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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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How to Improve Patent, Copyright, and Trademark Law

As I note in my article "Radical Patent Reform Is Not on the Way," Mises Daily (Oct. 1, 2009), there is a growing clamor for reform of patent (and copyright) law, due to the increasingly obvious injustices resulting from these intellectual property (IP) laws. However, the various recent proposals for reform merely tinker with details and leave the essential features of the patent system intact. Patent scope, terms, and penalties would still be essentially the same. In the second article of this two-part series, "Reducing the Cost of IP Law," Mises Daily (Jan. 20, 2010), I propose various reforms to the existing patent system--short of abolition--that would significantly reduce the costs and harm imposed by the patent system while not appreciably, or as significantly, reducing the innovation incentives and other purported benefits of the patent system. I list these changes below in generally descending order of importance, without elaboration, as they are discussed further in "Reducing the Cost of IP Law":

Patent Law

  • Reduce the Patent Term
  • Remove Patent Injunctions/Provide Compulsory Royalties
  • Add a Royalty Cap/Safe Harbor
  • Reduce the Scope of Patentable Subject Matter
  • Provide for Prior-Use and Independent-Inventor Defenses
  • Instantly Publish All Patent Applications
  • Eliminate Enhanced Damages
  • Add a Working/Reduction to Practice Requirement
  • Provide for Advisory Opinion Panels
  • Losing Patentee Pays
  • Expand Right to Seek Declaratory Judgments
  • Exclude IP from Trade Negotiations
  • Other Changes
    • Increase the threshold for obtaining a patent
    • Increase patent filing fees to make it more difficult to obtain a patent
    • Make it easier to challenge a patent's validity at all stages
    • Require patent applicants to specify exactly what part of their claimed invention is new and what part is "old" (e.g., by the use of European-style "characterized in that "claims)
    • Require patent applicants to do a search and provide an analysis showing why their claimed invention is new and nonobvious (patent attorneys really hate this one)
    • Limit the number of claims
    • Limit the number of continuation applications
    • Remove the presumption of validity that issued patents enjoy
    • Apportion damages to be proportional to the value of the patent

Copyright

  • Radically reduce the term, from life plus 70 years to, say, 10 years
  • Remove software from copyright coverage (it's functional, not expressive)
  • Require active registration and periodic re-registration (for a modest fee) and copyright notice to maintain copyright (today it is automatic, and it is often impossible to determine, much less locate, the owner), or otherwise make it easier to use "orphaned works"
  • Provide an easy way to dedicate works to the public domain to abandon the copyright the state grants authors
  • Eliminate manifestly unjust provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), such as its criminalization of technology that can be used to circumvent digital protection systems
  • Expand the "fair use" defense and clarify it to remove ambiguity
  • Provide that incidental use (e.g., buildings or sculptures appearing in the background of films) is fair use
  • Reduce statutory damages

Trademark

  • Raise the bar for proving "consumer confusion"
  • Abolish "antidilution" protection
  • In fact, abolish the entire federal trademark law, as it is unconstitutional (the Constitution authorizes Congress to enact copyright and patent laws, but not trademark law)

[Mises; SK]


Comments

What I don't like about the prioritizing is that it would appear to create a more level ground among players with large resources (and take some of the sting out of the current situation -- this much is good) while making things worse for the little guy. A ten-fold increase in fees, for example, is a much larger hurdle for a smaller player than whatever is the status quo. In some cases, this doesn't matter; however, I would under no circumstances support the list if something like software use on programmable devices would be subject to this. The large companies can easily go ahead trying to patent anything under the sun, including patents to block the development of small competitors. Meanwhile, the little guy would find it even more difficult to keep some sort of check on the big guy. And I am rejecting even if an independent defense (and/or a practicing requirement?) were to be instated, as most people and small businesses would find going to court simply too costly and disruptive.

To add some specificity, it would make a lot of sense to have different fees depending on what capabilities you wanted from the patent. This tweaking could be used to help neutralize many types of abuses.

Examples: Two year would become a base protection period. Add some number of years while increasing the fees per year (or per level) dramatically (ie, not linearly with the number of years). You can "upgrade" at any time if you meet other conditions. There may even be some sort of reduced refund for early cancellation or downgrading. We can do combinations of years and royalty and even perhaps allow injunction. And these can all vary among each other as time passes (until the end of the period).

Perhaps allow prior art to be patented after the 1 year period but with greater limits. This could be useful, eg, if a certain patent author leverages prior art in what turns out to be a very profitable invention. Those that didn't originally seek patenting for royalty access should in this case arguably have some recourse.

