Ignazio Palmisano ignazio_io at
Wed Apr 30 14:06:49 UTC 2008

Eduardo Robles Elvira wrote:
> El Miércoles 30 Abril 2008, Derek Broughton escribió:
>> Perhaps not, but I find it distressing - and blame OSS for part of it -
>> that people consider it perfectly alright to steal somebody else's
>> intellectual property without a second thought.  What you did is theft.
>>  Citing it doesn't make it right.  Unfortunately, we're all so used to
>> freely sharing software and documentation - legally - that many people
>> can't differentiate between what they can copy and what they can't.
> It's NOT theft. I'll let Thomas Jefferson explain it for you:
> "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of 
> exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, 
> which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to 
> himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession 
> of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar 
> character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other 
> possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives 
> instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at 
> mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread 
> from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of 
> man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and 
> benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible 
> over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the 
> air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of 
> confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be 
> a subject of property." - Thomas Jefferson

Good point but this is not about the broadcasting of copyrighted 
material being right or wrong in absolute terms, this is about it being 
legal. My guess about copyright laws is that they enable the original 
source to say: thou shalt not broadcast this. Whether this is right or 
wrong, it's still their legal right to say so. A wrong law does not make 
legal to break it, a wrong law is reason for those who think it wrong to 
stand and make their opinion heard, voting for the law to be changed or 
otherwise acting, but breaking the law is breaking the law anyway. At 
least this is my reading of how Thoreau describes civil disobedience; 
that does not involve impunity if the law is broken.



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