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Author Topic: Growing the Copyfree Movement  (Read 6778 times)
nanotube
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November 28, 2010, 06:28:55 AM
 #21

Evildoers' deeds could be used as political ammunition.

Mostly to damage the credibility of copyright and patent institution in question.

I won't say it is not without risk, to be copyfree.

well, more power to you, whatever makes you happy.

but as i see it, protesting thievery by leaving your valuables on the sidewalk is not a functional long-term strategy. Smiley

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kiba
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November 28, 2010, 06:43:30 AM
 #22


well, more power to you, whatever makes you happy.

but as i see it, protesting thievery by leaving your valuables on the sidewalk is not a functional long-term strategy. Smiley

There's some method to my madness.

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November 28, 2010, 10:43:55 AM
 #23


well, more power to you, whatever makes you happy.

but as i see it, protesting thievery by leaving your valuables on the sidewalk is not a functional long-term strategy. Smiley

There's some method to my madness.


if there was, it wouldn't be called madness

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November 28, 2010, 02:25:56 PM
 #24

I think you're unintentionally spreading FUD here. If you give something away into the public domain (in jurisdictions where that can be done) you can't be sued for it. If you think that's not the case, show me a link to a counterexample.
i will do just that, then, my friend Smiley
apparently you have not heard of the rather famous JMRI court case....

in brief: 'good guy' writes foss software. licensis it under the weak "artistic license". 'bad guy' goes and makes a closed-source offshoot of it, even files some patents, and then sues the original author for infringing his patent/copyright.

I know the JMRI court case well, but it's not a counterexample because (1) no-one gave anything away into the public domain (the software was permissively licensed), and (2) Katzer sued the original author for infringing his patent, NOT for infringing copyright.

For sure, the patent system is seriously broken, as is the court system, but even so Katzer lost in the end and "good guy" Jacobsen won.
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November 28, 2010, 05:44:58 PM
 #25

apparently you have not heard of the rather famous JMRI court case....

in brief: 'good guy' writes foss software. licensis it under the weak "artistic license". 'bad guy' goes and makes a closed-source offshoot of it, even files some patents, and then sues the original author for infringing his patent/copyright.

I know the JMRI court case well, but it's not a counterexample because (1) no-one gave anything away into the public domain (the software was permissively licensed), and (2) Katzer sued the original author for infringing his patent, NOT for infringing copyright.

For sure, the patent system is seriously broken, as is the court system, but even so Katzer lost in the end and "good guy" Jacobsen won.

[/quote]

It is also apparently a very high profile case.

Nonetheless, suing a very prominent individual who release stuff under the public domain might actually be dangerous.

If you sued Jason Rohrer, who make public domain games, there would be massive coverage by the gaming media.

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November 28, 2010, 06:22:11 PM
 #26

I think you're unintentionally spreading FUD here. If you give something away into the public domain (in jurisdictions where that can be done) you can't be sued for it. If you think that's not the case, show me a link to a counterexample.
i will do just that, then, my friend Smiley
apparently you have not heard of the rather famous JMRI court case....

in brief: 'good guy' writes foss software. licensis it under the weak "artistic license". 'bad guy' goes and makes a closed-source offshoot of it, even files some patents, and then sues the original author for infringing his patent/copyright.

I know the JMRI court case well, but it's not a counterexample because (1) no-one gave anything away into the public domain (the software was permissively licensed), and (2) Katzer sued the original author for infringing his patent, NOT for infringing copyright.

For sure, the patent system is seriously broken, as is the court system, but even so Katzer lost in the end and "good guy" Jacobsen won.


well, if you read perens's analysis of the case, the very permissive 'artistic license' made the case for the 'good side' more difficult. 'public domain' would have even worse issues.

i'm specifically referring to the second link i posted:
http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/features/article.php/3866316/Bruce-Perens-Inside-Open-Sources-Historic-Victory

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November 28, 2010, 06:30:09 PM
 #27

It is also apparently a very high profile case.

Nonetheless, suing a very prominent individual who release stuff under the public domain might actually be dangerous.

If you sued Jason Rohrer, who make public domain games, there would be massive coverage by the gaming media.

