Ownership in Software

Rui Miguel Seabra rms at 1407.org
Wed Apr 21 21:45:27 UTC 2004

On Wed, 2004-04-21 at 21:51 +0200, Axel Schulz wrote:
> Rui Miguel Seabra <rms at 1407.org> schrieb am 21.04.04 18:48:07:
> Law and Morality is highly interdependend.
> To draw a clear-cut line ist almost impossible.
> This makes the whole discussion so "messy".

Not really. Some company could extort money from me from the results of
my labour and creativity with software patents.

This is why I'm fighting against the introduction of legalized extortion
(software patents) in the EU.

> I see your point. And I learned something. ;-) BUT: When this
> food machine would be possible. And some producers claim property
> rights in it, why should I deny this.

No. It's not property rights. It's patent rights.

However, I think that this hypotethical invention could teach new ways
of manipulating the strongest force of nature: that which binds atoms
together. It could be worthy of a patent!

>                                       I can get a GPL'ed food machine
> which does the same job, right?

No, you can't. Machines aren't literary works :) But you could make this
invention royalty free, which could probably end hunger in starving

>  (Remeber, I only refer to copyright. I am hostile to patents, just as
>  your are?!)

Not really, I don't know enough of all sciences to understand where
patents could really compensate inventors.

However, that is not the same case of software. Software patents hinder
innovation, for instance.

>  Is that a good analogy to your example? 
> You ask for the sense. From an ethical point of view I would say, yes.
> You should people give the freedom to own something. 

But creators of literary works don't own them... they authored them and
have been granted a temporary artificial monopoly right (Copyright) to
distribute copies. This way they have an economical advantage over
publishers that gives them an opportunity to gain money.

It's when copyright expires that it fullfills its true purpose: to
become public domain, thus increasing common knowledge, fully permitting
the creation of derived works.

> "Does it make any sense to claim ownership of food, restricting the
> possibility to end physical hunger?"
> Do not get me wrong and let me explain: I think yes. It makes sense to
> claim ownership in food which had been planted (plants) or raised (animals).
> But this is totally different from the software case, isn't it?

Yes. And that is why I talked about an hypothetical food-replicator
machine. I can bet that if such a thing was invented, you'd see
McDonalds trying to patent the carefull addition of Sodium-Clorohidrate
(is this how it's said in english?) comprising of strongly bound
together Sodium and Clorium in order to enhance effect on human tongues.

> > A little, but not that much. What do you do, by the way?
> I am studying Applied Ethics and I am working at the moment at my MA
> thesis. It is about IPRs in Software. And you can be sure that I will quote you ;-))))

Ok, but you're almost falling in the traps of 'Property' and mixing
different rights. You could, perhaps, constantly talk about Copyright,
Patent and Trademarks instead of IPR?

Would you publish your thesis under the GNU FDL ? :)

> And waht are you doing?

At work, I'm a systems administrator.
The rest of the time I'm not trying to have a life, I help with some
Free Software projects and the fight against the introduction of
legalized extortion (software patents) in the European Union.

Hugs, Rui
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <http://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/attachments/20040421/84ff8261/attachment.sig>

More information about the Discussion mailing list