[d@DCC] What is "intellectual property"?
russell at flora.ca
Thu Sep 26 09:14:30 EDT 2002
On Thu, 26 Sep 2002, Jason Young wrote:
> Copyright, as intellectual property, does deal with the expression of an
> idea. The expression is the protected thing.
The protection is offered by the Copyright act. If the concept of
ownership applies at all, what they 'own' is not the expression but the
copyright. Whatever rights that 'ticket' allows them is what they own,
There is an important reason for trying to clarify this: The copyright
lobby wants us to believe that changes in the copyright act which lessen
the worth of their 'property' is expropriation. They of course don't
consider that any increases in the worth of their 'property' should
equally be considered expropriation from the public.
If it is understood that they only own 'whatever rights that these laws
offer at this time and place', and not the idea itself (or even an
expression of the idea), this clarifies things considerably.
The time-and-place issue is very important. I look forward to when the
length of copyright is restored to a reasonable level (and untied from
anyones death). Any claims of expropriation should simply be ignored. I
also believe that other countries should be able to offer the level of
protection that makes sense for their domestic needs, not the impositions
that are happening to protect foreign interests.
BTW: I am still reading "Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and
Development Policy" ... http://weblog.flora.ca/article.php3?story_id=246
> "Intellectual property" refers to a bundle of rights. The ticket
> analogy may be accurate as regards to copyright, but would not, for
> example, be accurate as regards other types of intellectual property,
> such as trademarks or software licences.
Software licenses are not Intellectual Property. They are agreements
between a user of a work and the copyright holder. It is the copyright
that is the Intellectual Property.
Copyright, Patents, Trademarks, Integrated Circuit Topologies, etc ---
the analogy still works on each of them. There isn't always a "piece of
paper" as there is with patents which can be thought of as the 'ticket',
but the temporary exclusivity of the ticket analogy still applies.
(Lets not get into the question of 'temporary' with each. Infinite
renewability of Trademarks is a bit of a problem).
> I would be careful in the use of analogies, as that is what got us here
> in the first place, viz. "intellectual property".
No analogy is perfect, but then again, neither are these laws ;-)
> Piracy refers to "robbery" not "murder".
The way that things were robbed with 'piracy' was not without an
extremely physical component. There is a huge difference between stealing
something from someone's home when they are no there, and holding up a
weapon against their body while the theft happens.
> The problem with the term piracy is not that it could not be accurate,
> in some circumstances, but that it ignores the distinction between
> economically substantial theft and de minimus trading.
This is the flawed nature of Copyright itself in that it treat all works
and all potential forms of infringement as equivalent when reality says
otherwise. In the case of the copyright lobby, they also want
non-infringement that they happen to not like to also be treated the same.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
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