Subject: Re: DRM-incompatible licenses
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 19:53:31 +0900

>>>>> "Seth" == Seth Johnson <> writes:

    Seth> In short, almost every word you write here is the inverse of
    Seth> what I said.  There are the inverse of what is acceptable in
    Seth> a free society, I might add.

You might add it, but you'd be wrong.  I have in my pocket a signed
declaration that you're right, and I'm wrong.  You have no right to
copy that, much as you would like to.  Nor are you free to do so.
That piece of paper is my property.  Perhaps you would call a society
in which you can override my right "free", but I would be horrified.

Copyright is "simply" an artificial extension of that property right,
which facilitates contracting over the release of copies of expressive
works to the public.

Copyright has many obnoxious effects, too, but almost all of the
effects, obnoxious and otherwise, of copyright can be duplicated via
secrecy, contract, and the laws prohibiting theft---at much, much
higher cost.

    Seth> Copyright is an "exception" to the freedom to use published
    Seth> information.

No.  Copyright is a specific legal right to control certain uses of
copies of an expressive work.

It has no relevance to your freedom to use the information embodied in
that work, unless you lack the originality to express it differently.
You may even *independently* produce the same expression of the
information.  (Granted, independent production is often hard to prove,
but in principle you have every right to do so.)

    Seth> I need no "positive" right to use (and copy) the factual
    Seth> elements of a published copyrighted work.

Absolutely true.  But nobody's talking about factual elements.  Why
did you bring them up?

    Seth> I hope I am understanding what you mean by "positive" and
    Seth> "negative" rights.

A positive right is the right to do something.  It is sufficient in
itself to give permission to do that act.

A negative right is the right to prohibit someone from doing
something.  Refusing to exercise that right does not imply, by itself,
permission, because there may be other negative rights involved.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory