Re: Fear of Life (was Microsoft, Automation)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Tue, 5 May 1998 21:42:10 -0700 (PDT)

> This does not answer the basic question. Should I be able to profit
> from my own labors? If I write a novel, I should be able to market it
> without having to worry about someone else taking my work, adding an
> introduction, and selling it at much less than my publisher's costs,
> thereby destroying my market.

That's two different and unrelated questions. Sure, you have a right
to profit from your work just as Mark McGuire has a right to profit
from hitting home runs. But does that mean he should be able to
profit from runs he hit 5 years ago, or prevent other batters from
studying his swing? If you made such a bad deal with your publisher
that someone copying your work can cut into your profits, whose
fault is that? I say it's yours; the costs of exclusion are borne
by every other business, why should /I/ bear the costs of exclusion
for /yours/?

> If I create a logo for my enterprise, should someone else be
> permitted to use it to sell their products?

That's a trademark, not a copyright or patent; an entirely unrelated
issue. Using someone else's identity is willful fraud, and I have
no problem with enforcing a tort in that case.

> Anyone who hangs too tightly to their creations will not benefit
> from them; neither will the world. But saying that ideas and their
> physical embodiments are not the property of the thinker and
> inventor certainly does nothing to help.

Exactly. It's not my place to help anyone. Businesses should
bear their own costs, not come to me for help.

> I have no objection to others using my ideas to act as a springboard for
> them to reach even greater heights. I only object to others using my
> creations to deny me a chance to make a living by undercutting me with
> duplicates of what I made.

Then don't use business practices that encourage that. The present
system is based on the assumption of copyright; without it, different
business models would evolve. This is a good thing.

> After all, if they can concieve of a better way to do what I am doing,
> surely I can use their take on the matter to leapfrog them..

Exactly, so long as no laws are in the way...

> Copying, however, is cheating. By your arguments, if I copy your doctoral
> thesis, I should be able to claim the degree just as if I had done all the
> research. After all, it's not 'theft'.

Well, you could publish my thesis, but I presume that a college who
granted degrees to people for using a Xerox machine would not have
a very good reputation.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC