Filk, puns, and other time wasting.

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James A. Crippen

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Oct 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/18/98
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I was recently wasting time by vgrepping thru the fortune databases for
interesting tidbits to use in my paper on lambda-calculus based
programming languages. I had lots of fun and stayed up way too late
reading all sorts of bad jokes, but was somewhat dismayed at the
relative paucity of Lisp jokes. I have, in defense of us hackers that
like lisp, scheme, the lambda calculus, emacs, and other related gunge,
decided to create a fortune database that is explicitly lambda and AI
related (AI since it is fairly closely related to the lisp world, like
or not).

So send me your filk, your puns, and your other sad and bad lispish
jokes.
Horrible PDP-10 assembly opcodes are cool.
Parenthesized poetry is perfidious.
Bogus raving sagas are nifty.
One liners to put APL to shame are twisted.
Long incomprehensible functions that blow up Lisp interpreters are
really good.
Zippyisms that excessively CONS are great.
Bad jokes from the Lispm crowd are acceptable, hopefully with some
relevant state.
Evil puns with CADR are sick.
AI koans are very fine, especially if they aren't in the jargon file.

Basically anything will work, just as long as it has the lambda nature.
In fact, jokes explicitly in the lambda calculus appear to be relatively
nonexistent, so if anyone knows one it'd be just wonderful to let me
know.

I have seen the Symbolics Online Museum, so don't point me there.
I've also read the jargon file so don't point me there either.
Other than that, feel free.

BTW, for the enjoyment of all you can followup, but please mail me as
well so I can have a permanent record. If I get enough responses I'll
kluge a web page together too.

cheers,
james

Kent M Pitman

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Oct 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/19/98
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[comp.lang.scheme and comp.ai removed.
http://world.std.com/~pitman/pfaq/cross-posting.html]

Oh, I'll probably regret this, but I have to weigh in on this...

"James A. Crippen" <crip...@saturn.math.uaa.alaska.edu> writes:

> So send me your filk, your puns, and your other sad and bad lispish
> jokes.

The key word here is "your". Not stuff you heard. Not stuff
you don't know who owns. The fact of no owner on the document does
not mean it has no owner.

I hate to be a bursting anyone's bubble here, or making things seem
artificially complicated, but copyright is an issue here, and fortune
cookie programs are strong abusers of copyright. I recently have been
going through my old stuff from that era and have been saddened by the
fact that I lived in a time where (a) I had modern intellectual
property rights related to the things I made, and (b) it was routine
anyway for people to abuse those rights in a way that left me with
nothing to show for the many things I created.

(For some pointers to various matters of intellectual property rights,
see http://world.std .com/~pitman/law.html, but notice in particular
that the requirement of labeling a work as copyrighted is no longer
required in modern copyright law, so the fact that you think a work
has no copyright notice on it does not mean it's not copyrighted.
Talk to a lawyer to be sure, or MUCH better, find the actual author
and GET PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR IN WRITING.)

It was a time during which people simply did not know their rights and
others who either didn't know either or perhaps just didn't care
walked all over them. I and hopefully others have been busy restoring
our own memories of the times. I want nothing less than to see
anything I've done collected and published at someone else's site
becuase it robs me of any opportunity to finally assemble something
I've made into a work of my own. Some I may sell. Some I may just
publish in a form of my own choosing. But I recognize it as no one's
right but mine, until such time as my copyright expires, to publish
anything of mine as part of some community collection unless I
contribute it as such. Even the stuff I publish here, which I know
newsgroups distribute and Deja News holds, is all still covered by my
copyright, even if not explicitly labeled as such, because modern
law does not require it in order to assure no one else will
appropriate it.

It's easy to think of each individual quote as a "small part" that you
don't have to reimburse, but one of the tests of "fair use" in
copyright is what percentage of the work you're using (note: NOT what
percent of your own work) the item is. So if someone had made a funny
joke and you use it 100%, it's still their joke and you're
appropriating it 100%. If they got no money but you do, that's not
looking like super-fair use. (See http://fairuse.stanford.edu for the
"fair use" guidelines, though they're pretty easily findable from
Chapter 17 of the US Code at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/ if
you'd rather the original source.) And while it may seem to you that
it's small potatoes, I can tell you it's disheartening as hell to open
a published book (which I and friends have done) and see your own
work, however tiny, used with no attribution to make some random
person you've never heard of a celebrity.

Attribution and negotiated permission make all the difference. Often,
all the person will want in compensation IS attribution. Most people
know a single little snippet isn't going to sell a book. But
sometimes they have a planned use themselves and don't want to be
scooped. Or something may be personal. Or even misquoted or out of
context. The right of the content creator exists to allow the content
creator a personal choice, even on a whim, about how content is used.

So if you do this work, I expect you to accept only those things for
which an author can be cited and for which the author has agreed (in
writing, as required by copyright law). If you publish other things,
you should investigate your legal exposure and think about morally
what you are taking from those who might have themselves wished to put
together their own retrospectives of the time. Even if you can't
locate them, that doesn't mean they don't themselves know what they
wrote.

> I have seen the Symbolics Online Museum, so don't point me there.

To my knowledge, the Symbolics Online Museum is properly crediting
the source of things it uses.

> I've also read the jargon file so don't point me there either.

I'm not so sure that either Steele or history itself has been properly
served here. This floats around and has even been subsequently
published in a way that appears to me to deny history by taking the
same definitions, truths, jokes, etc. and re-casting them to be about
other operating systems, etc. than they were originally about.
Steele (and whoever contributed to him) may have agreed to these
changes, but it's pretty darned disappointing to those of us to whom
the jargon file was the quintessential memorial to the pdp10 days
and now appears to be about a war between dos and unix.

So even the issues of history and "marketing your final product" are
at odds and you should be clear up front which you're after, since you
shouldn't assume the coincidental alignment of "interest in lisp" and
"interest by readers" (since bases of readers can change) now will
persist. When accidental early alignments like these diverge, anger
and hurt by some is often the byproduct of the split. If you can feel
that anger/hurt in my words, it's because I've seen it happen too many
times--enough that I not longer react to announcements such as yours
as moments of naive joy.

Also, legality aside, the Unix Haters handbook is also among the
various "collections" that started innocently and grew contentious. I
grew very apart from someone who was once a very good friend of mine
over the devisiveness of the decision of what to include and what not
to, and who to compensate or even acknowledge and who not to. It
started as fun and ended up a business profiting some and not
profiting others. And more than just the money, empowering some as
spokesmen while disempowering others. You may now think you are out
to do something just for fun, but web sites are expensive to maintain
and eventually money will come in and then the question will be
whether any excess money is your right or whether some is due the
content creators. So if you involve others and you attribute them,
think about whether they are going to feel like it's theirs too, or
not. (The law as to whose work it is, whether it's a joint work or
your collection, is VERY complicated. Again, consult a lawyer BEFORE
you start!) Because if they think they are making a joint work and you
then start making decisions on your own, you'll find yourself in a
SERIOUS mess. And if you start accepting contributions without a
legally complete trail of where they came from, you're risking a
problem later.

