[free-sklyarov] Fair use "rights"

Michael Scottaline nbhs2 at i-2000.com
Mon Aug 6 03:03:02 PDT 2001

On Sun, 05 Aug 2001 21:10:51 -0700
Jay Allen <sklyarov at openwire.com> insightfully noted:

JA>          What's the difference between a right and "something you
JA> can't be 
JA> prosecuted for"?  I'd say that it would be the ease with which it can 
JA> change.  218 Representatives, 51 Senators and one President go for a
JA> hell 
JA> of a lot less (as far as the MPAA/RIAA are concerned) than one 
JA> Constitutional amendment.  :-)  Without a right--a Constitutional
JA> right, if 
JA> you prefer-one little amendment to Title 17 and >poof<.
Our Founding Fathers were mostly believers in _Natural Rights_.  In other
words, it wasn't necessary to state the Free Speech was a right.  It just
was.  The First Amendment prohibition against legislating limitations on
Free Speech was viewed as a safeguard in an age where governments
regularly infringed upon peoples _Natural Rights_.  In other words, Free
Speech is not an American "right", but one with which all people are
endowed by their creator [or nature, if you prefer]. Unlike most 20th
century Constitutions or Bills of rights, the US Bill of Rights list
"rights of abstinence".  The government must *abstain* from from
infringing on such rights.  The first five words of the Bill of Rights are
most informative here.  20th Century documents seem to list *rights of
affirmation*, i.e., what governments MUST provide people with.  To the
Framers, Free Speech was absolutely fundamental.  It was not merely a
question of "well we won't bother to prosecute anyuone for exercising it."

"I decry the current tendency to seek patents on algorithms.  There are
better ways to earn a living than to prevent other people from making
use of one's contributions to computer science."
                                -- Donald E. Knuth, TAoCP vol 3

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