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It really is about Copyright Law.

Feb 07, 2000, 04:42 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Russell McOrmond)


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By Russell McOrmond

[ The opinions expressed by authors on Linux Today are their own. They speak only for themselves and not for Linux Today. ]

In a recent Wired Story, it suggests Microsoft is saying that any wrong-doings it had done/is doing are justified by Copyright Laws. I am glad Microsoft recognizes this: Maybe this can get some action to reform Copyright and Patents:

A big part of Microsoft's argument is a somewhat novel one: copyright law. The company says that its exclusionary contracts with computer makers are perfectly OK, since owners of copyright software -- such as, say, Microsoft Windows -- can dispose of it as they see fit.
This argument is not a novel one: it is essentially the argument I have been making all along against Microsoft and other abusers of the Copyright and Patent systems.

Copyright and Patent laws are intended to give temporary *government-granted* monopolies (protection from competition) with the intent to encourage future innovation, something that is a tradeoff against free speech that is supposed to help the public. They are not intended to be used as a lever to remove legitimate competition and to hurt the public in an otherwise Free Market system. By arguing that Copyright gives them this right, they are essentially giving fuel to people like myself who have been calling for Copyright and Patent reform as a long-term alternative to the short-term thinking of the Anti-trust cases against single abusers of these laws.

Microsoft is not helping itself reminding the U.S. government that it is this outdated form of government intervention that is the source of the real problems they have uncovered in the Microsoft Anti-Trust case.

What will this branch of the computing industry do if the government decided to let the markets handle these issues on their own and not offer these companies Copyright/Patent protection against competition. I doubt many believe that without these protections from competition, that Microsoft is innovative enough to compete against organizations with much more experience in a truly competitive market, such as those involved with Linux, Apache, and other Free Software support. VA-Linux Systems (Who recently bought Andover.net) and RedHat have a huge head-start over Microsoft (Or Apple, Sun, Unisys, Amazon) in knowing how to make money without this government intervention.

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