Subject: Re: reading/writing bytes smaller than 8 bits?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/01/28
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Marco Antoniotti <>
| The question I had in mind was: can Harlequin implement the API described
| in a Franz Copyrighted document?

  this "question" is an insult to people who provide information to the
  community.  just because they see no reason to give away everything and
  every right to their work does not mean that they are bastards out to
  control people's reasonable courses of action.  copyright is a fairly
  well-defined legal concept -- it does not preclude understanding and
  using the information and ideas whose expression is protected from
  reproduction, and never has precluded such use.  in particular, copyright
  does not affect the implementability of a specification.

| This is what I read here.  Apologies if my question was too concise.

  I really think you need to study some copyright law.  unfounded fears
  such as the ones you have expressed can lead to no good, especially if
  they go unchecked and you actually believe that affixing a copyright
  notice to a specification has any bearing on its implementability.

  sometimes, I wonder if the reason people favor free software is that they
  have zero clue about the freedoms and rights they actually _have_ within
  the boundaries of intellectual property law, and maybe the bone-headed
  intellectual-property lawyers of, say, DVD-CCA, tend to reinforce their
  fears, too, but hysterics like fearing that a copyright notice would not
  allow others to implement the functions described in a document, _could_
  explain why people who want source code to everything consistently fail
  to grasp the meaning of "license", in particular, that the GPL is in fact
  a _license_ that grants them a bunch of rights they otherwise do not
  have, and that if they are not granted all these rights by the only legal
  entity that can grant them, they are in fact violating intellectual
  property laws, whether they get prosecuted for it or not, or, indeed,
  whether they are cast as world-class heroes for it or not.  arguing such
  topics requires people to know the rights they have _under_ the law --
  intellectual property is one of those areas where the law grants rights
  that cannot be abridged by contract or agreement.  few "freedom fighters"
  realize that they are often storming open doors and fighting for what
  they already have.  some "freedom fighters" implicitly accuse others of
  denying them rights they cannot be denied, except to the degree that they
  willfully reject the option of exercising them, for which hardly anyone
  else can be held responsible.

  a population which has natural rights and has also been granted rights
  under the law, but which is so ignorant of their rights that they believe
  anyone can take them away from them at will, will live in such fear of
  the law itself that both rights and law lose their meaning.  this is what
  is happening to the ignorant hacker community, quite unlike what _could_
  happen to the knowledgeable hackers of only a few years past.  "ignorance
  of the law is no excuse" cuts both ways.  incompetence in the search for
  freedom will only cause them to find the freedom to be incompetent.