Subject: RE: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <>
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 09:37:25 -0700

> How does Tennessee propose to value software distributed "on demand"
> over the Internet for zero price for the purpose of such a property tax?

Some states (perhaps Tennessee included) have been known to pass very
strange laws, including laws forbidding the teaching of evolution despite
its scientific accuracy or requiring the teaching of creationism despite its
being a religion. Some states, like some people on this list, have
difficulty distinguishing between science and philosophy. 

The important point is that states around the world treat certain
intellectual property as personal property for taxation purposes. This
relates to laws on investment tax credits, research and development credits,
depreciation, etc., most of which laws are mysteries to me. I consult
experts for that when I have questions. 

Eliminating the term "intellectual property" isn't going to happen. Here's
how I wrote it in an agreement just this week:

  ...certain intellectual property, including certain inventions, 
  discoveries, works of authorship, patents and patent applications 
  (including reissues, divisions, continuations, continuations-in-part),
  trade secrets, know-how, drawings, technical information, copyrights, 
  mask works and all other intellectual property rights resulting 
  therefrom or embodied in any of the foregoing (the "Intellectual 

Removing that phrase from the legal vocabulary, and ultimately from your
vocabularies, isn't possible or desirable.


Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (
Stanford University, Lecturer in Law
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
707-485-1242  *  fax: 707-485-1243
Author of "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and 
                Intellectual Property Law" (Prentice Hall 2004)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen J. Turnbull []
> Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 9:11 AM
> To: Michael Upchurch
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
> >>>>> "Michael" == Michael Upchurch <> writes:
>     Michael> Twenty years ago the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that
>     Michael> the software became tangible when the instructions were
>     Michael> typed into a computer.  The case specifically concerned
>     Michael> the application of sales tax to the process of
>     Michael> fabrication of custom software.
> Does this have any known implications, other than the government found
> a way to tax a formerly untaxed activity without legislation?  (I mean
> specifically has it been used as a precedent in other, non-tax cases.)
> If all such "tangible software" were considered "real property", I
> guess everybody who owns a copy of Quicken would be expected to pay
> property tax on it?
> How does Tennessee propose to value software distributed "on demand"
> over the Internet for zero price for the purpose of such a property tax?
> --
> Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of
> Tsukuba
>        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573
>         Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
>           Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory