Subject: RE: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Sat, 6 May 2006 09:49:15 -0700

>     So the problem *here* is not that people confuse
>     patent with copyright; it's that people confuse intellectual property
>     with real property or personal property.

Intellectual property *is* personal property. It can be possessed,
transferred, inherited, etc. Every particular form of property has unique
characteristics. The use of your car is more restricted than the use of your
television, both of which are less restricted than the use of your gun. So
should that mean we ought not to use the term "personal property" either
because it causes people to over-generalize? 

It is for the very purpose of generalizing that we create terms of art like
"intellectual property" and "free software" and "open source." That's good,
not bad.

/Larry


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Stallman [mailto:rms@gnu.org]
> Sent: Saturday, May 06, 2006 7:25 AM
> To: Stephen J. Turnbull
> Cc: mibsoft@mibsoftware.com; turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp; fsb@crynwr.com
> Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
> 
>     Consider this exchange about "propaganda" between Richard and myself.
>     His objection is that "property" is something that you have a right to
>     protect or to ask the government to protect, and Richard doesn't want
>     anybody to have a right to protect restrictions on distributions and
>     use of software.  So the problem *here* is not that people confuse
>     patent with copyright; it's that people confuse intellectual property
>     with real property or personal property.
> 
> Yes, this is the problem of bias in the term "intellectual property".
> The other problem is overgeneralization.
> 
>       Ie, we've got the right
>     generalization!
> 
> You have chosen an example where the problem of bias appears
> and the problem of overgeneralization does not come in.
> That doesn't mean the generalization is right.  The generalization
> aspect just isn't relevant in this example.
> 
>     Property in one's creations is a genuine common intuition.
> 
> This common intuition is the wrong way to judge copyright issues or
> patent issues.  They should be judged based on the public interest.
> 
> It is a common tactic of the wealthy to try to manipulate people
> through their intuitions into serving the wealthy's interests.
> (Compare with politicians that say "I will cut your taxes" and in fact
> give most of the tax cut to the rich.)  That's what they do here
> when they talk about "intellectual property", "piracy", "protecting
> a program", etc,