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Re: Copying and distributing Debian

On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 01:14:52PM +0100, Jonathan Amery wrote:
> In article <20020813102341.GK9338@engmail.uwaterloo.ca> you write:
> >	First, please do not say "piracy" since that does not convey the
> >proper meaning.  Due to historical artifacts, what you really mean is
> >"copyright infringement" and not "looting and pillaging on the high
> >seas" nor "publishers exploiting authors."  (Note the irony in the
> >second usage as compared to the modern one.)
>  While I agree with you that "copyright infringement" is a better term
> in this case, I disagree that "piracy" is incorrect.  To cite the OED:

	I did not say that "piracy" was incorrect.  I did say that it
did not convey the proper meaning, or have the proper connotations.  Too
many things are covered under the "piracy" banner to be meaningful.

	Better to use the legal term, which is not loaded, and is well

> #     2. fig. The appropriation and reproduction of an invention or work
> # of another for one's own profit, without authority; infringement of
> # the rights conferred by a patent or copyright.
> #
> #   1771 LUCKOMBE Hist. Print. 76 They..would suffer by this act of
> # piracy, since it was likely to prove a very bad edition. 1808
> # Med. Jrnl. XIX. 520 He is charged with `Literary Piracy', and an
> # `unprincipled suppression of the source from whence he drew his
> # information'. 1855 BREWSTER Newton I. iv. 71 With the view of securing
> # his invention of the telescope from foreign piracy.
>  While the first source cited by the OED supports your statement about 
> publishers and authors, the others make it clear that the term is used 
> (as given in the definition) to cover a much wider spectrum of
> infringements of so called IPR.

	Which is why I mentioned "historical artifacts."  Due to the
tecnological and social conditions at the time, only people with presses
could "pirate" an author's work.  Scribes and other people who had lots
of time on their hands could definitely copy a book if they so wished.

	Unfortunately, the term has generalised, and the initial
connotation lost.  Now it has switched around to the public exploiting
publishers, with nary a mention of authors at all.

>  (I would, OTOH applaud you for at least recognising the alternative
> (and long standing) meaning, which RMS ignores entirely.)

	I cannot say why RMS does not use this meaning in public; but I
suspect that it is for rhetorical purposes.


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