"During my rummagings in quest of Linux-related information prior to first installing a distro, I came across various videos where Richard Stallman talked about the merits (and perils) of patents in regard to software. Stallman makes a persuasive case against software patents, viewing them as a form of subsidy granted to patent-holders. Patents “protection” is about one thing — punishing unauthorized competition. As he puts it: Instead of speaking of “intellectual property”, which invokes that feel-good idea of property and ownership, we should speak of “intellectual monopolies”. For this is precisely what copyrights and patents are: they are monopolies granted by governments for a limited period as part of a bargain - that, in return, those who are granted those monopolies hand them over to the public domain once the term of the monopoly has lapsed. Viewed in this light, it became ever more ironic when advocates of so-called “Free-market capitalism” defend IP “protection”. Patents are about preventing and punishing the competiton which “Free Market” advocates always proclaim as one of it’s best features."