What Alternative Strategy for Digital Intellectual Property (And Particularly Computer Programs) Is Suggested by Richard Stallman?
The ownership of an idea to the extent of controlling replication and interfering with tangible property rights is the patent’s area of commonality with other forms of IP. It is still not vague enough to fit all these dozen or more laws. For instance, trademark law only concerns how products are marketed, not what they do. In order to fit them all, you have to make this “area of commonality” extremely abstract. Experts have succeeded in doing that, but why bother? It is the details of each law that make it good or bad. Focusing on this abstract “area of commonality” is just a distraction from everything that matters. Thus, the deep harm in the term “intellectual property” is that it leads people to focus on an abstract generalization instead of the concrete requirements and effects of patent law, the concrete requirements and effects of copyright law, and the concrete requirements and effects of a dozen other laws.
As anything grows or scales up, its dynamics change. What is true of a two-foot swell, for example, is not necessarily true of a tsunami. The free software community, mostly due to the catalytic effects of Linux distributions and the Internet, has experienced enormous growth in this decade. We've recently reached a kind of "critical mass" where we've broken through into the public consciousness, or at least into the news. More and more non-hackers have heard buzzwords like "Linux" or even "free software". At the same time, this growth has changed the internal dynamics of the free software community. It would be interesting to plot the number of free software projects in operation through this decade, and the number of web sites dedicated to some particular project or free software in general. The software itself isn't everything, though: there's also the proliferation of news and discussion sites related to Linux or free software, and an increase in the number of miscellaneous papers such as the Halloween documents. One of the things which has become increasingly evident is that although the free software community has much common ground in terms of motives, ethics, and software Weltanschauung, there are a number of distinct variations within the theme. In particular, one thing is for sure: although Richard Stallman is widely regarded as the founder of the free software movement, there are substantial differences between what he preaches and what many others believe. The somewhat uneasy relationship between Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond on matters of free software philosophy highlights this quite well, but it is far from the whole story. In this essay, I would like to share some of my perceptions regarding the current state of free software philosophy. In addition to exploring the differences between Richard Stallman's "GNU" and Eric Raymond's "Open Source" approaches, I would like to explore another position which is widely held but has little concrete literature and no evangelist promoting it: defensive or nominal copyright, as embodied in licenses such as the X license. I then discuss the application of these philosophies in the broader context of "intellectual property". Most of this essay will be familiar territory for those who take an interest in philosophical matters relating to free software (and intellectual property), but I believe I raise a number of questions which have been generally overlooked or insufficiently addressed. An implicit assumption of this essay is that free software is a good thing. I do not discuss the benefits of free software versus proprietary software, as I believe the issue has already been well addressed by the people and organisations mentioned in this essay. What I am concentrating on here is the differences between the existing schools of thought which are all in favour of free software, and the implications these schools of thought have on broader intellectual property issues. The aim is to stimulate thought on what each position really means, and I hope the reader will come away with an enhanced awareness of the philosophical issues within the realms of free software.
Techno limited has been hired by Howard to produce a digital version of his working that stretches back to the days his grandfather. In such case, it has been confirmed that before commencing production of the agreed work that everything has been original work of Howard and all his sources. As such Techno ltd ha exonerated itself and the from all the legal battles that may be directed to the activities to claim damages. On other grounds, Techno ltd has been involved in the production of the digital version of the photographs as per order and specifications directed by Howard (Mercer, John 2010). The relationship between Howard and Techno ltd will be that of an agent and a master. In the case, a master will be the person who has issued directives on how he or she requires a part of job been done. I such a case, Techno will produce the said digital versions of the work depending on the orders they receive from the master, Howard. In the same way, in case of any legal battle, Techno ltd will not be answerable to any charges fronted against the work by any third party. This is so because the agent is deemed to work to the exact requirements of Howard, leaving the authoriser the sole individual answerable to the said charges (Mercer, John 2010). However, for any employee from Techno ltd who acts on his personal capacity to produce products other than what is required of his/her employer by Howard, he/she will be answerable on individual capacity, and not his employer. This is the fate that awaits Boffin if goes ahead to produce his version of products for personal benefit (Mercer, John 2010). For Julian she is not guilty under laws of copy right and trademarks since every production has been in line with the `new’ protected owner Howard, and bearing in mind that every production was done under his authority, there is no case of secondary prosecution. Relying on the provisions, it should be stressed that the law has defined and marked as belonging to one or other specific provisions of Article 5, if not necessarily a criterion for evaluation as to whether the application in question is valid. The directive and Article 6, Article 12 give control provisions to limit the effects of the registration of the mark. These provisions relate to use in accordance with honest practices in the name of (a) a third party or address, (b) data display, and (c) for the purposes specified symptoms of goods or services, in particular as accessories or parts (Mercer, John 2010). - Like any other case presented before a jury, the plaintiff has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that as a result of the actions that were perpetrated by the defendant, he suffered financial loss which could have otherwise not occurred since it was illegal to do such. In this case, the actions of the defendant might have in one way or the other injured the rights of the plaintiff with regard to the product protected by the copy right law. In such a case, the jury who has been assigned the case will have no option other than ordering the payment of damages but the defendant (Mercer, John 2010).
On balance, Stallman discusses the philosophy underlying the free software movement. This movement combats the oppression of federal laws and evil end-user license agreements in hopes of spreading the idea of software freedom. With the force of hundreds of thousands of developers working to create GNU software and the GNU/Linux operating system, free software has secured a spot on the servers that control the Internet, and—as it moves into the desktop computer market—is a threat to Microsoft and other proprietary software companies.
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Mercer, John, "A Mark of Distinction: Branding and Trade Mark Law in the UK from the 1860s", Business History (2010).