Does this make it sound like a lot of work? It should. And finally,
in terms of ethics, think about the fact that if you bypass these
ethical and legal constraints and publish something, your "price"
for offering it may set public market standards for the idea that
such a collection can be offered at a cheap price. That may make it
hard for someone who does the REAL work of keping a paper trail
and needs to charge more to do so and get a fair value. People will
just think the person is jacking up the price to get rich rather than
just trying to recover the laborious cost of the bookkeeping necessary
to bring a properly researched work to market. And that hurts those
who are doing the right thing at the expense of trying to make a fast
buck.

I know, you probably don't think you're doing this for the money.
If you really, really think that, think about whether you're willing
to make that a contractual part of any agreement with people you
collaborate with or who contribute to you. (Btw, if you don't know
the difference between those last two phrases, you should be talking
to a lawyer about that. Things ordinary people think of as synonymous
are worlds apart in this area of the law.)

--Kent

Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and not the official
opinions of any company or organization I may from time to time
represent. Further, I am not a lawyer, and any apparent advice
about the law in here should be checked with someone who is
before being relied upon.

BeLFrY

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Oct 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/19/98
to James A. Crippen
G'day...

> I have seen the Symbolics Online Museum, so don't point me there.

> I've also read the jargon file so don't point me there either.

Err... for those of us that don't know, could you post those
references...

Good luck with your undertakings...

Michael.

Peter Immarco

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Oct 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/19/98
to James A. Crippen
James,

Mary had a little lambda
A sheep she couldn't clone
And every where that lambda went
Her calculus got blown

Peter.

P.S. - I am not insinuating any "orthonormal" topical applications of the
verb "blown". This is a clean forum!

Georg Bauer

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Oct 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/19/98
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In article <sfwsogl...@world.std.com>, Kent M Pitman
<pit...@world.std.com> wrote:

>I hate to be a bursting anyone's bubble here, or making things seem
>artificially complicated, but copyright is an issue here, and fortune
>cookie programs are strong abusers of copyright.

Copyright on aphorismns and short rhymes and silly jokes? You must be
kidding ...

bye, Georg

--
http://www.westfalen.de/hugo/

Ray Dillinger

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Oct 19, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/19/98
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James A. Crippen wrote:

> I have seen the Symbolics Online Museum, so don't point me there.
> I've also read the jargon file so don't point me there either.

> Other than that, feel free.
>

Really? I haven't been able to locate it for the last
year. I've just found lots of broken links pointing to
the brightware.com domain. Where is it???

Ray

Kent M Pitman

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
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g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:

> Copyright on aphorismns and short rhymes and silly jokes?
> You must be kidding ...

No, I'm not.

Copyright is not created for the purpose of keeping people from seeing
things. It is created for the purpose of assuring that the decision
to show one's creative works is not tightly coupled to the decision to
give up all rights to the work, as an incentive to crative people to
share what they create without fear they will lose control of it.

The notion that disrespecting or eliminating copyright would allow the
world to be full of free creative works is based in the false notion
that these things are without value or that the creators of them
perceive the value only artificially as a result of the availability
of copyright, and that absent copyright somehow they would spew forth
great and wonderful things freely, happy to share.

The actual truth is that people who are creative recognize that they
are and that the world is very dependent on humor. Those who only
generate the occasional joke may indeed continue to share them under
the system where there is no value placed on these most important of
all treasures--laughter. But those who are regular and prolific
content creators will instead recede to private publication and show,
only in exchange for pay, because they know what they make IS of value
and is the contribution they have to offer the world.

Much of what I personally have to offer the world can be summed up
pejoratively as you have described. I like to think the very best of
what I have to offer is not code, which I would hope any good engineer
could write, but the momentary glimpse of what is unique about my mind
and soul not through code but through an attempt to crank out
thought-provoking aphorisms or gems of wisdom. And, frankly, I'm not
nearly so self-confident as to assume that anything I have to say is
automatically of interest. My default assumption is that I'm boring
people, as perhaps especially I am doing now because this topic is
far from "light and entertaining" and people often view thoughtful
words offered in annoyance with less value than thoughtful words
offered with a smile. (I suppose the reason is that it's a natural
reaction to want to distance oneself from having offended someone,
and the easiest way to do that is to make oneself believe they have
no right to be offended.)

But the fact that I might bore people is not relevant to what I am
saying, just as it was once observed in Lisp (before we clarified the
point in ANSI CL) that most-positive-fixnum might not necessarily be
positive. For example, -3 might be the most positive fixnum in a Lisp
that had a contiguous range of fixnums from -97 to -3. So, too, it
may simultaneously be the case that what I have to offer by way of wit
might not be "very valuable" and still might be "the most valuable
thing I have to offer". So I hope that what I am saying here is not
confused with ego, which is (in the private reaches of myself,
especially after speaking on a controversial matter) not my strong
suit. I believe what I believe with strength and I stand firm to
that, but it doesn't follow that I believe anyone cares. Fortunately,
various people on this list regularly do send me mail for some reason
I can't fathom saying that they do enjoy what I write and, perhaps
unknowingly, causing me not to slink back into a corner and say
"oh, they probably don't care what you have to say".

But if I thought for even a moment that the "form" of what I said here
was not copyrighted just because said in public, I would stop
immediately speaking. I work for a company, but that company does not
pay me to post to comp.lang.lisp. They pay me to write code. They're
not mean about it, but it doesn't come up on my performance review and
they don't get to dictate the content. I pay personal money to use a
private internet service provider to read this newsgroup, and my words
here are just mine and I reserve the right to reclaim them to assemble
into a book. In the meantime, you're welcome to read what I have
written and laugh or learn or anything that is a process of the mind,
because "ideas" under intellectual property law are not copyrightable.
But the words are mine.

And I think you owe the same to each and every creator of a joke. To
those who only in their lifetimes ever create one joke or poem or
song, that creation is certainly a precious thing and certainly they
are entitled to control its destiny. You owe them that out of
respect. To those who are, like Guy Steele, prolific creators of
humor and wonder, their creations are a treasure and I would hope they
know it, so the last thing I would want to see happen was for them to
fear loss of rights and so to "fix" that by not sharing because it
would leave us all poorer. I have herein used myself as an example
because I have introspected a great deal on this matter, and it's
personal to me, but I don't much how I'm ranked personally. My
points, though they have been focused on myself, are general to my
belief about the works of all, as the "Golden Rule" is central to my
notion of how rights are apportioned. And the golden rule does not
allow you to say "i have nothing creative to offer, so i think it's
fine for others to freely use what little I have to offer and i'll
claim others have little to offer me and will use it freely without
regard to their feelings". The golden rule is about valuing the
opinions of others, and not abusing their feelings more than you
would want your feelings abused. So the only appropriate comparison
is to compare someone else's use or abuse of something you value to
your use of something they value.

