Right to copy secrets
Thu, 2 Mar 2000 14:50:41 +0100
I just posted a serious reply to a would-be-funny-but-based-on-misconception
comment on Slashdot. Here is the text of my post [with an additional comments
within brackets], beginning with a quote of the original post:
Perhaps the policy of GPL-ing top-secret documents
and spy communiqués should be reviewed and revised
Ttttt. Don't confuse Rights and Opportunity. Everyone has the _Right_
to copy, modify and distribute our top secret information.
But if we're good, no one will have the _Opportunity_.
And if we're not so good and the information does fall into enemy hands,
then no amount of weeping about bogus rights will save us.
Of course, if someone does something wrong so as to access the information
(such as breaking into our house), then we may legitimately prosecute them
for this deed. But we may not prosecute them for having the information
itself, or prosecute anyone else who uses it without having taken part in
the possible illegitimate activities involved. If _we_ want to secure some
information, it is _our_ duty to take appropriate measures [and similarly,
if we want to access information, it is our duty to take appropriate
measures]. Governments shouldn't [mustn't] interfere by granting
"intellectual property" privileges and otherwise asserting various
Justice is not concerned with the results of the various transactions
but only with whether the transactions themselves are fair.
-- F.A. Hayek, "Law, Legislation and Liberty", I.6.j
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