[LINK] Open Source PC Design

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Mon Jun 2 09:46:12 AEST 2008

On Mon, Jun 02, 2008 at 09:01:20AM +1000, Stephen Wilson wrote:
> Craig Sanders Mon, Jun 02, 2008 wrote:
> > ... there is no such thing as "intellectual property"
> Of course there is.  


there are copyrights, which are a short term (actually, now 70+ years,
but originally 20 years) monopoly on the production and distribution
of specific creative works.

there are patents, which are a short term monopoly on a specific
invention or process.

and there are trademarks, which is a monopoly on a name or logo or
identifying mark, the monopoly being specific to a particular field of
endeavour (or fields). the main purpose is for protection of consumers
against deception and "passing off".

1. these are not at all the same thing, the enabling legislation for
each of them is entirely different and was framed with very different
intentions for very different purposes.

2. NONE of the above are property. they are all short-term monopolies
granted by the government. there may be some limited property rights
in the monopolies (in that they can be traded or licensed or used
exclusively), BUT there is a significant distinction between the
monopoly and the thing (invention, work of art, etc) that the monopoly
has been granted for.

3. "intellectual property" is a propaganda term coined by the monopoly
rights industries (in particular, patents and copyrights) to:

a) conflate and confuse the distinction between these three things.

b) to promote the completely bogus and unsupportable view that this
thing which has been falsely labeled "intellectual property" is just
another variation of actual property. i.e. to blur and eventually destroy
the distinction between the monopoly and the thing being monopolised.

4. this deliberate confusion is what enables Cadbury to think they can
get away with claiming to own the colour purple, or Porter-Davis Homes
to claim that they own the idea of an "alfresco" dining area.

> The fruits of one's mental labours are real.  

so?  that doesn't make them property.  the sun is real.  it isn't

i.e. reality is not sufficient in itself for a thing to be property.

> The fact that you get so hot and sweaty about theft of IP suggest that
> you do see that it's real.

i'm not getting hot and sweaty about "IP".

i'm getting seriously concerned about the theft of NON-property from the
commons, the conversion of a public, shared intellectual resource into
private property. to take something that is the shared right of all and
to convert it into private property is theft.

> > open source is essential in this area (and in *every* other field)
> > as a defense against the THEFT of these ideas from the commons.
> That's just a tad hysterical.

no, it's an accurate and concise summary of what's happening right now
in the real world.

> It's hard to get a patent on something that's been in the public
> domain.  So there are existing protections against theft from the
> commons.

it *should* be hard, but it's not.  certainly not in recent years.  it
has become absurdly easy to claim AND be granted ownership of things
which have been in the public domain for centuries or thousands of
years, and for things which are so obvious that nobody in their right
mind would consider that they were sufficiently novel to deserve a

wake up and smell the coffee.  there's a land-grab going on right now.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

BOFH excuse #371:

Incorrectly configured static routes on the corerouters.

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