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David Zager
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WHAT IS PROPERTY?

Most would say something like, "my house, my car, my clothes — these are my property;" but they would be wrong.

Our legal concept of property comes to us from the Romans by way of the Normans.

In early Roman jurisprudence, Romans use the word Mancipium — gained and retained by the strong hand — to describe a someone's possessions. In time, in early Roman Law, Mancipium, which meant the material things held by the hand, came to mean the absolute right to them, that is, absolute ownership of such things.

In Roman life, all the possessions of the Domus — family — belonged to the family as a whole. Only the Dominus — the head of the house — exercised all rights over the family's possessions. He alone had the absolute ownership of his familia — household — including his wife, children, slaves, and all its possessions. No member of a family had individual rights to things. The Romans called this right Dominium, and always said Dominium in Roman Law to denote absolute ownership.

In time, individual members of the family were allowed to have rights to possessions independently of the Dominus, and the Romans began to call this right Proprietas. Proprietas in Roman Law meant the absolute and exclusive right which a person had to anything independently of another.

"Proprietas id est Dominium." [ Property that is Ownership] ~ Neratius, a jurist of the time of Hadrian

Thus, never did the word Proprietas in Roman Law mean a material thing: but the absolute right to it.

Always, in authentic understanding of economics and law, the word property means right of ownership and never the thing owned. Property is the ownership of a thing, the absolute, entire, exclusive right to a thing of a woman or man, herself or himself or of the things she or he he gains by swapping, finding and making.

Property is a bundle of rights: Jus Possidendi (right for possession), Jus Utendi (right for using), Jus Abutendi (right for destroying, alienating), Jus Vindicandi (right for recovery when found in the wrongful possession of another).

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The patent system goes against innovation.

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Icon Ambulance

One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. As discreetly as possible, I checked the phone and noticed that my phone said "Caller ID unknown". I choose to ignore.

After services, as I was walking to my car with my family, I checked my cell phone messages. The message left was from Steve Jobs. "Vic, can you call me at home? I have something urgent to discuss" it said.

Before I even reached my car, I called Steve Jobs back. I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and in that role, had regular dealings with Steve. It was one of the perks of the job.

"Hey Steve - this is Vic", I said. "I'm sorry I didn't answer your call earlier. I was in religious services, and the caller ID said unknown, so I didn't pick up".

Steve laughed. He said, "Vic, unless the Caller ID said 'GOD', you should never pick up during services".

I laughed nervously. After all, while it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?

"So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I've already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow" said Steve.

"I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong and I'm going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?"

Of course this was okay with me. A few minutes later on that Sunday I received an email from Steve with the subject "Icon Ambulance". The email directed me to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon.

Since I was 11 years old and fell in love with an Apple II, I have dozens of stories to tell about Apple products. They have been a part of my life for decades. Even when I worked for 15 years for Bill Gates at Microsoft, I had a huge admiration for Steve and what Apple had produced.

But in the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I'll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday.

To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you Steve.

-Vic

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Interesting

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This is a research paper about Cyanogenmod and open source projects that a couple students wrote. Mindblowingly amazing and an amazing read. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14531062/SECO_FINAL_mdzetten_wjseele.pdf

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Afghanistan Delaram -- JAN 2009
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