[lit-ideas] Re: What is information? (third try)

  • From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 20:11:22 -0400

"Mike Geary" writes:

: RP:
: >I give up. I just give up. It's the rain. It's the coming world crisis. 
: >It's
: > that new stuff I'm taking for my sinuses. It's the Pope.
: Oh what a perverse pleasure I get from those lines.
: Forget the computer, that's a red herring.  It's the programming that's open 
: to question.  PJ writes: "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."  Does that mean 
: that a program idea pitched to a TV network isn't covered under copyright 
: laws?  Or that a movie idea treatment presented to a studio isn't protected? 
: It's my understanding that they are -- but hard to prove.  Else why would 
: any writer in his right mind pitch ideas?  Am I mistaken in my understanding 
: that some big lawsuits of recent time (Art Buchwald's for instance) were 
: found in favor of the artist on the basis of "story ideas"?  If I am right, 
: what's the difference between expression and ideas here?

The problem is that the cases where someone has recoverd for pitching
an idea were not based on copyright, but on some theory of unjust
enrichment or unfair dealing.

: I'm lost as to why you think defining "information" is crucial to your 
: argument.  You're a strange lot, you lawyers, but isn't it obvious that in 
: this instance "information" is just a corporate glorification of "data" just 
: as "human resources" is an attempt to glorify the work of those people who 
: must deal with common workers?  I mean really, it's all bullshit, isn't it? 
: Or am I really missing some species-defining difference here?

You have it backwards.  Data is information that you are interested
in or submit to a computer to be processed.

: Isn't your real question, as you've asked it before in other guises: Is 
: computer programming a sufficiently creative activity that it should be 
: rewarded by securing the financial proceeds resulting from its use to the 
: programmers -- or to those who bought out their rights when they were so 
: desperate for a job they'd have signed anything?  Or is it similar to lacing 
: one's shoes?

No.  That is a question that I hope to avoid as much as possible.
And one that has nothing to do with the nature of information.  
However, those who make up the free software (and open software)
movements (almost all) hate the idea of patents on software.

: There are those who say that no intellectual property should be 
: patentable -- I'm not among them seeing as how I'm planning on one day 
: leaving my kids with millions from my yet unfinished Great Confederate 
: Novel -- Vote No on the Death Tax!! --  but I'm assuming you're not wanting 
: to overthrow the U. S. Government -- not over this anyway.  So, my question 
: to you is, do laws ever get enacted because they make sense logically?  Or 
: only because moneyed / electorial interests are at stake?

If laws are enacted most legislators, even the most corrupt, would
want them to be logical rather than nonsensical.  If they are
self-contradictory then the courts can toss them out, or interpret
them any way that they wish.

: My advise is that you stop all this intellectualizing and go scare the shit 
: out of politicians so they'll vote your way, Peter.  A man of your age and 
: experience and education -- I shouldn't have to tell you this.

I can't scare anyone. But my article, if I ever finish it, might
well scare a lot of patent lawyers, since it points out the
fact that the Supreme Court back in the seventies held that
software can't be patented.  The arguments that I have troubled
this list are arguments that the Supreme Court was right.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
 EMAIL: junger@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu   
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: