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-   -   RE: The "intellectual property" misnomer (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t319583-re-the-intellectual-property-misnomer.html)

Tim Peters 07-12-2003 07:26 AM

RE: The "intellectual property" misnomer
 
[Ian Bicking]
> Functionally, though, I think the term intellectual property here
> works.


Yup. "Copyrights, trademarks, patents, stuff like that" is the common and
the intended meaning.

> PSF holds (to their knowledge) all intellectual property associated
> with Python


No, it doesn't. Aahz was correct in clarifying that it's part of the PSF's
mission to obtain that stuff. For the most obvious example, stare at your
Python license file: copyrights in some of the Python source code prior to
the 2.1 release are still held by CWI, CNRI, and BeOpen.com. CNRI also
holds several trademarks related to Python, and has applications for others
in progress (such as for "Python" itself -- that's been in progress for
about 3 years now!).

> -- there may be no patents, but with the statement they assert that
> either there are no patents or they hold them.


The PSF doesn't know of any patents associated with Python. It's possible
that the PSF will apply for some, though, and I like using "intellectual
property" because it covers (in the common understanding) all stuff of this
nature.

> We also know (implied from other sources) that PSF does not restrict
> its intellectual property.


That's an explicit part of the PSF's Mission Statement. For example, if the
PSF were to seek algorithmic patents, it would be to protect the free use of
algorithms in Python that may be patentable, or perhaps as a deterrent
against lawsuits (much as private corporations sometimes build a patent
portfolio as protection against patent suits from other companies -- "oh
yeah? you sue us for process X, and we'll sue you for process Y, so let's
compromise and enter a cross-licensing agreement instead"). Not that there
are any current PSF plans to seek patents -- there aren't. It would be
within the PSF's mission to do so, though, if we thought that would be in
the public interest.

> The intent of this statement is that someone using Python need not
> worry about "intellectual property" associated with Python, which
> includes at least patent, copyright, and trade secrets.


Well, the PSF would *like* to say that, but nobody can predict what courts
will say, and there's always some element of risk. The PSF exists in part
to hold Python's IP in the public interest, but doesn't yet even hold all
that currently exists.

> I don't know how this applies to trademarks, since they are different
> from the others, and obviously PSF does not hold every trademark that
> contains Python and relates to computers.


The PSF doesn't currently hold any trademarks or service marks. Guido has a
strong case (IMO) for a trademark on Python as applied to a computer
language, but the US trademark office doesn't make such fine distinctions
readily.

[Ben Finney]
>> If the PSF holds software patents in Python, I imagine many would be
>> outraged. I don't believe it does. If it's not the case, why imply
>> it with an overbroad term?


[Ian]
> I would not be outraged.


Good -- we've had quite enough outrage in this thread already, and, as
above, it is conceivable that the PSF may hold patents someday.

> If they enforced those patents, then I might be outraged.


Me too. Unless it was just to destroy Perl <wink>.



Anton Vredegoor 07-13-2003 11:33 AM

Re: The "intellectual property" misnomer
 
"Tim Peters" <tim.one@comcast.net> wrote:

>> -- there may be no patents, but with the statement they assert that
>> either there are no patents or they hold them.

>
>The PSF doesn't know of any patents associated with Python. It's possible
>that the PSF will apply for some, though, and I like using "intellectual
>property" because it covers (in the common understanding) all stuff of this
>nature.


It's probably better to "think outside the box" and stop using the
term altogether. After reading this:

http://old.law.columbia.edu/my_pubs/anarchism.html

I get the feeling that many of the things said in there are true, but
still the conclusion to fight the law using the law as per the GPL
must be wrong.

For example:

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

suggests that the legal system does little for creators of music and
is mainly used to protect the interest of the music companies.

Probably nothing good can come from using it. I am not saying that it
cannot be used to prevent something bad, but that it's probably better
to try to do something good ...

Another problem with the IP term is that it feels like a "contradictio
in terminis". It is very hard (impossible even ?) to delineate ones
own contribution to a piece of software because if an idea has any
quality it almost always depends on the ideas of a lot of other
people. Therefore ideas are very unlikely to be "undivided" property,
unless the intellectual level is very low.

Anton

--

If I have seen farther than others, it is only because I was standing
on the shoulders of giants

Ben Finney 07-13-2003 12:50 PM

Re: The "intellectual property" misnomer
 
On Sun, 13 Jul 2003 13:33:32 +0200, Anton Vredegoor wrote:
> Probably nothing good can come from using it. I am not saying that it
> cannot be used to prevent something bad, but that it's probably better
> to try to do something good ...


Thank you. I am in complete agreement with this sentiment, but you've
expressed it simpler than I did.

> if an idea has any quality it almost always depends on the ideas of a
> lot of other people. Therefore ideas are very unlikely to be
> "undivided" property, unless the intellectual level is very low.


This was in large part my basis for stating the term was meaningless.

--
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`\ taste." -- Henry L. Mencken |
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