I would prevent open source (and research) from infringing in almost any case (safe harbor). [Other cases might be safe under various circumstances.] If the people are already donating the software binaries as well as the full clear instructions at no charge, society is already benefiting quite a bit. To harm this in any significant way would seem to offer a huge blow to the potential for progress.

Alternatively (if unfairness and stifling measures must rule the day), I would wave fees for patent protection to defend open source. This would include taking patents on competing products if such patents were only to be used in defensive retaliation (def retaliation would have to be defined more clearly). Of course, having to deal with filing patents at all for defensive measures would add overhead to open source products that already provide all the key information to the public. It's also impossible to cover every scenario ahead of when you get to a certain point (but a more wealthy competitor might beat you to things you leave out). If you are filing patents (especially if you lack experience and resources) you have much less time to work on bringing the product to life and to growing it continually.

Additionally to compromise just stated, an independent inventor defense would be much more streamlined (ie, lower cost) to protect open source.

Our world in general needs a revised outlook on IP. The first step in changing things, in my opinion, should be to reduce copyright terms. I don't like the idea of Disney dictating IP law, and we should not tolerate such pathetic and obviously tainted approaches to IP legislation.

Let's hear it for the 50 year copyright!!!

Mitch: there's a spurious character '5' in the text of your comment. Must be a typo. Here's the fixed version:

Our world in general needs a revised outlook on IP. The first step in changing things, in my opinion, should be to reduce copyright terms. I don't like the idea of Disney dictating IP law, and we should not tolerate such pathetic and obviously tainted approaches to IP legislation.

Let's hear it for the 0 year copyright!!!

I provided a shorter response over at the Mises Institute blog.

1. Clearly establish a right to "Reverse Engineering"
2. Patents must be based on real drawing with real parts. No "cloud" boxes.
3. Incidental copyright fair use should clearly incorporate the concept that anything (and that means people too) that is publicly visible would NOT be entitled to copyright protection.
4. Fair use needs to acknowledge that the owner of a legally acquired CD/DVD has a right to make their own mixes, place the content on a computer, MP3 player etc.

Nobody Nowhere, I disagree with a piece-meal approach to reduction that doesn't maintain some sort of balance as you go. For example, without significantly cleaning house in the patent domain first or simultaneously, removing copyrights for software entirely would empower large existing players even further against a lot of software written using "copyleft" open source licenses. [Eg, the GPL is the most chosen open source license because of its "copyleft" attribute.] The large player would still have the patent WMDs plus now be able to liberally and efficiently take the otherwise "share-alike" open source software and not share alike at all by closing it off into their existing product line. Closed source software is a key enabler of lock-in (made worse by EULAs and DRM conditions that work against reverse engineering). So you stunt open source growth with patents or patent threats, and then whatever does get produced, existing monopolists would immediately be able to use to help solidify their monopoly or other existing position or to very quickly extend their lock-in into new markets.

Open source doesn't work by magic. It's important to have partnerships especially at the hardware level (software that doesn't work with hardware is useless.. and reverse engineering is inefficient and imperfect). Also, open source, to remain attractive to users and to developers so as to keep growing fast, needs to remain competitive. You don't want to steepen the mountain further by making it easy for market leaders of closed products (esp monopolists) to gain all your benefits for free. They can use lock-in to maintain their monopoly prices yet make it difficult for anyone to commit to maintaining the handicapped (by patents, etc) open source. Over time, this hurts progress very clearly. [Monopolists are lazy if they have nothing to copy or push them forward.]

Software is too important and pervasive in society for us not to address the monopoly and lock-in/privacy issues or to make them worse.

For those that don't know:

Copyright on and access to the binaries distributed by most software vendors is not that useful when compared to copyrights on and access to the source code (the instructions in human readable terms of what the software is doing and intended to do). You can turn source code into binary but not vice-versa. With source code you can much MUCH more easily identify functionality problems, resolve interoperability issues, and extend to new features or make existing ones more efficient. This is why those that collaborate in development, distribute software in source code form.

A class of open source licenses ("copyleft") prohibits distribution unless you share back (ie, reveal your source code). This is an important check on the tremendous lock-in that binary-only can create. It pressures those vendors, that want to leverage the software source code, to remain quasi-open by revealing some amount of their own adjacent source code. [That is what the terms of the licenses require.] If they don't want to open up and in the process necessarily remove some degree of lock-in, then they can't leverage the "copyleft" open source software. However, if they were able to leverage the software without opening up, we would find that the large vendor can extend their reach much more efficiently. The "network effect" and the complexity of software interoperability makes monopolization rather natural for software whose recipe is difficult to discover. You don't want to make the job of a monopolist easier. In this way, open source copyright licenses protect the market users and competitors from some degree of abuse and monopolization.

