[lit-ideas] Re: What is information?

  • From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 14:12:34 -0400

Robert Paul writes:

: Peter Junger wrote:
: > One problem is that according to the Patent Act, processes are
: > expressly patentable.  On the other hand, it has always been
: > understood that mental processes are not patentable.  (The
: > patentable processes are the ones that make some material
: > change like curing rubber.)
: Would you say, Peter, that by parity of reasoning, there should be no 
: such thing
: as copyright, on the grounds that what is being copyright--when you come righ
: t
: down to it--is an author's mental processes (and not marks on paper or some
: other embodied medium?).

Yes and no.  Copyright law covers only the author's "expression," but
not the underlying ideas.  As long as one does not copy the author's
expression there is no copyright infringement. If there is only
one way to express an idea, then copying the expression is not an
infringement.  (And if there is copying but that is fair use, that is 
not an infringement.)

Patent law, on the other hand, is not limited to---and does
not even apply to---expression.  And a patent is infringed 
if one makes, uses, or sells the patented subject matter,
including processes.

I'll leave copyright law to another article.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
 EMAIL: junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu   
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