[Discuss] Request for Comments: Digital DIY: Legal Challenges & Solutions Practised Report

Matt Maier blueback09 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 25 08:10:10 UTC 2016

On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 6:03 PM, Cláudio Sampaio <patola at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 2:15 PM, Emilio Velis <contacto at emiliovelis.com>
> wrote:
>> I might want to chip in on the discussion, since there is a lot of acid
>> thrown into copyright alongside a lot of misconceptions.
>> Now, having said this, there are different theories of copyright.
>> Copyright is philosophically based on the notion of private property, which
>> is a concept existing in all countries as far as I know, and is developed
>> based on different theories, so the fact of the matter here is that you
>> can't just come and say that 1. Copyright is an exclusive term for common
>> law, or that 2. Copyright is slavery without admitting that all forms of
>> private property are also akin to slavery to some degree.
> ​Just as copyleft is based on copyright, being "copyright turned on its
> head" to mean that it's actually the opposite,

Copyleft is not the opposite of copyright. Copyleft is exactly the same
legal standard. The minor difference is that the license REQUIRES sharing
instead of FORBIDS sharing. Normally, people who create value use copyright
to forbid other people from freely sharing in the creation without paying
for the value. People motivated by open/libre ideas want the value they
create to be shared as widely as possible, so they require sharing. That's
a pretty minor difference. The only reason either of them work is because
the courts enforce the terms of the licenses.

> intellectual "property" is the very opposite of real, private property.​
> ​You own your media and you should be allowed to do whatever you wish with
> it in your private space, or in agreement with others.

The difference between tangible and intangible objects is real, but the
concept of "property" is always intangible. Your rights to anything is a
compromise with everyone else's rights. For example, it's not unusual for
your right to your land (real property) to be compromised to grant someone
else the right to cross your land to get to their land. Rights are flexible

Also, and this is important, if you have a license to use something that is
not the same (legally speaking) as owning it. Under the terms of a license
your right to the value is limited and can be revoked if you violate the
license terms. That's WHY copyleft works. The evil, non-sharers who want to
take software and hide it aren't legally allowed to do that because they
don't own it, they only got a license from the author. Under copyright, the
author's right to control the value they created extends to all copies (and
derivative works), with a few exceptions, regardless of how far the thing
of value travels.

> But you can't, because the overreach of intellectual "property" tries to
> confiscate the power you have over your own stuff. More details here:
> https://mises.org/library/against-intellectual-property-0​

If you get rid of intellectual property then you get rid of free/libre
copyleft as well.

> ​Intellectual property also enforces artificial scarcity of non-scarce
> goods. This is terrible. You create value but cannot fully exploit it,
> because to conform to closed-minded lack of creativity on how to monetize
> it, you resort to limit the number of copies that might be made, or limit
> its scope.

You've got two different things confused. Copyright was invented
specifically to help creators exploit the value they created. Copyright
places no burden whatsoever on the creator. If you make something you can
share it as widely as you want and put zero restrictions on it and charge
absolutely nothing for it. But that basically would have happened anyway.
Copyright gives the creator the option to tightly control distribution,
layer a bunch of requirements, and charge anything they want. THAT is only
possible because the courts will back them up when non-creators violate
their attempt to exploit the value they created.

> As an useful example: I have been looking for ways to implement real
> curves on open-source 3D software - from slic3r to cura to blender -​ and
> found what seems to be the perfect work for it, a work of genius, a
> mathematical achievement: T-splines. http://www.
> tsplines.com/products/what-are-t-splines.html However, their creators
> limited the value of this amazing piece of software to two quite limited
> proprietary products, no doubt under secret private arrangements, and
> progress on this front is unequivocally halted by decades. Sort of what
> happened with the FDM and SLA patents, which halted the 3D printing
> technologies for two decades -- we should already have star trek
> replicators by now, if it weren't for patent law.

And patents are not copyright. Not even close. If the creators of T-splines
had copyright then you'd still be able to do whatever you wanted with the
idea of T-splies. A patent is what gives you rights to the use of the idea

I agree that patents have been getting increasingly absurd and destructive.
If they actually granted patents based on the rules everything would be
fine, but they're handing out patents for vague and speculative nonsense.

The glut of bad patents is absolutely a problem that's clogging up our
systems of innovation.

> ​There are many ways to monetize without intellectual "property" too:
> https://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Without_Intellectual_Property​
> ​Do not forget that intellectual "property", due to simply existing,
> requires an enormous amount of law support, institutions, structures, NGOs
> and otherwise non-productive stuff - which is sort of "the broken window"
> in economics, it's wasted money and resources.​

That article on "what if we got rid of IP" has an example from the book
publishing industry. The assertion is that with copyright there are a whole
lot more books published, each of which is a lottery ticket to best seller

I think that's exactly the kind of system we want if we want innovation.
There is no way to predict what will be innovative. We have to just try a
bunch of stuff and see what clicks. Abolishing copyright would also abolish
the long tail of contributions. Only entities that are already powerful
enough to exploit their creation would bother to create. Copyright allows
the little guy to get the backing of the government so they can compete.

> --
> Cláudio "Patola" Sampaio
> MakerLinux Labs - Campinas, SP
> Gmail <patola at gmail.com> - Mail EAD <patola at techtraining.eng.br> -
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