the pitty legal situation
“If you have an apple, and I have an apple, and we
exchange apples, then we both will have one apple each.
But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we
exchange ideas, then we both have two ideas.”
George Bernard Shaw.
(1856-1950) Literature Nobel Price 1925.
Intellectual property is roughly spoken
the concept of owning an idea
or better say being the originator of a thought.
The generalised term "intellectual property" is somewhat questionable,
since it subsumes copyright, trademark and patent law,
which are all completely different.
- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Isaac [[McPherson]] (13 August 1813), wrote
- If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.
- Magnus Stålnacke
- (on "intellectual property")
In sweden we do not have that phrase, whenever people
try to tranlate it, others start to smile, it sounds
really ridiculous. I think we use a better phrase for
it, our phrase is:
"immateriella rättigheter" wich translates perfectly
to "immaterial rights" This describes what it is and
doesent bundle patents and copyright in the wrong way.
It just says what it is, a "right" (not property) that
is given to you (on the expense of others of course).
Gnu:"According to Professor Mark Lemley, now of the Stanford Law School,
the widespread use of the term "intellectual property" is a fad that
followed the 1967 founding of the World "Intellectual Property"
Organization, and only became really common in the past few years."
In the context of Askemos,
the meaning of intellectual property,
authors rights, 'distribution' or better say
'usage' rights pertaining to information
play a central role.
At the same time the act of physical copying looses
it's meaning, as different physical encodings are regarded 'same'.
The pointers given here supply further backing
that this notation of 'immobile', global information
(only "accidentally" projected into local, physical data)
is actually more practical and logical
than a view centered around data copying.
There is an excellent article about copyright and the american
law system and constitution: http://www.msnbc.com/news/594462.asp?cp1=1#BODY .
Ernest Miller and Joan Feigenbaum claim in
that the act of physical copying is only instrumental,
not purpose of protection.
With Askemos you actually treat that copying issue,
which has no sensible meaning in Askemos,
for a much stronger global rights management system.
The Askemos system has been derived from it's legal and social pattern
with the design guiding intent to be in turn applicable
in legally binding context
(what's that? Range from
In this context it is definately a step into the right direction
to provide the people with an undisputable sign of the usage right
associated with a particular information as proposed
At this time (2003/2004) there's a lot of political discussion
going on concerning several aspects of intellectual property.
The experience from several years of research behind the Askemos
system allows to define a kind of "lower bound" on
It results in huge damage to the whole socitety,
if that border is crossed by rules of law.
Since free individuals value their moral above any human defined law,
the legal system becomes instable and must
either heal itself (costely correcting the error)
or it will eventually vanish.
TODO:fix the text, I learned since, that this is called
"überpositives Recht" (in german)
-- probably "super positive" in english?.
The basic claim, which I'll back up here is:
No society can alienate any right over natural law
and grant them exclusively to any person.
That's a requirement to protect intellectual wellfare
of the society,
since it could otherwise be bleaded to death
on that individuals discretion.
While there are no exclusive rights
to go with the discovery of natural laws,
there is however a need to protect rights of the person for any
particular application of those laws the person
(A related topic is copyright enforcement,
which could also cross the boundary accidentally.
Some more points:
- The Netzwerk Neue Medien
and creative commons
propose to resort to "gema" style compensation for infrmation distributed online.
people fight to keep the right of private copies.
I'm pretty sure that this is "überpositives Recht" anyway:
you keep the information, you once received, this is called
"memory" or "conscience" - an antropological constant
not subject to negotiation.
-- And that's probably the reason, why people are that hot about it
and outright disregard some of the current legal campains.
There's more concern: we can't avoid to keep private copies (memories) anyway -- so how much of it might be denied?
Going to far would impede the right to gather evidence
- how would you proof having received bad quality if you are raided
for the private copy before?!
The worst fact anyway: the argument that Digital Restriction Management would work is simply not true,
it's faced with a fundamentally impossible cryprographic task:
deny the receiver of the message access to the message.
The german ministry of justice asks at
Kopien brauchen Originale for a fair regulation.
That's the point, where the basic idea behind Askemos
(which is actually the well known, old meaning of information)
that the information is the actual or original idea
while all physical copies are just that: copies.
