Mathematicians get free culture

I’m not sure why I downloaded this PDF, but I am looking at Antongiulio Fornasiero’s thesis about “Integration on Surreal Numbers” (the first Google hit for “surreal numbers thesis intellectual property”). I have little to no interest in the topic, but when I skimmed through it in an attempt to find out what it was doing on my desktop, the “Notice” caught my eye:

==Notice==
The notions of intellectual property and originality are self-contradictory. Ideas
cannot be the private property of anybody; nihil sub sole novi was already in the
Bible.(1) Nobody cares about who first uttered a theorem, only whether it is true or
false.(2)
You can freely distribute, copy, quote, edit or modify the present work, either
as a whole, or in part, without any further obligation on you.

(1)The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Ecclesiastes I, 9–11.

(2) Unfortunately, this work, being a (almost) verbatim copy of a Ph.D. thesis, does not follow the principles stated here. . .

You tell ’em, Antongiulio!

UPDATE: Mystery solved, I found the link in my del.icio.us inbox… I have friends who are math geeks 😉

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