St. Columba: The patron saint of copyleft... (fwd)

Dave Long
Wed, 10 Apr 2002 10:32:35 -0700

It doesn't seem to be historically
unusual for laws to recognize only
a time-limited property right:

Hammurabi's Laws, 117:
> If a debt has brought about the seizure of a man and he has delivered
> his wife or his son or his daughter for silver, or has delivered them
> as persons distrained for debt, for three years they shall serve
> in the house of the buyer or distrainer; in the fourth year their
> freedom shall be established

Deuteronomy 15:12,18:
> If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you,
> he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let
> him go free from you. ... It shall not seem hard to you, when you let
> him go free from you; for at half the cost of a hired servant has he
> served you six years.

Of course, it's also historically
commmon to find that time-limited
property holders strengthen their
claims to perpetuity.