For students of "times" (in the eval-when sense), Lisp is about making
decisions at the right time. There's a whole cascade of "times" that
things happen (design, coding, read, compile, load, execute, ...)
Other languages try to flatten these and say that all decisions can or
should be made statically at compile time, but we in Lisp know better.
We know it not because it's true of Lisp but becuase it's true of
life. Some decisions were not meant to be made at certain times. And
one cannot know at the time of writing and publishing what is
important and what is not. One cannot know at the time of writing a
joke or story or song which will work and which will not. So to have
lost the right to that at its time of publication is as grave an error
as to have forced type resolution statically instead of
dynamically. (Just trying to keep this on the topic of the thread. ;-)
To rob someone of that value because they have published on the net is
to rob everyone of the dream of their contributions to the web ever
being things of value, because while the web will always be of value,
no contribution to it, if not accorded rights, will be treated with
any respect as if that contribution had individual value. Surely that
is "obviously" wrong.

(Indeed, as I understand it, under modern US copyright--don't know the
situation internationally--even if you sell your rights by binding
contract, you have a later opportunity [ok, much
later--twenty-something years, I think] to reclaim them if your
copyright in case your work turns out to be unexpectedly more valuable
than you expect when you are initially selling it, so that you aren't
tricked into offering them for small fee for a work of lasting value
and then never profiting from them at all.)

And on the issue of free software, since that inevitably most come
into this, I think it's a noble thing to offer things that are "free"
in the gnu sense for those who like to do it. But I do not think this
is or should be the default as it offers rights to everyone except the
content creator. Under copyright law, the creator can offer such
rights if they choose to, but they must not be forced to. It comes
back to my original point: if the only purpose of creating something
and sharing it is to lose control of it, then people will either not
create or not share. Even traditional religions have figured this
out. (And the "gnu way of thinking" is surely a religion of sorts.)
Established religions don't require offerings of their worshipers,
since at that point there is nothing "offered". They encourage them,
but they understand that the default is to "not offer". This is not
the goal of the religion, but after all, it wouldn't be a religion if
you were required to give up everything you made--it would be a
totalitarian state.

Anyway, you're free to disagree with my position, but I encourage you
to remember two things. The first is that copyright on created works
is a point of fact, and that the right way to dispute that is through
legislative process by encouraging your government (and all other
governments they deal with) to diminish present copyright support; I
don't recommend that, but it is your option. The second thing to
remember is that if I felt that your view was in the majority here, I
would certainly stop posting and would encourage all other creators of
content to do likewise. There is little point to offering up
something one personally believes is valuable if the people receiving
it are not going to treat it as valuable. And to say one has no right
to speak of copyright is nothing more than to say one sees no value.
Just as simple as that.

It's odd that the title of this thread should use the word "time
wasting" and that so much of society so devalues time spent smiling.
Time itself is the world's most valuable commodity, and ought not be
squandered. Surely time spent making people smile, or time spent
smiling, is not wasted. (Though Minsky might disagree with me.)

This post itself cost me an hour and a half out of my life. It's time
I had plans to use in other ways, and that I somewhat resent the need
to have spent in this way. But I believe one must vigorously defend
one's rights or one soon finds one has none. I just hope it has been
worth the time I invested toward that end.

--Kent

Disclaimer: This is all my personal opinion and not necessarily the
opinion of my employer or any other organization that I may from time
to time represent. I'm not a lawyer, so any references to the law

Barry Margolin

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
In article <sfwzpas...@world.std.com>,

Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> wrote:
>g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
>
>> Copyright on aphorismns and short rhymes and silly jokes?
>> You must be kidding ...
>
>No, I'm not.

Kent, there's a limit to how far you have to take stuff like this. The
context under which the material was created, and the likely expectations
of the author, have to be taken into account.

If you were to transcribe Jay Leno's monologue onto your web page every
day, that would clearly be wrong. But if you have a web page, and included
on it were "My favorite joke by Jay Leno is ...." no one (not even Leno's
people, I suspect) would consider it a serious offense.

Furthermore, Leno is a professional comedian, so his jokes are his
livelihood. If your coworker makes up a joke and tells it to you, no one
would get on your case for transcribing it.

The substantiality of the work can be used to determine whether it's
deserving of protection. A single aphorism is probably not; a book of
maxims is.

There's also the idea of fair use. There are a number of criteria for it,
and one of them is the fraction of the work that's copied. Copying a
single limerick from a book is not likely to get you in trouble (before
anyone brings up the Mike Barnicle column from a couple of months ago, he
was fired for misrepresenting his column as his own, original jokes, not
for copyright violation -- George Carlin's people never complained about
the column).

However, Kent does have a point -- many things that people tend to assume
are public domain may indeed be protected by copyright. Last week's
"Sports Night" TV show was about the fact that the show had to pay enormous
royalties when the sportscaster took it on himself to single "Happy
Birthday" on the air.

--
Barry Margolin, bar...@bbnplanet.com
GTE Internetworking, Powered by BBN, Burlington, MA
*** DON'T SEND TECHNICAL QUESTIONS DIRECTLY TO ME, post them to newsgroups.

Russell Senior

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
>>>>> "Barry" == Barry Margolin <bar...@bbnplanet.com> writes:

Georg> Copyright on aphorismns and short rhymes and silly jokes? You
Georg> must be kidding ...

Kent> No, I'm not.

Barry> Kent, there's a limit to how far you have to take stuff like
Barry> this. The context under which the material was created, and
Barry> the likely expectations of the author, have to be taken into
Barry> account. [...]

Not to mention, just about all humor is derivative. Comedians have
been cooperating in a sort of Free Joke Foundation for centuries.

--
Russell Senior
rus...@sns-access.com

Kent M Pitman

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
Barry Margolin <bar...@bbnplanet.com> writes:

> Kent, there's a limit to how far you have to take stuff like this.

The limits are created by the law and the content creator, not by
the would-be users.

> The context under which the material was created, and the likely
> expectations of the author, have to be taken into account.

I believe this to be misinformation. The context in which the material
was created is not legally relevant to copyright coverage. The "likely"
expectations of the author are also not legally relevant. The actual
expressed expectations of the author are, as I undrestand it, the only
relevant thing. Moreover, copyright does not pass verbally, only written,
exactly to make sure that rights are spelled out in proper detail.

> If you were to transcribe Jay Leno's monologue onto your web page every
> day, that would clearly be wrong. But if you have a web page, and included
> on it were "My favorite joke by Jay Leno is ...." no one (not even Leno's
> people, I suspect) would consider it a serious offense.

The likelihood of being sued is orthogonal to the issue of whether
something is permitted. You may indeed be engaging in a low-risk activity,
though I know specific examples of situations very similar to what you're
talking about where legal action has been threatened.



> Furthermore, Leno is a professional comedian, so his jokes are his
> livelihood.

And I don't expect to stay a programmer my whole life either. I
expect one day to graduate to being a writer. Who are you--who is
anyone but the person themselves--to say who is and is not a
professional writer? Most professional writers, in fact, have a day
job because being a writer for money is tough to break into and tough
to support a regular living at. Perhaps by professional, you meant
"highly paid". But in my book, professional is an attitude, not a
measure of checkbook. Not all professionals break even. Not all
professionals are well-known. And not all professionals were always
professionals.

- - - - -

I had a more extended reply to this, going through the rest of your
message in equal detail, but I am going to decline to post it. I
just don't have the energy or will...

