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Re: gpl licensing

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: gpl licensing
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 22:21:19 +0100

On Tue, 05 Dec 2006 14:48:46 +0000
Rui Miguel Silva Seabra <> wrote:

> A government GRANTED and TEMPORARY MONOPOLY right is not property.

So land cannot be property by your definition.

> You can say there's "enough similar" characteristics, but there are
> also many "totally dissimilar" characteristics so it can't be like
> property.

There are quite a lot of differences between real estate and stocks,
but no-one questions that both are property. 

> Immateriality, duplicability at (marginally) zero cost, non scarse,
> etc...

Stocks can be duplicated. Water isn't exactly scarce on this planet,
but people can own springs. And mind you, good software is hard to
find. Copies of good and bad software is something else, but the copies
do not make the software - people do. And while they are creating
software (good and bad) they have to buy food, and pay for lodging. So
one way or another, software has to be something that pays for food,
but that does not mean it should be packaged as a cereal.

It's all about conventions. If we, as society, accept that something
(and it doesn't matter what that something is) can be owned, it becomes
property. Slaves were property not because of some inherent
characteristic, but because society considered them property. 

Now it is true that once recorded on a computer medium, software (but
also novels, music, pictures etc) can easily be duplicated at near
zero cost. That does not matter as long as there is a consensus that
these things should be considered property.

Some people do not believe that real estate (or certainly land) should
be considered property. Some people consider that companies should not
be property. What matters is what is accepted by a majority of people.

Stefaan A Eeckels
"A ship in the harbor is safe. But that's not what ships are built for."
                                -- Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper.

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