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Re: Hypothetical situation to chew on

I doubt that anyone else thinks that there is a relevant and debatable
issue in play here.  Follow-ups to private mail, please.

Andrew Suffield wrote:
> Your argument was founded on "There was never a previous law (because
> I didn't like it)", which is nonsense. There was one and it was
> replaced.

No, it was founded on "no previous law (in England) created a property
right in authorship".  Neither as a matter of statute nor as a matter
of common law.  You can call the Stationers' Company's charter and
by-laws "law" if you like, but they didn't create a property right in
authorship, nor even in "publishership", any more than a cartel's
agreement to divide up market territories creates a property right in
ownership of those territories.  And for the Nth time, the regime
immediately previous to 1710 was 14 years of no legal restraints on
printing and publishing whatsoever.

> > What part of "trade secret law doesn't create a tradable right" is
> > confusing?
> The part where it's false, and you try to relabel 'tradeable' as
> something else just to weasel out of it.

Bah.  I repeat:  Like any other thing of value, unpublished knowledge
may form part of a contractual exchange; but a tradable right in
publicly disclosed knowledge, as created by copyright, patent, and
trademark law, is a creature of statute, and trade secret law doesn't
create such a thing.  All it does is to extend the scope of
enforcement of theft of unpublished knowledge from illegal means to
"improper means", and extend the penalties on receipt of stolen goods
to include injunctive relief on their use in competing with the owner.

Judges in the UK and US created trade secret law out of principles of
equity, and legislatures codified it with few changes (at least in
most states of the US) -- very different from copyright and (modern)
patent, which are entirely creatures of statute.  Trademark falls in
between, in that there is a long history of the use of marks to
discourage and detect counterfeit goods, as an aid in enforcement of
criminal penalties for fraud; but the existence of trademark as a
tradable property right is again a creature of statute.

- Michael

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