I'll just end with one more remark and then killfile this conversation
so I don't have to watch it any more as it just aggravates me and makes
me not want to participate here at all.

Copyright law exists for the purpose of protecting the little guy.
The world is increasingly populated by AOL and Microsoft and other
giants who would gladly, if we let them, troll the net for fun things
and assemble them for their public with no fee to the content creator.
This is a BAD THING. Copyright protection is often misunderstood to
be a thing which protects big business, but it isn't. It protects the
little guy. It means that each person who makes a piece of creative
stuff, from a haiku to a novel, has a little piece of turf in the
intellectual property space which is the new frontier. Right now, if
any megacorporation wants to use my stuff, they must ask. Not because
they are megacorporations, but because they are not me. Only I can
give permission to use my stuff. If I/we give even an inch, that
right will be gone. And then there will be no way for the little guy
ever to win again. So don't be too quick to dismiss what I'm saying
as silly.

End of my participation in this thread.

Rainer Joswig

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to

David Rush

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
Peter Immarco <and...@micron.net> writes:
> Mary had a little lambda
> A sheep she couldn't clone
> And every where that lambda went
> Her calculus got blown

> P.S. - I am not insinuating any "orthonormal" topical applications of the


> verb "blown". This is a clean forum!

Gee, your postscript is as good as the poem.

But when you say, "This is a *clean* forum", just what is it that "is"
means?

I thought we were in comp.lang.scheme :)

david rush

Eric Marsden

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Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
>>>>> "KMP" == Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> writes:

KMP> And on the issue of free software, since that inevitably most
KMP> come into this, I think it's a noble thing to offer things that
KMP> are "free" in the gnu sense for those who like to do it. But I
KMP> do not think this is or should be the default as it offers
KMP> rights to everyone except the content creator. Under copyright
KMP> law, the creator can offer such rights if they choose to, but
KMP> they must not be forced to. It comes back to my original point:
KMP> if the only purpose of creating something and sharing it is to
KMP> lose control of it, then people will either not create or not
KMP> share.

You are being a little fuzzy here. Authors of free software (GPLed,
for example, though there are other "free-software" licences which are
less restrictive[1]) retain copyright on their work, and have every
right to issue it under different conditions, some of which may
involve payment. Several companies such as Cygnus (www.cygnus.com) and
Troll Tech (www.troll.no) make money this way. So I don't see how it


"offers rights to everyone except the content creator".

What you may be referring to is the FSF's request that people working
on certain projets (such as Emacs) assign them the copyright, in order
to strengthen their legal position. Certainly this upsets certain
people, but it only concerns a small percentage of free software
projects.


KMP> There is little point to offering up something one personally
KMP> believes is valuable if the people receiving it are not going
KMP> to treat it as valuable. And to say one has no right to speak
KMP> of copyright is nothing more than to say one sees no value.

I don't see any justification for this. Why would I treat software as
being any less valuable for being free? On the contrary, freeness
provides very tangible advantages: access to the source code, the
possibility of making changes which might be necessary, flow-on
benefits from improvements made by the user community, increased
confidence in the long-term viability of the product.

I agree with you on the importance of copyright, but you shouldn't
disparage free software as weakening copyright. Also, I don't see the
point of bringing religion into the debate.


[To come back to Lisp:] For me, one of the primary weaknesses of
Common Lisp is the lack of libraries. Other languages such as Python
and Perl have a huge user-contributed library of functions for
networking, database access, text processing, graphics, which make
many non-trivial tasks easy. In CL you have to write these from
scratch (heck, there isn't even a portable socket or regexp
interface!).


[1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines

--
Eric Marsden
emarsden @ mail.dotcom.fr
It's elephants all the way down

Rainer Joswig

unread,
Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
In article <wzivhlf...@mail.dotcom.fr>, Eric Marsden
<emar...@mail.dotcom.fr> wrote:

> [To come back to Lisp:] For me, one of the primary weaknesses of
> Common Lisp is the lack of libraries.

Hmm. Common Lisp is a big library on its own. Common Lisp
implementations like Genera, MCL, ACL, LispWorks and LCL
(and sure some others...) are being delivered
with additional libraries (like UI, networking, CORBA,
ODBC, ...

> Other languages such as Python
> and Perl have a huge user-contributed library of functions for
> networking,

open-tcp-stream ??

> database access,

open-pheap ??

> text processing,

(ed)

> graphics,

draw-rectangle* and friends???

> which make many non-trivial tasks easy.
> In CL you have to write these from scratch

I wonder, what is in the 80 megs of Lisp files
in my MCL directory?

? (loop for file in (directory "ccl:**;*.lisp")
sum (with-open-file (stream file :direction :probe)
(file-length stream)))

81706244

My Lisp machine tells me something about 70 Megs Lisp code -
mostly system stuff like Lisp compiler, C compiler, tar,
compress, Fortran compiler, dns server, Pascal compiler,
editor, graphics, mail server, mail client, X11, TCP, IP, UDP,
RPC, ...


> (heck, there isn't even a portable socket or regexp
> interface!).

See what CL-HTTP does. It's a web server and somehow
it manages to run on all important platforms
(Lisp Machine and Mac. It even runs on Unix and Windows
machines. ;-) ). Somehow the guys who wrote that
managed to get it running. It even distributes
the docs from the White House.

Rainer Joswig

--
http://www.lavielle.com/~joswig

Howard R. Stearns

unread,
Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
Brad Miller had collected some (attributed) material for the original
ALU web site. It is now at
http://www.elwood.com/alu/humor/lisp-humor.html

James A. Crippen wrote:
>
> I was recently wasting time by vgrepping thru the fortune databases for
> interesting tidbits to use in my paper on lambda-calculus based
> programming languages. I had lots of fun and stayed up way too late
> reading all sorts of bad jokes, but was somewhat dismayed at the
> relative paucity of Lisp jokes. I have, in defense of us hackers that
> like lisp, scheme, the lambda calculus, emacs, and other related gunge,
> decided to create a fortune database that is explicitly lambda and AI
> related (AI since it is fairly closely related to the lisp world, like
> or not).
>

> So send me your filk, your puns, and your other sad and bad lispish
> jokes.

> Horrible PDP-10 assembly opcodes are cool.
> Parenthesized poetry is perfidious.
> Bogus raving sagas are nifty.
> One liners to put APL to shame are twisted.
> Long incomprehensible functions that blow up Lisp interpreters are
> really good.
> Zippyisms that excessively CONS are great.
> Bad jokes from the Lispm crowd are acceptable, hopefully with some
> relevant state.
> Evil puns with CADR are sick.
> AI koans are very fine, especially if they aren't in the jargon file.
>
> Basically anything will work, just as long as it has the lambda nature.
> In fact, jokes explicitly in the lambda calculus appear to be relatively
> nonexistent, so if anyone knows one it'd be just wonderful to let me
> know.
>

> I have seen the Symbolics Online Museum, so don't point me there.
> I've also read the jargon file so don't point me there either.
> Other than that, feel free.
>

Georg Bauer

unread,
Oct 20, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/20/98
to
In article <sfwzpas...@world.std.com>, Kent M Pitman
<pit...@world.std.com> wrote:

>It is created for the purpose of assuring that the decision
>to show one's creative works is not tightly coupled to the decision to
>give up all rights to the work, as an incentive to crative people to
>share what they create without fear they will lose control of it.

