Subject: Re: Differing IP laws
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 11:24:17 +0900 (JST)

CCs trimmed.

>>>>> "Elaine" == Elaine -HFB- Ashton <> writes:

    Elaine> This is an open and shut copyright issue. 

True -- _if_ you presume copyright.  Copyright itself is not an "open
and shut" issue on this list.

    Elaine> Of course, making books themselves OpenSource isn't a bad
    Elaine> thing either as it allows for frequent updates but the
    Elaine> question 'will people pay for something they can get for
    Elaine> free to help support the production of the documentation'
    Elaine> remains.

No, they won't, but fortunately that's not the _only_ question.
Another question is, "can a rolling stone gather moss?"  GNU does!
Linux does!  Can free documentation do it?  It works for academia,
sort of.  (The "sort of" expresses my acute awareness that as a
Japanese academic I am purely a parasite on the public purse;
Americans didn't seem quite so bad when I worked there.  :-)

    Elaine> be interesting to see statistics of technical book returns
    Elaine> from bookstores as it would indicate a pattern of what
    Elaine> might be getting a bit dated.

Or it would indicate a pattern of what's really hot, and attracting
incompetent authors and their publishers because "anybody can sell
books in that field."  Very hard to interpret that data.

    Elaine> go. Addison-Wesley has an Almanac series which, when you
    Elaine> purchase the book, it gives you a key to visit the books
    Elaine> website with weekly or monthly updates. A few publishers
    Elaine> are experimenting with this as well.

I don't find this attractive.  It would have to be bundled with the
book, because I wouldn't pay much for it.

    Elaine> What about a wearable computer with a heads-up display? Or
    Elaine> "Programming Perl" in some sort of VR/holodeck scenario
    Elaine> with Larry as your personal tutor?

Somehow, I don't think so.

Think about it this way: when we've got AI that teaches Perl as well
as Larry can, the humans will have to move on to something else.  AI
that can teach programming to humans can surely program rings around
those same humans.  This is not going to be a big profit center for

    Elaine> There are a lot of ways to go, information is the
    Elaine> commodity, how to best deliver it and keep it current
    Elaine> without compromising the rights of the publisher/author is
    Elaine> the question.

Again, what "rights"?  Those rights are themselves a variable, to be
decided on the basis of their instrumentality in benefiting society.
At least in the U.S., it says so in the Constitution.

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091

          There are no technical books.  Only technical readers.