Michael Leone turgon at
Wed Apr 30 14:36:32 UTC 2008

On Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 9:50 AM, Eduardo Robles Elvira <edulix at> 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:

Here's the concept that you're missing ..

Doesn't matter what Thomas Jefferson thinks. Doesn't matter what
*anyone* thinks. It can still be illegal.

You, I, or Thomas Jefferson make think that it's wrong for it to be
illegal. That doesn't stop it from being illegal.

As to the actual quoting of the article contents ... while it *may*
technically be illegal (not being a lawyer, I have no idea if there is
some special exemption for quoting like that), it's a bit like
jay-walking ... yes, it's illegal. But you will very rarely get a
ticket for it (in the US, anyway), because it's such a minor thing
(and please - no need to bring up Arlo Guthrie; yes, I know he was
once ticketed for jay-walking, and this helped him get out of the
draft, because he had a "criminal" record).

So no, I doubt the New York Times is going to come prosecute you for
copyright violation, not on a mailing list, anyway. But technically,
Derek is probably right that it is illegal.

>  "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
>  --
>  "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
>  persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress
>  depends on the unreasonable man." (George Bernard Shaw)
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Michael J. Leone
<mailto:turgon at>

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