|Re: By chance I spoke with two attorneys|
Message #17 Posted by Viktor Toth on 16 Nov 2000, 3:47 a.m.,
in response to message #16 by Bob Henderson
Don't get me wrong, I am all for the protection of IP rights; after all, I make a living writing software, and I'd be royally po'd if I found someone ripping off my code, even if he tries to defend his theft by stating that it was not for commercial use or whatever.
But sometimes I have the feeling that this thing is going a bit too far. My publisher, for instance, told me that it's a good idea not to put a comment block containing the author's name at the top of example programs that go on a CD accompanying a programming book, otherwise people will be reluctant to use the examples, fearing that they may be violating copyright. Examples from a book that is supposed to be teaching you Windows programming, for crying out loud!
Then there are those cases on the Internet that have gained notoriety, the most recent one is the shutdown of the MathWorld Web site (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/) because of a publisher's somewhat agressive interpretation of a contract as it concerned an author's prior, related work. It is these instances that sometimes make me think that we have become far too litigious (and unfortunately, the US appears to lead in this regard; hey, even the presidential election ended up in the courts!)
So here you have my solemn promise that I won't put HP logos on cheap Chinese calculators (HP is doing that already, sigh), I won't copy rental videotapes, and I won't run ripped off software on my computer. But if I find a way to replace a damaged or missing back label on an HP calculator in my collection, I'll do so without a second thought. (That said, should it come to pass that I ever sell, or trade, such a calculator, I consider it my duty to inform the buyer that the label isn't the original one; just as I would make it clear if the calculator contained a card reader wheel that was replaced or a circuit that was repaired.)