It's not exactly "theft" is it?

Story: Theft is of IP is allowed without recourse when you are in a contract with MSTotal Replies: 1
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Oct 26, 2004
5:24 AM EDT
I mean, if the contract, agreed to by both parties, says something about allowing MSFT to use the other parties' "Intellectual property", it isn't theft.

Before you accuse me of shilling, I think that contracts like this suck, and nobody would sign them except for the MSFT monopoly, and the fact that MSFT really leverages their monopoly power.

But I also dislike sloppy terminology. For example, pirating a movie or some music isn't "theft" either. It's copyright infringement. In true theft, someone deprives the owner of the use of some property. Copying an MP3 file doesn't deprive the original owner of anything - he/she/it still has the original.

Also, "Intellectual Property" doesn't really exist, at least not legally in the USA. There's patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks/service marks. I think we should avoid using the term "Intellectual Property" since an idea doesn't have the important property of "one instance" that real property, like a car or a laptop or a pencil has. Someone else can, and often does, think of it independently.

Oct 26, 2004
7:16 AM EDT
Responding to the technical use of the word theft I would agree. However, as to the contract being legal I continue to hope for a judiciary that is not so obviously biased towards the corporations. I usually cite a ruling by a court that went against General Motors which cited the disparity between GM and the complaining party. The court ruled that the terms imposed by GM were unreasonable and could only have been done under the unequal status of the parties. I am probably waiting in vain for reality to return to this country where basic fairness plays a role in business law.

I would like you to consider a thought experiment (common in physics, where an actual experiment is impossible with current means, e.g. Astrophysics): say somehow you had dealings with MS that gave you access to their Windows code. You then took part of that code and employed in your proprietary product offering: all of Windows Best Features without the security worries and at a lower cost. When you were arrested for your horrible deed what would the headlines say? "Copyright Infringement" or "Theft of Windows Code!!"?

Just being a bit snide ;-)

Indeed, how do you think MS would characterize your dastardly act!?

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