[free-sklyarov] Another ebook "processor"

Karsten M. Self kmself at ix.netcom.com
Fri Aug 17 01:26:23 PDT 2001

on Thu, Aug 16, 2001 at 11:04:41AM -0700, Jeme A Brelin (jeme at brelin.net) wrote:
> On Thu, 16 Aug 2001, Sonja V. Tideman wrote:

> > Copyright is a delicate bargain.  The government creates a temporary
> > artificial monopoly on a creative work to allow the creator to gain
> > a profit.
> This is the propaganda of the copyright industry and an absolute lie.

It *is* the original intent of copyright.

> The public (through their agency, the government) restricts, for a
> limited time, the natural rights of the majority to distribute copies
> or derivatives of individual expressions of an idea and reserves those
> rights exclusively, for that same limited time, for the creator of the

Interesting thought, and it does raise some interesting avenues of
thought, but I find it a highly dubious proposition.  For the author of,
say, a serial work, the power to impose a scarcity of competing versions
of a work he's created himself can have a significant economic benefit.
Consider, say, the prolific author of our times, Gates.  Continued
availability via public publication of earlier versions of his "Windows"
saga would likely significantly impact sales of newer releases in the
series.  Copyright is the right to make, or not to make, copies. 

We can argue duration of copyright if you wish, but that's another

> To promote the progress of science and the useful arts, Authors and
> inventors are granted some exclusive rights to THEIR RESPECTIVE
> writings and discoveries.  This is very precise language to me.  It
> says two things:
> To promote science, (scientific) authors are granted exclusive rights
> to their writings.
> To promote the useful arts, inventors are granted exclusive rights to
> their discoveries.

Note that "Science" ~1784 pertained to "general knowledge", including
what we'd consider literature and other artistic works.  "Useful arts"
refers to "artifices" -- science or technology in today's vernacular.
"Science and the useful arts" in the Constitution has almost the reverse
of the apparent contemporary meaning.  We'd probably phrase it today as
"knowledge, culture, and applied technology".

From the 1913 Webster's definition:

    The ancients reckoned seven sciences, namely, grammar, rhetoric,
    logic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy; -- the first
    three being included in the Trivium, the remaining four in the

And, for art:

    The employment of means to accomplish some desired end; the
    adaptation of things in the natural world to the uses of life; the
    application of knowledge or power to practical purposes.  


Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>          http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
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