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Re: microsoft vs opensource

Miles Fidelman <mfidelman@meetinghouse.net> writes:

> There's a difference between:
> - what makes sense (for some definition of "makes sense")
> - what's "right" (for some definition "right")
> - the legal and regulatory  issues involved (there's a lot of dispute
> about whether software should be patentable, copyrightable, both,
> neither)

I don't disagree with any of this.  But, neither do I disagree with
those who point out that "intellectual property" can be a confusing
term.  Yes, people use it, including lawmakers and lawyers.  But, when
one gets down to the facts more specific issues will always be in
discussion, whether it be copyright, trademark, patent or whatever.

> If you want to engage in masturbatory conversation, you can pick the
> terminology you like.  If you want to understand what's going on,
> write software licenses, and/or influence policy - then you have to
> understand and use the terminology the lawyers, politicians, and
> lobbyists use.

I agree.  If you design and build the perfect mousetrap then you should
file for a patent.  Not doing so, and then later trying to sue others
who build their own because you thought you had a copyright may not work
out too well.  Likewise, deciding to reprint Stephen King's Carrie in
full because a patent runs out in 20 years is more than likely going to
be a really big whoops.


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