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Medieval Copy Protection

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the thou-shall-write-your-own-book dept.

Books 226

An anonymous reader writes "In medieval times a 'book curse' was often included on the inside cover or on the last leaf of a manuscripts, warning away anyone who might do the book some harm. Here's a particularly pretty one from Yale's Beinecke MS 214: 'In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin. If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.'"

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226 comments

That's not copy protection (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318070)

That's theft protection. Copyright infringement != theft, remember?

Re:That's not copy protection (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318164)

Slashdot: where we don't bother reading the summary, let alone the article, when writing the headline.

Re:That's not copy protection (0, Offtopic)

tenco (773732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318350)

Guess i'll abandon /. anytime soon. It's become News for the gulli(ble). Stuff that's illogical. With ads.

Re:That's not copy protection (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318676)

Sure you will Spocky. You're just as addicted as any of the the others. Oh you may leave, but soon the craving will set in

Re:That's not copy protection (2, Funny)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318716)

is this supposed to be your first step? If so, posting on slashdot doesn't count on abandoning it.

Re:That's not copy protection (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318192)

Precisely.

The need to curse thieves of expensive hand-written Bibles disappeared when the printing press appeared, and Bibles became as plentiful as leaves to wipe your arse. Then nobody cared if you took it from the church (it was easily replaced). Some even started giving bibles away, in order to educate the masses. And of course the bible is not and never has been copy-protected.

Re:That's not copy protection (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318480)

Never? Can you fork it? Can you modify it? Can you sell it?

Re:That's not copy protection (2, Interesting)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318624)

Well, you *could* - Thomas Jefferson had his own version with a lot removed (1), and others have added to it (2) - but there is a warning toward the end of Revelation (the last book in the Bible) which applies at the very least to that book itself: "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." (Rev 22:18-19, NIV)

1 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible [wikipedia.org]

2 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Mormon [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's not copy protection (2, Interesting)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319142)

You are quoting the warning correctly, but do remember that the exact same warning lies way back in the Old Testament (in the 4th and 12th chapters of Deuteronomy), as Moses warned of adding to the law he had written down. Applying the same interpretation to both readings would not just ban later edits to scriptural works, but the majority of the Old and entirety of the New Testaments.

A careful reading of the language shows that it is a caution against changing specifically the words of the book of prophecy--i.e. Revelation; note that the remainder of the New Testament books deal less with prophecy and more with accounts of actions (Gospels + Acts) and lessons (the Epistles)--rather than the New Testament as a whole.

As an additional point, modern scholars on the authorship of the Johannine works tend to agree that the Gospel of John was written later than the book of Revelation. In other words, the common interpretation of those two verses would cut an entire quarter of the Gospels from the scripture.

Re:That's not copy protection (2, Funny)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318670)

Can you fork it? Can you modify it? Can you sell it?

Nope, you can walk into any bookstore and get the original untranslated version, and only that, for free. There aren't any other versions allowed and nobody ever sells it.

As if the curse did any good (1)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318616)

Guessing at the literacy rates in 1229, what are the chances that a sticky-fingered thief would also be able to read the curse in order to feel the dread that it was meant to create? Did they have a literacy program for miscreants?

Re:That's not copy protection (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318662)

However I've once heard about some valuable illustrated bible in medieval Ireland, of which a monk from another monastery (or maybe it were several, quite probably, I'd say) made (by hand, of course) an exact copy (as exact as copies could be made that way). The monastery who owned the original version didn't like that and wanted the copy to be destroyed. They asked the pope, and the pope indeed ordered that the copy was to be destroyed.

Unfortunately I can't verify that story or give further details (I tried to google, but if it's even on the net, I probably didn't find the right keywords), but if that's true, one could see it as sort of an early copyright case.

Re:That's not copy protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318860)

Your history needs some fleshing out as it's sorely lacking here. While what you outline might be the case in contemporary times, such was not always the case. You might start by checking out English history back in Henry's time, and what laws were put in place concerning copying, distributing and (heaven forbid!) editing the accepted Bible of the time,

Re:That's not copy protection (2)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319130)

And of course the bible is not and never has been copy-protected.

is that because you cannot copyright a fact?

