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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6252/patents-kill-according-to-crichton/

Patents kill (according to Crichton)

February 13, 2007 by

Or so argues Michael Crichton, in Patenting Life, a NY Times editorial (thanks to Isaac Bergman for link). Excerpts:

YOU, or someone you love, may die because of a gene patent that should never have been granted in the first place. Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it’s only too real.

Gene patents are now used to halt research, prevent medical testing and keep vital information from you and your doctor. Gene patents slow the pace of medical advance on deadly diseases. And they raise costs exorbitantly: a test for breast cancer that could be done for $1,000 now costs $3,000.

Why? Because the holder of the gene patent can charge whatever he wants, and does. Couldn’t somebody make a cheaper test? Sure, but the patent holder blocks any competitor’s test. He owns the gene. Nobody else can test for it. In fact, you can’t even donate your own breast cancer gene to another scientist without permission. The gene may exist in your body, but it’s now private property.

This bizarre situation has come to pass because of a mistake by an underfinanced and understaffed government agency. The United States Patent Office misinterpreted previous Supreme Court rulings and some years ago began — to the surprise of everyone, including scientists decoding the genome — to issue patents on genes.

{ 125 comments }

Fred Mann February 20, 2007 at 4:46 am

When you claim to have “copyrights” on a book, you are certainly claiming to own something above and beyond the physical book (paper and ink).
What you are claiming to own, in the case of a book, is a set of symbols. That is, you are claiming to own a particular arrangement of letters. This is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, physical property. A “combination”, “arrangement”, “sequence”, call it what you like, is not a physical thing. Period. So again, your statement “Copyright is all about property rights over physical property”, is just false on the face of it.
Furthermore, symbols (or sets of symbols) are not scarce/rivalrous, hence they can not be owned. Anyone and everyone can have the EXACT same set of symbols, without dimishing the supply of that set of symbols, or altering the quality of the already-existing sets of symbols. And since these sets of symbols can not be owned, they can not be sold.
So, with respect to your free-market copyright scheme, you can not place terms-of-use restrictions on how that set of symbols can be used, becuase you never owned the set of symbols to begin with.
The End?

Sasha Radeta February 20, 2007 at 6:29 pm

When I claim to have “copyrights” on a book, I am certainly claiming to own only the physical book (paper and ink).

Because when I own a book that has a particular set of symbols – I can contractually prevent you from copying that arrangement (because those are the terms of use of my book and its content… if you don’t like it, don’t accept it).

Also, my specific set of symbols can also be used as an evidence of unauthorized use in case that someone trespasses against my physical property. Like I said before – if my copycat book contains the set of symbols that is identical to Dr. Hoppe’s work – it is a clear evidence that I trespassed against his physical property. Nothing more than that!

If these simple points are not clear to you, than it’s really the end.

Fred Mann February 20, 2007 at 7:35 pm

A set of symbols does not exist in the physical world. Your PARTICULAR printed out copy of that set of symbols IS a physical thing (book). Physical things have the property of existing in a particular location (among other things). Sets of symbols do NOT have this quality, and are NOT physical. Nor are they scarce.
You can not have property rights in non-physical non-scarce things, so you can not create terms of use with respect to these things.

Sasha Radeta February 20, 2007 at 8:43 pm

“A set of symbols does not exist in physical world”??!!?

What the…

Do you actually read what you write!? A set of symbols DOES exist in physical world! We’re talking about the physical (ink) characters that exist on a physical object (book). ANYWAY… You can philosophize about “material, non-scarce” nonsense all you want, but you were unable to deny my two basic points:

- If you are the owner of a book (physical object), you can contractually restrict someone’s use of it. Your contract can (and would) prohibit its replication, or else you could decline to allow its use.
- If people outside of your contracts replicate your book, the presence of identical characters in their replica would be the evidence of their trespass. Any unauthorized copies would constitute a tort of financial injury.

Unfortunately for you, I never claimed that I could have property right over non-physical things. All your efforts in that direction can only produce your sweat. Again, if I have property rights over my book – I can direct its use in any way I want. That includes prohibiting its commercial use, including its replication. Also, if I can prove that someone else replicated my book without my authorization (and I can prove this based on its unique physical characteristics) – then we have a tort case.

That’s all.

Fred Mann February 20, 2007 at 10:58 pm

“A set of symbols does not exist in physical world”??!!?

What the…”

I could have been clearer, but I figured you would have gotten the gist from my earlier posts.
Anyway, symbols can have BOTH a physical and non-physical existence. You are trying to claim ownership of the non-physical symbols as well as the physical symbols. You can’t do that.

Please try to follow this, it’s not that complicated. If you print the letter “X” on a piece of paper, an “X” now physically exists in the form of ink on paper. So far so good? You CAN own that particular instantiation of the letter X. In this case, you are owning ink on paper. But what you can NOT own are “Xs” in general. That is, you do not own the IDEA of the letter X. But rest assured, the IDEA of the letter “X” certainly exists as well. The idea preceded and “gave birth to” (if you will) the existence of the physical “X” on paper. But that idea still exists INDEPENDENT of your physical copy of the letter X. We know this is true, because if you destroy your physical copy of the letter X, you do not destroy the IDEA of “X”. Ideas are like molds — they can be used to create an infinite number of physical Xs. Furthermore, since ideas are not physical, and they are not scarce, they are not ownable. Whether the idea in question is simple or complex has no bearing on this.
Now plug this claification into my previous post.

Sasha Radeta February 21, 2007 at 12:08 am

Fred,

I didn’t say that you were not clear. I just wondered: “what the…” when you stated that physical patterns, such as letters, do not exist in physical world. Although I understand your attempt (you are trying with all your forces to prove something I never claim) – your statement still sounds insane. So once again: A set of symbols DOES exist in physical world.

I never claimed that a person “owns” a symbol “X” written on a piece of paper. I only said that a person can own that paper in its physical entirety (paper and its ink content). NOW – if I stole your paper and replicated it without your permission, you would not be able to prove this by pointing out to my replica. Why? Because you didn’t invent this symbol! It is universal and easily, independently constructed even by a child.

On the other hand, if I copy some unique and complex physical (ink) features of dr. Hoppe’s work, he will prove beyond any doubt that I used his work without any authorization. Or if we had an agreement that allowed only my personal use, he would be able to prove that I breached that contract.

In other words, Dr. Hoppe would never claim that he “owns” an idea or concept, as you try to impute. He is a smart man. He would only claim his ownership over his book – and the unique physical features of his work would serve as the evidence of my trespass.

Now plug this clarification into my previous post.

Fred Mann February 21, 2007 at 2:35 am

“So once again: A set of symbols DOES exist in physical world.”

Yeah, I know, because I literally JUST finished saying that! To quote me from my very last post ” … symbols can have BOTH a physical and non-physical existence.” Not a strong reader …..

“I never claimed that a person “owns” a symbol “X” written on a piece of paper. ”

Is it that..
(A) you don’t understand that this is an illustrative hypothetical example, or…
(B) are you saying that you never claimed that you own something above and beyond the physical ink and paper?

If (A) … well, that’s what it is.
If (B) … You certainly never said this in so many words, but your entire copyright scheme assumes this. It depends on it. And this is what I’m trying to show you.
The rest of your post deals with whether or not one can prove the origin of a particular set of symbols, and thus prove a violation of your terms-of-use. But this is completely irrelevant. As I have shown, you are attempting to place terms-of-use restrictions over something YOU DON’T OWN! Therefore, proving that these terms were violated is pointless.
I can’t post any more right now. But I suggest you reread my last post(s). If it helps, substitute a unique series of symbols for “X” …. say, “XU54GF9T43R” .

