Prof. Con Diaz wins the Computer History Museum Prize

Con Diaz’s book Software Rights has been announced as the winner of the 2020 Computer History Museum Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Technology’s Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society

The award citation appears on the SIGCIS website:

"Gerardo Con Diaz's Software Rights is the definitive account of the history of software patents in the United States. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, the book is notable for its original analysis and empirical novelty. Most contemporary discussions of software patenting treat software as something purely “virtual,” but this book brings the physicality of software to the foreground and shows how that physicality has at times been instrumental to software patents. It also highlights the interpretive flexibility of software (as text, algorithm, and machine) and the ways in which these ambiguities facilitated competing arguments for and against patenting. And it tracks the changing criteria for patenting and the conflicts within the complex legal framework for intellectual property protection. Particularly refreshing was its presentation of the shifting positions of various stakeholders and the genuine disagreements within those groups. The history of software patenting is tremendously complicated, and the judges were impressed with how carefully, clearly, and insightfully Software Rights explains this history. As one judge put it, “If I were to recommend a single book on the history of software patents, this would be it.” Chapeau for this achievement!”