prior art search is typically conducted primarily through the patent archive. It's a slam dunk if you have two patents with claims that cover the same invention and some way in the text to tie them together. You can't generally rely on your 'expert opinion' that it's obvious because you say so.
Patent examiners are also promoted and retained primarily based on the volume of patents they process. IIRC the bar is something like one or two patents processed a day. That would mean 6-8 hours of reading the patent, researching prior art, writing the response, reading the attorney's response and writing your final disposition, as well as any appeals. Regardless of size of patent.
All this for mid 5 figures to low six figures in NOVA
For every monetary incentive of developing something new, there are 10 obstacles because of patent law. Patents are a hindrance more than an aid.
There are probably 100 or 1000s of issued patents related to spell checking -- they can solve same problem as long as how they solve the problem is different.
> In an electronic word processing system for creating and editing a document, the document comprising a plurality of sentences, a combined spelling and grammar dialog box for displaying both spelling and grammatical errors in one of the plurality of sentences in the document comprising:
> a rich text edit command (RTEC) field for displaying both spelling and grammatical errors found within the sentence and editing the sentence;
> an error title line for indicating whether the error displayed in the RTEC field is a spelling error or a grammatical error;
> a suggestions list box for displaying a suggestions list, the suggestions list comprises a fist plurality of suggestions operative for correcting the spelling error found if the error type displayed in the error title line indicates a spelling error, or the suggestions lists comprises a second plurality of suggestions for correcting the grammatical error found if the error type displayed in the error title lined indicates a grammatical error;
> a plurality of common command buttons operative for correcting both errors in the spelling and in the grammatical composition of the sentence displayed in the RTEC field.
In other words: an editable sentence, the description of a spelling or grammatical error, a list of suggestions to fix the error, and some buttons to apply a suggestion, skip, etc.
That specific combination of UI elements was perhaps new in 1996 (as were most GUIs), but not what I'd call an "invention" so valuable to society that it deserves 20 years of protection from free market competition.
The actual spelling and grammar analysis code might be worthy of protection for a year or two, but they probably lifted most of that from some college kid's paper.
For about 10 years the US had a judge made "flash of genius" standard that was part of determining patentibility. It was eliminated by the US Congress in 1952.
I haven't done the research, but I imagine the flash-of-genius standard was repealed because it is impossible to objectively quantify. Current non-obviousness analysis incorporates some things that might be evidence of a flash of genius without going there, such as, market success, unmet need, and so on. But usually non-obviousness is determined if one cannot find subject matter in printed publications that one of ordinary skill in the art could combine to make the claimed invention.
If whenever a patent was overturned, the Patent Office had to pay the court costs of the one who managed to overturn it, they'd be a lot more circumspect about what they approved.
They should move way to the other side on the scale of obviousness. Patents should be there to protect investments, not to stake out ideas bright and not so bright practitioners can stumble upon. In my opinion only ideas that necessitated a few man-years of work to be discovered should be patentable with onus on inventors to prove nonobviousness. I wouldn't be surprised if only pharma patents would survive only because expensive trials are needed.
Captain Non-Obvious works there.
This sounds like that ridiculous time when Amazon patented the concept of buying something from an online store by clicking a [singular] button.
But I'm certainly in favour of some use-it-or-lose-it clause that lets a "portfolio" age quickly.
Edit: Not sure why that's controversial... Some time around 2009 I finally got my parents hooked up with cable internet vs the DSL they had before and wowed them by playing a movie over the internet from my home media server. I didn't invent "a method and process for transmitting a full length movie over a network without quality degradation", but my mom sure thought so. I did some "computer work" and a "novel" new ability emerged.
Edit: Changed whats in () to something less offensive.
Patent examiners all have degrees in science or engineering. See, for example, this job listing: https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/545074300. They're also organized into art groups which become experts in narrow fields of inventions.
> simple incremental improvements.
Almost every patent issued is an incremental improvement of some other invention. By "simple" you probably mean non-obvious, which is one of the requirements for patentability.
> I did some "computer work" and a "novel" new ability emerged.
That's a different kind of novelty. It's not patentably novel if anyone, anywhere in the world, ever did it publicly before you.
> (and normies in general)
I don't think it would be controversial had you not condescendingly referred to "normies".
