State & Local governments have thought for years that the internet is somehow made of gold. As an employee of such an organization, it obvious that legislators believe there's an untapped gold mine out on "Them thar Intarwebz".
There's already a means for states/locals to collects sales taxes: The Streamlined Sales Tax Board/Initiative/Whatever, it provides reciprocity to jurisdictions in levying sales taxes provided they align their laws with a common set to make it (slightly) easier on the business.
What they're all missing is that by levying sales taxes on Amazon (for example) they're making it more likely for Amazon to have "nexus" in your state/neighborhood. Which means that Amazon can now set up warehouses nationwide and offer same-day delivery.
I'd say that Apple's "success" with BSD Unix is actually the perfect example of what you're talking about. They may have "succeeded" in keeping the best parts of their code in-house, but they've had to sacrifice security and speed of updates as part of the process.
I'd say that Apple could release more updates faster and be more secure than they are if they'd leverage the power of the community a bit better.
...but who am I to argue with the Ghost of Steve Jobs?
I'm fairly certain that I've heard Mike discuss why you can't patent math...or science...or facts...multiple times on here.
As SQL is a methodology for doing set-theory (mathematics), you'd basically be copyrighting facts.
Just because a company *says* (or *thinks*) it has a copyright on something doesn't make it so. That sounds like typical IT boilerplate, left for the sole purpose of intimidation.
To quote an un-remembered CS Professor: Plagiarism is for English Class.
The point being that the "art" of Programming is being able to see how all the bits fit together and interoperate, not the exact code. Anyone can C-C-P their way through code, but a real Programmer knows the how's and why's.
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