Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson has donated $250,000 towards the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)'s Defend Innovation project, a program with the goal of reforming America's software patenting system, the organization announced today.
Persson and Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban's donations, which combined total $500,000, will go towards bringing an attorney experienced in patent reform litigation onto the project, Daniel Nazer. The money will also help fund the organization's activism campaigns and programs sharing how the software patent system needs to change with politicians and the general public.
The Defend Innovation project suggests several ways for fixing America's patent system, including allowing winning parties of litigation to recover all costs and protecting independent inventors.
"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 press release. "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."
"Patent controversies dominated technology news this year, and now more than ever, it's clear that something needs to change," added EFF executive director Shari Steele. "We are so honored that these two inventors came to us separately with their contributions and their confidence, and we're excited about fixing software patents."
Persson has previously been outspoken with his stance against software patents, calling them "plain evil" and arguing they slow down software innovation and stagnate information sharing. In July he published a piece discussing patents on his personal Tumblr which became widely-shared, ending definitively with the statement, "If you own a software patent, you should feel bad."