[free-sklyarov] Another ebook "processor"

Jeme A Brelin jeme at brelin.net
Fri Aug 17 17:36:54 PDT 2001

On Fri, 17 Aug 2001, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> 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.

No, it's not.  The intent is not to allow profit, but to allow CONTROL OF
DISTRIBUTION AND PRESENTATION.  The idea must be preserved in its purest
form and so distribution and presentation is exclusively reserved for the

If the author chooses to use that exclusive right as a market monopoly, so
be it.  But copyright was designed to protect the free pamphleteer as well
as the for-profit author.

If the purpose was merely to allow the creator to profit, then non-profit
publications wouldn't be given protection.  It would be a waste of
effort.  "Why should we protect your right to profit on something that
you're giving away for free?" or "You've destroyed your own market, so
deal with it yourself."

But no.  Copyright protection is extended to all work published,
regardless of the market status.

Realize that the Constitution was written before capitalism.  The
exploitation of labor for profit was in its infancy.

> > 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.

First, you're making the same asinine assumption that the economic benefit
is more important than the public benefit.  Again, copyright is only
effectively an economic regulation, not an purposely economic one.

> 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.

First, no version of Windows was ever published.  If we were to simply say
that there was a copyright on the stream of bits that came on the CD or
diskette bundles, then any decompile/recompile of the work would be a
unique stream of bits.  Oh, then is it the user interface?  Change the
interface... move things around, change colors, fonts, dialog
messages... then recompile.  How can you tell if my new work is original
or derivative?  You can't!  Because the original work was only
distributed in an obfuscated form and was never published plainly.

To make the point more clearly, who is to say that Windows 2000 isn't
mostly NT 3.5.1?  And so when the copyright on NT 3.5.1 expires, will we
be able to pull them out of the Windows 2000 distributions we have lying
around and make use of them?

There is no public benefit to copyrighting unpublished work or work
published in an obfuscated, unusable form.

> Copyright is the right to make, or not to make, copies.

Only in effect and only recently.  If you don't publish, why should we,
the people, grant you exclusive rights?  What public benefit is there in
letting you withhold information from the people?

Copyright law is not a special "bonus" for the few who bother to
author.  It is a method of ensuring public benefit from works of
authorship.  If an author does not publish, the public does not
benefit.  If an author publishes an obfuscated or unusable work of
authorship, the public does not benefit.  If an author only allows the
work to be viewed in a restricted, licensed form, the public does not

Without public benefit, there is no need for the public to defend those

> > 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
>     Quadrivium.

Surely the sciences have been recategorized since the ancients, probably
during the Renaissance (see the arts below).  But this particular
description doesn't negate anything that I said.

The SCIENCES of grammar, logic, rhetoric, and music (to pick the four that
you probably mean to include literature and artistic works) are not at all
like the applications of those sciences.  The writings in the field of the
science of music are not musical works.  The study of music is very
different from the creation of music.  The study of grammar and rhetoric
may employ the concepts of grammar and rhetoric in its discussion, but
those discussions are still scientific in nature.

There is no basis to the claim that "Science" as described in the
Constitution of the United States of America was inteded to mean
"literature and painting".

You also ignore the "respective writings and discoveries" portion of the
clause.  Authors write and inventors discover.  Authors who write of the
sciences are intended to have exclusive rights.  Inventors who make
technological discoveries are intended to have excluive rights.  Any other
provision is too far reaching and outside Constitutional scope.

The ancients reckoned two classes of art: liberal and servile.

But we're not talking about the ancients.  In the Renaissance, the idea of
"liberal and servile" arts was dismissed and the new idea of fine arts and
useful arts was born.

> 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.  

And this is absolutely correct and ignores the difference between
"fine" and "useful" as we've done since the Rennaisance.

Also, recall that Amendment 1 clearly states "Congress shall make no
law... abridging [...] the freedom of the press."  That SHOULD include
copyright.  The fact that the courts have willfully ignored this is more a
sign of corruption of thought than invalidity of the argument.

     Jeme A Brelin
    jeme at brelin.net
 [cc] counter-copyright

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