I have never heard of this guy and had to look up his Wikipedia entry just to find out who he might be, and I expect that the "mainstream news media" would mostly ignore him if he got sued, even if the "gaming news" would be screaming "off with their heads" and all sorts of legal defense funds being organized.

Similar events have happened on much less terms, including the definitive legal case of SCO v. IBM.  Why a bunch of idiots in Provo, Utah decided to take on the Nazgul in a direct head to head fight over intellectual property is beyond me, but what is especially funny is how it actually strengthened open source software as a direct result.  FYI, the IBM legal department is commonly referred to as "The Nazgul" because of their tendency to suck the life out of you once you get on their radar... and that they don't give up until they win.  They almost always win if they get into a court room too.  That IBM also scored some brownie points by defending software written with a BSD license is a huge bonus too.  In spite of the major players involved in this particular legal fight (including Microsoft supporting SCO) it barely got any sort of press attention at all.  One of SCO's main arguments in this case was that copyleft was somehow "UnAmerican" and somehow unconstitutional abuse of copyright law as well.  Essentially, once the content was put "out there" for free, it could be appropriated by anybody without regard to licensing at all.. or at least somewhat on those terms.  SCO kept changing their story over time so it is hard to nail down their exact argument here and with even the BSD license it became awkward for that group.

What I find interesting here with this "Copyfree Movement" is the attacks against copyleft, such as demonstrated with this thread.  The real fight ought to be against those who would lock up all content and not permit any sort of public domain content from getting created in the first place.  I really wish that Eldred v. Ashcroft has a different result, and the dissenting opinion by Justice Breyer (certainly worth a read if you get a chance) about the attacks on the public domain through essentially perpetual copyright are by far and away of much greater concern.

Copyleft is merely one approach in an attempt to ensure that content made available to everybody will remain so.  I hope that a common area that we can agree upon is that "Steamboat Willie" can and ought to be in the public domain.  Some have argued that perhaps it already is too, but that is a digression that would involve the Disney legal team.

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November 28, 2010, 06:38:23 PM
 #28

It is also apparently a very high profile case.

Nonetheless, suing a very prominent individual who release stuff under the public domain might actually be dangerous.

If you sued Jason Rohrer, who make public domain games, there would be massive coverage by the gaming media.

What I find interesting here with this "Copyfree Movement" is the attacks against copyleft, such as demonstrated with this thread.  The real fight ought to be against those who would lock up all content and not permit any sort of public domain content from getting created in the first place.  I really wish that Eldred v. Ashcroft has a different result, and the dissenting opinion by Justice Breyer (certainly worth a read if you get a chance) about the attacks on the public domain through essentially perpetual copyright are by far and away of much greater concern.

Copyleft is merely one approach in an attempt to ensure that content made available to everybody will remain so.  I hope that a common area that we can agree upon is that "Steamboat Willie" can and ought to be in the public domain.  Some have argued that perhaps it already is too, but that is a digression that would involve the Disney legal team.

The goal of the movement is to abolish these institution, not perpetuate it.

What do we gain from applying copyleft? Sure, some protection from evil folks. Protections that make us dependent on intellectual property.

You misunderstood us as wanting to help people share. Sharing is nice, but that's not what we're about. It's about property right, damn it.

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November 28, 2010, 07:48:52 PM
 #29

The goal of the movement is to abolish these institution, not perpetuate it.

What do we gain from applying copyleft? Sure, some protection from evil folks. Protections that make us dependent on intellectual property.

You misunderstood us as wanting to help people share. Sharing is nice, but that's not what we're about. It's about property right, damn it.

Amen!  Kiba speaks the truth!  There is a reason why kiba has "Hero" next to his name Smiley

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November 28, 2010, 08:34:59 PM
 #30

The goal of the movement is to abolish these institution, not perpetuate it.

What do we gain from applying copyleft? Sure, some protection from evil folks. Protections that make us dependent on intellectual property.

You misunderstood us as wanting to help people share. Sharing is nice, but that's not what we're about. It's about property right, damn it.

I don't understand the path or means to achieve the ends claimed here then.  Placing content into the public domain seems to me more akin to placing property into a public commons.  Property rights are about exclusive control of something, so if it is about property rights this seems like a backwards way of getting the goal accomplished.

