[pp.int.general] The IIPA Reports

Reinier Bakels rbakels at ffii.org
Tue Mar 2 22:38:30 CET 2010

Please note that the use of the term "ïntellectual property" is not just 
lfawed on the philosophical/moral level, but also in a practical sense: it 
suggests that *all* intellectual achievements are protected, while actually 
there is only a finite number of legal exceptions to the fundamental freedom 
of information and ideas.
Some lawyers (especially shady bad faith attorneys who try to make a 
business out of this) suggest the existence of "unwritten" rights of 
"intellectual property". This is a serious risk, not a nonsensical statement 
that can be dismissed as pure propaganda of idiots.
There is an intuitive logic that someone who *devises* something becomes the 
propriotor of that idea, just as someone who makes something with his hands 
becaomes the owner of it ((only) the latter is a given, at least in 
continental EU law based on Roman law).
But anyone who thinks one step further will appreciate that the parallel is 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Stallman" <rms at gnu.org>
To: "Radoslaw Nadstawny" <radoslaw.nadstawny at o2.pl>
Cc: <pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net>
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 12:08 AM
Subject: Re: [pp.int.general] The IIPA Reports

>    It's not that bad. The term "intellectual property" is used almost only
>    in quotations. The only line it's used directly is:
>    > In fact, IP enforcement is often even more strict in the open source
>    > community, and those who infringe licenses or fail to give 
> appropriate
>    > credit are often pilloried.
> This statement is actually about copyright.  Referring to it as "IP"
> is precisely the confusion that the IIPA wants.
>    As for the term itself, I think it has as much meaning as the law gives
>    it.
> The "meaning" that the IIPA uses does not come from law.  And the term
> misleads people about the real laws and their stated purposes.  Nearly
> everything people say about "intellectual property" is a mistake.  For
> instance:
>    What the term means now would be much better described as "information
>    monopoly", since it makes the possession of certain information illegal
>    unless you're the "owner",
> Copyright law doesn't do anything like that.  Patent law doesn't do
> anything like that.  Trademark law doesn't do anything like that.
> Even trade secret law doesn't quite do that.
> Please don't take this personally.  There is a systematic reason why
> you made this mistake.  Namely, you assumed that the term
> "intellectual property" is meaningful and refers to some concrete and
> important similarity of these various laws.  There is no such
> similarity.  You tried to formulate a description of something that
> never existed.
> The basic falsehood in the term "intellectual property" is that
> these laws are really similar in some concrete way.  They are not.
> Nearly every attempt to say what "intellectual property" means
> leads to such an error.
> See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html for more explanation.
> That's why I think this project is misguided:
> I want to prepare a summary/brief of the worst IP enforcement
>    laws/sentences worldwide, but specially interested in EU countries.
> By using the term "IP" it promotes that misguided way of thinking
> which serves the opposition.
> It would be useful to make such a list for copyright.  And another
> list for patents.  I think these two lists would not be similar.
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