I just learned from Case Western's law school that Peter Junger died at
73 last week. The Plain Dealer's obituary is here:
I first encountered Peter during his courageous First Amendment lawsuit
against the federal government over the constitutionality of
anti-encryption regulations. When I taught a class at Case Western a few
years ago, Peter was kind enough to be a guest lecturer.
When CyberPatrol made legal threats over software that decrypted the
"secret" blacklist, Peter said on Politech that the software was
"seriously useful" and "educational" and that the DMCA was a threat:
In addition to being a law professor (and, more recently, a professor of
law emeritus), Peter was an active blogger, Buddhist, and system
administrator. I recall Peter telling me he gave up his office (which he
would be otherwise be entitled to) at the law school in exchange for
being able to colocate his samsara.law.cwru.edu Red Hat Linux server at
the law school instead.
Up until his death Peter was working on an article with the typically
blunt title of "You Can't Patent Software; Patenting Software is Wrong."
A draft is here:
And an excerpt: "As I argue in this article at what most of you will
consider excessive length, the Supreme Court was right in holding that
computer programs are no more patentable than are mathematical
inventions like the calculus or logical truths like De Morgan's law that
``NOT (A AND B)'' equals ``NOT A OR NOT B''. Computer programs are
texts, not machines as some lawyers have confused themselves into
believing, and thus they may be copyrighted and protected by the First
Amendment, but they are not patentable as machines. Computer programs
are indeed processes, but they are not patentable processes because what
they process is information and what they produce is information, not
some modification of material goods or articles of commerce. The simple
fact is---though the reasons for it may be hard for most lawyers to
grasp---that, as the title of this article puts it: ``You can't patent
software: patenting software is wrong.''"
I'm told the Cleveland Buddhist Temple is holding a memorial service for
Peter on Saturday and that the law school is planning one soon.
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