To Al Kossow at bitsavers

Johnny Billquist bqt at
Sun Nov 15 13:31:15 CST 2015

On 2015-11-15 20:01, Paul Koning wrote:
>> On Nov 15, 2015, at 12:00 PM, Johnny Billquist <bqt at Update.UU.SE> wrote:
>>> ...
>>> Personally?  I think the rightest way is to eliminiate the legal
>>> fiction called "intellectual property", as a good-sounding experiment
>>> that has failed.  It is not producing the effects it was put in place
>>> to produce and it is producing a lot of other, ill, effects.
>> Agree. I think the whole concept of intellectual property is weird. Calling some thought in your head a "property" have strange implications. If I say some words that makes you think of something, can I then make you violate my intellectual property? When if you thought of the same idea independently? How did you violate my intellectual property in that case?
>> Weird...
>> I think copyright law sortof makes more sense, and should be enough here.
> There are a lot of diffent ways to approach copyright questions.
> The first is to use only what is explicitly permitted.  This is what Wikipedia and do.  It is also what retrocomputing people who run public domain software (like CDC COS or IBM OS/360 of the right vintage) or open source software do, or those who obtain licenses, hobbyist or otherwise.

This is obviously the safest approach. However, it do limit what you can 

> The second is to use what is readily available but stop when told to.  This is what google seems to do; it also seems to be the bitsavers approach.

I think this can be acceptable, within some limits. For instance, making 
money in such a case would definitely be going to far, in my book. Also, 
establishing some kind of reputation, based on such sources would also 
be something I would disagree with.

I don't know enough of bitsavers policy or approach to really comment. 
But my understanding of Google is that they seem to lean on the fair use 
clause a lot. Which means they do not publish full content, but only 
smaller parts, and this is legally ok to do.

Now, this is just my understanding. I might be wrong in any number of 
ways on this...

> A third is to claim that it's in the public domain if you can't find the owner, or even just because "it's on the Internet".  When I critiqued the "abandonware" approach, this is what I was referring to.  Note that there's a difference between "I know it's owned but I can't find the owner, I'll use it until asked to stop" (approach 2) and "I don't know the owner so I'll claim it doesn't have one" (approach 3).

Yeah, I get the feeling this is where some of the arguments here end up, 
which also for me is an unacceptable conclusion.

> Somewhat unrelated is the argument about whether there should be copyright.  If you disapprove of it, you're of course free to seek a Constitutional amendment (in the USA case) to abolish it.  But you would get objections from anyone who makes his living writing books, or newspapers, or magazine articles.  Also from a lot of people whose profession is the creation of software.  If you've ever published anything, unless you released it into the public domain, you've used copyright (intellectual property law).  That includes open source licenses, of course.

I personally don't have a problem with copyright. I do have some issues 
with "owning" ideas... :-)


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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