Yeah, other patents are problematic, but at least patents of yore were more like "here's my design for a door hinge. Here's a diagram showing my specific implementation. There are many ways to mount a door and this is one I've invented and physically produced. Anyone else is free to create a different hinge mechanism."
A modern software patent version of that is "I thought of the idea of a hinge in my basement. They've existed for centuries but I'll be the first to file. No, I've never physically produced a single one. Yes, any implementation of opening a door infringes on my system-for-opening-a-door patent."
"A hinge device for a door is provided. The hinge device has two hinge members which engage with each other and a hinge cap. A bearing with one or more tapered ends engages with the hinge members to allow easy opening and closing of a door attached to the hinge device."
At this point, patent law doesn't protect any invention from being stolen, as it's supposed to, but instead denies people the right to sell their own original idea because someone else registered it first.
The main reasons why this seems to become more and more of a problem are a) globalization means patents have a much longer reach b) the increasing pace of technological advances makes it harder to be aware of every possible invention in a field and c) the increase in supporting technology makes even complex-sounding inventions trivial to implement.
With all those things in mind, my opinion is that the trade-off has tipped over the point of balance; it used to be that patent laws predominantly protected the rights of inventors from intellectual theft; these days, more than anything, it's abused to legally lock inventors out of selling their creations.
I'd say patent law, as a concept, needs a complete rework. It's just not fit for the 21st century anymore.
Think using voice control to turn on your toaster; it sounds like quite a task, but it becomes trivial by leveraging technologies like Googles voice assistance, IFTTT and some cheap IoT hardware.
I guess what I'm asking is: do some people around here have stories of software patents actually working as intended and protecting small innovators from software giants?
Well that’s not even close to true.
Software is fundamentally a mechanism that maps inputs to outputs. We've had a similar mechanism for a while now, mathematics. And we decided that - as complicated as mathematical theory and equations can be, there is no justice making a particular instance of math a novel, patentable, encumbered creation. It's all a derivative of the concept of mathematical manipulation, same as all software is a manipulation of a state machine.
Saying "this particular combination of state transitions is novel" is non-sensical to me.
The underlying elements of a computer : processor, RAM, input, networking are interesting systems to a patent examiner
Even though you want to talk about the thing in your head that does a very specific application describable in one line you have to include that systems stuff
Should Carl Benz not have been granted a patent for the motor-car? Engines, wheels, and seats were not new.
Constructing new capabilities for a computer, or a novel physical device to interface with the computer to extend its capabilities, should be patent-able.
IMO, in what I see of this patent, the computer used is not novel, the wireless signal utilized to transmit data is not novel, nor are the cameras that communicate with the computer novel. Nothing of value was built.
Law evolves over decades or centuries. Computer related patents are very new to the scene (in law years). They are getting better but there are still some clunkers out there.
In other more mature industries like medical devices, autos (auto parts really), kitchen gadgets, fasteners, packaging, HVAC, etc., the patent litigation (including trolls) is fierce too and has been for decades.
> The Product practices transmitting, via a wireless transmitter and to a second image capturing device, the filtered plurality of photographic images. For example, the Product offers a number of ways to wirelessly share photos online such as through social media.
It then specifically calls out a screenshot of http://yorba.org/shotwell/help/ with scary red lines highlighting how you can "export photos" and "publish to the Web" and "send photos via email, instant messaging, or in other ways."
...which just use whatever network interface the system has. And sure, that could be wireless... but it's not like Shotwell has any say (or necessarily any knowledge) of that, right?
How does patent law deal with that, where the wholly circumstantial and independent properties of a product's operating environment could result in a system with emergent properties that violate the patent, and which are wholly outside of the control of the original software?
E.g., if I'm using Shotwell on a home computer plugged into an Ethernet cable, but there's a radio link somewhere on the route between me and Facebook... would that instance of Shotwell suddenly be in violation of the patent?
I don't think you want to know the answer to that question.
> A method performed by an image-capturing mobile device, comprising:
> receiving a plurality of photographic images;
> filtering the plurality of photographic images using a transfer criteria wherein the transfer criteria is a subject identification of a respective photographic image within the plurality of photographic images, wherein the subject identification is based on a topic, theme or individual shown in the respective photographic image;
> and transmitting, via a wireless transmitter and to a second image capturing device, the filtered plurality of photographic images.
