A new article (Paul Matthews, New Zealand Computer Society) reports that the latest version of New Zealand's new patent bill has once again excluded software from patentability.
This is a great move in itself, but what's even more significant is that the people leading the charge against software patents are actually the 2 largest software companies in New Zealand. This means that the companies (and not just individual high-profile developers) are the ones who are aware of the counterproductive effects patents have on innovation. If only US software companies were like that...
On a slightly related note, Pink Floyd's former manager has spoken out (Barry Collins, PCPro) against trying to stop online music sharing.
What's significant is that it's coming from the manager of a band that sold music under the conventional labels — it's not coming from an independent musician (i.e. outside the system) like Jill Sobule. What's even better is that the arguments against preventing file sharing are both economic and societal in nature — he knows that the most efficient production point is where the price equals the marginal cost of the good, and as the marginal cost of pretty much any digital software/files is $0, the price should follow suit. In addition to this, he realizes that the law is useless as a deterrent because the idea of copying as being wrong has not entered (and will not enter) the social consciousness; on the other hand, frivolous lawsuits will just make consumers resentful.
That said, I must disagree with what quoted economist Will Page says about file sharing sites damaging legitimate sites like Spotify. Looking at the data of pre- and post-DRM-free iTunes vs. music downloads on file sharing sites, iTunes sales shot up like anything after DRM was removed and all songs were set at $0.99, while file sharing music downloads fell off the charts when this happened. People will obtain goods legally if it is easier/more convenient than doing so illegally, and download data supports this.