We can think of a software "binary" as a cooked product (think of coca-cola), while software source code would be the recipe. It is possible to test for many types of molecules in the food and try to reproduce that, but it's much more efficient and likely to succeed if you instead have the recipe.

"Interoperability" means that competing software can be used alongside each other. Assuming we don't have the recipes, interoperability is not easy at all to achieve without an effort by both parties since software is very complex. We don't have the case of having coca-cola and a big mac vs coca-cola and a whopper or pepsi-cola and a big mac. Here interoperability among these foods is rather easy. The analogy to describe software would be if you drunk coca-cola and then ate a whopper that lacked interoperability so that you puked. In this case, to get coca-cola to work right, you'd need the big mac or a food that was essentially the equivalent in many important ways (assuming the whopper did not fit that bill). Perhaps a better analogy would be with drinking poisons followed by the proper antidote.

Once you own a monopoly in a class of software that interacts with other software through a "public" (or $$ private) interface, you control that adjacent market because you can build products for that adjacent market and then change the interop rules without telling anyone except for your own internal applications division working on that other app. This was the essence of the antitrust trial against Microsoft for Windows and Internet Explorer. [Microsoft plays this game a lot despite bypassing antitrust scrutiny.]

The "network effect" roughly means that in some markets there is a point where you get a feed forward effect towards a single of competing solutions or standards. This exists, as one example, because of the failure in interoperability. Eventually, peer and other pressures lead to everyone standardizing on a single solution so they can communicate with each other. For various reasons due to the nature of software, the history of software, and the actions of major players in software, this market has been more likely to experience the network affect towards single vendor solutions than has been the case for many other tech markets consisting primarily of hardware components. Software changes too readily and makes it easy to hide interface boundaries, making it very easy to thwart interop by competing products. It's also very easy to displace competitors by integrating and subsidizing. With material products each new product costs nontrivially more, but, with software, adding more software costs the vendor nothing extra when distributing so you can severely underprice competitors if you already have a vehicle to bring in revenue.

Anyway, the short story is that copyright monopolies for software, exploited in a clever way, allows a form of check on software monopolists (lock-in) while still essentially providing terms to users that are almost as if copyright did not exist. However, without the copyright protections, the trick fails and the closed source monopolists then has tremendous advantages over everyone else as they then have no incentive to remove their lock-in. Lock-in is very easy to effect in software. Software is too important to society for its versatility, etc. Software powers the world to a large degree and it's on an increasing trend. So, no, I don't support the entire removal of copyright from software without making sure some other checks are kept in place. Liberal but smart copyright terms can essentially provide all the benefits of no copyright monopoly while still maintaining the check on abuses. -- At least this is the way I see the situation.

One theoretical way to remove copyright on software (neutering "copyleft" licenses in the process), while maintaining some degree of balance against monopolies enabled by secret working software binaries, would be to insist that software vendors (especially platform vendors, especially monopolists) describe every important detail of the interfaces of their software. The "interface" would be not just where other software is intended to hook up, but it would allow anyone to replace functionality in the whole. This documentation is difficult to achieve short of revealing most or all of the source code, btw.

Note that Microsoft has avoided putting themselves in this situation as they satisfied (mocked and tricked) antitrust authorities. They avoid this level of scrutiny needed for interoperability, while appearing as if they are in fact revealing enough information. They achieve this effect by describing a standard instead of describing their product. This fails because Microsoft won't implement the standard (it will be "buggy") and/or will leverage the ambiguous sections of the standard to draw their own secret interpretation, and/or else leverage the open-ended (loophole) extension mechanisms to add whatever secrets they want. These are old tricks. They are tricks accessible to any software monopolist when you hide source code, and it works for you in proportion to your control of key markets (eg, control of platforms on which other software must depend for services).

So, without getting enough documentation to allow substitution of components and interoperability, and considering the network effect (eg, "do you want to view websites on the Internet"?) and the importance of software to all facets of society, I would not want to remove copyright law completely. "Copyleft" already is a very mild form of copyright. It's copyright with a single monopoly tooth designed to make life more challenging for existing monopolists that may want to leverage that free software source code to fortify and extend their monopolies, and hence extend indirectly their control over all businesses and transactions that depend on their software.

