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Re: IMPORTANT: Copyright issues & GFDL (legal alternatives?)

Paul D. Fernhout Apr 26, 2008 3:11 PM
Posted in group: OpenVirgle
Bryan Bishop wrote:
> On Saturday 26 April 2008, Paul D. Fernhout wrote:
>> So, you have to pay attention to such things.
> Open source exponentially self-replicating machines most definitely,
> most absolutely qualifies as 'fair use' no matter how much the scarcity
> centrics kick and scream about it.

In the interests of following my own (borrowed) advice of "Listen to your
users but ignore what they say."
  "Listening to users considered harmful?"
let me try to address this in another, purely *hypothetical* for idle
amusement way. :-)

When the USA was young, it did not honor foreign copyrights or patents.

The British silk industry was by legend started after someone smuggled
stolen biotech out of China (silkworms hidden in a hollow cane, on penalty
of death if discovered),
  "The Chinese guarded their knowledge of silk. It is said that a Chinese
monk smuggled silkworms, in a hollow stick, out of China and sold the secret
to Europe."

In the same way, the basis of US industry was built on the theft of British
industrial trade secrets (again, on penalty of death IIRC).
  "Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial
"Ben-Atar's penultimate chapter, on the construction of the American
understanding of intellectual property, is interesting. He sees the career
of Thomas Digges, scion of the Maryland elite and international migrant who
turned kleptomaniac and industrial spy, as symbolic of the U.S.'s
"Janus-faced approach" (p. 148) towards foreign intellectual property
rights. For a time even President Washington was minded to sponsor
technology piracy. Economic downturn and business failure in the mid-1790s,
associated with textile importations from Britain, dampened the enthusiasm
for copying the British example. Another official deterrent to intellectual
piracy were the Patent Acts of 1790 and 1793 which confined patents to
wholly novel inventions. Patents for introducing inventions from abroad were
nevertheless granted because, apparently, the head of the U.S. Patent
Office, William Thornton, did not insist on applicants swearing the oath of
international novelty."

This is the stuff they are not going to cover in most "American History"
classes: :-)
Especially the ones RIAA designs. :-(
"My concern is that programs designed to teach kids about copyright laws
amount to little more than entertainment industry propaganda. Fair Use and
the Right of First sale are routinely left out of copyright discussions, as
are the concept and importance of the public domain. ... Now the Canadian
Copyright Licensing Agency has launched a new program to educate the
children of Canada about copyright. Leave it to the Canadians to beat
Hollywood at their own game by creating a new superhero - Captain Copyright!
Captain Copyright briefly acknowledges Fair Use and Public Domain on his
website, but the course material provided to teachers makes almost no
mention of these concepts, instead focusing almost exclusively on piracy and
other types of copyright violations. ... As Boing Boing points out, Captain
Copyright is apparently a Wikipedia pirate. ..."

So let me muse on your "proposal" but try to imagine addressing it in ways
that won't get anybody behind bars. :-(

First, there is nothing preventing the US Congress tomorrow from abolishing
copyright entirely (except the uproar of rights holders and rights-holder
"The cheap-labor conservative “minimalist government” social Darwinian world
view is just plain bullshit. It builds a new class structure, which just
like the ancient class structures, is based on a set of mythological
concepts. In fact, those mythological concepts like “property rights”,
“contract rights”, “corporations”, “stocks”, “bonds”, and even “money”
itself are socially created to regulate distribution and access to
resources. The “market place” is a human creation. The details of how it
operates are determined by the particulars of the institutions on which it
is built. It is “instituted among men”, and if its workings become
destructive of the lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness of people subject
to it, it may be “altered or abolished”."

So in theory, as far as the USA in concerned, this problem is social in
nature. Of course the laws have been going the other way:
"Rather than simply adding computer programs to audiovisual works and sound
recordings as works whose infringement can give rise to felony penalties,
the substitute harmonizes the felony provisions in section 2319 to apply to
all types of copyrighted works, as is currently the case for misdemeanor
violations. "

There is also nothing to stop Congress tomorrow from making a list of free
and open source licenses and saying by decree they are all compatible and
are governed by some common simple rules. That might have more chance of
passage sooner. :-) And would hopefully at least make our lives as FOSS
developers easier IMHO. (Viral provisions like the GPL might not survive
this though.)

Then there is the idea of copying the British and US American examples -- go
to (or make :-) a country that does not honor foreign copyrights (or at
least is a lot more permissive). For example, Russia hosts a company that
sells cheap music which claims it is legal under Russian law.

