posted Mar 03, 2001

The real Slim Shady
General IP Issues
3/3/2001; 11:26:14 PM

'But here's the Internet, which at a very fundamental level is all about copying. Consider email, the single most-used application on the Net. You don't ever really "send" a message when you use email. Instead, you make a chain of copies. When you hit the Send button, your ISP's or company's mail server makes a copy of the message. Another mail server, somewhat closer to your message's destination, gets yet another copy, and then another server, then another, and so on until a copy arrives at the recipient's mail server. When that person downloads their message, they make one final copy on their own hard drive, and there it is -- the message has "arrived." Except, unlike a letter, the email message hasn't really traveled, it's merely spawned a handful of copies....'

'As the W.E.L.L.'s old motto goes, "You own your own words." Maybe it's time to formalize that statement legally. Perhaps something akin to "identity right" or "author right" will come to replace copyright.'

I've been calling this the right to integrity... you have the right for people to know that what they see is what you wrote. There's already elementary provision for this in some ways in the copyright system (the so-called "moral rights", in particular the right to be credited for your work, which cannot be sold or bartered), but up until now it's just been an afterthought. It will not be for much longer.

 

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