Man Claims Copyright On Mental Math Trick
from the try-calculating-how-likely-you-are-to-enforce-that... dept
There’s a wonderful book by Ben Klemens called Math You Can’t Use about how the growing encroachment of intellectual property laws on things like basic algorithms and software are locking up math. However, it appears that one guy is trying to take it to an extreme. Pegr alerts us to a story of a guy who claims to have obtained a copyright on a method for multiplying any two numbers in your head, and he’s willing to sell you the trick for $33. Of course, there are all sorts of mental multiplication tricks out there (and a quick search of the web will teach you most of them, if you’re unfamiliar with them). There aren’t many details on the supposed “copyright” on this trick, so it’s not clear if he actually registered the copyright or just thinks he has the copyright, but it will be fascinating to see if he stops anyone else from discussing the method, should it actually be new.
Comments on “Man Claims Copyright On Mental Math Trick”
The sad thing is that the article doesn’t question or even qualify the claim.
Even if he does have a copyright, it’d be on the specific expression of the trick, not on the underlying trick itself.
Once again, you cannot copyright an idea!
But you can patent them!
Here’s a different article I came across about the same story. It doesn’t really sound like he is trying to copyright the idea, but the booklet in which he teaches it.
exactly. mike linked to what amounts to foxnews’ blogspam. the newsobserver article is the original article.
the guy isn’t copyrighting the actual method, but a pamphlet that explains how to use the method.
Re: Re: booklet
Cos thats sane right?
Re: Re: Re: booklet
Well, authors are allowed to copyright books all the time. I generally agree with Mike’s views of copyright, but don’t really see the problem with this instance when given the details provided in the News Observer story.
Re: Re: Re:2 booklet
“It becomes clear when you see Clay’s written explanation, and it’s that six-page booklet that earned him a copyright. You can’t copyright ideas, but you can get the legal rights to the way you explain them, said Anthony Biller, attorney with the Cary firm Coats & Bennett, which specializes in intellectual property law.”
This is why lawyers tend to start off as English majors. “The way you explain them” *sounds* a lot more encompassing than “the specific expression of an idea.”
When you register a copyright, can people turn up to view/read it? Similar to the way anyone can see the details of a patent.
The copyright in this case is registration number TXu001325432
I’m guessing you can’t, as otherwise the copyright office would be breaching copyright, but how can you ensure that you haven’t broken someone’s copyright if you can’t see what it is?
(and on a related note, a thought has occurred to me. What happens if you claim copyright on your patent application in order to try and keep it quiet? Or does submission to the patent process require giving them permission to publish?)
Re: copyright registration
I like where your thought process is going…
Someone should file a class action against the USPTO for massive copyright infringement
my iphone can do that
as can my mac and even my windows machine once and a while.
Re: my iphone can do that
He’s copy written the printed booklet so it can’t be used in textbooks unless he authorizes the method’s printing in said textbook. That shouldn’t stop a teacher from teaching said method if that teacher/school purchases the $33 copy of the pamphlet and teaches the idea.
Re: Mind tricks
The word is “Copyright”, not “copy write”, therefore:
“copy written” is a two-word redundancy.
“Copyrighted” is the correct term.
Re: Re: Mind tricks
Re: Mind tricks
“That shouldn’t stop a teacher from teaching said method if that teacher/school purchases the $33 copy of the pamphlet”
First, he has to prove, to a jury, that said teacher DIDN’T learn the method elswhere, or think of it him/herself.
Re: Re: Mind tricks
Buying the pamphlet is still a valid option…
Your html is broken. Target for new window is _blank, not _new. With _new all your links open in the same window, named _new.
My first accepted submission!
This comment is copyrighted.
This comment is copyrighted. Anyone viewing the comment has illegally copied my creative works and is infringing. So there, please pay me.
Yeah, another big bad IP shark. Except he’s nothing of the sort if you bother to read TFA. He wrote a pamphlet. Under US law, he automatically owns a copyright to that pamphlet. He took the trouble to register the copyright, probably for vanity reasons.
I wonder if he’s using the Trachtenberg system,
though I’m not willing to pay $33 to find out.
There’s a rumour that the specific method goes back at least as far as the 12th century Indian mathematician Bhāskara II. But I’m not going to pay $33 to find out, either.
In the end, it’s hard to say what this guy is claiming. It’s not illegal to charge $33 for a pamphlet. It is illegal to enforce a claimed ownership of a 900 year old mental mathematics trick.
The blog does not involve IP law. It is someone who has a method that he is willing to share for payment. He is looking to capitalize on an information asymmetry and nothing more.
Yeah… just because you multiplied two 4 digit numbers, doesn’t mean you can multiply any number using the method. You have to give a proof before you claim that. There are plenty of “public domain” fast multiplication methods (and non-copyrightable I might add) that can do this only within a specific range of numbers. When you travel outside the range, it fails. Unless there is a formal proof, I’m not paying $33.00 for it.
Also, how can you copyright a formula that is “in your head”? U.S. copyright law only applies to writings or works that are “physically rendered” such as software code. You can’t copyright something that is floating around in your brain unless you write it down, and if you do write it down I would find it hard to believe that it wouldn’t be disseminated through word of mouth (which is not copyrightable because saying something isn’t physical).
Also, this came from Faux News. Proceed with caution.
How can anyone claim copyright on this thing. how can you copyright a formula that is “in your head” . We have to first find out if his maths tricks are newly invented and unique