On Sat, 11 Feb 2006 12:25:13 +0100
"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

>    Well, this is where you got it wrong - it's called IP (Intellectual
>    Property) because it is a form of property. Whenever you produce a
>    work of authorship (and software is considered a work of authorship
>    like a novel or a poem) you, the author, are the owner of that
>    work.
> In the legal frame work there is no such thing as `intellectual
> property'.  It is a term used to confuse people.  Intellectual
> Property can mean anything from trademark law, to copyright law, to
> patents.  None of which have anything related to each other.

Actually, they are related - all three are intangible expressions of
creative activity that society (through the legislative process) has
equated with tangible property. In other words, people can own a
trademark, a copyright, and a patent, and this in turn gives them
specific, though limited, rights. This is quite comparable to, for
example, property rights which are also limited in scope (you don't hold
the mineral rights of your land, for example, and you can't build
whatever you like on it).
> Neither of these things are a form of property, property laws are a
> totally different thing.

Of course they are property. You can sell a copyright, trademark or
patent. And like land rights, the fact that they are your property
severely limits what others can do on/with your property. In the case
of trademarks, others cannot use it to label their products or
services. In the case of patents, others cannot manufacture objects
(or apply business methods) that are covered by the patent. In the case
of copyright, it means that others cannot make copies, or prepare
derivative works without your consent. 

Don't forget that to many cultures, ownership of land or resources as
we practice it, is totally foreign. We evolved this concept because it
facilitated the creation of large societies, with people bound to their
property instead of to the tribe (which in Bantu tradition decides how
the land should be used, for example). We literally "buy into" a

Thus, what can be debated is whether software (or novels, or poems,
etc.) *should* be considered property by our society. What cannot be
debated is whether our current society *does* consider them a form of
property - it does so beyond a shadow of doubt.

> I'd like to answer your message, but once again you mix up property
> with non-property so it is sadly impossible for me due to the
> continued mixups of different forms of law.  A CD is property, yes.
> Code is not.

Of course it is a form of property in our society. If you continue to
pretend it is not, you're merely trolling. 

> If you give me a CD and tell me `you are not allowed to
> access the content on it', then I'm not allowed to do so, correct.
> But you cannot give me a CD, tell me that I can install the software
> on it on one machine, and then say `sorry, the GPL does not apply so
> you are not allowed to redistribute it'.

If "give" means "making you the owner of the copy", then yes, you now
have a lawful copy of the software and hence copyright law applies. 

If "give" means "instruct you, as my agent, to install this software on
my machine", then you are - for the purposes of this action - not an
independent person, you no not become the lawful owner of the copy, and
hence copyright law does *not* apply. This goes both ways, thus if I
did not have the right to install this software on my machine, the
only person who can be prosecuted is me, not you. 

Your confusion (assuming you're not a troll) might come from the fact
that the verb "to give", like most words in our language(s), has several
meanings. I already gave the example "I gave the mail carrier the
letter", where "to give" means "handed the letter to the mail carrier
for delivery to the recipient", and "I gave you the book", where "to
give" means "transferring ownership of the copy". You simply do not get
the same rights and duties when acting on behalf of someone else as
when you're acting on your own behalf. 

Unless you acknowledge that you have grasped this fundamental
difference, I will no longer answer your posts, and consider you a

Take care,

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 
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