cctalk Digest, Vol 65, Issue 65
mc at media.mit.edu
Fri Jan 30 13:16:48 CST 2009
From: "Jeff Walther" <trag at io.com>
Subject: Re: Seeking reverse-engineers - Apple II VisiCalc
What I find particularly irritating, is that the loss of the source code,
arguably, defeats the implicit reason that copyright and patent protection
exists in the first place. The U.S. constitution states:
"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for
limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their
respective writings and discoveries;"
Now one could argue that securing the exclusive rights promotes progress
all by itself. But the fact that it is meant to be for a limited time,
implies to me that at some point the full benefit of that advancement
should become available to everybody. If no copy of the source code is
required to be filed with the government, then the copyright and/or patent
laws are not securing the benefits of that progress for society at the end
of the exclusive period.
Patents have become similarly lame. Chips get patented with no
description language at any level required to be filed. Sigh.
Bad congress. Bad bad congress. No cookie.
I don't think it ever occurred to our founding fathers that "authors"
would copyright something with no intent of ever publishing it. Or, in
the case of software, publishing the binaries, but not the sources.
Even the pre-1976 requirement of copyright registration was perverted in
the case of software. The Copyright Office allows you to submit only a
fraction of what was being copyrighted, and you can block out parts that
you consider trade secrets. So much for the public good.
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