[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [OT] Intelectual Property Law

On 8/8/12, John Hasler <jhasler@newsguy.com> wrote:
> I wrote:
>> Thus you have a monopoly on the reproduction of copies of your work.
> Celajar writes:
>> Okay, but this is veering close to sophistry; I can also say that any
>> private ownership of property is monopolistic, since it gives the
>> owner a monopoly on the use of some particular piece of property.

Property law regulates how you use your property and how you control
the property's use.

A long time ago, in the feudal system, a patent was the privilege to
control other people's use of something that had been in the public
commons. Examples would be the authorization to take tolls on a bridge
or a section of highway. (The patent also was usually supposed to come
with the obligation to maintain the object of the patent, but of
course that obligation was not always met.)

This is different from homesteading, where something that had been
ostensibly in the public commons, but not really used by anyone, was
taken out of the public commons and made private property.

> Monopolies are commoplace and not, in and of themselves, necessarily
> either illegal or immoral.

Monopolies are necessarily a curb on the freedoms of the people. There
is a tendency towards unethical or immoral in their existence, unless
they are well administered/maintained. (That was the reason for the
intent of meaningful time limits in both patent and copyright.)

> Nonetheless copyright creates monopolies
> where none would otherwise exist: that is its purpose.

Not in the US Constitution, at least. Copyrights and patents in the US
were both intended to allow the government to regulate monopolistic
activities in a way that would benefit both the public and the person
obtaining the copyright or patent.

(And I'm being distracted from work. Back to work. Back to work.)

Joel Rees

Reply to: