The ACLU has filed a brief (pdf) in the U.S. patent case called Bilski (a case I understand the End Software Patents project is watching closely) making a free speech argument against the patent in question.
I’m especially pleased that the ACLU brief makes two obvious but rarely stated points. One:
At the most basic level, it is apparent that because the First Amendment post-dates the patent clause in Article I, it modifies the patent clause.
Patents and copyright are covered in a single clause, which for reference says “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
Thus, the definition of “useful arts” clearly excludes music, art, and literature, all of which represent unpatentable matter clearly also protected by the First Amendment.
Unpatentable, but why not uncopyrightable too?