Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research

From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 22:01:11 -0600

    But this formula simply does not fit text. The text I write is indeed my
    intellectual property, even if it is give-away text. All that means is
    that no one else is allowed to claim to have authored it.

The usual meaning of the term "intellectual property" is something
different: it means "copyright, patent, trademark, and various other
things." If the meaning above is what you intend to say, and if you
would like people to understand your intended meaning, I suggest you
find a different way to say it.

    But it is important that you should not do the same thing either! What
    is good for and true of software is not necessarily good for and true of

I agree and will take it a step further: even when something is good
and true for written works, such as software or scientific texts, it
is not necessarily good and true for ideas about programming
techniques, pharmaceuticals, or plant varieties, or genes. Copyright
on software is not the same issue as copyright on scientific articles,
and neither of them is the same issue as patents.

The term "intellectual property", which lumps together copyrights and
patents leads people to limit consideration to simplistic
across-the-board approaches. If you would like to encourage people to
distinguish the issues of different kinds of works, it makes sense for
you join me in discouraging the term that lumps everything together as
one issue.
Received on Tue Jul 23 2002 - 05:01:11 BST

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