Presuming that the day comes where a vast majority of the content is produced with a copyleft license, by its existence it discourages lawmakers from extending copyright terms or coming up with laws that give more control to authors and originators of copyright.  In fact, under such a situation there will be pressure to reduce copyright terms and put further restrictions on copyrighted content on the part of those who are selfish (aka MPAA and RIAA) so they can maintain their business models.  Microsoft doesn't want GPL'd software to have strong copyright protections so they may be willing to lobby congressmen to weaken copyright law if only to potentially kill off a competitor.  It may shoot themselves in the foot, but their goal would be to capture the GPL'd software for their own uses.

I just don't see that happening with weak licenses or even flat out public domain content.  If anything, the historical trend has been to enact laws which capture content in the public domain for the exclusive use of the major publishers and those who would be content gatekeepers.  The GPL and other copyleft licenses are now a defense against that from happening.

I also think it would require something akin to a radical revolution and complete overthrow of governments in order to abolish copyright as a concept.

If you want to give your stuff away, that is your option and pleasure.  I happen to disagree that it is the best action to take.

I guess where I have a problem here is that it seems like the concept of copyleft is itself under attack by this philosophy more than being critical of copyright restrictions by those who lock stuff up in a proprietary way.  I'm saying that there is some common ground to work together to stop those would would keep public domain content from ever being created in the first place, which ought to be the first order of business.  There certainly are people who would rather you never be permitted to place stuff in the public domain and I find it unfortunate that it is now so incredibly difficult to do so even if that is your deliberate intention.  If you want to give your stuff away to others, you should at least be free to do so.  At the moment, unfortunately, you do have to explicitly "license" your content to the public domain, as weird as that should seem.

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November 28, 2010, 08:44:38 PM
 #31


I don't understand the path or means to achieve the ends claimed here then.  Placing content into the public domain seems to me more akin to placing property into a public commons.  Property rights are about exclusive control of something, so if it is about property rights this seems like a backwards way of getting the goal accomplished.

We want people to have exclusive control over the patterns that they acquired. We don't want authors or large corporations controlling patterns you have in your mind, or have special privileges in the market.

We are not against contracts, signed voluntary, that disallow you to distribute it under certain term. However, we are against third parties being inflicted upon by contracts that they did not agree to.

That is the libertarian position.

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November 28, 2010, 08:48:02 PM
 #32

If you want to give your stuff away to others, you should at least be free to do so.  At the moment, unfortunately, you do have to explicitly "license" your content to the public domain, as weird as that should seem.

I did not gave my art away, I sold them.

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November 28, 2010, 09:49:14 PM
 #33

If you want to give your stuff away to others, you should at least be free to do so.  At the moment, unfortunately, you do have to explicitly "license" your content to the public domain, as weird as that should seem.

I did not gave my art away, I sold them.

There is a huge difference between selling art and the concept of putting something into the public domain.  Perhaps we are talking past each other here then as well.

As an author and software developer, I take these issues very seriously and it significantly impacts my ability to provide those things I need to survive and to take care of my family.  As a result, I have become about as well versed in copyright law as a master electrician would be with the national electrical code.  It is the tool of my trade and how I'm able to sustain myself.

When I "sell" a piece of software, I either sell the whole package and everything to it, or I sell a copy of that software.  That is two rather different things on a legal basis, as I think it ought to be as well.   In the case of those to whom I have sold the entire software package, I am selling all of the "rights" and legal options to that package as well and essentially giving up any control over that software to those making the purchase.  BTW, I make most people pay dearly for that option as well and usually charge at a minimum of $50/hour for software that I develop in that fashion, or demand a comfortable salary with generous benefits and a long-term contract.  I write the software, but those who are paying for it can do whatever they want including throwing it away and never using it.  That also seems to be the story of my life that most of it gets thrown out, but that is a side issue.

If you have a copy of my software, on the other hand, what right do you have to turn around and start handing that to anybody you please?  I'm also talking here the difference between an artist who makes an oil painting vs. a bunch of lithographs.  Artists that make money off of lithographs depend upon the limited availability of their works again to make a living.  Perhaps some other way can be made to pay the artist such as the patronage system of centuries ago, but in a mass market that seems to be the best way on how artists can pay for their time they put into that art work.

