[Foundation-l] Re-licensing

Mike Godwin mgodwin at wikimedia.org
Fri Jan 23 18:37:57 UTC 2009

Anthony writes:

> Maybe you could explain the etymology of that term for us, Mike.   
> Your last
> paragraph seems to imply that you understand it.

Thanks.  But surely you don't expect me to tutor you on "moral rights"  
jurisprudence when the materials you need are widely available  

> In any case, how do you propose that we can continue in a way that  
> doesn't
> confuse you with sentences like "moral rights are a type of moral  
> rights"?

I don't feel confused -- it seems to me quite clear where you've gone  

>>> There is a fundamental difference between a right
>>> granted by law and a pre-existing right recognised by law.
>> Is this difference based on anything in the physical world?
> Sure, it's based on whether or not the jurisdiction recognizes the  
> right.

Oh, you're using "fundamental" in a way I wasn't expecting. I thought  
you meant to be understood as saying that the "pre-existing right" had  
an independent existence, outside of jurisprudence.

>> It's true that religious beliefs don't have great force in Western
>> courtrooms. I dismiss this particular religious belief not because
>> it's irrelevant in a courtroom, however, but because there is no
>> evidence in the physical world that this difference exists.
> In what way is the concept of moral rights a religious belief?

It's invisible, unanalyzable, and an article of faith among believers.

>> Thomas, you may believe that the longstanding debate between  
>> natural law and positivists has been resolved in favor of the  
>> former, but
>> there's no sign that this is true with regard to copyright.
> You could have saved us a lot of time by saying that instead of  
> pretending
> you didn't know what I was talking about.

I actually didn't know what you were talking about, since you use  
language so imprecisely.

>> If what
>> you were saying were widely accepted, it would be odd that "moral
>> rights" obtain as to copyright/creative expression but not as to
>> things like property ownership and personal liberty.
> That would be odd if it were true.  But it isn't.  Theft and slavery  
> are
> morally wrong, in addition to (and regardless of) being illegal.

I happen to agree that they are morally wrong, but not as a function  
of natural-rights jurisprudence. I don't, however, believe abridgement  
of rights in copyright is morally wrong (although of course I don't  
approve of it).   There's a distinction between malum prohibitum and  
malum in se.

>> I have a right to your house.   Oh, sure, it's not recognized by
>> anyone, but I promise I have it!
> Why would you call it *my* house, then?


> In any case, moral rights are recognized by many people, just not
> indisputably under Florida law.

Florida law? I thought we were talking about copyright.

> I see, so you *were* being intentionally obtuse.  To try to teach me  
> a lesson.  I have to admit I'm glad that's what it was.  To have to  
> conclude
> that you were a complete dolt would have been much more shocking  
> than the
> conclusion that you're a troll.
> And I did learn a lesson.  I learned about your ignorance of right and
> wrong, and got a glimpse of the nihilism it stems from.

You seem confused here. Sometimes you want to attribute ignorance to  
me, and sometimes you think I'm intentionally pretending to be  
ignorant in order to teach you a lesson.  I don't think you can  
consistently hold both views with regard to the same subject matter.

Next time you should reflect a little and review your posting before  
you hit the Send button.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list