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WashingtonPost.com: Microsoft A la Hollywood - Antitrust, the Movie

Jan 12, 2001, 15:29 (27 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Kinsley)

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"...Thank goodness there is one segment of American society that can't be bought and will not be silenced. That is Hollywood. The great cause for which "Antitrust" sacrifices the lives of brilliant young software developers is open-source code. Open-source crusaders believe that software should not be copyrighted. They believe that universal freedom to use and tinker with existing programs is the best way to promote future innovations. But more than that: They believe the very concept of intellectual property rights -- legal ownership of information in any form -- is downright immoral."

"As young Milo declares in the last line of the movie, as the music swells (and if you're in any actual doubt about how this plot comes out, stop reading here -- if you can read), "Human knowledge belongs to the world!"

"The evil Bill Gates figure, in the film as in real life, holds the opposite view: That human knowledge increases faster when those who produce it are able to own and profit from it for a while. This view may well have been shared by such figures as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Katherine Harris. I'm not sure. It also happens to have been shared by the authors of the Constitution, who specifically authorized Congress to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

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