*ducks*

(hopefully the above comment will be seen for the humor intended)

Re:That's not copy protection (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318360)

Maybe there's a pattern here. It looks like it's gotten progressively easier to steal intellectual material. Better living through technology: the human race has now reached a point that it's virtually impossible to prevent theft of this type.

Re:That's not copy protection (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318586)

Thats because it wasn't considered theft until this technology came about.

I imagine if you approached Shakespeare and told him that his plays could be shown across the entire planet without any extra effort on his part - he would be thrilled.

Re:That's not copy protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318694)

Actually... the reason we don't have good copies of Shakespeare's plays and have no idea who he was is largely that *theaters* jealously guarded their scripts and very nearly kept their actors under NDA. The only versions that got published were the ones where someone managed to pay an actor enough to try to reconstruct the script for them.

Re:That's not copy protection (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318718)

I imagine if you approached Shakespeare and told him that his plays could be shown across the entire planet without any extra effort on his part - he would be thrilled.

No, by the time of Shakespeare there had arisen a sentiment among authors that only they had the right to disseminate copies of their works. Poets of, say, the Roman era didn't care that their works were transcribed from recitals, mass-copied by amanuenses and sold in the agora without any money going back to them. The only time they complained was when people put their own names on the work -- plagiarism, not copyright violation (Martial composed a witty epigram to this effect). Playwrights of Shakespeare's era, however, jealously guarded their scripts and tried to put a stop to the unauthorized copies made by audience members.

FBI warning (4, Funny)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318074)

They should put message at the beginning of movies instead of the stupid FBI warning thing.

Re:FBI warning (3, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318170)

I love how even those of us who are in Canada have to sit through the FBI warning. And Canadians have to sit through it twice (English version then French).

They should use warning from The IT Crowd.

Re:FBI warning (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318508)

Heck, those throughout the world, downloading the stuff, apparently also often have the opportunity of sitting through that warning...

Re:FBI warning (2, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318730)

Well, in Germany I don't (with pressed DVDs). I've once selected English language directly when starting a several-language DVD, so I know the spot this is about. But it's easy to avoid even if I want to see the DVD in English, by simply selecting German initially and then switching to English as soon as the main menu appears. I've then tried other languages on that DVD as well, but IIRC the German version was the only one without the spot (one language, I don't remember which, did use a different spot, however).

Re:FBI warning (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318208)

Lawyers from TFA, and the animated FBI warning at the start of it, would like to have a word with you

Re:FBI warning (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318380)

What's the use? the FBI warning is much less effective than the the primitive warning of damnation given above!

Equally Effective (5, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318078)

I see that the effectiveness of DRM hasn't changed in 800 years.

Re:Equally Effective (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318126)

It has actually grown less effective, seeing as how so many people know how to write nowadays.

If it were up to the copyright lobby, owning a pen would be punishable by fines. :P

Re:Equally Effective (4, Insightful)

mackai (1849630) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318526)

The copyright lobby would be more likely want an additional fee added to the purchase of every pen based on the amount of text you could potentially copy before the ink ran out. This fee would be provided to book publishers to offset the losses they might encounter should you decide to copy portions of the book instead of purchasing an additional copy of the book.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318300)

A case can be made that this would be MORE effective, because there are more people who might pay attention to this instead of the silly FBI warnings.

Then again, it's theft protection, not copy protection, as another person noted. After all, they don't care about people copying it, only about people stealing it.

Re:Equally Effective (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318390)

I see that the effectiveness of DRM hasn't changed in 800 years.

Medieval books were often chained in place.

I can't imagine it would have been patricularly healthy to cross the fuedal lord who commisioned a uniquely bound and decorated Book of Hours.

::facepalm:: (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318084)

Yeah...because god, the creator and lord of all things, is going to enforce human laws.

