Intellectual Property Rights and software

Spike Jones (
Sun, 20 Dec 1998 12:19:26 -0800

> Paul Hughes, <>, writes, about intellectual propety:
> > ...opened a couple of vegetarian restaurants called McDharma's? This
> > wasn't even the same name, but alas he was prohibited from ever
> > using it again. How is this not coercion?

it seems like the u.s. has gone to extremes in regards to intellectual property rights. consider software: it gets a copyright, not a patent. good for 75 years. but consider the fact that when you buy software, unlike a book, you do not get all the information contained in that product. you do not get the source code when you purchase a microsloth product, for instance. you may not modify or repair it.

compare: when you buy a machine, you normally get some kind of warranty with it. if you take it home and it does not work, the maker is responsible for repairing or replacing it. not so with a book. if you take it home and discover flawed reasoning in the text, too bad.

with software, all the advantages of both worlds are offered to the creator: any company can sell you a product that does not work, they are not liable to repair or replace it, you cannot repair it yourself, you cannot even hire someone else to repair it for you. you cannot purchase a module that will repair the bugs. yet unlike a book, all the information contained in that product is not right there for you.

question please, my european friends: is a similar arrangement forming on your side of the lake? ausies and nz's? does not this constitute overprotection of software makers? spike