[LINK] "Identity Theft" [was: Copyright Infringement as Stealing: Pfft!]

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Tue Oct 28 10:22:29 EST 2008

On 28/10/2008 at 8:55 AM Stephen Wilson wrote:
> At the risk of being accused of "spin", I'd like to suggest that the 
> deliberate choice of words "identity theft" serves a useful rhetorical 
> purpose.
Useful shorthand perhaps, but also an inaccurate use of words.  That 
inaccuracy introduces potential for misunderstanding and abuse.

For example, a while back on this list, I asked how long an idea could 
be said to belong to its originator.  By "belong", I meant to refer to 
privileges under copyright and patent.  A respondent subsequently 
rephrased my question as: how long does the originator own an idea.

Belonging is not ownership.  For example, under current Australian law, 
I own a patch of ground in the Hunter Valley.  Under far older laws, I 
belong to the land.

Abuse of terms like "theft" and "property" may seem useful as shorthand, 
but it facilitates misinterpretation and manipulation.

David Boxall                    |  The more that wise people learn
                                |  The more they come to appreciate
                                |  How much they don't know.

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