Subject: Re: Intellectual Property Reform
From: (Kevin A. Burton)
Date: 14 Jan 2002 13:34:30 -0800

Hash: SHA1 writes:

> Kevin Burton wrote:
> > "Karsten M. Self" <> writes:
> [...]
> > > His term suggestion is on the order of 50 years, essentially rolling
> the clock
> > > back to the situation in the early 1970s.
> >
> > 50 years is WAY too long for software.  The entire software industry is
> > hardly older than 30 years.
> I might grant you that most members of the software industry are under 30, but
> the software industry itself predates the early 70's by several decades.
> (Heck, the next programmer over from me has been programming for over 30
> years!)

I didn't literally mean that the software industry was started on January 1,
1970. I mean it started to hit criticial velocity around that time.  One or two
companies does not make an industry ...

> As for Lessig's proposal, remember that Lessig is talking about copyright in
> general.  The issues of copyright go well beyond their application to
> programming, and longer terms make more sense when you come to, for instance,
> publishing books.

Yes... I understand.  This is where the 'reform' part comes in.  Perhaps
different media types deserve a different copyright term.  For example maybe a
book should get 15 years and software should get 5 years.

Also, even if you sell software, you should be required by law to include the
source.  After 5 years the source become public domain.

IMO the source -> binary compilation process has been a trick to bypass
copyright law.

In 2085, assuming congress does not extend copyright again, I should be able to
use Windows 95 without paying Microsoft.  The only problem is I couldn't port
it to computer platforms of that time.


- -- 
Kevin A. Burton (,, )
             Location - San Francisco, CA, Cell - 415.595.9965
        Jabber -,  Web -

One man's villain is another man's employer.
Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Get my public key at: