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   Re: [xml-dev] Joint ownership of the data-dataContainer combination

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This is just an amazingly silly argument, first to last.

On Sun, 20 Apr 2003 04:14:04 EDT
AndrewWatt2000@aol.com wrote:


> Given that the .doc file format is proprietary (anyone disputing that 
> aspect?) the content of the .doc file at that stage, being in this
> case virtually wholly Microsoft proprietary material, belongs to
> Microsoft.

Unless it isn't saved in .doc format.  Check the "save as" dialog for
possible file types.  Are all of those types owned by MS?

> Microsoft has licensed us a tool to manipulate that file, but the file
> format (the data container) continues to belong to Microsoft.

Correct.  The format belongs to them; individual instances of the use of
the format do not.

> 1. Microsoft doesn't own the .doc file format (I don't know of anyone 
> suggesting that, given IP law as it currently exists)

Nope.  Just necessary to prove that the licensed use of a format for
organization does not imply abandonment of ownership of content.

In a nutshell: MS tool licenses do not assert ownership of customer
manufactures.  While it is in principle possible to design a license in
such a way that use of the tool surrenders some rights in ownership to
the tool lessor, MS's licenses are not so written.  Nor are anyone
else's (there have been attempts to assert this sort of ownership when
proprietary protocols+services are used ("All your IP are belong to
us"), but they've typically been withdrawn and modified very quickly
following public outcry).

> For the moment I suggest we simply limit ourselves to a logical
> examination of the proposition of whether a data-dataContainer
> combination is jointly owned.

Okay.  No.  MS doesn't claim ownership.  There is no "de facto"
ownership, because ownership is a concept de jure.  Most vendors of
proprietary-data-format software may be said to be "holding hostage"
customer data, but cannot be said to own it in whole, in part, or at

> Over to those who care to attempt to disprove my, fairly informal,
> thesis that Microsoft has joint ownership of a Microsoft Word file, as
> a consequence of their ownership of the file format which forms part
> of such a file.

Could you go talk to a lawyer, instead, and drop this absurdity?

Amelia A. Lewis                    amyzing {at} talsever.com
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to
others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what
you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.
                -- The Duchess [Lewis Carroll]


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