Sasha Radeta February 21, 2007 at 11:53 am

Fred, maybe you think I’m not a strong reader, but you clearly stated: “”A set of symbols does not exist in physical world”…

That’s a total nonsense, and that’s the end of it. If you now claim that we have symbols in both physical and “spiritual” world – that is even worse example of your illogical ramblings. Symbols (written, engraved, whatever), represent nothing more than physical features of some physical property.

I NEVER claimed that you own something above and beyond the physical ink and paper. And if you own this ink and paper in their entirety – you will be able to create contractual terms of use that will prevent commercial use of your physical property. If our contract prohibits my replication of your book – you will be able bind me to that agreement! There is nothing I can do about it! In order to obtain personal use of your product, I agree not to use it in replication activities.

To repeat again, and again:
- You don’t have to claim ownership over a “symbol” – you own your book in its entirety and before you allow my use, you cam decide to prohibit me from ever putting you book into copy machine or to prevent me form using your book for other types of replication. You own the book and you can stipulate your conditions in any way you want.
- Since you own paper and ink it contains, you are able to restrict its use in any way you want – and if I don’t like it, I don’t have to be your customer. The end.

Fred Mann February 22, 2007 at 2:04 am

“If you now claim that we have symbols in both physical and “spiritual” world – that is even worse example of your illogical ramblings. ”

I’m talking about ideas. Ideas are not physical things. Right? If we talk about ideas being non-physical and/or non-scarce, is this mumbo-jumbo? If you think so, then YOU have gone off the deep end.

Let’s take an example. You write “I like purple unicorns” on a piece of paper. You sell that paper to me. I read it and memorize it. Now, the sentence “I like purple unicorns” exists as an idea in my brain AND as a written sentence on a piece of paper.

Do you agree so far? If not, I can’t proceed any further yet.

Sasha Radeta February 22, 2007 at 10:56 am

Fred,

Unfortunately for you, I am not talking about ideas that are not “fixed” into some tangible, “ownable” property. Same idea can exist simultaneously in many different minds, as well as many different hardwires. SO WHAT? That has nothing to do with copyright. Copyright is based on certain restrictions in use of PHYSICAL, TANGIBLE, unique objects.

As far as your example goes, it is wrong right from the start! You just demonstrated your lack of understanding of this subject. First of all, the expression “I like purple unicorns” could not be copyrighted. Such statement can be independently produced by many different people and I would never be able to prove that someone replicated my particular paper (against my will).

Second thing: I would never “sell” my original idea to you. I would only allow you certain set of uses of my paper, while prohibiting others. In order to use my piece of paper, you would contractually obligate yourself not to replicate my paper. In cases of contractual breach, our contract would provide specified damages that would become my property, including any unauthorized copies and profits they generate.

In cases of “third party” trespasses against my paper, a tort system would compensate me (for financial injuries) if unwanted replication of my work takes place.

So, what did you want to say… please, continue.
: ))

Fred Mann February 22, 2007 at 8:38 pm

In this example, I haven’t even mentioned your scheme yet. Why don’t you just read and respond to what I wrote instead of reading something into it and responding to what you think I might say in the future?
But anyway …
If it makes you happy, let’s revise the sentence to “I like purple unicorns, diet sprite, and the number 363.” Now we have a unique sentence that could be traced to a particular origin. Okay, great …
So, you write this sentence on a piece of paper and sell it to me with terms-of-use restrictions. Presumably, your terms of use would not prevent me from reading it and memorizing it … so that’s what I do.
Now, the sentence “I like purple unicorns, diet sprite, and the number 363″ exists as an idea in my brain AND as a written sentence on a piece of paper. That is, it now exists in a physical (paper and ink) AND non-physical (idea) form.

Do you agree so far?

Sasha Radeta February 22, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Fred,

Although I didn’t want to waste time on completely irrelevant examples that only show your total ignorance of this topic – I felt so bad for you that I answered your question.
- Same idea can exist simultaneously in many different minds, as well as on different hardware (See, I’m confirming your statement).