"God must be greater than the greatest of human weaknesses and, indeed, the greatest of human skill. God must even transcend our most remarkable-to emulate nature in its absolute splendor. How can any man or woman sin against such greatness of mind? How can one little carbon unit on Earth-in the backwaters of the Milky Way, the boondocks-betray God, ALMIGHTY? That is impossible. The height of arrogance is the height of control of those who create God in their own image."

Re:::facepalm:: (1, Informative)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318136)

Ahem... that one _is_ one of God's laws: "Thou shalt not steal". Written in stone, no less.

Re:::facepalm:: (1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318212)

No, that's one of man's laws written under the guise of god so people would actually follow it back in the day.

Re:::facepalm:: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318240)

You're just upset because Moses yelled at you for building the golden calf.

Re:::facepalm:: (2, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318250)

Oh, come now. Next thing you're going to say is that all religious rights, texts, and associated constructs... even the religions themselves are simply creations of man! What kind of crazy-talk is that?

Re:::facepalm:: (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318238)

Not steal. It doesn't forbid copying the bible into your own personal notebook. "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself. But the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

"Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine...

"That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Thomas Jefferson

Therefore:

While I can claim ownership of this bible, and label you a "thief" if you steal it (because I have been deprived of use of the computer), I have NO natural right to claim ownership of the ideas contained within. Your copying of text deprives me of nothing. I still possess knowledge.

Two actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318248)

Technically I suppose it is possible to steal and only break one, but most theft is proceeded by the crime of coveting as well.

Re:Two actually (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318266)

"Coveting your neighbor's goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays 'O Come All Ye Faithful,' so you want to get one too." -George Carlin

Re:::facepalm:: (2, Funny)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318530)

Yet someone stole that and wrote it down in a little book called the Bible. Perhaps he should have included some DRM on his tablets...

Re:::facepalm:: (2, Funny)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318554)

Ahem... that one _is_ one of God's laws: "Thou shalt not steal". Written in stone, no less.

The first version was written on papyrus, but someone walked off with it.

Are you sure...? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318618)

Here's the relevant chapter [biblegateway.com] .

Can you point us to the line where it says "Thou shalt not steal"....?

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318690)

About 14 verses back.

*point* [biblegateway.com]

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318744)

I don't see where it says those are the Ten Commandments.

The only place in the Bible where it says "the Ten Commandments" is Exodus 24:38.

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319156)

When I read that though - it doesn't clearly state that those are the ten commandments either, in fact the link you posted starts

"The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke"

which is to say, the original 10 commandments.

And either way, when I read the rest of the passage, I don't see how the rest of what is said is part of the 10 commandments, it sounds like it is an entirely seperate covenant.

But are you trying to say the 10 commandments should be as

1)Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land (Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites). Destroy their Idols.

2) Do not make cast idols.

3)Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast

4)The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.

5)Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

6)Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year

7)Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.

8)Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God

9)Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk

and....

What else? Did I miss one? Or was that first one to be broken into two, not to make treaties and destroying their idols as two seperate commandments?

Re:Are you sure...? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319090)

I just noticed one thing: It doesn't say "Thou shalt have no other gods" but only "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." So obviously it's OK to have other gods, if you only have them after him. :-)

Re:::facepalm:: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318956)

Ahem... that one _is_ one of God's laws: "Thou shalt not steal". Written in stone, no less.

Heh. "I bring you fifteen (CRASH)...ten commandments!"

Re:::facepalm:: (3, Informative)

Anomalyx (1731404) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318528)

Yeah...because god, the creator and lord of all things, is going to enforce human laws.

Actually, yes, according to the Bible, breaking human laws is wrong, unless it contradicts God's law.

Romans 13:1
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Re:::facepalm:: (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318574)

To me, that passage says human law is a waste of time and an illusion, since only god's laws are the ones that truly matter...this part is what makes me interpret it that way:

"For there is no power but of God."

To me, that says human laws are inconsequential and mean nothing.

Re:::facepalm:: (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318762)

I think what at least one interpretation is, is that it says that only Gods rules matter, but if someone is in the position to impose human laws then he must have the backing of god and therefore they are gods rules as well.
"the powers that be are ordained of God"

But then it is obviously not obvious what "the powers that be" are.