There is indeed some stuff that I've done where I've literally given it away, essentially placed it straight into the public domain.  Some stuff that I've made as copyleft content, and I've even tried shareware and "postcardware" (just asking people to let me know that you are using it).  I've also sold commercial software too.  The stated purpose of copyright law is to give incentives to an artist or author (in my case) to have a financial ability to earn an income or perhaps have "other considerations" applied to my work.  The "other considerations" with copyleft licenses is that I insist that you "pay it forward" to give others the ability to also share in what I make and you can't hoard it for yourself.

We want people to have exclusive control over the patterns that they acquired. We don't want authors or large corporations controlling patterns you have in your mind, or have special privileges in the market.

We are not against contracts, signed voluntary, that disallow you to distribute it under certain term. However, we are against third parties being inflicted upon by contracts that they did not agree to.

That is the libertarian position.

Nobody is forcing a third party to enter into an agreement with copyleft content.  They are free to take or leave that content as they see fit, but if they take the content they must follow the terms of that content.  Copyleft is usually a distribution agreement that spells out the terms and conditions for distribution of the content, where as the GPL explicitly states if you choose to ignore those terms then the license is completely void and you have no distribution rights at all.  If you say you aren't against voluntary contracts that disallow distribution under certain terms, I fail to see why the GPL is necessarily such an "evil license".  If anything, it give more freedom because it allows 3rd parties to have the option to engage in distribution where most other similar kinds of contracts simply prohibit such a practice altogether. 

With a "standard" distribution contract, a 3rd party can't use the content other than to simply view it, and even that is heavily regulated.  Something like the CC-by-SA license on a movie would certainly permit it to be projected on a huge screen in Central Park in New York City... without even paying a royalty to the creator of the movie.  In fact, people watching such a movie could pull out their camcorders and make a complete copy of that same movie, post copies of that movie on YouTube or even press a DVD and sell that movie at a retail outlet.  How many "proprietary" licenses allow you to do that?  All that the CC-by-SA license insists is that those who buy the DVD and then decide to show it in San Francisco (or wherever else they may go) permit the same ability to others to freely copy the movie.  They can't ban camcorders as a form of copyright violation on the subsequent showings.  That, to me, sounds a whole lot like liberty and fredom.

I do have problems with EULAs and in particular shrink-wrap licenses, as it really isn't a license at all.  Those are things I find horrifying that courts even permit them as they include terms and conditions that can extract monetary damages and basically give a blank check to some of those companies to even perform identity theft and get away with it legally or other things that are really hideous.  Again, if you want to find a place to attack, it is something like that which has perverted even the very notion of copyright.  Attack the real evil even if you think that copyleft might be the lesser evil.

BTW, I really don't see how this is "the libertarian position", as I know many libertarians who certainly embrace and support the copyleft principles.

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November 28, 2010, 09:52:29 PM
 #34

If you have a copy of my software, on the other hand, what right do you have to turn around and start handing that to anybody you please?  I'm also talking here the difference between an artist who makes an oil painting vs. a bunch of lithographs.  Artists that make money off of lithographs depend upon the limited availability of their works again to make a living.  Perhaps some other way can be made to pay the artist such as the patronage system of centuries ago, but in a mass market that seems to be the best way on how artists can pay for their time they put into that art work.

Same right I have to turn around and sell a car.

In any case, I also thought long and hard about this. I concluded that I can make a living doing public domain work. Next is experimentation to see if that work.


Nobody is forcing a third party to enter into an agreement with copyleft content.  as a form of copyright violation on the subsequent showings.  That, to me, sounds a whole lot like liberty and fredom.

A contract is something you signed, not a license you look at and then take. Under a libertarian society, a copyright contract is just a standard contract. But obviously, things work differently.

BTW, I really don't see how this is "the libertarian position", as I know many libertarians who certainly embrace and support the copyleft principles.


Perhaps you been sleeping under a rock. Libertarianism had undergone a revolutionary change in how they think about intellectual property. The answer is to abolish it. It had occurred to such an extent that the Ludwig von Mises published under Creative Common Attribution but also published articles that argued for the abolishment of intellectual property.

