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Thread: copyright of numbers

  1. #1 copyright of numbers 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    what do you think would have happened if someone copyrighted or patented numbers?
    language?

    i hope this raises some important questions on copyright and patent, because i believe it is choking innovation.


    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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  3. #2  
    Forum Junior Kolt's Avatar
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    Honestly, I don't think it would work. That would be like trying to copyright the color RED

    "Excusse me Miss'. I have a patent here that grants me full ownership of the color red which, unfortunately, happens to be the color of your blouse. As a result, I am going to have to ask you to remove that article of clothing." ....(Slaap!)


    Say you owned the number 7 and you show up at your best friends daughters 7th birthday party.

    "Oh I'm sorry honey but you cannot legally turn seven today without paying me the propper fees. You? Oh no. I don't expect you to pay because your still just a minor. You see, thats your daddy's job."

    (Crying)... "Mommy! The weird man said that I can't have a birthday!"


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  4. #3  
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    no no no! the numerical system!
    someone invented the base-10 number system!
    it was an improvement over the roman number system, and the dots used by
    pythagoras. jeez.

    just as someone invented language for communication.
    the colour red can't be copyrighted, but i'm sure the usage of the colour red in a specific context could.
    algebra could be copyrighted as well, since its an advanced form of mathematics.
    i am thinking, where would we be today, if someone back then copyrighted the 10-base numerical system. or the roman letters.

    regular people would be forced to use inferior numeral systems, while a minor elite, who had bought into these systems, got to use them.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    why do you say it was one person in each of these cases?
    language is not the life work of one person it is the contribution of millions or even billions of people thoughout history and hence no one person can claim the rights of ownership to it...even if it was one person that one person would be dead, buried and decomposed to the extent that we wouldn't even know who their decendants were, so not even they can claim rights and royalties to it.

    then secondly if someone copyrighted language it would violate the freedom of speech acts and surely this would not be stood for.

    same goes for numerical systems, mathematics and other fields of knowledge.
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  6. #5  
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    uhm freedom of speech? didn't that come like about 30-40 000 years after language was invented?
    no i mean, if there was copyright laws back then, and they back then had a company, back then, that copyrighted, or patented the base-10 system.
    where would the rest of the world be today? nowhere!

    so basically copyright may seem like a good thing, but its evil, egoistical etc, because it stalls development.

    an example, disney copyrighted the word "tarzan" a few years back.
    and a small group of school children wanted to perform a play named "rubber-tarzan" which has nothing to do with the kreegah bondolo guy o the jungle, its a danish story of a skinny little boy who gets pushed around by everyone.
    yet this play was stopped by the disney corporation, because it contained the words tarzan, even though this book is from the 50s, which is way before disney bought the rights for the name tarzan.

    so in that way, i believe copyrights are choking innovation, and sooner or later its going to lock down society.

    so in that way, what if, back then, someone copyrighted numbers. the 10-base numerical system for example. the world would have collapsed? yes?

    nowadays you have copyright laws for stuff on computers. and computer stuff.. well, its sorta floaty. its like copyrighting an idea you have in your head.
    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore Nanobrain's Avatar
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    I do believe that patents can tend to choke the molecular biology field, due to scientists patenting every labelistic gene they find.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor wallaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    uhm freedom of speech? didn't that come like about 30-40 000 years after language was invented?
    however if language were copyrighted, as it currently is not, documents containing language could not be destroyed or rendered invalid or illegal as this would be applying the copyright retrospectively. this applies to the documents containing the freedom of speech and general expression through all mediums of comunication which all people should be entitled to hence the copyright would not be a valid point for restraining the use of language.

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    no i mean, if there was copyright laws back then, and they back then had a company, back then, that copyrighted, or patented the base-10 system.
    where would the rest of the world be today? nowhere!

    so basically copyright may seem like a good thing, but its evil, egoistical etc, because it stalls development.

    an example, disney copyrighted the word "tarzan" a few years back.
    and a small group of school children wanted to perform a play named "rubber-tarzan" which has nothing to do with the kreegah bondolo guy o the jungle, its a danish story of a skinny little boy who gets pushed around by everyone.
    yet this play was stopped by the disney corporation, because it contained the words tarzan, even though this book is from the 50s, which is way before disney bought the rights for the name tarzan.
    tarzan as a book was written in 1912. so where is innovation being choked here? as i said before, Disney can't sue for royalties on a book published before the copyright was enacted but they do have the right to prevent their trade mark being used in a play by that name, the problem with changing the name being?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    so in that way, i believe copyrights are choking innovation, and sooner or later its going to lock down society.

    so in that way, what if, back then, someone copyrighted numbers. the 10-base numerical system for example. the world would have collapsed? yes?
    base ten numeral system is in the same boat as language, just another means of expressing your ideas on paper right?

    Quote Originally Posted by dejawolf
    nowadays you have copyright laws for stuff on computers. and computer stuff.. well, its sorta floaty. its like copyrighting an idea you have in your head.
    you mean computer programs?
    whats floaty about that, you design it you patent it and copyright the trademark or name and you and only you have the rights to sell or distribute it... in theory.
    however in the age of music, movies and program file sharing copyright doesn't seem to stop it from happening.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Im gonna copyright the word "copyright". that'll stuff them all up !!
    I was wondering the other day, when pondering about what he should call his newly found patented company, did Mr Bill Gates decide upon a company name which reflected part of his anatomy ?
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

    www.leohopkins.com
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  10. #9  
    Time Lord
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    What's funny is it probably could happen. Suppose someone finds a 2,000,000 digit prime number to use in encryptions. He might apply for a copyright of some kind just because he found it.

    I agree that a lot of copyrights/patents are just very obstructive in nature. I've seen some cases that kind of stretch the limit in some patent searches I've done.

    Here's an example: The idea of a robotic hand that is operated by cables that are pulled by an actuator from outside of the hand instead of putting the motor/actuators in the hand itself. Basically a puppet hand.

    My issue with it is: The real problem of robotics is how to create compact actuators. Suppose someone solves that problem. Now they have to get permission in order to apply their design to robotic hands.
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