Technology

Lessig Vs. Winer

Lessig: “When the system protects Hemingway, we at least get to see how Hemingway writes. We get to learn about his style and the tricks he uses to make his work succeed. We can see this because it is the nature of creative writing that the writing is public. There is no such thing as language that conveys meaning while not simultaneously transmitting its words. Software is different: Software gets compiled, and the compiled code is essentially unreadable; but in order to copyright software, the author need not reveal the source code. Thus, while the English department gets to analyze Virginia Woolf’s novels to train its students in better writing, the computer science department doesn’t get to examine Apple’s operating system to train its students in better coding.”

Balderdash, says Dave. “Lessig’s analogy doesn’t work. You can not see how Hemingway wrote, you can only see the words he published, the publication does not reveal the process. Similarly with software, students are free to study the published work, and use that as prior art (patents notwithstanding). Lessig’s analogy is wrong.” [Scripting News]

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