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Re: CLUEBAT: copyrights, infringement, violations, and legality

On Fri, Jan 31, 2003 at 09:34:13AM -0600, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 31, 2003 at 07:41:15PM +1100, Paul Hampson wrote:
> > > I'm saying that you seem to be confused by the word. You're analyzing
> > > its etymology and deriving its meaning and properties based on that.
> > > This is the wrong way to analyze a legal term. Instead, you should be
> > > looking at how it actually works in law, and the history of that law.
> > > Given the same legislation, you could call it "football" and it would
> > > still behave the same: by printing and selling copies of my story, you
> > > are infringing on my football, and I can sue you and reasonably expect
> > > to win damages and an order that you cease distributing my story. The
> > > name 'copyright' is not important.
> > I'm saying the meaning drives the word, not the word drives the meaning.
> > I could call it "football", but it wouldn't provide a very clear idea of
> > what it represents. Wouldn't the obvious default assumption be that
> > people choose the right words for new concepts? (I'm aware this is quite
> > frequently not true, but as a default assumption....)
> > I'm saying that 'copyright' the word is evidence that we are discussing
> > rights here, not that 'copyright' the word is the cause of the concept
> > being a right.
> That's begging the question, though.

You know, I'm not totally clear on what that phrase means... Or I do
know what it means, but I don't understand your usage here... I guess
that's the same thing, really. :-)

> > At this point, I looked back at the original email, and I can't see
> > what you're suggest copyright is, if not a right... Neither 'privelege'
> > nor 'responsibility' seemed to appear in your email, and those are the
> > words I immediately associate with things that are not rights.... I
> > don't think they're appropriate, either.
> In the US formulation of the concept, copyright *is* a privilege: the
> copyright bargain grants a limited monopoly to authors in the belief that
> doing so will encourage the advancement of the arts and sciences.
> Unfortunately, the word "right" is so heavily overloaded in English that
> this nuance is easily lost.
> To put it another way, anything that's granted to you by a government,
> particularly in exchange for something else, is not really a right (a
> natural right).

OK, I can see a strong difference between you and me here.

To me a right (as compared to a privelege) is something you can do,
and no-one can take that away from you. A privelege is something you
can do, but only with the good graces of someone else (in this case,
the governemt.) As examples, I contrast walking down the footpath with
driving a car. Of course, most people consider driving a car to be a
right, not a privelege.

I think natural rights are a bit of an arbitrary thing... And not
really relevant to the discussion... Or maybe they are, and I'm in
fact involved in a different discussion than I think I am.

Paul "TBBle" Hampson, MCSE
5th year CompSci/Asian Studies student, ANU
The Boss, Bubblesworth Pty Ltd (ABN: 51 095 284 361)

Of course Pacman didn't influence us as kids. If it did,
we'd be running around in darkened rooms, popping pills and
listening to repetitive music.

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