The Feudal Lord Analogy

RD rod at
Mon Mar 25 01:59:01 UTC 2002

Even if one could successfully obtain coverage for a software program of
all of the "intellectual property" laws existing or recognized in the
U.S., the scope of those protections would not be coextensive.  Whether
the point is pertinent I am unsure, but for whatever it is worth, I
think Stallman's point is well-taken. "Intellectual property" is a
loaded term that is increasingly connoting a strange sense of property
and an oddly wide-ranging scope of interests. To thwart this trend, as
Stallman points out, we should be more precise in our use of
terms...[but I would add] to the extent that it makes sense.


Rod Dixon
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Rutgers University Law School - Camden
rod at

My papers on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) are available
through the 
following url:


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Richard Stallman [mailto:rms at] 
> Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2002 7:20 PM
> To: irm at
> Cc: kenbrown at; jcowan at; 
> nelson at; brian at; 
> license-discuss at; moglen at
> Subject: Re: The Feudal Lord Analogy
>     Since the beginning, software works were placed under the 
> protection
>     of Copyright Laws.
> If we replace the propaganda term "protection" with a neutral 
> term such as "coverage", this is a true and useful 
> statement--because you said "copyright".  If you replace 
> "copyright" with "intellectual property", that would make it 
> uselessly vague.
> It is a mistake to try to think about "intellectual 
> property", because at that level of generalization one loses 
> all the important details that give copyrights, patents, and 
> trademarks their effects.
> --
> license-discuss archive is at

license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list