Richard Stallman blasts patent absurdity, and deftly contrasts copyrights and patents:
Consider the novel Les Misérables, written by Hugo. Because he wrote it, the copyright belonged only to him. He did not have to fear that some stranger could sue him for copyright infringement and win. That was impossible, because copyright covers only the details of a work of authorship, and only restricts copying. Hugo had not copied Les Misérables, so he was not in danger. Patents work differently. They cover ideas - each patent is a monopoly on practising some idea, which is described in the patent itself."
[ via Cory Doctorow, who titled his post "Software patents are bad for coders like literary patents would be bad for writers." ] Exactly!
Got it? Copyrights = good. Patents = bad. All software patents are bad, all the time. Always.
I'm telling you, Everybody Loves Eric Raymond is my favorite comic right now; check out web comic patents. The hits keep on coming...