The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Gustave Flaubert

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Intellectual property

That man Stallman talks a lot of sense. The Guardian published a piece by him arguing against software patents, which struck me at first as rather like getting the Pope to write about sin, but provided some very interesting insights. And - the important thing for the purposes of this blawg - he had this to say about that expression which I deprecate so much:
You will note that the term "intellectual property" has not been used in this article. That's because the term spreads confusion because it is applied to a dozen unrelated laws. Even if we consider just patent law and copyright law, they are so different in their requirements and effects that generalising about the two is a mistake. Absolutely nothing in this article pertains to copyright law. To avoid leading people to generalise about disparate laws, I never use the term "intellectual property", and I never miss it either.
Should I be alarmed to find I agree so wholeheartedly with him? Well, I'm not.

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