Subject: Re: [ppc-mobo] Re: GNU License for Hardware
From: Stephen Turnbull <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 16:24:32 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "craig" == craig  <> writes:

    >> So what is the argument for bundling those rights together?

    craig> As an artifical construction, then, "intellectual property"
    craig> becomes whatever the government says it is, is owned by
    craig> whoever it says own it at any given time, etc.  At which
    craig> point it clearly can't be a practical natural right for me
    craig> to share stuff I don't own.


    craig> So, rather than go down that rat-hole, I'd like to point
    craig> out that the difference between giving *my* food to my
    craig> neighbor is that I end up without that food.

This is an economic argument, not a rights argument.

    craig> Once I have possession of those seeds, I should have a
    craig> natural right (one I cannot sign away) to share them, or
    craig> the seeds that come from their fruits when they grow, with
    craig> anyone else.

Physical possession (as in theft) confers none of those rights.  Even
legal possession of a physical good need not: Monsanto (I think it is)
has developed a means by which seeds can be treated so that the fruit
of the seeds contains seeds which are sterile.

If the right to the fruit of the seeds and the right to the fruit of
the fruit of the seeds can be physically separated, I see no reason
not to separate them legally in theory, and consider the benefits
(positive as well as negative) to society of doing so.  Despite the
outrage of the farmers.  Justified outrage, IMO, but on the basis of
anti-monopoly policy (Monsanto's first success was with a species
mostly used in LDCs---shades of Nestle's milk substitute for babies
program!), not a specific right bundled with the seeds themselves.

Goodbye natural right.

Nor does this address the issue of source.  What is your natural right
to the "source code" of the seeds?  Please address your request to
"God" <> and CC me; I'd like to see Her response.

    craig> But a strong central marketplace is a *natural* result of
    craig> market forces.  It needn't be buttressed by reducing
    craig> freedoms, clarity, and simplicity, even though those might
    craig> offer short-term resilience to some *instances* of a
    craig> central marketplace.

No.  Markets are an artificial construction; their operation subject
to careful definition of property rights.  It is quite possible to
create markets in rights (eg, the market for high speed limited-access
highways is really created by restricting municipalities' and private
entities' right to build roads on their own property that connect to
them, and the market for congestion on such highways is regulated by
the toll).

    craig> So there is really no need, and therefore no reason to
    craig> permit, artificially increasing the frictions involved in
    craig> sharing food, seeds, *or* software among neighbors, while
    craig> the *costs* of doing so are huge.

You want to talk economics, that's a different thread.  Where are the

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