Whizbang wrote:Actually, all pages are generated using a seed(the location (ie hex, shelf, book, page)) and an algorithm. Those pages, with those words, theoretically existed before you searched for them. The algorithm literally produces every possible combination of English letters, including spaces, commas, and periods. No one is "publishing" anything, but instead merely "researching" it.
Sure, that's the way the index would need to work. But the Library of Babel contains everything, including copyrighted things. Regardless of what algorithms are used to find the content, once the content is found it can become the target of a legal challenge.
For example, if you wanted to assert a copyright on your post (the text I just quoted), you could send a DMCA takedown notice to the maintainers of libraryofbabel.info
and tell them to remove libraryofbabel.info/bookmark.cgi?xhf_gae61
, because that page contains your copyrighted text.
As you pointed out, The Library of Babel is all "prior art". Your having posted here before I searched for the text in the Library ought to be
irrelevant — because the text was in The Library of Babel before either of us thought about having this conversation.
(The following is wrong:
Biotech firms are allowed to "copyright" sequences of DNA that existed before the advent of biotech, and this is not substantially different. The legal system's treatment of "intellectual property" doesn't seem to care about such prior art.