IANAL, and I am not sufficiently well-versed in patent law to know precisely how the terminology is to be interpreted in court, but that last element of the claim is really hard to substantiate. First, there's no evidence that it's transmitting via a wireless transmitter (if it doesn't, it can't violate the claim by definition!). Second, there is strong evidence that the destination is not a "second image capturing device." If that last clause is not violated, then the claim is not violated, and the patent is not violated.
From the way the patent claims are constructed, it feels like the patent examiner narrowed the patent to cover specifically wireless point-to-point transmission of images. I don't think the court will look kindly on the broad interpretation being used here.
You’d think that would keep all the brilliant legal minds on HN from commenting on it!
I appreciate your analysis of it. You’re one of the few here who did read it.
"A system and method for distributing at least one digital photographic image is presented, the system and method comprising at least one capturing device and at least one receiving device disposed in a communicative relation with one another via at least one wireless network. In particular, the capturing device is structured to capture the at least one digital photographic image via, for example, a capture assembly, whereas the receiving device is cooperatively structured to receive the digital photographic image via, for example, the at least one wireless network. In addition, the capturing device(s) and receiving device(s) may be disposed in a selectively paired relationship via one or more common pre-defined pairing criteria. Further, the at least one digital photographic image may be filtered via at least one pre-defined transfer criteria disposed on the capturing device and/or receiving device."
The whole patent system in general is a massive drag on innovation and the economy. Sure it's supposed to do the opposite, but that the difference between theory and practice.
The way it is now it's harms technological progress with this sort of nonsense.
If there are any assholes in this situation, they're the people who set up the patent system and the ones thay defend its existence.
You have to look at the steps.
A patent is a recipe for 'creating' the invention. You do A, and B, and C, and then D, and then furthermore E... etc etc. You have to look at those steps and understand what they mean to see what the actual patent is about.
So if the patent says 'You need to do A, B, C, and D' and Gnome does "A, B, and D", but not C... then Gnome doesn't violate the patent.
Changing the behavior of the application or showing how the application doesn't follow all the steps outlined in the patent is probably the most effective way to 'defeat' a patent.
But regardless it's a frivolous lawsuit that will likely cost Gnome a lot of money and time for no good reason.
I would be very surprised if an org like the EFF didn't step in and do a lot of free work. I'd gladly pay into a legal defence fund specifically to ensure that the word on the street is that patent trolls going after open-source developers get taken to the cleaners.
I mean, if you're looking for that, the Viking lander in 1976 did the same thing: transmit a digital image from the capture device, filter and save it at the other end. Even Mariner 4, in 1964 might fit those criteria.
No, it just removes the question of when an invention happened. Under first to invent, if two similar patents are filed, there is some effort required to determine which was invented first, and gets priority. Under first to file, it's much simpler to determine.
Prior art is still a reason to deny a patent, and patent examiners are still likely to miss it.
If I published it before you filed though, that's prior art. Again, I'm not super familiar with details here of if it had to be published for some time or just the day before is fine.
I love this as prior art. The Viking lander was definitely "a mobile device", was wireless and transferred images. I think the only question might be if the "filtering" involved qualifies.
Commercial digital TV was first introduced in the US in 1994, also predating this patent. That's fairly well known and widespread, also all of the TVs all of us own and which are part of FCC standards violate this patent.
If the court invalidates the patent, which is likely, GNOME and other free software projects can use that as a precedent in the future, which makes it harder for trolls to operate. The smart troll picks "soft targets" who will just roll over and pay.
If the court awards statutory damages, GNOME made no money because they sold no software, so it's possible the statutory damages ends up being less than the cost to litigate. The smart troll does not pick "zero-value targets" like GNOME.
If the court awards punitive damages, GNOME has very little revenue and may not be able to pay all the damages. The smart troll does not pick "poor targets" like GNOME.
This feels like a poorly-paid paralegal just shotgunned a bunch of suits and really, really screwed up.
If they get a judgment against GNOME for violating this patent, it would make a lot of news and likely be appealed. Getting to a final precedent in favor of patent infringement would take years, sinking lots of lawyer dollars into the effort, and the whole process is fraught with an enormous amount of risk.