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November 29, 2010, 12:38:25 AM
 #35

It had occurred to such an extent that the Ludwig von Mises published under Creative Common Attribution but also published articles that argued for the abolishment of intellectual property.
So let me just double-check this... you say he published under CC-BY, rather than under public domain, eh? Smiley

And while I'm here - I am quite willing to /entertain/ the idea of abolishing copyright altogether (though in my current thinking I lean toward a reduction of terms to something like 5 years instead, at least to start with, rather than complete abolishment).

The problem is that /currently/ copyright does exist, and IMHO a more effective way to fight it is copyleft licensing, rather than PD, since with PD you're basically saying here bad guys, take my stuff, even though you refuse to let me do the same with your stuff, I'm going to be the doormat. With GPL and friends, you give as good as you're getting.

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November 29, 2010, 12:56:54 AM
 #36

It had occurred to such an extent that the Ludwig von Mises published under Creative Common Attribution but also published articles that argued for the abolishment of intellectual property.
So let me just double-check this... you say he published under CC-BY, rather than under public domain, eh? Smiley

And while I'm here - I am quite willing to /entertain/ the idea of abolishing copyright altogether (though in my current thinking I lean toward a reduction of terms to something like 5 years instead, at least to start with, rather than complete abolishment).
It's the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Sorry about giving it that a single person.

Quote
The problem is that /currently/ copyright does exist, and IMHO a more effective way to fight it is copyleft licensing, rather than PD, since with PD you're basically saying here bad guys, take my stuff, even though you refuse to let me do the same with your stuff, I'm going to be the doormat. With GPL and friends, you give as good as you're getting.

The copyright and patent game can occurs with copyleft licenses too, not just public domain.

But, what I am doing is using the media effect in reverse. Just as pirates popularize movies and games to certain extent, then media corporations that use my stuff will end up popularizing my stuff. People will find out, eventually.

You might think this is naive theory. Perhaps it is, but we should wait for experimental data for how that theory works out.

Moreover, if you think open source development model is a superior model, then eventually it will win out. At that point, you can shape and use public opinion and media coverage(created by the court) to change the way people think about copyright. Lawsuits and legal wars are just minor hindrance.

People won't change their opinion if they don't see me letting stuff into the public domain. They will think "this guy have no balls", or "this guy is bullshiting me".

I gottach have creditability. Where do I get it if I used copyright myself? Imagine having to explain that my work is under copyright law for X reasons.

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November 29, 2010, 01:09:05 AM
 #37

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL

that is all

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November 29, 2010, 06:36:14 AM
 #38


While that is an interesting license, I seriously doubt it would hold up in court at all.... even to be used as documentation of granting content to the public domain.  If you left the license name as-is, it certainly would be thrown out.

If you have a copy of my software, on the other hand, what right do you have to turn around and start handing that to anybody you please?  I'm also talking here the difference between an artist who makes an oil painting vs. a bunch of lithographs.  Artists that make money off of lithographs depend upon the limited availability of their works again to make a living.  Perhaps some other way can be made to pay the artist such as the patronage system of centuries ago, but in a mass market that seems to be the best way on how artists can pay for their time they put into that art work.

Same right I have to turn around and sell a car.


It isn't the same thing.   Perhaps it is more like leasing your care for a day to a neighbor or something like that, but it isn't selling a car.

That is sort of the funny thing about reproducible content is that you can give a "copy" to somebody else, but you still essentially have the original.

BTW, I am a firm believer in the "first sale doctrine" which does give you the ability to receive a book, or a lithograph, or any other thing if you have legally purchased it and sell that particular copy to somebody else.  Just like a car.  You just aren't allowed to reproduce that item and sell it to several people.  Again, like a car.  This is also enshrined in at least U.S. copyright law explicitly and contrary to any other EULA or other sort of "license" is perfectly legal.  Many other countries have a similar kind of legal principle (but not all of them).

One of the vexing problems with computer software is this first sale doctrine and determining how you can sell a copy of that software to a 3rd party.  This is something that really hasn't been dealt with by the judicial system very well.