Re:::facepalm:: (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318792)

It could also be construed as a predecessor to the current (U.S.) constitution. "Unless it is already covered by God's laws, humans have the ability to do as they please." Sound familiar? If not, substitute "the federal government" for God and "state government" for humans.

Anti-theft device, not copy protection (3, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318112)

I think it would be pretty kick-ass to have some Saint materialize and lay on some whup-ass to would be thieves.

*gasp* THE BISHOP!

actually (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318628)

there was a medieval book called "SaintRoulette" that had this feature but it didn't work out too well. The Saint materialized, but all he did was hold up a sign that said "tits or gtfo"

Re:Anti-theft device, not copy protection (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319018)

*gasp* THE BISHOP!

[enter Michael Palin]
Thank you, thank you everybody. You're too kind. <cheesy smile>

What do you call a nun who walks in her sleep? <cheesy smile> A Roamin' Catholic. Ha ha ha, wasn't that just grand? <cheesy smile>

And now, on with the show! <cheesy smile>

Today we have three contestants. <cheesy smile> Tim, Edward, and Susan. <cheesy smile>

Tim is an accountant by day, but at night he illegally bittorents films and sells them to his friends. <cheesy smile>
Edward is in college, majoring in psychology. He's got illegal copies of 37 games on his dorm PC. <cheesy smile>
And Susan is a grade-school teacher. She enjoys listening to Celine Dion, Jordan Sparks and Kelly Clarkson. She has all their albums... but hasn't paid for any of them. <cheesy smile>

One lucky contestant will repent, and... well let's just say the game doesn't end well for the other two contestants. Ha ha ha, isn't that just grand? <cheesy smile>

So let's -- get -- started! <huge cheesy smile>

No wonder (5, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318116)

No wonder my crops failed and there was a rain of toads on the farm after I downloaded "Superman III".

Re:No wonder (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318184)

That was because God withdrew his protection from you for the abomination of wanting to watch Superman III. Everyone knows that only the first two Christopher Reeve films were any good.

Re:No wonder (2, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318654)

That was because God withdrew his protection from you for the abomination of wanting to watch Superman III. Everyone knows that only the first two Christopher Reeve films were any good.

That also depends on your definition of "good." They are entertaining, but during the first movie I can't get past the fact that Superman isn't fast enough to catch the two missiles while in the very same movie he starts flying so fast he goes back in time. In the second movie, the "wtf" moment is the entire final scene against the other Kryptonians at the fortress of solitude. What the hell was up with the throwing of the uniform insignia?

That said, they had good, quotable parts. The first movie had, "you've got me? Who's got you?" and for the second movie, "kneel before Zod!" Still, none of them were anywhere near good enough that you should ever want to write some sort of half-assed sequel to them instead of a proper reboot. Curse you, Bryan Singer!

Re:No wonder (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318902)

All I can say for 3 is that the Smallville stuff and the Evil Superman stuff wasn't bad. It wasn't good, but it was "Citizen Kane" next to the abomination that was "The Quest for Peace."

not a copy protection (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318138)

In these days, it was common practice to copy books. It was even encouraged to spread knowledge and share it with others. This protection is against theft and is just as (in)effective as today's copy protection techniques.

Re:not a copy protection (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319164)

You forget that it's also protection against the destruction of works. And it took ages for a copy of a book to be made, one page at a time. Especially since paper was almost worth it's weight in salt, and sometimes in shortage double it's weight in pepper.

Famously.... (4, Interesting)

mattdm (1931) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318176)

The Book of Revelation ends like this:

[18] For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: [19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. [20] He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Not copy-protection, but an "invariant section" definition as in the GFDL [debian.org] . The translation is medieval, but the original and therefore clearly the practice is much older. Since there was no government-provided copyright law with which to enforce this, threatening eternal damnation is pretty much the only resort available. (Right?)

(Sidenote: of course, this was written before that book was commonly bound into a single-volume manuscript, but that doesn't stop people from assuming that they were meant to apply to the entire bible in its current form.)

