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Comment Remember what you're licensing (Score 1) 173

Licensing software is a copyright concept (unless you've patented it). Folks only need a license (and can only be bound by one) if they're infinging on one of the copyright monopolies: making copies, distributing copies, and making derivative works.

So you can only attach conditions of any sort if your proposed licensees will be doing any of those acts. It doesn't sound to me like you could build a license to covers your desire to get credit in papers when somebody has simply used your software. Use of software is not (under most reasonable interpretations of the law, MAI vs. Peak notwithstanding) something that triggers the need for a copyright license.


Submission + - MIT's SAT Math Error

theodp writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that for years now, MIT wasn't properly calculating the average freshmen SAT scores (reg.) used to determine U.S. News & World Report's influential annual rankings. In response to an inquiry made by The Tech regarding the school's recent drop in the rankings, MIT revealed that in past years it had excluded the test scores of foreign students as well as those who fared better on the ACT than the SAT, both violations of the U.S. News rules. MIT's reported first-quartile SAT verbal and math scores for the 2006 incoming class totaled 1380, a drop of 50 points from 2005."

Submission + - Mark Helprin in NYT pushes for copyrights forever

Maximalist writes: "Author Mark Helprin is using this Sunday's NY Times Op-Ed page to whine about just how unjust a confiscation of private property it is when the government allows a copyright to expire. This argument is a crock for any number reasons. Let's compile them all, and compose a letter to the NYT editor from Slashdot laying the smackdown on this agitprop."

Submission + - Should Copyrights Last as Long as ideas?

The_Rook writes: In an opinion piece in the New York Times, "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn't Its Copyright?" Mark Helprin, author of "Winter's Tale," equates copyrights on written works like novels, etc. with physical assets like houses, flour mills, travel agencies, and newspapers. Apparently 70 years after his death is not enough for Mr. Helprin. He wants his descendants to own the copyright on his works forever.

On the way he laments that the Constitution says copyrights are to be granted for "limited times" and is thankful that congress can and has periodically extended the length of copyrights.

Lost on Mr. Helprin is that the entire value of an idea is it's usefulness to others and that public domain enriches more than "stockholders of various businesses."

The essay is not particularly well thought out and is perhaps beneath the attention of the Slashdot community. But it needs to be refuted on the grounds that is perpetuates the fallacy that intellectual property is the same as physical property and that authors have always had right to their intellectual property (which the nasty government has seen fit to take away) rather than the real situation where intellectual property is a fiction created by the government to encourage the creation and publication of creative works.

The article can be read here: n.html?pagewanted=1

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