Also, note that software is very easily updatable online. You can change how software behaves (leveraging triggers in the software that allow for updates that are managed by an external agent) for a short period of time and then remove the incriminating evidence before anyone can know or test for it.

It's not surprising that Microsoft software is vulnerable to so much malware. Any software that has many ways to be controlled remotely puts itself in a position to be particularly vulnerable to abuse (even beyond the potential abuse already designed into the product).

It's unacceptable to have to depend on a closed and externally controlled core piece of software like Windows. Copyleft licenses offer one quasi-free market way to try to remove such a dependence condition.

Note that Microsoft's leadership have on a number of occasions, internally and publicly, referred to copyright licenses like the GPL as IP killers.

My complaint in these last few posts is against the removal of software copyright without making sure some balance exists. >> # Remove software from copyright coverage (it's functional, not expressive)

This link covers a little of what I have mentioned: http://boycottnovell.com/2009/09/13/microsoft-licensing-gpl-fud/

That page has one quote that goes: "Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can't imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I'm an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don't think we've done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat."

-Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Allchin was likely referring mostly to the GPL (version 2 at that time).

Today's Microsoft has embraced open source licenses to a degree (embrace, extend, and extinguish), going so far as to have Steve Ballmer state that he wants all open source to occur for Windows. [There is a very good strategic reason, btw, why Ballmer would want that -- essentially, it's to keep their platform competitive and attractive. As mentioned by Stephan Kinsella here http://www.againstmonopoly.org/index.php?perm=593056000000002211 , it's important to "Deter the Development of Alternative Technologies" in order to maximize your patent investments. Besides for patent reasons, Microsoft's anchor monopoly is Windows. It can give up application monopolies before it gives up Windows to Linux. I discussed why above (eg, interop interplay across adjacent markets). Their applications are king over Windows.]

However, Microsoft still rejects the GPL quite a bit and won't go near the GPL version 3 (or have it's partners go near it) because of the extra conditions it adds that come about as close as a copyright license likely could come to defending the work (software in this case) against patents.

Some of the people hesitant to abolish copyrights are aware this balance exists (to interop-based monopolies and to patents). "Copyleft" that asks for openness (tit-for-tat) already is a very weakened compromised copyright. And software developers don't all pick the GPL all the time. They sometimes use licenses that pretty much act like public domain, but the GPL remains accessible as a tool for strategic reasons in other scenarios.

Some doofus spouts:

Removing copyrights for software entirely would empower large existing players even further against a lot of software written using "copyleft" open source licenses.

Why, because closed source companies will have access not only to the vast base of open source software but also to their smallish body of in-house developed code, while open source companies will have only the former?

But those in-house code bases are probably largely duplicative of open source code in terms of functionality, and much of it is known to be pretty shoddy (ex.: anything by Microsoft).

Perhaps if the open source movement were still fledgling and the open source code base was dwarfed by closed source code bases, then you might have a point, but that hasn't been true for at least a decade now.

Closed source software is a key enabler of lock-in (made worse by EULAs and DRM conditions that work against reverse engineering)

Abolishing copyright will kick the last props out from under any enforceability of EULAs and DRM.

Furthermore, it will destroy those monopolies quite thoroughly regardless. Microsoft will no longer be able to charge high prices for Windows once anyone can just turn right around and sell or give away cheap copies to people with impunity. The only "monopolistic" thing Microsoft will still retain, between in re Bilski and a hypothetical abolition of copyright, is trade secrecy of its source code, but it will have no legal way to force the cat back into the bag once any of that leaks, unlike with copyright.

If they were able to leverage the software without opening up, we would find that the large vendor can extend their reach much more efficiently.

Extend their reach to do what? Remember, without copyright they can't rake it in hand over fist charging hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a plastic disc with a copy anymore. They'll have to sell ancillary services such as support, and such a business model does not require they have a proprietary code base they know well, or have lockin; only that there be a code base they know well and that is for a popular software product.

Without the ability to charge high, monopolistic prices for copies, lockin loses its value.

You are thinking only one move ahead.

Attempting to censor me by first deleting the latter 2/3 of my comment (and the comment-submission form further down the page lest I simply repost it), then defacing nearly the entire website, and then actually crashing the httpd process? How lame.

Not only that, it looks like the site admin got the server restarted and restored a backup copy of the overwritten data in record time.

