Three things about a free software exception:

1. It would pretty much mean recognising software as being patentable.
   (This might be the biggest problem.)

2. It would require putting a definition of free software in a law.
   (If this gets messy or botched, point #1 will hit us in the face.)

3. Australia has to comply with TRIPS:

I think the two relevant parts of TRIPS are article 27:

  "...patents shall be available and patent rights enjoyable without
   discrimination as to [...] the field of technology..."

And article 30:

  "Members may provide limited exceptions to the exclusive rights
   conferred by a patent, provided that such exceptions do not
   unreasonably conflict with a normal exploitation of the patent and do
   not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the patent
   owner, taking account of the legitimate interests of third parties."

http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_04c_e.htm#5

So, would an "if you respect people's freedom" exception be allowed?

The only attempt I know of at using this rule is the "curing epidemic"
exception that some African countries with AIDS epidemics and no money
thought of implementing.  They were told 'No'.  (A new worldwide treaty
had to be negotiated.)



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