18 February 2012
Many of the ideas around copyright, patents, and so on, date from the mid the late 1800s. They are old ideas. Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.
Computing is comparatively recent phenomenon. Great theoretical work aside, much of what we see now was hatched (in nascent, primitive forms) in the last 60 years.
17 February 2012
Years ago my mum pondered creating a course for scientists. It was back in the day of CD-ROMs being a big thing.
She planned a course for scientists. Scientists for whom English was a second language. How to writes PHDs, give seminars, that sort of thing. The course was unique. And years of experience told my mum it was needed.
She started talking to other people who had made courses on other topics. They sold them to India, China, parts of Europe and the Middle East.
They had put in time and money. The courses were, on the whole, very popular. And most had lost money. They were "pirated". So royalties didn't cover expenses.
My mum is the sort of person who is generous with her time and diligent in her teaching. She is interested in education for its own sake. But she has bills to pay, too. Spending working time on a course that would bring in no revenue didn't add up. So she spent that working time teaching professionally instead.
16 February 2012
Copyright, patents, trademarks, and so on are often collectively referred to as "intellectual property" or "IP".
The term "IP" muddies discussion. Mere semantics? I don't think so ...
15 February 2012
14 February 2012
Let's say some anonymous commentary is threatening to the powerful. Argh, think the Powerful, how do we find these people? We must bash them with sticks!
If you look closely you can see that one of the things powerful people fear is having the physical form dissolve into bits and bytes.
With anonymity you are separating the physical form (the person making, say, a comment on the web) from the physical form (the person's body).
Another example is the decentralised network. Where is the set of servers you can bash with a stick if the network is up to things you don't like?
It might seem trivial and obvious, but there it is.
Whenever there is a transition from the physical form to a more emphemeral, changeable form power protests it.
All power abhors things it can't bash with sticks.
13 February 2012
If, whenever you're grumpy, you're right, it's hard not to be grumpy.
Not being grumpy is a triumph of irrational optimism over being right.
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