I just don't see them having that kind of long play in their playbook. But I don't know anyone involved... It could be they are acting stupid but are really smart?
If you should happen to chase the thief away this time it isn't much of a victory if the thief and his compatriots faces little to no consequences.
Firstly software patents are a net negative and shouldn't be a thing. Next plainly frivolous patents should subject the owner to a fine at time of application. Make the seeker pay an additional bond forfeit for frivolous patents.
Next make granting bad patents expensive for the government. Let anyone read patents in process and by proving them void claim the aforementioned bond.
Have you studied these propositions in the past, or are these ideas you came up with after researching?
Let's use up the news momentum to give GNOME (more) resources to bury these fuckers.
RMS quirky as fuck. More than anything it's a shame he just couldn't pick up on that one social skill.
Wired did a fairly decent write-up, although I disagree that his speaker's pack is convoluted. https://www.wired.com/story/richard-stallman-and-the-fall-of...
Doesn't exist as far as I can tell.
I have not seen any examples of RMS misogyny mentioned in ANY of the RMS threads on hackernews so far.
What definition of "misogyny" are you using and what examples do you have that meet that definition?
> Stallman has made many posts sympathizing with efforts to legalize some forms of child pornography. Among other things, they stated that he was "skeptical of the claim that voluntarily [sic] pedophilia harms children". These comments were defended by his supporters on Slashdot. As of 2016, there are reports of Stallman changing his views on the matter within the previous few years. However, in 2018 he defended Cody Wilson, who later pled guilty to sex with an underage girl, with Stallman saying that the girl likely had "entirely willing sex with him." Stallman changed his original post but nevertheless still said it is "normal for adults to be physically attracted to adolescents" and that adults using trafficked children shouldn't be legally responsible. In 2019, Stallman posted an email to an MIT listserv about the allegation that MIT professor Marvin Minsky raped a 17-year-old girl, and due to public outcry he resigned from both MIT and the Free Software Foundation.
> For many years, Richard has been doing a schtick about "St. Ignutius" that involves Sexist humor. His performance of this shtick in July 2009 sparked the EMACS virgins joke incident.
> The "St. Ignutius" routine mentioned above has been performed relatively unchanged since the early 90s, as a commenter recounts on a blog post about the EMACS virgins joke. The commenter writes about seeing the routine when she was only 15, and how RMS singled her out several times during that performance:
> He actually pointed to me in the back and proclaimed, into the mic, "A GIRL!" causing the audience to turn and look. Mortifying. Then he proceeded to gesture toward me every time he referred to "EMACS Virgins." (I cannot believe that he is still doing the same talk 10+ years later.)
Do you have any empathy for how it would feel as a 15 year old girl surrounded by dudes to be in this position?
> In a 2007 interview, he said:
I don’t have any experience working with women in programming projects; I don’t think that any volunteered to work on Emacs or GCC.
A number of women have contributed to GCC, including:
Janis Johnson maintains the test suite and has been a contributor since 2001
Sandra Loosemore is the lead author of the GNU Library Reference Manual; RMS is listed as her co-author.
Dorit Nuzman made major contributions to loop scheduling and vectorization.
Carolyn Tice is also mentioned as a contributor.
Are you serious? What an absurd, unfair, bad faith characterization. I would expect comments like that on reddit or twitter, not here.
You may have recongized the joke. Women at MIT expressed their displeasure with that and other things RMS had done.
Do you believe those women's feelings were valid? Simple yes or no question that basically indicates whether you have empathy for people looking for inclusivity in the tech scene.
> you're a fucking wazzock
Can you please at the very least read the HN rules? You're coming onto this forum, it's pretty fucking rude to shit in it as you are doing.
Me, too. But I suppose, you are also not a women struggeling in a sexist nerd IT world? (and after hearing some storys it is not clear to me, if it really is a full joke)
So I can understand, that women are offended by it. Also, the sign is by far not the only thing, people were offended by him.
In any case, RMS effectively got dismissed because of an email on a university-internal mailing list where he tried to defend the honor of a dead friend and colleague in a way that seemed appropriate to him at the time. But the wording triggered the attention of some overly sensitive SJW who decided it's a good enough offence to retaliate against using all the social media power that she could muster.
