Cryptography Imaginary Property: Formalities of Cypherpunk

rysiek rysiek at
Tue Jan 13 11:31:03 PST 2015

Hi there,

Dnia wtorek, 13 stycznia 2015 15:14:06 Robert Hettinga pisze:
> > The question is not about encrypted materials, but about encryption
> > algorithms and tools, as far as I understand.
> Patents and copyrights aren’t property. They’re government granted
> monopolies. They’re no more property than your driver’s license.

Well, I have posted this link on this list at least several times, but here it 
goes again:

tl;dr we're agreed here

> Property is the application of mind to *matter*, to quote a great Flash
> animation.


> An idea can not be property. Ever.


> So. Again. If it’s *encrypted*, and I have the key, it’s my property. I
> control the physical bits.
> Otherwise it’s not my property.

It is not, actually. If you're going for such a strong definition of property, 
with which I can agree, than let's stay coherent, shall we? The property of 
yours is the physical device the bits are saved on. The harddrive, DVD, 
pendrive, whatever. That's your *property*. The encrypted data is just this: 
encrypted data.

Otherwise you would find yourself in an interesting world where applying 
encryption to data (both of which are not property, right) magically 
transforms something immaterial and "not-property" into "property".

That's the world the MPAA's/RIAA's/MAFIAA's are trying to create, look no 
further than the DMCA, under which even the simplest encryption algorithm 
(say, ROT13) applied to copyrighted material by the rights holder makes it 
illegal for others to publish the key (in this case, 13), as it becomes the 
"property" of the encrypting party. Look it up.

Data, encrypted or not, are not property; however, they can fall under a 
number of state-granted monopolies, as you have said. Here, I even changed the 
topic of this e-mail for your convenience.

And in this vein my previous mail has been written -- as far as I understand, 
the original question was about how encryption *algorithms* (and *not* 
encrypted data itself) should be handled from the Imaginary Property Law 
standpoint (so: patents, copyrights, etc).

And I have provided an answer from my perspective in said previous mail.

Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

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