The point here is "creative work". We are not talking about creative work
but short citations, quotes, silly jokes and such. You should give
correct attributions, though. But that has much more to do with "good
behaviour" than with copyright.

Claiming protection by copyright on a single line is outright silly.

David Steuber The Interloper

unread,
Oct 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/21/98
to
On Tue, 20 Oct 1998 02:23:28 GMT, Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com>
claimed or asked:

% This post itself cost me an hour and a half out of my life. It's time
% I had plans to use in other ways, and that I somewhat resent the need
% to have spent in this way. But I believe one must vigorously defend
% one's rights or one soon finds one has none. I just hope it has been
% worth the time I invested toward that end.

Your time has not been wasted. In fact, I would hope that you decide
to add this and your previous post on copyright to your website. At
the moment, your page on that issue is just links to other pages.
There is nothing wrong with that, since it provides a nice hub to such
information. But it would be nice to see your opinions ahead of the
links.

As far as the issue of copyright goes, I agree with the law and the
constitutional provision requiring the law for the reasons you state.
It helps to further the arts and sciences. As long as the law
fulfills that constitutional requirement, I am all for it. In the
case of copyright, I would argue that it does. I am less sure about
software patents, however. But that is another issue for another
thread or news group. However, it is most annoying that I can't put
Lisp implemented GIF decoding and encoding routines in commercial
software without having to pay Unisys a fee. This is especially true
as all the implementations I have seen have been in C.

--
David Steuber (ver 1.31.2a)
http://www.david-steuber.com
To reply by e-mail, replace trashcan with david.

So I have this chicken, see? And it hatched from this egg, see? But
the egg wasn't laid by a chicken. It was cross-laid by a turkey.

Rob Warnock

unread,
Oct 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/21/98
to
Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> wrote:
+---------------

| g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
| > Copyright on aphorismns and short rhymes and silly jokes?
| > You must be kidding ...
|
| No, I'm not.
...

| And I think you owe the same to each and every creator of a joke. To
| those who only in their lifetimes ever create one joke or poem or
| song, that creation is certainly a precious thing and certainly they
| are entitled to control its destiny. You owe them that out of respect.
+---------------

An excellent example of "innocent sharing" run rampantly out of control
may be found in the "computer-error haiku" collection that is so frequently
seen zooming across the humor (and other) lists. You know, the set of haiku
like this one:

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

How many of you knew that that collection is a copyrighted work? ...and
that each individual haiku *originally* had its author's name attached?
The original list was the winning entries in a contest that was put on
by Salon Magazine's "21st Challenge" (whatever that is). See:

http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/rose/1998/02/24straight.html
"The case of the hijacked haiku", by Scott Rosenberg
also:
http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/chal/1998/01/26chal.html
http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/chal/1998/02/10chal2.html
http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/chal/1998/02/10chal3.html

for the story of these -- though by now they've pretty much given up
trying to defend their copyright:

Within 48 hours of our Web page's posting, the error haikus were
hopping from mailing list to mailing list and newsgroup to newsgroup.
...
Though it'd be easy to fulminate about the evil practice of grabbing
copyrighted material and reposting it across the Net, it'd also be
futile. And though Salon would certainly prefer that folks read
what we publish on Web pages that we serve, we aren't likely to
sic lawyers on people who recirculate our material when they're
not doing it for a profit.

But the really sad thing is that the individual contest winners had their
names stripped off of the bootleg versions, thus denying them even their
brief moment of fame -- exactly what Kent was warning about.


-Rob

[p.s. Apologies in advance: Email'd replies may get
a "vacation" bounce message while I'm on sabbatical...]

-----
Rob Warnock, 8L-855 rp...@sgi.com
Applied Networking http://reality.sgi.com/rpw3/
Silicon Graphics, Inc. Phone: 650-933-1673
2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. FAX: 650-964-0811
Mountain View, CA 94043 PP-ASEL-IA

Barry Margolin

unread,
Oct 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/21/98
to
In article <70kr33$5v...@fido.engr.sgi.com>,

Rob Warnock <rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>But the really sad thing is that the individual contest winners had their
>names stripped off of the bootleg versions, thus denying them even their
>brief moment of fame -- exactly what Kent was warning about.

I notice that you didn't add it back when you quoted the example haiku in
your post. Shouldn't you practice what you preach?

My feeling is that short works like these may suffer from problems similar
to popular trademarks. If they become too well known, they may become part
of "folk humor", much as trademarks may become generic (e.g. "aspirin").

And don't forget to acknowledge the copyright holders of "Happy Birthday to
You" the next time you sing it at a birthday party. I suspect most people
would be very surprised to know that the authors (it took *two* people to
write this ditty) are still alive and collecting royalties from commercial
performances (AFAIK, they don't go after people "performing" it at private
birthday parties). Most of probably assumed that it could be as old as
"Ring Around the Rosie" (I think kids have been playing this game since
medieval times). But if ever hear the song sung in a movie, check the
credits at the end for the acknowledgement.

While computer filk obviously can't be that old, our electronic medium
allows memes like this to spread so easily that they quickly become part of
the community consciousness. Like the Craig Sherbourne "dying child wants
postcards" email (which, amazingly, seemed to stop circulating a few years
ago) or the "See Figure 1" technical support parody that used to make the
rounds at computer companies (and maybe still does, for all I know), most
people don't know where they learned them and the informal way they're
passed on doesn't lend itself to attribution.

Christopher Stacy

unread,
Oct 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/21/98
to
g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
> Claiming protection by copyright on a single line is outright silly.

What is your background in copyright law?
I am no lawyer, but I am pretty certain that you are mistaken, there.


Barry Margolin

unread,
Oct 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/22/98
to
In article <u4ssx8...@pilgrim.com>,

Christopher Stacy <cst...@pilgrim.com> wrote:
>g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
>> Claiming protection by copyright on a single line is outright silly.
>
>What is your background in copyright law?

Probably the same as yours and mine.

>I am no lawyer, but I am pretty certain that you are mistaken, there.

Do you know of examples where a single sentence has been afforded copyright
protection all by itself? For instance, I believe that the reason
advertising slogans are often trademarked is because they can't be
copyrighted.

Patrick A. O'Donnell

unread,
Oct 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/22/98
to
Barry Margolin <bar...@bbnplanet.com> writes:
>
> In article <u4ssx8...@pilgrim.com>,
> Christopher Stacy <cst...@pilgrim.com> wrote:
> >g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
> >> Claiming protection by copyright on a single line is outright silly.
> >
> >What is your background in copyright law?
>
> Probably the same as yours and mine.

And mine, but the cni-copyright list is a treasure of fact an opinion
on copyright law, so ...

>
> >I am no lawyer, but I am pretty certain that you are mistaken, there.
>
> Do you know of examples where a single sentence has been afforded copyright
> protection all by itself?

ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT v. W. B. PRODUCTIONS, INC., No. CV 79-1893-WMB,
1979 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9092 (C.D.Cal., October 19, 1979).

So, at least one district court is willing to accept that single
sentences have copyright protection. (District court judgements do
not create precedent, however. Nevertheless, in an article quoted at
http://sunsite.unc.edu/pjones/ils310/msg00073.html, one can see that
Mr. Brilliant does not let that small fact deter him from implying
otherwise.)

> For instance, I believe that the reason
> advertising slogans are often trademarked is because they can't be
> copyrighted.

Perhaps also because trademarks do not expire. (Though, at the
current rate, copyrights will eventually approach that state.)

- Pat O'Donnell
p...@ai.mit.edu

Charles Hixson

unread,
Oct 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/22/98
to
Patrick A. O'Donnell wrote:
>
> Barry Margolin <bar...@bbnplanet.com> writes:
> >
> > In article <u4ssx8...@pilgrim.com>,
> > Christopher Stacy <cst...@pilgrim.com> wrote:
> > >g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer) writes:
...

> > For instance, I believe that the reason
> > advertising slogans are often trademarked is because they can't be
> > copyrighted.
>
> Perhaps also because trademarks do not expire. (Though, at the
> current rate, copyrights will eventually approach that state.)
Trademarks may not expire, but advertising slogans do.

>
> - Pat O'Donnell
> p...@ai.mit.edu
I believe that in the case of

> ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT v. W. B. PRODUCTIONS, INC., No. CV 79-1893-WMB,
> 1979 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9092 (C.D.Cal., October 19, 1979).
a considerable point was made that the entire product that he sold was
that one line. Thus the line of text constituted a sizeable chunk of
the work being quoted (everything but the artwork). This makes a BIG
difference.
--
Charles Hixson charle...@earthling.net
(510) 464-7733 or chi...@mtc.dst.ca.us

Christopher Stacy

unread,
Oct 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/22/98
to
Barry,

You have been giving out advice here suggesting that certain material
is not protected by copyright law, and specificaly suggesting that the
legal protection of works is predicated upon some kind of presumed
intent of authors and the context in which they may have published
their materials. You also seem to be encouraging people to take the
copyright laws with a grain of salt. At least, this is how I perceive
your remarks in this discussion.

As I stated: I am not a lawyer specializing in intellectual property.
Most people are uninformed in this area, and many people tend to put
perhaps too much credence in random opinions that they read posted on
newsgroups like this one. Perhaps foolishly, rather than consult a
qualified attourney in this specialized area, they will run off and take
action on legal matters (such as collecting and re-publishing certain
materials) based on what they read here. They may naively mistake
someone's "conventional wisdom" for legal fact, particularly if it
coincides with their expectations or wishes. Therefore, when chiming
in to dispense advice like this, I feel that the responsible thing to
do is to give the best information I have and to only recommend
the most conservative course of action consistent with that.

To wit, one should generally assume that poems, stories, and the like
that have been written by other people are most likely under copyright
protection. If they intend to collect and republish those materials
(for example on a web site) they should first obtain legal (written)
permission from those authors. Of course, they ought to be sure that
they have gotten hold of the person who actually holds the copyright.
They should also be aware that the lack of a "copyright notice", or
even a signature, does *not* mean that the work is unprotected.
(Many people are cnofused about that particulr point because the law
did change on that point a while back.) That is my advice.

Georg Bauer posted here and said, "Claiming protection by copyright on a
single line is outright silly." I responded to him by saying that I
disagreed with this, but that I was not a lawyer, and asked him what
his legal background was that would cause him to give this legal advice.

He did not (as yet) respond, but you, Barry, did respond:


> >What is your background in copyright law?
> Probably the same as yours and mine.

I find it remarkable that you presume to make pronouncments on what my
background in the this might be. I have never discussed that with you,
and I do not believe that you really know. Apparently you are upset
with my opinions, and, lacking any facts to give credence to your own,
are therefore trying to deprecate and nominalize me.
That form of debate does not really impress me.

You then did go on to ask a constructive question:


> Do you know of examples where a single sentence has been afforded copyright

> protection all by itself? For instance, I believe that the reason advertising


> slogans are often trademarked is because they can't be copyrighted.

Someone else already answered your question by doing a simple LEXIS
search and finding such a case. That alone should be enough to satisfy
someone that, based on past judgements of the courts, yes, there is
obviously some legal risk to re-publishing even one copyrighted sentence.

To respond to the second part of your post, you are correct that slogans
can not generally be copyrighted. However, that's not because they are
too short. Rather, they are specifically excluded from copyright protection,
as are titles, ingrediant lists, and some other things. One could learn
this simple fact without ever even reading the actual law; it is explained
in "Circular 1 - Copyright Basics" from the U.S. Copyright Office.

David Bakhash

unread,
Oct 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/23/98
to
Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> writes:

> > Furthermore, Leno is a professional comedian, so his jokes are his
> > livelihood.
>
> And I don't expect to stay a programmer my whole life either. I
> expect one day to graduate to being a writer. Who are you--who is

I agree. believe it or now, whereas I used to read the newsgroups to
learn what were current hot issues in Lisp, and what types of problems
people are having, and to post my own, nowadays I just look for
threads in which KP has written, and read what he has to say. He's my
all-time favorite news poster (the #2 guy, incidentally, only has that
status because he was so crass, so bitter, and completely
schizophrenic, and I didn't care so much about what he said, but how
he said it). If I had to pay to read KP's postings, I would.

I'm not completely siding with KP here, but I will agree that if
someone were to take his posts and compile them into something
profitable without his consent, then that would be wrong. What's
happening here is that KP is forwarning someone who is doing what
seems to be only marginally questionable. He's protecting himself,
his colleagues, and other fellow users. that's all. He didn't diss
the project; he just suggested adding the necessary red tape to make
it legitimate.

dave

James A. Crippen

unread,
Oct 24, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/24/98
to
I received a number of links and material from people all across the
world, and here's my thanks.

TTT H H A NNN K K Y Y OOO U U
T HHH AAA N N KK Y O O U U
T H H A A N N K K Y OOO UUU

I've collected them into a fortune-compatible file and am going to
publish them
on my page at some point soon. It'll be available at:
htt://saturn.math.uaa.alaska.edu/~crippenj
when I get it up, which probably won't be for a week or more since I've
got to write the prospectus for my Lambda paper RSN.

And yes, I'll be blithely ignoring all copyright issues since most of
the quotes were either spoken by individuals (you can't copyright human
speech), snarfed from other fortune databases like the ITS LINS (thanks
again Alan), taken from personal communication, or so obvious that it's
impossible to mistake. Most are correctly attributed, and if they
aren't I'd appreciate being informed of the correct attributation if
possible.

And as always, if you happen upon any, know any, or know somebody that
knows any good ones that I haven't listed, please mail me.

