June 4th, 2007

device

What Colour are your Bits?

[Okay, let's see if this works. It's my first attempt to post via
email, to get around the current size-limit problems...]

Thanks to mindways for pointing out the essay "What
Colour are your Bits?"
, which apparently made the rounds last year
without my noticing it. It's a fascinating examination of the different
ways that lawyers and computer folks think about intellectual property,
and the inherent conflict therein. It's gets particular geek points for
appropriately using Paranoia (the RPG) as its central metaphor.

The followup
article
, from a couple of months later, is also well worth a read,
not least for demonstrating the folly of trying to write law as if it
was a program. (He takes one particular law, and shows how to tie it in
knots by applying the undecidability problem to it.)

Good stuff, particularly recommended to anyone in the computer field who
doesn't get why The Lawyers Just Don't Get It -- it really helps clarify
the ways in which both sides are often coming from completely different
sets of assumptions...