Subject: Re: Novel anti-software-patent article
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 19:17:54 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "DJ" == DJ Delorie <dj@delorie.com> writes:

    >> The real cost is the products that never get _both_ created
    >> _and_ distributed.

    DJ> That's why I suggested that copyrights and patents expire due
    DJ> to non-use.

This is OK for patents, but if the form of expression really matters
that much, I don't really see why a copyright should ever expire.  The
Mona Lisa is still not duplicable by another artist; I don't see why
da Vinci or his heirs shouldn't continue profiting from it for another
millenium---or hoard it if they prefer.

This is very different from a patent, and is not a problem with
software as such (but would be if protocols and user interfaces were
copyrightable).  Nor is it a problem with a text book; even with
copyright issues, hot textbooks generate copycats very quickly.

Yeah, there's some loss from people hoarding currently not terribly
valuable documents.  But really, if there's no demand, how much can it
be?

    DJ> If a product is no longer being distributed, it's
    DJ> neither benefiting the stockholders nor the public, and should
    DJ> no longer get government protection.  The public (via taxes)
    DJ> should not have to pay to protect wasteful hoarders.

What taxes?  As far as I know, violating IP is a civil offense, and
the police and DA could care less.  All the expenses have to be paid
by the "wasteful hoarders."

This is one of the real problems with software IP; only large entities
can really afford to protect it.  It's a big problem with hardware,
too, but enormous for software.

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