Subject: Random interesting thought
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 16:29:53 -0400

As Karsten is aware, I have been thinking about the constitutional
justification for copyrights.  As it says in the constitution, the right is
only granted to pass laws that progress the useful arts and sciences by
granting monopolies for a limited time.  Discussions by Jefferson et al
make it crystal clear that what is meant by "progress" is the increase of
useful information in the public domain.  The method of increase lies in
creating a mechanism for compensating people who communicate useful ideas
to the public.  (Namely the temporary grant of monopoly.)

This raises 2 interesting questions:

1. Does granting copyright to software whose source is in not made
available progress the useful arts and sciences?

2. If not, then on what grounds can Congress extend copyright protection to
such software?


PS IANAL and all that.