CPSC 430 – July 9, 2010

I’m currently taking CPSC 430 and one of the requirements is to keep a journal throughout the term. I will be blogging here my class notes, thoughts, and links as they come up that are relevant to the course material. Also, see the other posts in the CPSC 430 category.

  • Creative Commons
  • Intellectual Property in International Context
    • WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization
    • TRIPS – agreement
    • Berne Convention – 1886 international agreement regarding copyright
  • Levy on blank media
    • $0.21 per blank CD, $2-25 for MP3 players
    • Specified personal use only
  • Open Source
    • Commercialization vs distribution
  • Poor Man’s copyright
    • Mail to self
    • Problems – pre-sending
    • Copyright is $50/$65
    • Patent is $5000-$10000 not including legal fees
    • Violates Kantianism – exploiting individuals as means to end
    • Inhibits innovation
    • Right of first refusal
    • Courier companies may have agreement not to use as a timestamp
  • Submarine patent
    • Patent intentionally delayed
    • E.g., GIF/LZW

Today in our group activity we learned about two types of patent systems:  The first was first-to-invent, and the second was first-to-file.  As you can imagine, the former method allows true inventors to contest patents if they can prove they invented it before the patent’s invention date, the latter method is a simpler system which grants patents to the first applicant.  The first-to-file system is used in Canada and the EU, while the first-to-invent system is used in the U.S. and Philippines.  Although the first-to-invent system is fairer, it costs a lot of money and resources to determine the true inventor, sometimes it is even impossible.  On the other hand, the inventor’s rights to patent cannot be guaranteed in the first-to-file system, and often the quality of patents is much lower with this system.  We didn’t come up with a conclusion for the best system because both have their advantages and disadvantages.

CPSC 430 – July 5, 2010

I’m currently taking CPSC 430 and one of the requirements is to keep a journal throughout the term. I will be blogging here my class notes, thoughts, and links as they come up that are relevant to the course material. Also, see the other posts in the CPSC 430 category.

  • IP (intellectual property) – any product of human intellect that has commercial value
  • IP != its physical manifestation
  • Property rights –based on culture – e.g., western more individual, first nations more communal
    • “manifest destiny” – in US – expansion east to west + make use of natural resources
    • old fashioned view = Locke – pioneering – can claim property from nature through own labour as long as left over + not more than one can use
  • Open source based on altruism – personal sacrifice for good
    • How higher education research supposed to be based, but more recently focusing on capitalizing on IP
  • Congress strikes compromise by IP copyright for limited time before public domain
    • Society benefits from PD
  • Trade secrets – not legally protected (most likely use NDA, etc)
  • Trade Mark / Service Mark – establish a brand name – does not expire
  • Patent – invention ~20 years
    • Takes years to grant – “patent pending”
  • Copyright
    • Creep – now copyrighted stuff will not be PD in our lifetimes

In the group activity today our group answered the question of whether the fair use rules are fair in themselves.  We came to the conclusion that the four deciding factors are the best that we have so far (which is why we are still using them).  In addition they to strike a reasonable balance between the copyright holder, the public as users and the potential market value.

Removing the MyBB Copyright Illegally is a Bad Idea

Update 2020/11/13: Since 2008, MyBB has been released under the GPL or LGPL licences, which do not contain the clauses mentioned in the following blog post.  It is now permissible for forum administrators to remove the Powered By line, however, support on the official MyBB community forums is conditional on displaying the Powered By line.

All administrators of MyBB probably know of the MyBB License one way or another. However, it has come to my attention that there are some people who just can’t get their head around one statement in the license. It happens to be this one:

The MyBB Group has several copyright notices and “powered by” lines embedded within the product. You must not remove, alter or hinder the visibility of any of these statements (including but not limited to the copyright notice at the top of files and the copyright/powered by lines found in publicly visible “templates”).

Is the text too difficult to understand? Personally I think we have made this as clear and as inambiguous as possible. Would you not agree? To me, it is quite easy to understand from this quotation that I am not allowed to remove any copyright notice and “powered by” statements which have been already written into the files distributed in the MyBB package. I don’t see any other way of interpreting it.

Is the license too difficult to find? The license is distributed in the Documentation folder of the full MyBB package. It is also displayed when the forum is installed. By installing a forum, the administrator has to at least see one, if not both instances where the license is displayed during the installation of a forum.

Are you that ashamed of running MyBB? I have seen MyBB forums changing the “powered by” line to other software such as vBulletin. I mean, if you like vBulletin, or IPB, or the other software that much, why not use that instead? Why mask MyBB as another software? Is there something wrong with using MyBB? If so, I’d suggest you voice your feedback on the MyBB Community Forums. We respect all feedback, and we take in your suggestions when we’re developing the next version of MyBB. We want to make MyBB something that you and your users want to use. This isn’t just for our own benefit.

I spent an hour tonight surfing the web looking for violators, and with a simple web search, I was able to find around 40 within the time I spent. And that was only for one search. I’m sure there are hundreds of forums out there who have removed the MyBB copyright and/or “powered by” lines.

To the MyBB forum owners who have removed the copyright and/or “powered by” lines, it isn’t a matter of if your forum will be found, it’s when. We enforce our License to the fullest extent possible, including legal action if required. How would it feel if you spent hours working on something to have it taken by another person who claims it is theirs? Not too happy I’d assume. We aren’t either.

Support us, and we will support you. It’s only two lines with links to the official MyBB homepage at the bottom of your forum. Is that too much to ask really?

If you really despise the copyright lines that much, please consider purchasing the privilege of removing the copyright on one board with a small payment to Chris Boulton. Please contact him for more details about this.

PS: Thanks to everybody (the majority of MyBB administrators) who is adhering to the License and thus supporting us 🙂