Mike Csontos wrote:
>There is a continuum between these extremes and an "operating point," in
>engineering terms, must be chosen at which to set up the rules. It needs
>adjusted from time to time to account for changing circumstances. This
>rational, disinterested judgment based on experience, something that seems to
>be very hard to come by nowadays.
I like the scene from the old John Wayne movie "Red River". Wayne and his
crew arrive in the frontier territories of Texas and have ridden their
horses up to a bluff to look out across the unspoiled landscape. Off in the
distance, a lone rider appears ... calmly approaching, in no hurry. He
rides up the to group of Texans and you see he is a Mexican vaquero in full
costume. He greets the visitors formally, then pulls out of his vest a
rolled parchment and commences to read to them, declaring that this land
and all lands in sight are the possession of Don Fulano de Tal by virtue of
a grant from the King of Spain.
He finishes his declamation, and the Texans look at each other, somewhat
quizzically. Wayne whips out a pistol and shoots the vaquero dead off his
horse. So much for the rights of possession up to that point ... and all
future land rights in mortmain flow from this act.
That being said, I would argue that intellectual property is qualitatively
different from real property (land). You don't purchase it from the last in
a line of entities emanating from that original act of claiming or theft.
It's something created from one's own effort and cleverness, and as such
should properly belong to the creator. The issues arise when the creator
passes away. The creation, if worthy, will have a lasting value. To whom
does this belong? The concept of public domain should exercise a powerful
claim when the creation is a part of the public's cultural heritage.
Ed Tech Specialist
National School District (http://nsd.us)
San Diego County, California
tel. (619) 336-7752
FAX (619) 336-7551