Re: INFO: Copyrights (was Hypertext)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 5 Mar 1997 16:07:00 -0800 (PST)

> I'm not sure I see the necessity of preventing someone from changing
> his posted information. If he presents a weak argument, and then
> withdraws it, haven't those who disagree accomplished their purpose?
> How much more is gained by continuing to throw his earlier errors in
> his face? If the goal is to approach the truth, then there should be
> nothing wrong with people evolving their publications in the face of
> criticism.

I agree. Why wouldn't I? If you're presenting argument, the
identity of source is just a distraction. Arguments must argue
content, not personality. Therefore, when presenting a rebuttal to
a point of view, you must include the point of view /as it is/ to
reply. If the source later changes his mind, that's fine; I don't
care. Ideas matter more than who holds them.

Since most ideas will be attributed, it would be fair to ensure
that you included the dates of the quote, and perhaps commentary
that the opinion of the source has changed (especially if that
supports your point of view). But you can't force anyone to say
or not say anything he damn well pleases. And you especiall can't
expect any "active inclusion" of someone else's text to remain in
any consistent state, because you don't own it. Copying to your
server is the only way to preserve your arguments.

> I agree that for some purposes, like official documents, contracts, and
> the like, a method is needed to hold them stably. But for hypertext
> publishing and debate, it seems counterproductive to try to keep people
> from revising their work.

Absolutely! How could anything I said possibly be construed otherwise?
I am really at a loss to see how my words could produce your reaction.
I don't want to "keep people" from doing anything! That's my whole point.
I utterly reject any attempt to restrict what anyone may say at any time
for any reason. Period. Do not tell me I claim otherwise. It is
precisely because of that that in order to rebut a /point of view/--which
exists independently of the one expressing it--one must make sure that
the words are on your server, because you have to expect his to change
with time. Whether or not you change your attributions, update your own
arguments to reflect his changes, etc. is entirely up to you, and what
he does on his server is entirely up to him.

Lee Daniel Crocker <>