Find professional help of different kind (an economist cannot help you).

Stephan Kinsella February 22, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Sasha, your bizarre and misplaced arrogance and condescension is laughable, especially considering your own illogial and unsupportable views. By your reasoning, if my neighbor shows me a dance on the condition that I never show anyone else, and I later nevertheless perform it on my property, and a stranger sees me from afar doing the dance, and then soon lots of people are doing this dance, all these third parties are violating my neighbor’s rights–after all, his body is hhis “property” and I have “used” it by violating the contract, and thus the third parties are now somehow magically “implicated in the tort”. Bizarre that you would think this notion is even coherent, much less compatible with libertarianism and Austrian economics.

Ever since you started your amateur musings on topics like this, you have been learning-while-doing and trying to figure out what you believe; and you ended up positing early on a ridiculous theory and seem now to be unable to keep trying to defend it, untenable as it now obviously appears.

Sasha Radeta February 22, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Dr. Kinsella,

I am sorry you got so upset when I pointed out that you were clueless about your definition of scarcity. I want to believe that you are misinterpreting my statements due to this pain and injury to your ego – and not out of malice.

In your bizarre and misplaced example – there was no exchange of real property. You cannot copyright a dance demonstration. You can only make such contract regarding real, physical property. Even statist definition of copyright states that such works must be “original works of authorship” that are “fixed in any tangible medium” (title 17 of US code).

—-

It is strange how someone like Dr. Kinsella, who spends so much time writing about copyright, was completely unaware of this prerequisite of any copyright. I am amazed that he chose an example in which there is no tangible medium in order to prove his point. Again, I just hope that he is just hurt and not malicious.

Stephan Kinsella February 22, 2007 at 11:40 pm

Sasha,

No need to call me Dr.–I’m just a lawyer, after all! :)

In your bizarre and misplaced example – there was no exchange of real property.

Ah. And here I thought one’s body was a scarce resource. Just as I might learn the plot of a book by observing the pattern of print on physical pages of a book, one can learn the dance steps by observing the motions of another’s body.

You cannot copyright a dance demonstration.

Um. Surely you are aware of this other post? — Copyright and dancing.

But the real answer is this. You, like Rothbard, are using an idiosyncratic definition of “copyright”. Rothbard envisions some form of private, contractual “copyright” being used to protect not just original works of authorship, which today’s copyright law protects, but also *inventions* (like the mousetrap example he gives), which is protected by patent law today. In other words, Rothbard rejects (modern) copyright law (which protects rights to reproduce “original works of authorship”), and modern patent law (which protects exclusive rights in inventions), and wants to “replace” these with a private, contractual institution he confusingly (like Sasha) labels “copyright”.

So. If “copyright” (per Rothbard and Sasha) can cover inventions, then presumably it covers what patent law now covers–both inventive apparatuses (things arranged in a new, useful way) and methods or processes. Such as a dance step, for example, which is but a process. If Sasha’s novel form of “contractual copyright” (which nonetheless covers “inventions”, the domain of today’s patent law) covers only apparatus-inventions but not method-inventions, he should let us know what his hypothetical contractual-copyright-invention statute covers. And by the way, let us konw what other forms of invention covered by today’s patent system are, or are not, covered by this sui generis “copyright”–what about articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter? What about asexual plant species? what about design patents? How about the human genome? Be a good chap and lay it all out for us, constructivist-style.

You can only make such contract regarding real, physical property.

But Sasha,I thought you were the very one arguing that property extends to our “labor” and “work” and the “energy” of our bodies too!

Even statist definition of copyright states that such works must be “original works of authorship” that are “fixed in any tangible medium” (title 17 of US code).

Yes. But as noted above Rothbard uses his idea of contractual-copyright for a mousetrap, which is an invention (covered by patents now), NOT an original work of authorship (if you think an invention is “basically the same as” an the idea behind “original work of authorship”, you are simply ignorant–which is fine, and understandable; but why you want to opine on matters beyond your ken is beyond me. The standard for patentable inventions, indeed, for patentable subject matter–is not the same at all as that for what is subject to copyright protection; the idea that you can cover them by the same general umbrella concept is just an ignorant layman’s confusion).

It is strange how someone like Dr. Kinsella, who spends so much time writing about copyright, was completely unaware of this prerequisite of any copyright.

Of course I am. We are discussing not modern positive copyright law, but apparently your and Rothbard’s unique and idiosyncratic notion of “contratual copyright” that is some kind of creature that covers inventions, not just original works of authorship.

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 12:07 am

There is no “need” to call you a doctor, but I’m not doing it out of a need, but with a due respect.

Of course you thought one’s body was a scarce resource. It indeed is. But in your dance demonstration example does not involve any tangible medium – so there cannot be a copyright contract. Both mine and Rothbard notion of contractual copyright involve TANGIBLE property.

You also show other kinds of confusion when it comes to your misplaced and bizarre example. While it is true that human body is made of energy (it’s a fact of physic) – and self-ownership is another word for energy/labor ownership – it is also true that this energy is unalienable and that no one else can own us (slave contracts are self-contradictory, since no one can theoretically establish full and exclusive control over services that can be derived out of our body).

As far as your “dance patent” article goes, I stated my Rothbardian position clearly:
“In a perfectly free market, someone can sell their dance videos with a contractual stipulation that the user agrees not to commercially use the content presented there. If the copycat used that video without authorization – that’s a trespass that may result in tort. In both cases, a smart author could protect his copyright with simple application of private property rights.”

So I only talk about tangible video with some recorded dance moves, since the very definition of copyright requires “tangible medium.” I don’t claim anything beyond that… you’ll never catch me advocating copyright when it comes to something non-tangible.

Stephan Kinsella February 23, 2007 at 12:21 am

Of course you thought one’s body was a scarce resource. It indeed is. But in your dance demonstration example does not involve any tangible medium – so there cannot be a copyright contract. Both mine and Rothbard notion of contractual copyright involve TANGIBLE property.

Le’ts get this straight: modern statutory copyright law, which covers only original works of authorship and NOT inventions, and which is limited to the expression of such works in tangible media–you are in favor of these criteria of modern copyright law–even though you reject copyright law, and instead favor some novel “contratual copyright” that also happens to cover inventions?

I think you are not even aware of how incoherent this is. It is really pure gibberish.

And let’s say that instead of watching my neighbor’s body, he loans me his DVD which is a video of him doing this novel dance. He loans it to me on the condition I never ever perform that dance.

However, a month later I go to a nightclub and start doing that dance; and others see it. Eventually, this new dance craze has swept the world.

By your theory all these third parties have committed some tort, by moving their own bodies about in a certain sequence.

How utterly absurd and unlibertarian.

You also show other kinds of confusion when it comes to your misplaced and bizarre example. While it is true that human body is made of energy (it’s a fact of physic) – and self-ownership is another word for energy/labor ownership – it is also true that this energy is unalienable and that no one else can own us (slave contracts are self-contradictory, since no one can theoretically establish full and exclusive control over services that can be derived out of our body).

I see. Like, wow, man.

As far as your “dance patent” article goes, I stated my Rothbardian position clearly:
“In a perfectly free market, someone can sell their dance videos with a contractual stipulation that the user agrees not to commercially use the content presented there. If the copycat used that video without authorization – that’s a trespass that may result in tort. In both cases, a smart author could protect his copyright with simple application of private property rights.”

So I only talk about tangible video with some recorded dance moves, since the very definition of copyright requires “tangible medium.” I don’t claim anything beyond that… you’ll never catch me advocating copyright when it comes to something non-tangible.

Yep. Clear as mud.

So, to be “clear” (no offense), in my hypo above, those dancing in a disco a dance they saw othrs do, and so on, are all committing a tort, eh? Wow, like wow man.