The "hot ladies" stuff was tacked on later to try to justify the dismissal, as if it's not just the bad (but loud) media coverage that was the actual reason.
Stallman's personal views are something that people involved in Free Software have been trying for years to downplay and sweep under the rug because RMS is Free Software to a large extent and every part of him affects people's image of the surrounding work.
I love Free Software and I contribute a lot of code. I hope that RMS the archetype lives on in the mission of the FSF but that the grittier reality fades.
Of course I'm not being charitable: the armchair warriors have tried (and, to a large extent, succeeded) to destroy the reputation of a man who we all, collectively, owe a lot to.
Regarding the views, I hardly think that being picky about the semantics of the word "assault" is significant enough grounds for dismissal, and for the whole media outrage that happened.
Nobody really tried "to downplay" his views because they are largely irrelevant to the work that FSF was and is doing. So they stayed as they were: personal views. The most frowned-upon of which he publicly renounced on his personal blog around the time the scandal broke out.
If anybody argues that his name should be struck from history, I'll argue against them. But he shouldn't be employed by MIT.
Really? Look at this disgrace: https://twitter.com/sarahmei/status/1177030240951926784
But this lady has her audience, and she's pushing the right buttons.
Personally, I care little what happens at MIT, but when it comes to FSF, this has gone way too far. Fire the whole board because of an email thread? Really?
It's obvious from any charitable reading of that Twitter thread that Sarah Mei's concerns aren't merely "an email thread," absent any other context.
If you object to her actual concerns - that the FSF appears unsympathetic to the victims of harassment, unwilling to apologize for Stallman's behavior, and incapable of expressing a plan to move forward with more progressive policies, then say so. But to purposely misconstrue people's motives in an attempt to make their concerns seem absurd is disingenuous. This isn't about the email thread, it's about the culture and attitudes the email thread represents, and how people would rather excuse RMS' bad behavior rather than confront it in any meaningful way, because they care more about protecting Free Software and its Prophet than the effect RMS has on people, and on the reputation of the FSF, however harmful.
Part of the reputation that RMS built for himself is as a serial harasser with no grasp of the concept of consent. It's a legitimate concern that the FSF seems unconcerned about addressing that part of his legacy.
Where was that charitable reading when the original accusation occurred?
> that the FSF appears unsympathetic to the victims of harassment, unwilling to apologize for Stallman's behavior
You are repeating all that stuff as if it's a known fact, and not the rumors and conjecture that it is.
> how people would rather excuse RMS' bad behavior rather than confront it in any meaningful way
And here you are also regurgitating the arguments that Sarah Mei and similar orators have provided.
People are writing excuses (at least some do) because the punishment has already far exceeded the alleged crime. Don't you think so?
> Part of the reputation that RMS built for himself is as a serial harasser
Same here. What reputation? Irrespective of the truth in these claims, most people around these discussions are only hearing about this supposed "reputation" now.
Now, FSF could issue an apology, but a) they have probably as little ability to verify these claims as you and I, b) issuing that apology independent of Richard would give credence to these claims, and given that there are few actual accusers it would basically have to agree with all the stuff that has been claimed, by whoever, recently. Which would be a significant betrayal on their part.
A good PR person could issue a trustworthy-sounding promise/non-apology, but FSF are mostly techies, so I'm not holding my breath. But it would be a good idea, politically-speaking.
If you are concerned about actual people is this discussion, though, and are looking for a change in policy, then it, again, will need concrete firsthand accounts and detailed explanations (conveyed to FSF in private, at least). Because a good policy can't be built on vague accusations.
Source for that?
The extra "revelations" post was also published on Sep 16.
Also, as far as I understood it. The latest thing was just the last straw.
So which "latest thing" was the last straw and how?
"The sign was probably there for decades"
How about "sorry for spreading misinformation"?
"So which "latest thing" was the last straw and how?"
So you did not read the medium blogpost that started this, at all?
By "stuff" I mean all the subsequent "revelations" about his character.
> So you did not read the medium blogpost that started this, at all?
So you meant the event where he tried to defend his deceased colleague? That "last straw"? How dare he.
