Re: Obsolesence of Intellectual Property

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Sat Aug 05 2000 - 05:29:27 MDT

>From: "Jason Joel Thompson" <>

> > The lines become less clear if you buy my lunch from me, then proceed to
> > dismantle it in order to discover my secret recipe for making the best
> > bologna sandwich this side of the Mississippi, and then you proceed to
> > reproduce those sandwiches and give them to your friends. You have
> > something, but I have not lost anything (namely my recipe for bologna
> > sandwiches).
>Okay, I'm going to read your argument as being that it's okay if I take
>something from you without your permission as long as you don't lose
>anything. Believe it or not, I can actually agree with that statement.
>question is-- do _you_ agree with it?
>I have to ask because it has implications: namely, if I can show that
>you -do- lose something when I take your intellectual property, you're
>obliged to either withdraw the argument (or refine it, or whatever) or
>that stealing IP is bad.

As you have correctly surmised, I am not a dolt. Therefore I would never
argue (and have never argued) that Napstering copyrighted music is a good
thing for those who own the copyrights. So sure, from the *point of view of
the artist/record company* Napster is a “bad” thing. No argument there.
But I try to look at this question from the broadest possible view. Not
merely from the standpoint of the copyright holders, nor merely from the
standpoint of the pirates. But from the view of trying to determine the
absolute or “greater good.”

>From this broad viewpoint we first have to decide whether the copyright laws
as presently drafted foster the greater good. If yes, then Napster and its
ilk are clearly a “bad” thing since they serve to circumvent the benevolent
copyright law. If, however, the copyright laws cause more harm (in
diminished free flow of data) than their supposed good (in stuffing the
pocketbooks of content providers), then Napster is not so clearly a bad
thing. Eh?


Learn how your computer can earn you money while you sleep!

Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:35:36 MDT