Or the server could literally be in space (a satellites) or international
waters or in Antarctica. Of course, without government protection and
treaties. the downside to this is there is nothing to keep the US Air Force
from shooting it down or the US Navy from sinking it or US Army from using
it for target practice. :-)

My suggestion if you were serious :-) about copyright violation pursued in
an *open* and *transparent* and presumably *legal* way would be to make a
deal with, say, Nauru to repudiate the Berne convention and the World
Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and do the work there:
"Revenues of this tiny island have traditionally come from exports of
phosphates, now significantly depleted. An Australian company in 2005
entered into an agreement intended to exploit remaining supplies. Few other
resources exist with most necessities being imported, mainly from Australia,
its former occupier and later major source of support. The rehabilitation of
mined land and the replacement of income from phosphates are serious
long-term problems. In anticipation of the exhaustion of Nauru's phosphate
deposits, substantial amounts of phosphate income were invested in trust
funds to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru's economic
future. As a result of heavy spending from the trust funds, the government
faces virtual bankruptcy. To cut costs the government has frozen wages and
reduced overstaffed public service departments. In 2005, the deterioration
in housing, hospitals, and other capital plant continued, and the cost to
Australia of keeping the government and economy afloat continued to climb.
Few comprehensive statistics on the Nauru economy exist, with estimates of
Nauru's GDP varying widely."

This may sound far fetched, but as we are long term talking about building
new societies, why not start at somewhere appropriate: :-)
  "They exploit phosphates inland leaving almost lunar landscape in the
middle of this small island"

But remember that you might never be able to set foot in the USA again. :-(
Or maybe you could? Lots of things are legal in other countries but not in
the USA and vice versa. Google leadership presumably have no fears traveling
through Europe even though they, say, routinely violate those labor laws:

And the internet links to Nauru (if any) might get regularly cut: :-(
  "Fifth Cable Cut To Middle East"

So, no easy answers if you want to operate publicly and transparently (as I
do, and I heartily recommend, same as walking slowly across an intersection
so people can see you, :-)
"Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this
world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world,
Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was
smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. "

Again: "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to
conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the
introduction of a new order to things." --  Niccolo Machiavelli

So much is possible within the law, and without abandoning the USA (which I
hope after another decade of repression might finally move past it). As
momentum comes from social forces like Wikipedia, the laws may change for
the better.

Until then:
  "License management tools: good, bad, or ugly?"
In the case of human slavery, laws were changed to make all people free.
This may happen with file "slavery" someday but until then we need a way
of keeping the papers of freedom with the free software or free content.
This happens now informally. I'm asking, what would happen if we
formalize this?

But, whether technical solutions might help, it is frustrating to see
progress towards a resilient infrastructure blocked by outdated dogma,
whether about copyrights or even just military posture: :-)
  "DARPA Progam Manager Position on Self-Replicating technology"

Ultimately, on Mars or the Moon or the Asteroids there will be new laws
relating to digital materials. But I would suggest that even there, issues
of attribution and tracking branches and merges would still be of interest
based on "moral rights":
"Photons Be Free was a holonovel composed by The Doctor on the USS Voyager
in 2377. Its original version was released by Broht & Forrester against the
author's wishes, sparking a debate on the rights of holograms. The Doctor
had planned to revise the work in order that it not slander Voyager and the

I guess I'm just begging you to be more creative than a one man assault on
the Empire. :-)
"C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is
approximately 3,720 to 1.
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds."

Or (paraphrased: :-)
Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis and
desktops going to be against Virgle?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on a
shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense.
Commander #1: We've analyzed their attack on Knol, sir, and there is a
danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you
overestimate their chances.

Our biggest advantage is that no one takes us seriously. :-)

And our second biggest advantage is that our communications are monitored,
which provides a channel by which we can turn enemies into friends. :-)

And our third biggest advantage is we have no assets, and so are not a
profitable target and have nothing serious to fight over amongst ourselves. :-)

"The Art of War is one of the oldest books on military strategy in the
world. It is the first and one of the most successful works on strategy and
has had a huge influence on Eastern and Western military thinking, business
tactics, and beyond. Sun Tzu was the first to recognize the importance of
positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective
conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of
competitive actors in that environment. He taught that strategy was not
planning in the sense of working through a to-do list, but rather that it
requires quickly responding appropriately to changing conditions. Planning
works in a controlled but competitive environment, and competing plans
collide, creating situations that no one planned for.
... Since at least the 1980s, The Art of War has been applied to fields well
outside the military. Much of the text is about how to fight wars without
actually having to do battle: it gives tips on how to outsmart one's
opponent so that physical battle is not necessary. As such, it has found
application as a training guide for many competitive endeavors that do not
involve actual combat."

But that is still a little stuck in a military metaphor, which limits
strategic thinking. :-)

Again. this book has a great paragraph on the difference between celebrating
peacemakers and warriors:
 "To Become a Human Being: The Message of Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah"
"Warriors are held up as heroes. They are praised for their gallantry,
exalted for their conquests, and used as symbols to inspire patriotism.
Monuments are built for them as reminders of past victories and to prepare
citizens for the next campaign. Leon Shenandoah was no warrior, yet no
warrior could stand up against his power. He carried no weapons, used no
harsh rhetoric, and made no demands. His strength was in gentleness. When he
spoke, those around him listened. His words were always soft, his kindness
evident. He was a spiritual man."

--Paul Fernhout