Subject: Re: Intellectual Property Reform
From: Adam Theo <adamtheo@theoretic.com>
Date: 11 Jan 2002 06:22:32 -0500

On Fri, 2002-01-11 at 04:44, Kevin A. Burton wrote:
> I would have NO problem within having a system of copyright for software that
> expired after 3-5 years and required that the source code go back to the public.
> 
> I think that Open Source would still exist in this world, as it should.  However
> I think this would also enable a marketplace for software vendors (like Ximian
> or TheKompany, etc) who wanted to charge $$$ for their products yet at the same
> time avoid having to ship binary-only software.
> 
> What would be necessary to see this happen?  I would assume that this would need
> discussion and political backing to actually happen.  Of course Microsoft would
> lobby HARD against this.

I have been thinking hard on this matter, too. I think IP reform is
neccessary, as well. The current copyright term of 95 years is way too
long for any social good to ever happen, and this number is likely to
continue to be pushed up as Disney and others lobby to keep Micky Mouse
from falling into the public domain.

However, reform through the law at this early stage won't happen. You
are right that Disney, Microsoft, and others would lobby hard against
reform. I therefore think a similar tactic has to be taken as with Free
Software. What Stallman basically did is to use copyright law to create
a bubble within which everything is free. A similar bubble should be
created within which everything is reasonably copyrighted (like in the
good old days...). A bubble within which the term is 5-10 years, not
95+.

I am thinking I will try to take my Ransom model [
http://www.theoretic.com/ransom ] in the direction of being this bubble.
Ransom is a concept I'm developing where code is initially released
under restrictive (proprietary) terms, but which becomes freed after a
certain amount of money has been collected (as from licensing fees or
contributions) or a certain amount of time has passed (as in 5 or so
years). I will be actively developing this more while I have free time
over the next couple of weeks. Feel free to participate if you like the
idea. Again, it is at http://www.theoretic.com/ransom .
-- 
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