"So you meant the event where he tried to defend his deceased colleague?"
Yes, that is what I mean. Because for some weird reason, women are sensitive to women being sexually exploited. And the Epstein topic is loaded.
It is not about that he defended him, it is about how.
And Epstein was convicted before.
"He was convicted of only these two crimes as part of a plea deal; federal officials had in fact identified 36 girls, some as young as 14 years old, whom Epstein had sexually abused"
Minsky did associate with him nevertheless. So whether there actually was sex or not ... if RMS says the most plausible sitution was that the women was "entirely willingly" .. is insensitive and stupid at least.
Because every sex abuser says the victim was willing. So if RMS uses then this exact argument, of course that triggers and backfires.
He didn't defend Epstein. Quite the opposite.
> Minsky did associate with him nevertheless.
Apparently, so did many, many other people. Very few of which have somehow been mentioned in this scandal.
Anyway, that is obviously reaching. Simply being in the vicinity of a known convict is not a reason for having a career destroyed. And Stallman himself wasn't there.
> is insensitive and stupid at least
Yes, well. It was. It doesn't mean that the following witch hunt was justified. People are entitled to being stupid somtimes.
> Because every sex abuser says the victim was willing.
Imagine yourself in a position where someone is saying your good friend of decades is a rapist. And there's some evidence that intercourse happened, but the details are unknown. And the friend is unable to defend himself. Would you keep silent?
The story is well known
The sign was there
And together with it there was an Amnesty International sticker.
So it really depends on what people want to see, more than what's really there.
I've seen much worse sign, like professors not receiving at their office even if they were required to, posting signs with the new address where you could find them (usually their private studio office)
And they only received if it was "really needed" otherwise you just sent an email and waited.
That's what made me really furious when I was a student.
Women were more concerned that they traveled 100kms from their home towns to meet the professor and talk about their thesis and finding their door shut, not of some stupid signs that was clearly a joke made by someone who wasn't a threat to anybody.
The real threat came from the polite, well dressed, highly educated, power angry monsters, those like Epstein.
Stallman is the exact opposite of that kind of men.
Stallman is the exact opposite of that kind of men."
But he defended someone who associated with Epstein and who had sex with an underage girl, he got from Epstein.
He did not.
I think it's time to cut with the BS!
- according to the sources Minsky never had sex with the girl, if you have proof of the contrary, please provide them
- Stallman was not defending Minsky, in fact he even assumed the sex happened, he was arguing against using the term "sexual assault" because its legal definition is very different from the everyday connotation
But I found something I think you might enjoy.
I found someone who probably nailed it
How about, if the old person would be mick jagger? I could imagine, he still has his charms to some. Also I have seen young attractive women aproaching old yoga gurus for example ..
But yeah, the old guy wasn't mick jagger, nor a yoga master and at best he did assume the girl was a 18+ old prostitue doing it willingly for money and power
p.s. the author of that comment is you
I also know that I have written, that I did not know many details about the case or the witch hunt in general as it was a witch hunt, in which both sides were wildly throwing accusations around and I found it hard to find actual facts. And that seemes to be still he case.
Now apparently I misunderstood the comment about the sign being tacked later on, but how do you know Minsky turned her down?
The details are not 100% clear at this point, but there's a testimonial: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/339725/
The claim that the sign was attached to the door later (yours not intentional, but on other comments, I saw it like this)
The claim as a fact, that Minsky did not have sex with that girl.
When this remains unclear so far.
The girl is likely going to get out of the scandal unscathed, so in my personal opinion she deserves whatever scorn she has received.
And whether or not the sex happened, is probably irrelevant in the context of this discussion. After all, it wasn't public knowledge on Sep 12.
The woman who pointed out misogyny in her professional and educational environment should be scorned and attacked?
It's shockingly obvious from this thread how much work we have left on fixing the misogyny problem in tech.
And no, simply being an awkward nerd (whether that happened or not), or "being a creep" how some people called it, does not automatically mean being misogynystic. One has to be aggressive or malicious for that.
Why are you talking like this? I understand if you feel strongly about this, but personal snipes aren't cool, and don't feel nice to receive.
Do you believe that the women who have come out and said RMS' behavior made them uncomfortable feelings are invalid?