(And the backup was up to the minute, even containing the comment I'd posted about 10 seconds before the attack. Looks like they must spool duplicate copies of the database transactions to a backup drive in real time, and can quickly restore everything by simply replaying these transactions.)

Let's just hope they also patched whatever security hole allowed the defacement.

>> # Remove software from copyright coverage (it's functional, not expressive)

I should also point out that the human-readable source code (the recipe) that is what gets written by humans and later "compiled" into computer instructions is an expression just like any other work of nonfiction. The primary audience is the compiling or interpreting software (that understands the given computer "language"), but a secondary audience is, to a very important degree, other humans.

It's this styled and clear code that defines open source. People who write code that is obfuscated (eg, to make reverse engineering of the source more difficult or because they are less skilled writers) are being less usefully expressive despite ultimately allowing for the compilation into computer instructions that would be equally functional. Note that functionality can remain the same while the expressiveness of the nonfiction can vary quite a bit. Functionality and expression both exist among the source/binary package, and func and expre are decoupled from each other to a large extent.

Computer software written by humans is a recipe as any easy-to-follow unambiguous recipe is: terse to a degree, but precise and certainly understandable by humans (with a bit of skill). Note, we don't all understand other languages besides one or two. Note, that normal nonfiction writing tends to be "functional" to a degree (especially a precise manual, recipe, algorithm, or set of instructions of any type). Any language, if unambiguous, can have a compiler or interpreter built for it so as to have suitable expressions/statements in that language be convertible to useful machine instructions (eg, for a PC) that would perform in an expected fashion. Computer language development aims to reach a level where writing software is as easy as writing 100% English commands or (better) even 100% English declarations of facts.

Finally, even the actual instructions for the computer (an organized set of "0"s and "1"s) are expressive if perhaps difficult for a human to follow. There are many many different sets of computer instructions that would result in the same important functional effect desired being achieved. In fact, there is an infinite number of such alternatives (to achieve a particular a priori chosen principle desired outcome).

>> Why, because closed source companies will have access not only to the vast base of open source software but also to their smallish body of in-house developed code, while open source companies will have only the former?

Assuming you are correct about the relative quantities...

You apparently don't understand why only small bits of software are needed to create interoperability nightmares.

As a simple example consider an open source application that works only after you authenticate with it by putting in a 20 digit key. You can grab the source code and remove that authentication component and recompile. You can alternatively perhaps gain access to the 20 digit key (maybe that too is written in the source code or on some accessible file or comes from some algorithm whose steps are revealed clearly by the source code).

Now imagine if I take that open source program and fudge with little pieces of it so that the effective "key" changes to something I know. Maybe the "key" is provided automatically if a check of hardware or of a database online passes a test or if you enter a different number.

I now give you this recompiled binary without revealing the source code.

Even though I only changed the open source program a tiny bit (eg, simply changed the key value it internally recognizes.. this is the basis of security-by-openness-except-for-key, btw), you cannot figure it out without first undergoing an expensive reverse engineering effort. If the code is large enough and the binary is obfuscated enough, I can almost guarantee you won't crack it and distribute the crack for a while.

I gave a simple example where the delta from the hypothetical open source was tiny relative to the size of all the code.

This example should give an idea that distributing Windows is not enough to use Windows as you intended to use it, no matter how much "open source" is being leveraged in Windows, if Microsoft wishes to play hardball.

They can build Windows so as to update itself upon first use each time you reboot (or every 20 hours or 20 minutes or on most network accesses, etc). These updates can cause Windows to fail to work if you don't pass some test (eg, you might need to log on to your Live account, if you are recent in your payments, in order to get a unique and changing key).

Of course, the story doesn't end here, but this should explain the first important point: you can't use the binary as you intend without the cooperation (or incompetency) of the vendor no matter how much open source was leveraged inside the software initially. Small changes in the code can make the world of difference and Microsoft can create those small changes on a very routine basis.

[Think about how a lot of encryption algorithms work. Everything is open except say 128+bits. 128 bits, heck, 1024 bits is nothing 128 bytes and that is very very little, yet enough to completely stump decryption (ie, reverse engineering for the encrypted stream from an outside system) for many many years (assuming their overall protocol and algorithms are sound).]

The second point (addressed further below) is the reality that eventually there will be some degree of successful reverse engineering. So Microsoft would have to do something to keep their software from eventually being cracked fully.

Note, that wine is a project that has for many years aimed to substitute for Windows but it still fails in a number of ways, especially for the newer software.

Alright, let's look at reverse engineering of Windows a little closer.