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 12:29 am

Dr Kinsella says:
“By your theory all these third parties have committed some tort, by moving their own bodies about in a certain sequence.”

Not true! In your example there is no tort, since you had a contractual obligation. As you perhaps remember a tort is an injury OTHER THAN BREACH OF CONTRACT. Again, I hope that your (almost unbelievable) error comes from your pain and not out of malice.

—–

Why do I insist on tangibility prerequisite, Dr. Kinsella may wonder?
- It is the only way you can prove that someone copied your idea and not reach that discovery by himself… it is as simple as that!

My (and Rothbard’s) position does not imply in any way that people don’t own their own body/energy and physical work it produces. Such claim would make labor contract unenforceable (if labor was not property, you could avoid paying someone for their delivered services) since validly enforceable contracts only exist where title to property has already been transferred…

But it would be theoretically impossible to copyright labor, since the very proof of contractual breach, as well as proof of tort, depends on physical evidence.

My points are not clear to those who confuse tort with breach of contract… but others should not have any problems.

Stephan Kinsella February 23, 2007 at 12:39 am

Dr Kinsella says:
“By your theory all these third parties have committed some tort, by moving their own bodies about in a certain sequence.”

Not true! In your example there is no tort, since you had a contractual obligation. As you perhaps remember a tort is an injury OTHER THAN BREACH OF CONTRACT. Again, I hope that your (almost unbelievable) error comes from your pain and not out of malice.

We are talking about the third parties, who are not party to any contract.

Why do I insist on tangibility prerequisite, Dr. Kinsella may wonder?
- It is the only way you can prove that someone copied your idea and not reach that discovery by himself… it is as simple as that!

I think you have no earthly idea what this “tangibility prerequisite” is, much less how to justify it.

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 12:53 am

Dr Kinsella,

Perhaps you forgot your own example:

“And let’s say that instead of watching my neighbor’s body, he loans me his DVD which is a video of him doing this novel dance. He loans it to me on the condition I never ever perform that dance.

However, a month later I go to a nightclub and start doing that dance; and others see it. Eventually, this new dance craze has swept the world.”

By my theory – no third party ever committed a tort – since they never trespassed against anyone property. By my theory, you committed a breach of contract and you will be responsible for whatever that contract stipulated for damages.

You probably misunderstood my earlier points:
- if someone breaks into your apartment and sees your dance moves (and you can prove this with material evidence, like with video surveillance) and he show them to everyone – this “third party’s” actions are tort (financial injury to you, because you will have to pay damages to the author as a consequence of his trespass).
- if someone breaks into your apartment and takes my DVD, that is a trespass and tort against the author of that DVD

—-

I think that after so many unbelievable errors on your part, you don’t even have an earthly idea about tangibility prerequisite and how entire theory of contractual copyright is simple and perfectly logical.

Fred Mann February 23, 2007 at 12:55 am

“I felt so bad for you that I answered your question.”

Feel better now? Good.

To recap what you have already agreed to:
So, you write this sentence on a piece of paper and sell it to me with terms-of-use restrictions. Presumably, your terms of use would not prevent me from reading it and memorizing it … so that’s what I do.
Now, the sentence “I like purple unicorns, diet sprite, and the number 363″ exists as an idea in my brain AND as a written sentence on a piece of paper. That is, it now exists in a physical (paper and ink) AND non-physical (idea) form.

Next, I destroy the physical copy you sold me. I burn the paper and ink, so it’s gone. This step is not necessary to prove my point, but it illustrates the fact that the physical thing to which your terms of use applied is literally gone. It does not exist anymore, so I can’t use it. Clear? I can’t use something that doesn’t exist, right?
Still, the INTANGIBLE idea remains in my head. Now I write this idea down on paper 10 times. I fully own all of these copies, because I used my memory of the sentence to make them. Unless you want to claim that you own the idea in my head, your copyright scheme is finished.

