Re: The Perils of Copyright

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Posted by Anders Sandberg on February 07, 19100 at 16:52:21:

In Reply to: The Perils of Copyright posted by Michael Brazier on February 05, 19100 at 01:55:20:

: Here's a possibly interesting question: what are the various colonies'
: attitudes towards the concept of "intellectual property", AKA copyright
: and patent laws? It's an area of the law that currently (RL) is in flux,
: due to the advent of computer networks; therefore it's highly likely that
: (BIGV) the colonies have evolved very different legal codes governing it.
: Such differences are obviously a major concern for the Process, and for
: anyone proposing to transfer important ideas from one colony to another.
: They might also provide some interesting scenario hooks.


My take on it would be that Nova takes copyright very, very seriously. You are
your media image, and people mainly create information of various kinds -
hence copyright violations are theft of the worst kind. Using AI it might
even be possible to scan the net for violations, something that hampers RL
copyright enforcement.

Atlantis is another fairly clear case, they have practically no copyright
or patent system. This is mainly based on various rants I have overheard on
libertarian forums :-) The idea is that instead of preventing people from
copying stuff, just come up with new stuff faster so that yesterday's stuff
is obsolete.

I guess New America is somewhere in between. It is an information economy,
but not as extreme as Nova or as unrestricted as Atlantis. I don't really know
how intellectual property would be handled there (since it is so much like the
real world, where I'm also uncertain about how things ought to work).

Penglai is probably less strict than New America, unless the view has changed
due to the emergence of an information society. I think intellectual property
in a Chinese context is more based on authority and respect for past authors
than the western capitalist view, but I'm not certain how it would be expressed.

Arcadia is rather communitarian. I would imagine a more relaxed but credibility
based system, a bit like the open source community. You may copy things, but
pay the shareware fee or at least acknowledge the originator. Otherwise you
shame yourself and your hive.

Ridgewell and Dionysos might be something like this too, or a bit more like
the current system.

In Mary it is likely solved by simply assuming that everything belongs to the
community and should be managed by the relevant authorities :-)

Gaia and Negsoa doesn't have the problem at all.

And Traha... oh dear, Trahan intellectual property laws... I guess it is an
awfully complex question about law, propriety, economics and tradition that
requires a lengthy academic study.

: For example, let's assume a Nova citizen travels to another colony, and
: takes along an AI he owns personally, or one owned by a company he works
: for. What is the AI's legal status in the various colonies? And what
: happens to a copy of the AI, if it's created outside the Nova system?

Exactly. Themis has designs along these lines - when I ran the campaign, it
bought citizenship on Atlantis and went on to make quite a nice business
career. But I guess Nova companies would regard it as a foreign pirate version...
However, this mixes AI rights into the copyright problem too, making it a total
mess. Since there is nothing like the Berne treaty among the planets (although
a lawyer might make the case that the planets founded by national states should
be regarded as treaty members due to a grandfathering clause or something similar)
at the start of contact there is no system at all for deciding these things.
Even if some colonies try to set it up, some colonies might refuse (Atlantis
both lacks central government and has an ideological stance against it most likely).
All sorts of fun possibilities!

: Or assume a case of technological "theft" between colonies -- someone
: learns a useful technique on one colony, then goes to another and sets up
: a business around that technique. Would the inventor be able to assert a
: legal claim against this person? Could the "thief", contrariwise, lock
: out any subsequent importers of the technique?

I think that it depends on what system could be set up to deal with these
interstellar law matters. This is one of the big things for the Process and
other groups wanting to influence the human sphere to do - without some kind
of interstellar law things can quickly get out of hand.

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