Re: intellectual property (Re: Totalitarian Assumptions in I, Robot)

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Sun Mar 06 2005 - 23:03:08 MST

--- Thomas Buckner <> wrote:
> ... long section on voting machine abuse ...
> Bear in mind that I am referring you specifically
> to the fact that 'proprietary' status helps
> protect corrupt use of the software/hardware to
> steal elections, by thwarting transparency.
> Sunlight being the best disinfectant, as the
> saying goes.

My understanding is exactly the opposite.
Information is declared proprietary only when it
is NOT legally intellectual property. To claim
copyright on computer code, you have to send in
a copy to the copyright office, which can be
examined. Proprietary information is information
that is kept secret, not information that is subject
to intellectual property laws. At least, that
is how we used it in my company.

It is true that there is an exemption for computer
code, saying that only the first and last 10 pages
(or something like that) need be submitted to the
copyright office. But this makes proving
infringement harder.

As a rule: The existence of intellectual property
laws encourages the revelation of details such as
how voting machine works. The nonexistence of IP
mandates secrecy. So Thom's long article on
voting machines is a clear case in favor of IP law.

- Phil

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