Notch donates $250k to patent reform project

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban give $250,000 each for initiative aimed at reforming software patents.

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has donated $250,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Defend Innovation" initiative aimed at protecting innovation and reforming software patents, the organization has announced. A matching contribution was also provided by billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for a total of $500,000.

The EFF did not announce a specific plan for Persson's donation. Instead, the organization said the game maker's money "cements EFF's ability to tackle the systemic problems with software patents."

"Temporary fixes aren't good enough--we need deep and meaningful reform to protect software development and keep it as free and democratic as possible," Persson said in a statement. "New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better--an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. This is a dangerous path we're on, and I'm glad to help EFF move us in the right direction."

The organization was more specific with Cuban's donation, saying it will go towards funding the hire of a new attorney--Daniel Nazar--who is experienced in patent reform and "high-profile patent" litigation. Nazer will join the EFF in January as a Staff Attorney.

The EFF's Defend Innovation project promotes seven fixes for America's patent system. These include shortening the term for software patents, allowing victorious parties in litigation to be reimbursed for fees, and protecting inventors who "independently arrive at a patented idea."

Persson has long been outspoken regarding his disdain for software patents. In a blog entry this summer, he said software patents are counterproductive, evil, and costly, further noting that "if you own a software patent, you should feel bad."

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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tgwolf
tgwolf

After that incident in CT, they REALLY shouldn't post that particular photo of the guy, that is going to scare kids away from this website and possibly gaming forever...

Elann2008
Elann2008

Probably tax deduction.  I don't think Notch has that kind of money to throw around.  Sure, Minecraft has sold millions by now, and his cut is still in the small millions.  Mark Cuban, yeah, HE can throw money around.  He's wealthy.  Notch is just rich, for now.

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

This guy throws money around like it's candy.

Brishon1
Brishon1

Notch donates $250k deduction from his taxes.

psuedospike
psuedospike

250k out of his current Scrooge McDuck moneypit equaling 10 bazillion dollars.

SavageEvil
SavageEvil

I'm all for this, the USPTO is a hot mess and well it's actually changing right now but we need clearer stipulations. Apple just had a few of it's big patents invalidated because of various reasons like already being a patent for it and being to vague to make sense. Reform needs to take place so companies do not take advantage of the system like they have been doing, especially those with lots of money. Look up all the patent cases going on now in the tech world, lots of them have Apple at the center suing another company for some obscure patent they hold and mind you were just awarded in the last 10 years.

We need a massive overhaul, ideas cannot be patented only a working prototype of said idea, patent language needs to be specific and broad to encompass anything that might come close to your product(Apple has a lot of these vaguely worded patents), If you hold a patent and you don't actually do something with it in 5 years you must reapply and bring a working prototype along with reasons why you haven't used it and not just sitting on it to be a patent troll. Force these people to do something with the patent and not just sit on it like a troll waiting for someone to come along and want to use the patent and do something with it but you want your cut because you came up with the idea first, but did nothing with it. You're not innovating, you're just waiting for someone else to make something of it and  want to cash in on it, that's a bad and disruptive thing to do.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

When I see these constant articles about "Notch" spending hundreds of thousands here, tens of thousands there, then I can't help but think that Minecraft is sold overprice.

Then again, he deserves to swim in money because he made a very entertaining and enjoyable game.

 

Merry Christmassssssssss *BOOM*, Mr. Persson.

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

Usually when I hear the word "reform", I cynically grimace, as it's usually a code word to make screwing "the little guy" over sound nice and reasonable. It seems these are the actually "good" types of reforms, though. I'd have to hear more information, but they sound reasonable. I remain cynical, however, because I know lawmakers, and the corporations that like the status quo can make a $250,000 donation look measly.

carolino
carolino

he donates and gamespot cuts his face in a half :/

 

grin89
grin89

has the world ended yet?

dkdk999
dkdk999

The idea that we need intellectual property is rediculous. I mean do people seriously think it enhances the quality of games ? Games that are high quality would get the most money regardless weither it's legal to download or not.

Zloth2
Zloth2

Sounds good.  I think I would actually call this tweaking of the existing patent law instead of deep reform but even a tweak to those laws can shift billions of dollars.

drgribb
drgribb

This is great news!  I surely support the EFF in all that they do, especially with regard to patent/copyright reform.  DMCA is outdated and needs to be fixed.

Golden_Gonads
Golden_Gonads

There are too many patents for 'Software that does "stuff" ' around that need sorting out.  But detailed, precise patents, are fine as is...  Though revoking them if not used within a set time-frame would be a nice idea.

SolidTy
SolidTy

I like that this effort is being made...BUT, the other side seems to have countless resources on preventing any change at all. Still, while I noticed that Notch can't stay out of the Gamespot.com headlines, this news is pretty decent.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Disdain is going too far, but I am glad to see Notch's disdain channeled to more reformative efforts.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator

It's pathetic that someone who is not from America has to donate to help fix a problem in America. That being said, I really hope we do see some change in the system.

blutosan
blutosan

Are video game companies being sued a lot for patent infringement?  I haven't noticed many lawsuits based on video games or game development companies in the news.  Most of the patent infringement lawsuits based on software seem to be focused on the technology that surrounds video games like operating systems and file formats.   They tend to be bigger than games for the most part.

Wastlander3000
Wastlander3000

Top qualities of a gentleman, he has the money and he knows what to do with it, for that I salute you sir.

TJSpyke
TJSpyke

In other words: "let us steal the ideas OTHER people came up with because we aren't smart enough to do so". People get patents for ideas they come up with, so either license it from them or create your own idea. Notch is an idiot, always has been.

CyhortI82
CyhortI82

''and protecting inventors who "independently arrive at a patented idea."

 

Um....this is a horrible idea. You do realize that if this was a thing anyone could make a knock off windows and claim they came up with it independently, right? Patents exist for a reason, so people who actually create something get the proper recognition and compensation. Getting rid of patents wouldn't bring in some great, collective utopia of sharing ideas and making things better for all mankind or whatever, it'll make people stop inventing new software because they're not gonna get paid. Need spurs innovation and since we don't have a world war or a space program, the only big need we have is being better than the competition. Get rid of patents and there's no competition so why the hell would anyone bother trying to innovate?

DrKill09
DrKill09

Why don't you use that money to go back to school and learn how to make a proper game with decent visuals, good ai, and an actual goal instead of an ugly, boring, pointless, grind-filled sandbox.

zaboon_
zaboon_

I appreciate this from both Notch and Mark. Software patents (not only in the gaming industry) sure is dangerous. Mostly because it hinders innovation and evolution in technology, but also because it doesn't make much sense.

Keaze_
Keaze_

Funny how when a self-absorbed idiot makes a generous gesture, it makes us hate him even more.

Keaze_
Keaze_

That money is going nowhere fast

Geminon
Geminon

yet another "NOTCH DOES A COMPLETELY UN-NEWSWORTHY THING" article.

 

like i have said before, soon we will be seeing articles like "NOTCH TAKES SHIT, WIPES OWN ASS"

 

why do we keep hearing about a guy whos only claim to fame is a fad game that wasnt really spectacular to begin with? the guy is not special...

nathangray
nathangray

This is a HUGELY good thing. Patent reform is desperately needed, and after that they need to tackle copyright reform. These laws are some of the worst gray areas in the US legal system that not only overburden courts with frivolous lawsuits, but also stand in the way of a lot of technological advancement. Enough is enough.

starduke
starduke

EFF? They're one of the groups supported in a lot of Humble Indie Bundles. Glad to know my money is going to support an organization like them.