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NY Times: Whose Intellectual Property Is It, Anyway? The Open Source War

Aug 24, 2000, 17:28 (8 Talkback[s])

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[ Thanks for this link to Bryan Taylor, who says: "Every once in a while a journalist writes an article that might help the masses 'get it'. This is one such article." ]

"On one side are the big conglomerates that sell gadgets, music, toys, movies, text, cars and tools to the world. They're discovering that intellectual property laws covering trademarks, patents and copyrights can be potent tools to block criticism and keep consumers on a very short leash. All it takes is a SWAT team of well-financed lawyers to stomp out opposition."

"On the other side are the folks who think that they actually own what they purchase. They may be car buffs who want to rebore their engine blocks, musicians who want to make copies of tunes to play in their cars or computer owners who want to fix nasty bugs. They all want to get at the guts of the technology because that's where the power is."

"In computer terminology, they want to tinker with the source code, the instructions for the computer that are understandable by a programmer. ... In the past, getting at the source of one thing or another was one of the hallmarks of the American can-do spirit. ... Today, that kind of curiosity makes you a hacker. ... To the conglomerates, poking around inside a gadget is just another form of theft."

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