What is not defined is this reproduction right, which is something addressed by copyleft licenses as it spells out the terms and conditions for how you are permitted to redistribute that software when making multiple copies.  The first sale doctrine is still there and you are certainly free to resell a GFDL'd book under the first sale doctrine without even considering the licensing terms at all.  Better yet, the person who buys that book doesn't have to negotiate redistribution terms as they are also spelled out so that 3rd party is certainly free to redistribute that book including making multiple copies if they choose.


In any case, I also thought long and hard about this. I concluded that I can make a living doing public domain work. Next is experimentation to see if that work.


Nobody is forcing a third party to enter into an agreement with copyleft content.  as a form of copyright violation on the subsequent showings.  That, to me, sounds a whole lot like liberty and fredom.

A contract is something you signed, not a license you look at and then take. Under a libertarian society, a copyright contract is just a standard contract. But obviously, things work differently.

If you want a signed contract, you are certainly free to contact the author or content creator and sign a contract and perhaps even negotiate separate terms explicitly for yourself.  The licensing terms for a copyleft license essentially are a contract that you are in turn permitted to extend those terms of that contract to a 3rd party.... at your pleasure of doing so or choosing not to redistribute multiple copies to anybody else either.  If you choose to ignore the terms of a copyleft license, you certainly are not compelled to do anything more.  Many proprietary licenses on the other hand can compel you to do things you may not want to do.

BTW, I really don't see how this is "the libertarian position", as I know many libertarians who certainly embrace and support the copyleft principles.


Perhaps you been sleeping under a rock. Libertarianism had undergone a revolutionary change in how they think about intellectual property. The answer is to abolish it. It had occurred to such an extent that the Ludwig von Mises published under Creative Common Attribution but also published articles that argued for the abolishment of intellectual property.

I guess I'm a part of a different "libertarian" group than you are, but then again the group I've been working with is more concerned about actually winning elections and trying to get people with a libertarian philosophy into political office.  And yes, there have been some successes in that regard.  I will agree that those who profess to be libertarians tend to be very individualistic and hold to their own opinions rather hard, which is sort of why I like to hang around them too.  There are also far more people than you would imagine who hold libertarian philosophies in general, at least subscribing to many of the libertarian philosophies.

In terms of intellectual property myself, I also happen to agree with Richard Stallman on the philosophy that the very term "intellectual property" is a horrible term and is improperly used in the first place.  If you are talking about that, there are three completely separate (possibly four) principles you are talking about which are governed by completely different laws.  They are copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.  These are so distinct in America at least that they are regulated and monitored by completely separate branches of government.  That is about as distinct as you can get.  Copyright is regulated almost exclusively by the legislative branch through the Library of Congress, which doesn't even report to the President of the U.S.A. but rather to the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate directly.  Patent and trademark law is jointly administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, however even that has separate divisions that independently regulate patents and trademarks as separate issues entirely.  And trade secrets aren't even a federal issue at all as they are regulated exclusively in America as state law rather than federal law.  So when you talk about intellectual property, it gets real messy unless you are talking something specific.  It is the mixing of these concepts that causes much of the problem, and even an "intellectual property lawyer" who doesn't specialize in one of those four areas more explicitly is likely going to be a lousy lawyer.

I've stated that I like copyleft licenses, but that I also think copyright terms are far too long.  I've seen suggestions of reverting to a 17 year time span for copyright protection (what the Copyright Act of 1789 originally proposed).  That would put stuff even with the most draconian of copyright protection into the public domain yet it would provide those who wish to use copyright to earn an income to be able to do so.  I really don't see why anybody is going to be desperate to make money off of something they made over 15 years ago.  On this, I happen to agree that more stuff should be in the Public Domain.  George Lucas has made plenty of money off of Star Wars and it is about time that Darth Vader enter the public domain.  I really don't think George Lucas is being inspired to make another Star Wars movie (heave help us!) because Star Wars episode IV is going to be re-released in the theaters to help him pay for that.  Ditto for the "Sound of Music", "Citizen Kane", "Gone with the Wind" and many other cultural treasures which really do belong to all of mankind at the moment, but are considered "owned" by some big studio. or in the case of "Gone with the Wind" it is owned by Time-Warner by way of Ted Turner.  Again, I don't think Ted Turner (who didn't even make the movie, he just "purchased" the "ownership" rights) is going to be inspired to make a sequel to "Gone with the Wind" because of residuals earned by rebroadcasting that particular movie.  All this said, I think there is a role for copyright protection for the individual author and it does make a difference.  The scope of copyrights certainly could be significantly curtailed where it would help all of mankind in general.

