[sldev] My question about intellectual property and Second Life

azdel slade secondloop at gmail.com
Wed Aug 27 15:20:00 PDT 2008

I don't understand why people keep using this term Intellectual
Property with respect to Second Life. It seems to me that we're
talking about Copyright, who has the privilege to copy items to where
when depending on the license the original author chose.

For future discussions, it would be awesome if people would take a
look at this article...


"It has become fashionable to toss copyright, patents, and trademarks
— three separate and different entities involving three separate and
different sets of laws — into one pot and call it "intellectual
property". The distorting and confusing term did not arise by
accident. Companies that gain from the confusion promoted it. The
clearest way out of the confusion is to reject the term entirely...

The term carries a bias that is not hard to see: it suggests thinking
about copyright, patents and trademarks by analogy with property
rights for physical objects. (This analogy is at odds with the legal
philosophies of copyright law, of patent law, and of trademark law,
but only specialists know that.) These laws are in fact not much like
physical property law, but use of this term leads legislators to
change them to be more so. Since that is the change desired by the
companies that exercise copyright, patent and trademark powers, the
bias of "intellectual property" suits them...

Another problem is that, at the broad scale of "intellectual
property", the specific issues raised by the various laws become
nearly invisible. These issues arise from the specifics of each
law—precisely what the term "intellectual property" encourages people
to ignore. For instance, one issue relating to copyright law is
whether music sharing should be allowed. Patent law has nothing to do
with this. Patent law raises issues such as whether poor countries
should be allowed to produce life-saving drugs and sell them cheaply
to save lives. Copyright law has nothing to do with such matters.

Neither of these issues is solely economic in nature, and their
noneconomic aspects are very different; using the shallow economic
overgeneralization as the basis for considering them means ignoring
the differences. Putting the two laws in the "intellectual property"
pot obstructs clear thinking about each one.

Thus, any opinions about "the issue of intellectual property" and any
generalizations about this supposed category are almost surely
foolish. If you think all those laws are one issue, you will tend to
choose your opinions from a selection of sweeping overgeneralizations,
none of which is any good."

On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 4:16 PM, Brandon Lockaby <gbrandon at gmail.com> wrote:
> I have one question about intellectual property and Second Life.  Please
> consider how much this clarification will help focus the discussions of
> intellectual property.
> Is Linden Lab responsible for protecting the intellectual property of the
> content creators who deposit content in Second Life?
> My understanding is that Linden Lab is responsible for responding to DMCA
> claims, like any other service provider should.  But the suggestion of
> machine-enforceable copy protection--is it out of scope, or not?
> I really hope it's not too grating to ask this.  Is there another forum
> where we should seek an answer (please don't say JIRA and have us wait a
> year though :D)?
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