Re:Famously.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318232)

Are you saying that all modern editions of the bible breach god's copyright on the book of revelation?

Re:Famously.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318282)

I read it as you can include the text verbatim, as long as it's still called 'the book of revelations' and you don't add anything between the beginning and the end of that part of the book.

So I guess Revelations is under LGPL?

Re:Famously.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318808)

In fact, the Gospel of John was written AFTER the book of Revelation. John violated his own rule IF you take it to mean the Bible in its current entirety. This further ignores the Apocrypha and whether or not it also is part of the "Bible in its current entirety" part of things.

Imagine that. (1, Flamebait)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318222)

Even slashdot eventually will equate copyright violations with theft.

Re:Imagine that. (3, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318412)

Say it ain't so! :(

Actually, most good books [sic] in the middle ages were chained to the library shelves, curse or no. It wasn't until the invention of the printing press that books became "unchained" and eventually so ubiquitous that hardcovers became "special" and paperbacks were the order of the day. Personally, just like the music and films I give away to my friends and family, I like to lend out books to interested peoples. Even printed information wants to be free. Bringth me your 100GB+ drive, good sir, and I'll shall layeth upon thine disk drive with mighty hands and bequeath to thee an generous sum of iPod movies and MP3s!!1! Go forth, verily and spread thy good datas, friend! Purchase some, share more.

Slashdot's categories are broken. (0, Offtopic)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318264)

Things like this are in News, while things like research on how monkeys make the same mistakes humans do when it comes to money are thrown in Idle. This story is a novelty while that one has implications for how we do things. These are far from the only examples. What gives?

I don't think I'd mind nearly as much if Idle's comments page wasn't so broken; it makes a story otherwise worth discussing too much of a pain in the ass.

Re:Slashdot's categories are broken. (4, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318708)

I don't think I'd mind nearly as much if Idle's comments page wasn't so broken....

Agreed. Fortunately, there is a workaround: change the "idle" part of the hostname to some other word. Any story can be served from any subdomain; only the page layout changes. It doesn't even have to be a normal /. host; for example, here's this story in the asdf [slashdot.org] subdomain.

An updated curse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318268)

"If yee hath downloaded this book from a site of file sharing, then may thy hard drive crash and all your data be lost."

Not uncommon (1)

AlienBrain (664728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318296)

I think these kinds of notes in books were not uncommon at all back in the day. My great grandfather wrote in several of the big books that were handed down "This book belongs to ____. If you take it, and don't give it back, then you are no darn good." We always kinda laughed at that in our family, but lots of people took that a little more seriously then.

Re:Not uncommon (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318432)

I remember seeing a facsimile of a sign (probably to be displayed in libraries) that stated that if someone did steal a book from it, he would be excommunicated (as expulsed of the Church) and would not be allowed back until the book was restored. Quite a penalty in old days, but makes sense if you think of hand-copied books or even books from the first prints.

EULAs (1)

WarriorBob (1865438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318302)

They should write EULAs more like this. Just as effective, but far more likely to be read out of sheer curiosity.

Holy Cow (3, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318306)

'In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin. If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

That is the longest password I've ever seen.

Re:Holy Cow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318992)

Nope. Longest password is:
Pete and Repete were on a boat. Pete jumps out. Who is left on the boat?
Repete
Pete and Repete were on a boat. Pete jumps out. Who is left on the boat?
Repete
Pete and Repete were on a boat. Pete jumps out. Who is left on the boat?
Repete
Pete and Repete were on a boat. Pete jumps out. Who is left on the boat?
Repete ...

How do they know that? (1)

nih (411096) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318314)

Like with all religious proclamations they don't, its just made up nonsense pulled out of their collective asses.

WRONG (3, Insightful)

JKDguy82 (692274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318336)

How many times do we have to explain that copying something is different than stealing something?

It is incredibly *dangerous* to our culture to have the vernacular polluted in a way that equates a criminal deed to a legally mandated civil disregard.

The title of this article should be changed.