Patents are something that I would have to agree are simply bogus to the point that it is a con game going on by Patent attorneys and telemarketers who are trying to sell the dream of perhaps making it big with some cool invention.  I know of many people who actually have patents issued to them including co-workers and relatives.  Of those, I don't know a single person who made a dime off of a patent.  I know of at least somebody who saved their behind in a patent infringement lawsuit by having another patent that could be established as "prior art" and turned the lawsuit around as the litigator turned out to be infringing and forcing a settlement of essentially dropping the whole lawsuit with prejudice.  That was cute and interesting, but it certainly wasn't a money earner and shows the corruption with the patent system.  Patents don't preserve human knowledge, nor do they really tell you how to be able to reproduce an invention based upon the claims issued in a patent application.  That at least is the supposed rationale for why patents exist in the first place as it is supposed to preserve a record of human progress and the advancement of science.  It doesn't work that way, unfortunately.  Being overly vague, broad, and ignoring prior art makes their use in human society completely worthless.  I would not recommend anybody getting a patent except explicitly to cover their behind in an industry full of patents.  Even then, consider the patent grant as an ego stroke and something to throw into the bottom drawer of a design studio until it is needed as a legal version of a nuclear strike.  They are about as useful as a nuclear bomb too.  I consider patents to be a legal experiment which has simply failed in practice.

Trademarks are also heavily abused, but their use in trade has a role.  As a brand when used as an adjective (aka "Kleenex brand tissues") they serve a role in terms of preventing fraud and acknowledging who is in fact responsible for making something.  If you have a Ford automobile that blows up when the gas pedal gets stuck to the floor, you have a company you can sue for negligence.  If somebody makes a car claiming it is a Ford but in reality is made by "Honest John's auto builders", they are engaging in a fraudulent relationship with the customer who is buying that vehicle.  The brand has real meaning and helps to know that you are getting something from a particular person or organization.  I have a problem with brands that are "licensed" to the point they are worthless, such as quite a bit of "merchandise" with the Coca-Cola label (much of that stuff not made by the Coca-Cola company of Atlanta, Georgia) or worse yet the "General Electric" trademark which is completely worthless in terms of even remotely knowing who made the product with that trademark.  In particular, I think the use of the term "Realtor" is a gross misuse of a trademark and should have been declared a generic term through its usage.  There are problems with trademarks, but the general concept does have merit.  Much of the abuse of trademarks come from people trying to turn a trademark into copyright, but without time limits.  This also gets back to the whole issue of "intellectual property" I mentioned above.

Trade Secrets have a role, but that is mostly contractual.  If you agree to keep a secret, that agreement ought to be a formal and signed contract.  I've done that on a couple of occasions and perhaps it was necessary considering what I was dealing with.  If you let a competitor know about what it was that you are doing, it can give your company or group a disadvantage in the market place.  Again, this is heavily abused and in this case the complaint about having a 3rd party "forced" to agree to contract terms they didn't sign or engage in is completely justified.  I am especially disgusted by EULAs which claim to use copyright as a means to enforce a trade secret, as if something an end-user who didn't sign a contract is somehow liable to divulge a trade secret to a competitor of a vendor.  If you want to keep something secret, simply don't tell anybody, or if you must get contracts signed all of the way around to spell out the damages that would happen if the secret was divulged.

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November 29, 2010, 06:47:58 AM
 #39

Bottom line: intellectual property of any kind infringes on my real property rights. Your copyright prevents me from using my computer in the way that I choose, and is therefore immoral.

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November 29, 2010, 06:50:51 AM
 #40

Bottom line: intellectual property of any kind infringes on my real property rights. Your copyright prevents me from using my computer in the way that I choose, and is therefore immoral.

RHorning is ignoring our assumption and world views.

He tries to dodge my argument about selling cars with "reproduction rights".

Duh, if I have a thing I owned, I should be able to reproduce the object in its likeness whenever I fricking want. I don't give a shit about you not making money. Go do something else.

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