RE: IP Protection ...

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From: John Hall (
Date: Fri May 11 2001 - 15:15:33 PDT

I liked the response, sdw.

> Complete BS. The central flaw occurs when you assume that IP protection
> no relationship to the protection of IP. No protection equals damn near
> zero IP.

That may be a correlation, but not an absolute by any means.

The quantity reduction is subject to dispute, and 'damn near zero' is
certainly an exageration.

In any case, the benefit of open IP vs. closed IP is completely
different in both quality and quantity (non-open IP has a much more
limited lifespan).

But the alternatives being offered are not 'open IP' vs. 'closed IP', it is
'open IP' vs. 'open IP PLUS closed IP'.

And "Open IP Laws" (i.e., GPL, et al) exist to prevent you from
"stealing" the work you are building on to create your new IP.

And though I wouldn't use them, I have no problem with their existence.

I like the ID
model: give away source to old, played out versions as you build much
better versions.

Though that is an interesting thought, IMHO it is almost impossible to
revive a dead product.

In Microsoft's case, a bug on a very old DOS based client came in just
before the duty of Microsoft to keep supporting it came in. Microsoft
couldn't even BUILD the darn thing. The tools necessary to do so were lost.

You should say that they Believe they will be better off, or believe
there's a chance they may be better off.

While true, the people directly making the decisions have the most
information (what they believe will help them) and the best incentives (it
is their money). They might make a decision that you believe is
sub-optimal, but that is simply replacing your judgement with theirs -- and
you are in a far poorer position to judge.

The ability to partially protect IP has caused this. Complete IP
control or overly restrictive derivative and fair use work would be a
disaster if it ever became totally enforcable.

Yep, I can buy that.

The point is that anything that is desirable enough by enough people
will eventually become a commodity. Since commodities, at the limit,
are not profitable, companies move on to new products or niches. Part
of the dynamic of GPL is that anything that gets a critical mass of
interest, relative to the complexity of the problem, will become a
'project of the commons'. Companies that don't adapt to the changing
market are doomed just as companies that ignore any market force.

Time will tell.

> You are free not to buy his software. But agreeing to purchase a license
> under
> his conditions, and then violating that license, is theft with a capital

Because of monopoly status, and reality, this is not totally true.
Because of illegal tieing practicies like forced bundling with PCs, this
wasn't true at all.

I wouldn't count on the government prevailing on the issue of tieing, and
the monopoly claim depends upon a creative definition of market. Ford is a
monopoly, too. They are the only ones allowed to make Ford cars.
Not the same knowledge base. Having the entire Library of Congress on a
single disk would not impart the important and relavent bits of
information needed to internalize and act the way we can, having grown
up in our rich (money, media, skills, examples) environment.

That is a very impressive point to make. Have you ever read Thomas Sowell,
with his emphasis on unarticulated knowledge? "Knowledge and Decisions".

... unless you illegally tie enough additional applications into it.

I really fail to see the problem with giving the consumer a better deal.

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