Mike Lee is a very interesting character. What I really like and respect about him is not so much his achievements (which are considerable in and of themselves) but the fact that he knows he is free to speak his mind and does. I’ve found the things he says and does fascinating.
Take The Appsterdam Movement for example. It’s a very interesting idea – find a location where the laws and the overall environment are friendly to people from all places on they earth to live and work, then enhance it and encourage independent developers to join him. After traveling to various parts of the globe to check out candidate cities he chose Amsterdam in The Netherlands (hence “Appsterdam”). It’s an interesting experiment that I think warrants monitoring closely.
Now, With the rise of patent lawsuits going after indie developers Mike has done something wonderful. Patent litigation is expensive, time-consuming, and takes time away from indie developers that could be better spent building new products. To deal with this problem Mike has helped organize the “Appsterdam Legal Defense Fund“. In addition to helping indie developers to fight these lawsuits, the team is also planning to take the fight to Washington to help enact meaningful patent reform. Very big goals, and they will be going up against some large, powerful and well-monied parties.
I stand with Appsterdam on this. I think software patents are a bad idea, and I think that a requirement for enforcing a patent should be that you produce and attempt to sell a product that includes the patent. I’ve never heard of any innovation that came out of a patent lawsuit.
At some point a sane person has to stand up to this nonsense and say, “Enough!”. Thanks, Mike!