Re:WRONG (0)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318594)

Taking something that is not your is still theft, no matter how you attempt to justify your lack of ethics.

Re:WRONG (2, Insightful)

JKDguy82 (692274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319026)

Again, WRONG.

Theft is depriving someone of their property, preventing its use. Copying does not deprive the original owner of their property or its use.

Theft is naturally unethical (e.g. stealing another animal's food - possibly depriving it of life). Copying is naturally ethical (e.g. most of nature copies copiously, and thrives off of it - ever heard of DNA?).

Modern humans just happened to decide to provide an *artificial* monopoly of law (an unnatural construct) that allows someone to specify who can copy their works. HUGE difference.

Re:WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318634)

Legally wrong does not mean morally wrong. That's why RIAA and company keep failing.

immediately burn all copies of this book (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318362)

I believe that all copies of this book must be immediately destroyed because this was the wish of the original authors.

Public domain (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318392)

Any chance it's in public domain by now, or does Sony have involvement in this also?

Re:Public domain (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318450)

Any chance it's in public domain by now, or does Sony have involvement in this also?

You can tell it's a Sony Bible if opening it puts a rootkit in your soul.

"Steal" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33318444)

I think that "Steal" is the key word here, as in "To Deprive Them of Their Property" Calling this copyright is a stretch to say the least.

haha, my CAPTCHA is "Criminal" I wonder if its a coincidence or something.... More.

Copy protection? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318448)

Reads more like a theft deterrent than copy protection.

Re:Copy protection? (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318672)

Reads more like a theft deterrent than copy protection.

Exactly. Back then there was no such concept. Copyright emerged as a way of motivating and rewarding authors whose work was, as it had always been, destined for the public domain. It's a limited monopoly, and once that emerges, so does the issue of protecting that monopoly.

scientology copyrights their religious scripture (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33318898)

naive impressionable fools shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their lives... to find out the next exciting chapter in the riveting saga of xenu and the thetans

if these people knew up front that they were sacrificing all of their money and years of their lives for bad science fiction, they wouldn't join the stupid cult

whenever someone leaks their nonsense, they try to sue the leaker into oblivion and insist on erasing the treasured revelations from any appearance outside the cult

including yours truly here, slashdot:

http://slashdot.org/yro/01/03/16/1256226.shtml [slashdot.org]

the tactics of scientology, and medieval monks, are a cautionary tale. they actually represent the end game of intellectual property: i control all the information, so i control you, you are my slave. corporations don't call it a religion, but they do the same tactics, with the same end game, whether they realize it or not. relentlessly, they buy off our legislators, and convince them to pass yet stricter and stricter controls on the flow of information

for the sake of all of the noble principles that have arisen out of the enlightenment and so many of us cherish so dearly, and have been codified into such things as the constitution and the declaration of independence, you must do your best in your life to sabotage and destroy the effectiveness of intellectual property. intellectual property is a flawed philosophical premise, but its enforcement works because it creates flows of money, that create power bases, that can be invested in further toll booths on the flow of information, until the whole thing is jammed up, strangled, and controlled. the only antidote is enough of us realizing the threat, and sabotaging it. the idea of fighting intellectual property is actually the fight for the continues enjoyment of our freedoms, ultimately, this is the crux of the clash

and we can do that, with the internet

intellectual property is the ultimate enemy of the freedoms you enjoy and cherish. the internet is the greatest thing since the printing press to challenge the notion. it's a long, ongoing struggle, pitting the highest principles of mankind, versus the lowest, basest forms of control over your life, for the sake of cash. but if you don't wish you or your children to be slaves to corporations, you will do your best to make intellectual property law unenforceable on the internet. it won't be easy, it won't be done in a day, but its one of the most important struggles of our lives, involving the highest principles you believe in

Much older than medieval times (1)

rlgoer (784913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33319186)

Ancient inscriptions from classical, and older (e.g., ancient Middle Eastern), times often contain curses against those who would deface, or in some cases alter, them. The key is that they don't seem to prohibit copying them at all.
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