Because I feel like willful mislabeling things for emotional effect is what got us in this situation. Remember the contents of the original email: it was pointing out that "child rape" was not a good description of the event that supposedly took place (as it was thought at the time). And I happen to agree with that distinction, no matter how tone-deaf it might have sounded.
> I understand if you feel strongly about this, but personal snipes aren't cool, and don't feel nice to receive.
Please understand that you repeat an unfair accusation against a person that contributed quite a lot to our society. And who got hurt profusely by similar accusations already.
> Do you believe that the women who have come out and said RMS' behavior made them uncomfortable feelings are invalid?
Which women, though? I've only seen one personal account so far, and it accused him of staring at her cleavage for a while. Which is rude, of course, but by itself, as one instance, does not justify the whole shebang. Especially when you consider how many years him career spanned, and how many people he must have met during that time (where are all the others?).
The rest was a few rumors like "I heard people say things about him in my class of '95", which is very hard to verify, as well as apologize to someone. How old were you in 1995? I was 9.
From what I've seen, Richard is a polite guy, or at least tries to be, so if there were actual faces to go with the accusations, I'm pretty sure he'd write the apology himself.
It was more than that. Stop downplaying, if you want to be taken seriously. But I stop repeating myself.
Weird that you tell someone to buy a dictionary, and in the same sentence use an incorrect definition for misogyny.
He openly advocated against criminalization of pädophiles. That gets you the term pedo, even though not fair, it is playing with fire.
And if it was indeed a case rape, in the sense of exploitation of a minor by minsky, who felt the rush of lust, which the other sides asume, than he is a rape apologist, if he says the most likeley scenario is, that she presented her as "willing", as this is, like I said, the common rape defence.
But like I said, I allmost don't know any actual facts, except that the whole discussion was horrible, as most people did not know nor wanted to know facts, before judging.
And was it "women" or "a woman"? Once? Maybe, like, 30-40 years ago? If happened, it was a shitty thing to do, but it shouldn't have any effect on a person's life decades later.
Maybe consider the whole span of his career before readily accepting 3-4 vague rumors as something really damning.
> He openly advocated against criminalization of pädophiles. That gets you the term pedo, even though not fair, it is playing with fire.
True. But that's been known for years. And stating one's opinion once on a personal blog is not a crime.
> But like I said, I allmost don't know any actual facts, except that the whole discussion was horrible, as most people did not know nor wanted to know facts, before judging.
It's unfair to conclude "everybody behaved badly" and shrug when only one side is paying the price.
Espesially since the choice to move the "discourse" to the social media plaforms (inhabited by very different people) has been made by the original accuser.
"he was arguing against using the term "sexual assault" because its legal definition is very different from the everyday connotation"
He did quite more than a semantic argument, by saying "more than willing"
Who said that and when?
"but the most plausible scenario is that
she presented herself to him as entirely willing. "
Is the quote from EMS I mean. The one who started all this.
Yes, apparently some people have an extremely emotional reaction to seeing the word "willing" anywhere near the topic of sexual exploitation, but that's not a good enough reason to break out the torches full-on. Especially in an academic environment (where people are supposed to be able to think first).
It doesn't look like that.
> But I suppose, you are also not a women struggeling in a sexist nerd IT world?
I'm not a woman, I'm also not a sexist nerd.
And I know, having been a supporter of the free software since the mid 90s, having interacted with the first Luther Blisset group in Italy, having tried to build an Italian Linux distro in 1996 and been part in the hack community (I've been among the first to build and attend hack meetings conventions in Italy, you can read more about the first one here http://www.ecn.org/hackit98/faq.html), that I've never met more women in tech than in the FSF circles.
There were literally no women in tech back then, but there were more than a few of them interested in being part of a socio-political revolutionary platform such as the free software philosophy.
I've personally taught a group of girls howto install Linux so they could teach to other people in the free Linux courses we gave in many community centers, back when Linux meant Slackware 1.0 (1.0.1 to be correct) and kernel 1.2.13.
I've been a teacher for Rails girls whose motto is "Our aim is to give tools and a community for women to understand technology and to build their ideas"
Because RMS and all the guys like him believed in inclusiveness and I believed it too, thanks to them.