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 1:04 am

Fred,

Your example is so laughable that you made me feel even better!

:))

If you destroy physical copy that I sold you, that does not mean you destroyed the contract that allowed you the personal, non-commercial use (including burning) of my book.

If you make unauthorized copies of my work (regardless of whether you stored it on computer hardware or your brain) you breached your contract. You will pay for damages stipulated by your contract.

PS
The funniest thing is that you were convinced that you though of something so smart, that you built-up your ridiculous (and now rebutted) posting, almost the entire day.
: ))

Fred Mann February 23, 2007 at 2:33 am

“If you destroy the physical copy that I sold you, that does not mean you destroyed the contract that allowed you the personal, non-commercial use (including burning) of my book. ”

As I said, this step was not necessary to prove my point. Please read more carefully. I included this step in order to make it VERY CLEAR that I was not using the physical book to make my physical copy of the sentence. Again, it is very clear that the physical book was not the source of my newly-printed copy of the sentence, since the book was no longer in existence at the time the copy was made. How can I use something that doesn’t exist to make a copy? Impossible.

So clearly, what you are claiming to control with your terms of use is something that is non-tangible and non-scarce. But, as you know, these types of things (ideas) are not ownable. They are not owned by you, and hence can not be restricted by your terms of use. I destroyed the book to demonstrate that you are not in fact concerned with the physical book when you write your terms of use, but rather the non-physical and non-scarce IDEAS that it CONVEYS. This is blatantly obvious.

But to make it even more clear, let’s take a closer look at what is happening here.

First, the author thinks of a unique sentence. He then uses a pen and paper to record his idea in physical form, using a series of symbols (letters). These symbols are recognizable to himself and others who know how to read that language. Thus, at a later time he, and anyone else who can read, can decode these written symbols, and thereby have the original idea in his head. Rest assured, the author certainly owns the physical paper and ink that he used to record his idea. But here is the key to the analogy, so pay attention…

These written symbols CONVEY ideas. In essence, the written words are like a passive transmitter, and the idea is the transmission. The physical book can transmit the author’s original idea an infinite number of times to an infinite number of people for an indefinite period of time. So, this transmission is not scarce. To sum up…

You can own the physical “transmitter” (i.e. the physical paper and ink), but you can NEVER own the non-physical and non-scarce TRANSMISSION (ideas). But the non-physical transmission is EXACTLY what you are attempting to own and control with your copyright scheme, whether you are aware of it or not.

Now you can certainly attempt to restrict access to the “transmitter” (book), but once access is allowed (i.e. when you allow someone to read the book), you have necessarily allowed the ideas to be transmitted into the reader’s brain. This newly created idea in the reader’s brain can be used to make any number of physical copies, because again, you don’t own the ideas in the reader’s brain.

Sorry, but you just don’t. The contract is invalid. Period.

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 3:41 am

Fred,

You are no longer funny – you are actually tragic. Why do you insist on your silliness and seek more humiliation?

I never claimed that you were “using the physical book to make your physical copy of the sentence”

All I said is that you violated your contract – which clearly stated that any unauthorized replication of my work will belong to me. I will be able to easily prove that you committed such breach (by comparing my original with your copies) – and I nobody sane would even care about those insane steps in your violation of our contract, because contract never cared about your methods of replication.

So your attempt to prove that I advocate “idea ownership” failed once again. All your ramblings that you devoted to that idea are completely useless. I only advocate strict adherence to enforceable contracts and protection of property rights when it comes to unwanted use.

Ciao!

Sasha Radeta February 23, 2007 at 3:58 am

Just to prevent any further, 1,000 mile-long raving about irrelevant assumptions:

Copyright contracts would not aim to restrict certain types of reproduction of some unique property (while allowing others) – they would prohibit any act of reproduction and provide for damages that would make these unauthorized copies the property of the original’s author.

Don’t confuse breach of contract with trespass, in which the direct and unauthorized use of other’s property is necessary to qualify it as such.

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