(* thanks (expt 10 6)),
james

Erik Naggum

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
* Eric Marsden <emar...@mail.dotcom.fr>

| [To come back to Lisp:] For me, one of the primary weaknesses of Common
| Lisp is the lack of libraries. Other languages such as Python and Perl

| have a huge user-contributed library of functions for networking,
| database access, text processing, graphics, which make many non-trivial
| tasks easy. In CL you have to write these from scratch (heck, there isn't

| even a portable socket or regexp interface!).

you know, C doesn't have a socket or regexp interface, either. the
reason that doesn't bother you is that the environment provides it almost
wherever you go and that the environment providers, for whatever reason,
are able to agree to at least the major parts of the socket function call
protocol, but as for regexps, you're pretty much on your own. heck, no
two regular expression matchers accept the same input language!

why is _Common Lisp_ to blame for this? why is it a strength for C and a
weakness for Common Lisp? this makes no sense at all.

rather than talk about "the primary weakness of Common Lisp" (I can't
_wait_ to hear of the _next_ primary weakness once we've dispensed with
the current primary weakness), go out there and fix whatever is wrong!
the reason there _are_ a bunch of "libraries" and packages for all those
fucked-up languages is that people probably didn't feel bad about not
having something nice, so they went ahead and made something ugly but at
least functional. now, everyone's happy, right? why not repeat this for
Common Lisp, too?

my guess is that there are psychologically powerful reasons behind the
whining for and the resulting lack of packages: (1) Common Lisp is
expected to be so great that if you want to add something, you need to be
just as good or preferably even better, and if you don't feel you are up
to that, you just don't publish the code, like you just wouldn't "help"
Michelangelo with his ceiling work. (2) Common Lisp is expected to be so
great that if you aren't fully satisfied, that somehow translates to
dissatisfaction or a weakness, like you would want somebody to fix any
minor detail at a fine gourmet restaurant that you wouldn't even notice
elsewhere. (3) Common Lisp is expected to be such a clean language that
you would never want to dirty your hands by implementing something in it
that would look nice and clean as seen from the outside but would involve
a lot of dirty, machine-level work underneath.

to dispell these unreasonably high expectations, let's look at what made
Common Lisp so great: (1) lots of people worked really hard. beauty and
simplicity have _enormous_ costs. it's worth it, though, so just get
started, and in time, you may get there. the only thing you know for
certain is that if you don't start, you'll never get there. greatness
shows after the fact, and you cannot optimize for greatness, but you can
do what it takes. (2) lots of people were really focused on getting the
language and the specification good enough for them and it is evident
they had high standards. set yourself high standards, too, but _do_ and
_redo_ until you achieve them. there is no other way. (3) the clean
facade or interface or design always requires a lot of dirty work, from
the concerted effort to hide what cannot be clean to daily polishing the
exterior.

another way to say this is that elegance is necessarily _unnatural_, only
achieveable at great expense. if you just do something, it won't be
elegant, but if you do it and then see what might be more elegant, and do
it again, you might, after an unknown number of iterations, get something
that is very elegant. the key is not to stop, but still to publish.

if this looks like I'm talking about fine art, it's because I am. fine
art is about very hard work, very high standards, and never giving up.

now that the "fine art" probably seems like an unreasonable analogy, you
can relax and write something less beautiful but at least functional. I
trust you won't create something really crappy that is hard to use and
which comes with a disclaimer like this fantastic quote from the manual
page for the `rename' system call under Linux:

On NFS filesystems, you can not assume that if the operation
failed the file was not renamed. If the server does the rename
operation and then crashes, the retransmitted RPC which will be
processed when the server is up again causes a failure. The
application is expected to deal with this.

in brief: library packages don't exist because people don't publish what
they write. whatever the actual reason may be, the only thing that will
actually _change_ this situation is if people write and publish the
packages they want and evidently would need to write from scratch,
anyway. those who want others to write something for them should inspire
(e.g., fund) them to do it, not complain that it doesn't exist.

incidentally, as a long-time contributor to various "causes", I can very
well understand and sympathize with those who want to contribute nothing,
but I have a very hard time sympathizing with those who want something
for free. in a similar vein to Kent Pitman's concerns over copyright, I
urge those who want various packages to appreciate the creators' view:
their motivation, their desire for rewards, recognition, etc, and not the
least their rights: just because you need it gives you no right to take
it, nor demand it. and whoever wants to give anything to unappreciative
whiners, anyway? give those who can create something you cannot or do
not want to create yourself a _reason_ to do something for you, instead.

#:Erik
--
The Microsoft Dating Program -- where do you want to crash tonight?

Erik Naggum

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
* g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer)

| The point here is "creative work". We are not talking about creative
| work but short citations, quotes, silly jokes and such.

so, e.g., my current signature was not "creative work" on my part? I
wonder how you would distinguish coming up with it from coming up with a
line of code, or a line in a newspaper article I'm writing. if anything,
the signature was _more_ creative than a line that is part of a much
greater whole, which could be argued to be "creative work" made up of
lines meaningless by themselves.

I'd hate to contribute anything to a "community" who would decide whether
_they_ wanted to give me credit for my work.

Rob Warnock

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
Barry Margolin <bar...@bbnplanet.com> wrote:
+---------------

| Rob Warnock <rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
| >But the really sad thing is that the individual contest winners had their
| >names stripped off of the bootleg versions, thus denying them even their
| >brief moment of fame -- exactly what Kent was warning about.
|
| I notice that you didn't add it back when you quoted the example haiku in
| your post. Shouldn't you practice what you preach?
+---------------

[Petard, own, hoist by?]

Mea culpa. While I *did* in that same article include the URLs containing
the complete original haiku (including the original attributions) for anyone
who wished to go look, at the time I wrote that article I was not at a
terminal capable of running a Web browser [yes, simple ASCII does still
exist, sometimes], so that I was not able to go fetch the contents of the
URL and cut&paste from the original, with proper attribution. (At least,
not easily. I suppose I could have stopped, gone and fetched a copy of Lynx
from somewhere with FTP, gotten it to compile on the box I was reading news
on at the moment, and used *it* to fetch the "Salon" article, but then I
would have gotten *no* sleep that night, instead of only a little.)

Instead, I cribbed the example from a saved email message I'd received
(containing the "stripped" versions) from a mailing list, and the relevant
URLs of the Salon site from a saved copy of a reply I'd sent to the list
blasting the redistribution! Thus taking the easy way to Perdition...

+---------------


| My feeling is that short works like these may suffer from problems similar
| to popular trademarks. If they become too well known, they may become part
| of "folk humor", much as trademarks may become generic (e.g. "aspirin").

+---------------

Exactly the problem! ...and so you were quite right to call me on it.
Had I put in only a little more time (well, a *lot* more, last Wednesday)
I could have given the proper attribution. So (having a browser handy
this time) I will do so now (snip, snip):

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

-- Ian Hughes
<URL:http://www.salonmagazine.com/21st/chal/1998/02/10chal3.html>

+---------------


| Like the Craig Sherbourne "dying child wants postcards" email

| (which, amazingly, seemed to stop circulating a few years ago)...
+---------------

Uh... Isn't it "Shergold"? And no, it still keeps popping up.


-Rob

[p.s. Apologies in advance: Back from sabbatical 11/2/98, but
until then email will still get a "vacation" bounce message...]

