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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The DMCA VS physical property law.

Alright. I really didn't want to cover this topic due to the legal risk I am taking, but I must.

First, I would like to let you know that I understand that physical property =/= intellectual property, but that statement puzzles me. Does that mean intellectual property isn't really property? If so, then no one can own intellectual "property", since it isn't property at all. If it is property, then why can't I buy it, but yet huge mega-corporations can freely buy, sell, and trade it? Is it because I don't have a right to it? If that's the case, then why? Are the owners of huge mega-corporations the only true people and everyone else is inferior?

To understand why I am bringing basic human rights to a battlefield where everyone else is using copyrights and the DMCA as their weapon, one must first understand the point of view I am using.

I am the youngest son of the former president of a well known industrial contracting company and the brother of his successor. I have an inside viewpoint. I also have an outside viewpoint as a disgruntled consumer and a supporter of open source and customizable software. Note that I didn't say free software. Not all free programs are open source, and not all open source programs are free. I prefer Trackmania United Forever over Trackmania nations Forever. The first one is customizable, the second one is free.

Now, You may be wondering why I'm confused about this when the obvious answer is obvious. The answer isn't what you think. It isn't because it's an idea or self-expression, because that's governed by the 1st amendment of the US constitution and makes it even more open to being copied. It's because software is intangible. Software can't be held. Software can be copied, transmitted, given new form, and all this without destroying the original.

Companies don't get that software can be protected in the same way as patented inventions. The GNU General Public License basically does this. Let me put up a chart to compare patent law, the DMCA, and the GNU General Public License.

FeaturePatent LawDMCAGPL
Allows use of productYesYes, with limitationsYes
Allows for access to blueprints/source codeYesNoYes
Allows redistribution, both for free and for sale, provided that credit to the original creator is givenYesNoYes
Allows public exhibitionYesNo, except when covered by fair useYes
Allows changes to be made by third parties as long as the original product is kept intactYesNoYes
(The Big Shocker)Can be soldYesLicensedYes

As you can see, the GNU General Public License is just like patent law, and it works. So really, why do companies use the DMCA and create their own proprietary instead of the GNU General Public License? They have power that they want to keep. They're afraid of losing that power.

Honorable, they are not.

Keep an open mind and open ears,

P.S. I'm sorry if I went off on a tangent, but in a few weeks this will all be tied together. Check back often.

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About Me

Sean McCartin, or 40KEndgame as he is known online as and perfers to be called on the internet, is a High School Senior with more than enough experience in science and engineering and a talent for debate and negotiations. He has also competed in two national level RC racing events, the most recent being the Futaba Nitro Challenge. On 7/28/2010, he caught a 7 foot Sailfish while fishing on a charter boat named the Whipsaw off the coast of Wrightsville Beach, NC.