For the computer scientist the borderline is right between the
denotation of an algorithmus (inalienable right to reuse by everyone)
and binding of free variables to concrete values.
A real world example: the logarithm was a discovery, which anybody
might use, for the sliding rule - it's application - there shoud be
Why? Because algorithm are natural law, which can't be replaced,
no matter how smart you are. Invention at the other hand can be done
again. A fair chance is left for the future. So there's a balance
between the interest of the individual inventor and the general
society (the inventor included).
the pitty legal situation
It's a pity since the 22.6.2001 we have the
which rules the imoral legal:
it's not allowed anymore to apply basic engineering and math knowledge
if the thing it is applied to might later be claimed
to have been done with a certain intention,
the intention to protect against copying.
Now we can't help you to gain to your moral rights anymore.
But there are four catches (brain twists):
a) it's neither ethical nor practical to forbid thinking
b) there is absolutely no official need for computer security anymore,
because nobody is allowed to circumvent even useless "protection";
therefore useless protection will become the rule, not the exception
c) everybody will just go for it, devalueing the laws alltogether
and make the world even less secure.
d) there are plenty of ideas to abuse this law;
nothing to be said about it here, but we'll have fun.
German article (Spiegel) explains the situation from the
customer point of view:
the risks of such neo-dictatorial legislation.
12th April 2003: The story continues
22nd Oct 2003: Did I say
(b) "no need for actually working security"
and (c) "everybody will just go for it"?
Here we go.
Even just the plain windows operating system is
now a forbidden tool:
(I've always thought of ROT13 as one of the abuse ideas I mentioned as (d) above.)
The IPac groups
seeks a sensible regulation for "intellectual property"
18th Dec 2004:
Groklaw has a nice essay on the legal situation regarding computer fraud.
There must be something useful at
European Union site.
Free exchange of information is also believed to
The question remains: how to compensate the producer?
A few comments regarding
property and scarity as the basis of free markets.
on a R. M. Stallmann speech about free software.
Giving birth to a (new) thought is either luck or hard work
(learn the context/background etc.)
hence it calls for compensation *if it's not kept as a secret*
The hard part comes in, when it comes to bargin.
The customer needs to judge whether the value of the product (thought)
is worth the compensation - to the consumer
(prize is the value of a product as accepted by the society)
while the vendor has to decide whether he can make a living from that
and maybe whether the customer might want to rip him.
This is not easy with material goods, but even harder with ideas
because you can own an idea, but you can't sell it
(all you can is share your secret, which is to give away a copy).
A simple point we made for many years is now backed up
with at least one court ruling in the united states.
Programm code is an expression for human and machine consumtion.
As such it's protected as free speech:
One can imagine funny sketches,
if exchanging intelletual property was understood as the exchange of data:
But simply understanding the joke doesn't save the world.
Using DigitalRightsManagement the wrong way puts high risk
at the values you just wanted to protect.
beeing largely missunderstood or missused
(depending on your point of view)
puts chains on the rights what to do with your own information.
At least the western countries (at the time of writing the only
whose need to be concerned about the topic) used to deem
See also spain
going harder after copyright infringement
and proposing fees on media.
Fees on (storage) media are strange:
artist and authors are expected to pay anonymous royalities.
Next those, who store data for their clients pay.
Both are essential roles to support
(create and host) information,
supporters now pay while they should actually receive.
(Consumers pay too, but that's considered ok here.)
The missconception is rooted in a wrong focus:
Legally the focus should consider
the works of authors and actors
as abstract information and
their interests as rights to harvest from their creation
(license to play/view/execute).
Fees ougth to be left to the freedom of contract between
producers and consumers.
This freedom is impeded by flat fees on the media,
especially since many producers don't participate on the fee.
Even worse: fees on media impedes freedom of since
and expression (art).
Fees on media might be an intermediate escape
from the conflict between the legal system's
requirements to set up enforceable rules and procedures
and the lack of quality, uniform
and standard meta data support on digital media.
Such support would allow to leave contract negotiation
with the respective parties
and free the underlying media from an unjust cost.
Usually it's claimed that p2p software would
impact the income of artists. Seems untrue:
Let's see if this will work.