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that it is this outdated form of government intervention that is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.