Martin Cracauer

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
Eric Marsden <emar...@mail.dotcom.fr> writes:

>[To come back to Lisp:] For me, one of the primary weaknesses of
>Common Lisp is the lack of libraries. Other languages such as Python
>and Perl have a huge user-contributed library of functions for
>networking, database access, text processing, graphics, which make
>many non-trivial tasks easy. In CL you have to write these from
>scratch (heck, there isn't even a portable socket or regexp
>interface!).

In theory, you are right, but I don't think it is that much worse than
in other languages.

Every Common Lisp implementation in wide distribution has a socket
interface and CLX offers a common abstraction.

For Common Lisp, there actually is a regular expression string
library. For perl and python, there are none, they use C libraries.

How many perl implementations share the same regex interface? 1
How many python implementations share the same socket interface? 1

Martin

Georg Bauer

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
If you want to use a web-browser on ASCII-only terminals, use lynx. That
works. BTW: I didn't quote in this reply because Erik Naggum might sue me
on copyright infringments ;-)

--
http://www.westfalen.de/hugo/

Georg Bauer

unread,
Oct 25, 1998, 2:00:00 AM10/25/98
to
In article <31183082...@naggum.no>, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote:

> I'd hate to contribute anything to a "community" who would decide whether
> _they_ wanted to give me credit for my work.

Where did I say that one shouldn't give credits to the author? I
explicitly said that you should give credits to the author. The only thing
is, I don't think that _copyright_ issues do apply in this scenario. It's
more a problem of good behaviour than law and order.

If you have a problem with the above, you shouldn't contribute to Usenet
at all - actually it is quite common to cite small snippets of
Usenet-postings in one's .sig. And everybody who replies to a posting
usually quotes a part of the original. As I do abovce. BTW: as you might
see, I give full credit to you for what you wrote.

Eric Marsden

unread,
Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
to
>>>>> "mc" == Martin Cracauer <crac...@not.mailable> writes:
>>>>> "en" == Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> writes:

[no portable socket or regexp interface for CL]

en> my guess is that there are psychologically powerful reasons
en> behind the whining for and the resulting lack of packages:
en> ... [(1), (2), (3)]

I might suggest a (4): most of the people using CL are in big
companies or organizations which don't encourage code sharing. Or a
(5): there is no central repository for library code to compare with
CPAN.


mc> How many perl implementations share the same regex interface? 1
mc> How many python implementations share the same socket interface? 1

For Perl you are correct, but there are two Python implementations,
one written in C, and the other[1] working on the Java virtual machine.


[1] http://www.python.org/jpython/whatis.html

Erik Naggum

unread,
Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
to
* g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer)

| Where did I say that one shouldn't give credits to the author? I
| explicitly said that you should give credits to the author. The only
| thing is, I don't think that _copyright_ issues do apply in this
| scenario. It's more a problem of good behaviour than law and order.

why did you skip the part of my reply that was relevant to copyright?
did I ask too hard questions for your comfortably non-commital stance?

| If you have a problem with the above, you shouldn't contribute to Usenet
| at all - actually it is quite common to cite small snippets of
| Usenet-postings in one's .sig. And everybody who replies to a posting
| usually quotes a part of the original. As I do abovce. BTW: as you
| might see, I give full credit to you for what you wrote.

I once heard a phrase for this kind of bullshit argumentation: knocking
down strawman arguments. you should try to understand what people tell
you, and then argue against that, not pretend they said what you would
_like_ to argue against, and then argue against that.

I appreciate the credit, but that really isn't the issue. the issue is:
"who gets to decide whether my work is mine?" you fail to answer this,
which I must admit I expected.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
to
* g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer)

| If you want to use a web-browser on ASCII-only terminals, use lynx. That
| works. BTW: I didn't quote in this reply because Erik Naggum might sue me
| on copyright infringments ;-)

what a fucking moron you are. no wonder you don't worry about copyright
issues -- whatever could _you_ produce that would be worth protecting in
a commercial setting?

Georg Bauer

unread,
Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
to
In article <70vih4$rke$1...@counter.bik-gmbh.de>, crac...@not.mailable
(Martin Cracauer) wrote:

>How many perl implementations share the same regex interface? 1

>How many python implementations share the same socket interface? 1

Uhm. Actually there are 2 python-implementations that share the same
socket-interface (Python and JPython). They even share the same regex
interface, if I recall correctly. There is only 1 perl implementation, so
sharing isn't an issue there (except you treat the different
system-versions as different implementations - but then they share one
common socket interface and one common regex interface).

Georg Bauer

unread,
Oct 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/26/98
to
In article <31183895...@naggum.no>, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote:

> what a fucking moron you are. no wonder you don't worry about copyright
> issues -- whatever could _you_ produce that would be worth protecting in
> a commercial setting?

If you had something like humor (or at least would understand the concept
of it, if you even don't share it), youre comments might sometimes not be
so totally off-road as they sometimes are. But then - it is far easier to
let off steam. Even if you forget that steam is just hot air and bubbles
...

Say hello to my killfile.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
to Georg Bauer
* g...@hugo.westfalen.de (Georg Bauer)

| If you had something like humor (or at least would understand the concept
| of it, if you even don't share it), youre comments might sometimes not be
| so totally off-road as they sometimes are.

so first my signature is not creative work and now it isn't even humor?
why prove that you are indeed a moron? I would have thought it better to
try to refute my accusation than to prove it.

| But then - it is far easier to let off steam.

then why did you think what you did was humor to begin with, when it is
obvious that you were letting off steam in completely random directions?

this would have worked to refute my accusation, and made it a _little_
harder for me to use the same accusation against the next fucking moron
to rear his ugly humor:

"it was admittedly a cheap shot. I'm sorry it offended you."

but thanks to your pathetic retort, I can once again claim accuracy in
identifying the morons walking among the rest of us. thanks.

until next time, spend some time trying to understand the concept of
copyright and infringement suits, will you? that's what this was about
before you came along, anyway. you see, _I_ cannot sue _you_ for your
violation of _Rob_Warnock's_ copyright in anything, and since he's the
one you replied to, your attempt at humor was only amazingly stupid, and
we got a very unwelcome snapshot of your brain at work.

Rainer Joswig

unread,
Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
to

Jetzt wird es mir auch zuviel.

--
http://www.lavielle.com/~joswig

Martin Rodgers

unread,
Oct 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/27/98
to
In article <joswig-2710...@pbg3.lavielle.com>,
jos...@lavielle.com says...

> Jetzt wird es mir auch zuviel.

It may be a month or two early, but God Jul.
--
Remove insect from address to email me | You can never browse enough
will write code that writes code that writes code for food

David Steuber The Interloper

unread,
Oct 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM10/28/98
to
On Tue, 27 Oct 1998 12:43:22 +0100, jos...@lavielle.com (Rainer
Joswig) claimed or asked:

% Jetzt wird es mir auch zuviel.

Achtung: warnhinweis beachten --- Walther

Please, watch your language!

--
David Steuber (ver 1.31.2a)
http://www.david-steuber.com
To reply by e-mail, replace trashcan with david.

"Ignore reality there's nothing you can do about it..."
-- Natalie Imbruglia "Don't you think?"

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