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NewsForge: Why the Term 'Intellectual Property' is a Seductive Mirage

Oct 29, 2004, 00:15 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard M. Stallman)

"It has become fashionable to describe copyright, patents, and trademarks as 'intellectual property.' This fashion did not arise by accident--the term systematically distorts and confuses these issues. Anyone wishing to think clearly about any of these laws would do well to resist it.

"One effect of the term is a bias that is not hard to see: It suggests thinking about copyright, patents and trademarks by analogy, with property rights for physical objects. (This analogy is at odds with the legal philosophies of copyright law, of patent law, and of trademark law, but only specialists know that...)"

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