Van Helsing and the Public Domain

Greg London email at
Thu May 13 09:53:35 EDT 2004

Mark Carter said:
> Hi Greg.
>>I never said authors don't own their works.
>>I simply said that it's not a natural right,
>>its a legally created concept, allowed by
> I think the best illustration that copyright is a natural right is
> simply that if I write some awe-inspiring enlightening book, it's
> entirely up to me whether I will then disseminate that book to the
> masses, or smile with satisfaction and, in the spirit of impermanence,
> throw it in the fireplace.

What you are talking about is the difference
between "Trade Secret" and "Copyright".

If you create a work and hold it private,
it may qualify as a trade secret, with
some limited legal protection.

If you distribute a single copy, then
it loses trade secret status and can
only recieve the protections of copyright.

"Fair Use" does not apply to trade secrets,
and there was a court case where someone
quoted private works and was successfully

Once you distribute the writing, however,
Fair Use is allowed.

Furthermore, trade secret affords zero protection
from reverse engineering. Had you created some
magnificent new invention, rather than some
enlightened book, you can hold it as a trade
secret if you wish, however if you mass produce
the device and someone reverse engineers how it
works, you have lost all patent rights to your

If it was some sort of "Natural Right", then
the first person to Write or Invent a new
intellectual concept would have total rights,
for all eternity, no matter if he told the
world or held it private. But that's not the
way it works.

There is nothing in NATURE that causes the
first writer or first inventor of an idea
to gain a monopoly on that idea.
It is not a natural right.
It is a legally created enforcement.

:When in the Course of human events it becomes
:necessary for one people to dissolve the
:political bands which have connected them with
:another and to assume among the powers of the
:earth, the separate and equal station to which
:the **Laws of Nature** and of Nature's God entitle

The laws of nature supports the notion that
all men, all women, are to be viewed with
separate and equal station (importance)
before the eyes of the law. There is no
"divine right of kings" that gives one person
a "natural right" to hold rule over the planet.

The laws of nature, however, are open and free
to all men, all women, and does not predispose
itself to the first inventor who discovers its
secrets. Nor do words or ideas impress themselves
more importantly into the individual who first
utters them or puts them to parchment.

Nature is, by its nature, Public Domain.

It is only by way of the legal structures
of Section 8 and all its manifestations
that U.S. Citizens must bow to the legal
rights of authors and inventors.

Nature doesn't give a damn who was first.

Intellectual rights are NOT natural rights.

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