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The new copyspeak

Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Electronics Assn., writes on c|net about the new “copyspeak”.

Why copyrights aren’t “property” — “Real property is subject to ownership taxes. Real property lasts forever and can be owned forever. A copyright can be owned only for a limited period of time. Indeed, the United States Constitution declares this. More, copyright law must bow to the First Amendment, which expressly allows people to use a copyrighted product without the permission of the copyright owner. ” (thanks, Tomalak)


  1. Scot Hacker

    A fair point, but leaves an open question: If he has a problem with the word “property” in this context, what word does he propose be used in its stead?

    Also, there are other forms of property where ownership applies only for a limited time – like a timeshare condo – those things are still property despite their temporary status.

  2. Dylan Tweney

    Instead of “property,” how about “copyright” or “patent”? Those terms are well-established in the legal lexicon as well as common usage. And they’re not fraught with the kind of misleading connotations that “intellectual property” is.

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