Ownership of Names (was Re: Public identifiers and topic maps)
cowan at locke.ccil.org
Mon Sep 28 20:45:41 BST 1998
W. Eliot Kimber wrote:
> So I maintain my assertion that names, not just name spaces, are ownable
The difficulty is that there are so many names that are public domain;
their meaning is settled by tacit agreement among the users, not by
registration. (This does not mean that the *referent* is necessarily
in the public domain.)
For example, the name "Spencertown, New York" is not registered anywhere.
Spencertown is a part of the Town of Austerlitz ("Towns" in New York
State and New England are roughly what is called "townships" elsewhere
in the U.S.: registered land units larger than a county). But it
is custom alone that says what is, and what is not, Spencertown.
Nevertheless, it makes sense as a topic of conversation. "I am going
to Spencertown" is intelligible even though Spencertown is not
subject to precise definition. How shall we handle names of this sort?
John Cowan http://www.ccil.org/~cowan cowan at ccil.org
You tollerday donsk? N. You tolkatiff scowegian? Nn.
You spigotty anglease? Nnn. You phonio saxo? Nnnn.
Clear all so! 'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)
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