Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sat, 13 May 2006 11:11:23 +0900

>>>>> "Michael" == Michael Upchurch <mike@aetherity.com> writes:

    Michael> The Tennessee Supreme Court's definition of software is
    Michael> so vague that it boggles the mind.

Not at all.

    Michael> It was written twenty years ago and the world is a vastly
    Michael> different place now.  Their definition includes anything
    Michael> using macros, formulas, etc.  It literally says
    Michael> instructions typed into a computer constitute software
    Michael> which is tangible personal property.

It is.

Whether it should be taxed, and if so, how, is quite another question.
But any software businessman who doesn't consider "anything typed into
a computer" as potential fuel for his business is going to get put out
of business by somebody who does.  (All the usual caveats apply: in
the long run, in the short run of course you need a quality filter so
some things are negligible, you should concentrate on what you are
good at and not be distracted by things outside of your sphere, etc.)

But consider Microsoft's Passport/Hailstorm, which was (getting crazy
here for the purpose of example) to monopolize storage of 4 digit
numbers (PINs), or the business of serving blogs.  *Anything* typed
into a computer, no matter how small (4-digit PIN) or how useless (the
shopping fantasies of crack-addled housewives) is business fodder now.

If it can be interpreted as controlling a process, then it's (part of)
a software program.  Even the PIN qualifies, if stored and replayed
automagically.

    Michael> Since the price was zero in your example there would be
    Michael> no taxation.

Sales tax, yes.  I'm referring to the "real property" aspect, which
presumably would (a) tax possession, not transfer and (b) mean it was
subject to "assessment".



-- 
Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba
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        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
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