Ownership in Software

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at xsec.it
Thu Apr 22 17:31:58 UTC 2004

On Thu, 2004-04-22 at 19:08, Axel Schulz wrote:
> Hej!
> authorship != ownership, authors != owners
> You consider it this way. Many people here consider it this way. 
> I do not. My justification is that only authorship in software is insufficient
> because of the dual nature of software (-> the ACM artilce I quoted). 

Ok, anybody is free to invent it's own language and convention, but not
to use that invention to explain other people words.

Forget a moment about software.

If I take a piece a wood and make out something of it. I'm the author of
that piece of art *and* the owner of the piece of wood. If I sell the
piece of art I created  I'm not anymore the owner, but still the author.

Ok so authorship and ownership are 2 very different things that applies
to many things whether or not you like it.

A software is, without doubts a creation, and so have an author, that by
law happen also to be the owner of a monopoly on copying the software. 

But nonetheless still authorship and ownership are 2 different things,
and if I sell the rights of distribution/copying/etc. of my software to
someone else, I'm not the owner anymore, but I'm still the original
author of the software.

> So, for me  "authorship != ownership" is not true when it comes to software.
> Authorship is not made for software, but applied to software it becomes ownership.

Changing the meaning of the words doesn't change reality sorry.
You may think that software (== information) should be owned, you have
the faculty to support your idea, but please try to speak on a common
ground and present your ideas for what they are. Don't try to hide your
ideas with misleading words just to be more acceptable.

> This is sufficient. Because than we do not nee patents and stuf like this.

Accepting ownership of information is much worse than patents ...

> Copyrights protects software and everyone can choose which license her software
> shall have.
> This guarantees the maximum of freedom for all, doesn't it?

Copyright? Sure, and copyright is about authorship and limited monopoly
rights on copying/distribution/modification and such. Copyright is not
about ownership of information, copyright cover the specific expression
not the information or the ideas behind the expression.

> Stallman talks about owners (-> have a look at my very first email).
> And he claims that software should not have owners.
> If you see my line of argument, you should also see why I claim that Stallman went to far. 

AFAIK Stallman have clear in mind the difference between authorship and
ownership, so no, you can't say Stallman went to far because he never
said what you mean. Putting your own ideas in others mouth is not a nice
thing. Please just expose your ideas if you wish without distorting
other ones.

> Do you see my point?

Yes, and I do not agree with your methods nor with your idea of software


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at xsec.it
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