It's much more costly to reverse engineer binary code than it is to "reverse engineer" complete and well written source code. There is a reason why FOSS people pick source tarballs and ascii editors/patch/diff for contributing to a project rather than to hack on binaries as the mechanism to making their contributions.

Binary code of a very large size takes a long time to decipher. In the meantime, the code can be changed completely from underneath you on the next software update so that you have to start a lot of the work over to learn about the new changes. A small change in source code can lead to a very different binary if the compiler is designed to do a significant amount of scrambling and randomization. A single small change in source can potentially lead to megabytes of changes in the binary (remember, Microsoft has not, is not, and should not be expected to cooperate). In contrast, when you use source code written well the new small changes can quickly be discovered with a 'diff' and can be learned in seconds or minutes if you already know the rest. With a substantially different large binary, you have to redo much of the reverse engineering you had already done because any "diff" could be huge.

Additionally, studying source code from scratch vs studying binaries from scratch will reveal the source code approach to be much faster and easier. Higher level source code takes much less space than the assembly language code and contains a lot of context that humans like (including comments and well named variables), so humans can absorb it's overall meaning more quickly.

Is Windows 95 reversed engineered fully?

OK, and would it matter? Timing is important. A monopoly on software that doesn't work with modern websites and services and hardware will not break a monopoly.

So we now know reverse engineering binaries is not very efficient at all, even in the best case, but especially not in light of online updates and nasty compiling from Microsoft, but we still have hope to eventually succeed if we pool our resources together, no?

Can we try to reverse engineer Windows XP? Well, that is actually a great goal with some chance of success, but I'm not sure how large of a chance to get a good enough result timely enough. As long as Microsoft has leverage when they renew partner contracts, partners not wanting to go out of business will have to pay attention to Microsoft demands. If these partners and MSware users upgrade to new tools and apps, they make it easier for the latest and greatest software features and gains to fail to work on Windows XP. This applies to fat software as well as to online services by partners (and users) that leverage Microsoft server software/tools.

Microsoft has interlocking levers that support each other. They have legal contracts to cover many holes that could be left by weakened copyright.

I'll leave this at that for the moment, so that I can finish up answering to other parts of your comment.

Remember that there is a reason Microsoft hates the GPL but accepts other open source. [Patents are a part of it but not the only or likely main reason.] Abolishing copyright will kick the last props out from under any enforceability of EULAs and DRM.

No, if Digital Restricted Management is implemented properly and if you sign a EULA (a contract), then (a) it becomes legally risky to try to violate the EULA and (b) difficult for others to violate it for you by cracking the DRM so as to open up the software to you through other means.

Difficulty of the EULAs means you will get diminished support from everyone else that wants (eg) to stay out of jail or to risk high costs.

Difficulty in cracking DRM means the quasi-solutions won't come very fast or will be very flimsy and easy to neuter through system upgrades that will happen automatically if you want to keep using the Internet with the MSware. [If you reverse the necessary protocols/secrets, then you could filter the network stream and control it, at least until you slip and open a crack and the game changes again from underneath you.] The only "monopolistic" thing Microsoft will still retain, between in re Bilski and a hypothetical abolition of copyright, is trade secrecy of its source code, but it will have no legal way to force the cat back into the bag once any of that leaks, unlike with copyright.

To Recap:

Software can be changed very quickly and recompiled so that it doesn't much resemble the old binaries at all. Then this gets updated to anyone connected to the Internet. Surely, Microsoft and others have been and will continue to work to perfect such compilations. In any case, knowing the partial source code is not nearly enough to build a full working system that is that large, especially if the key parts to interop were not revealed (note that all bugs affect interoperability and all software has bugs essentially; it's easy to create new interop problems).

Despite serious efforts for many years and code leaks and what not, there is no clone of Windows. The open source "wine" and similar projects fail in many cases. Certainly, they don't allow you to run most of the latests and greatest.

I do agree that much pressure will be exerted on Microsoft if people unite and legal hurdles fall.

Note, that I mentioned that removing copyright without removing the problems with patents would be a problem. Bilski may not do enough in practice. We'll have to wait and see.

As long as there are significant legal hurdles of any type (including EULAs with partners and others), the teams working to crack software sufficiently to an extent to reproduce new working code that can keep up with Microsoft's changes (eg, like the wine project) will not have a lot of support.

Also, there is the matter of ordinary users (business or otherwise) continuing to upgrade their software and use MS tools indiscriminately as well as to be accustomed to peculiarities of MSware. Yes, Microsoft is pressured and messing up. Yes, the removal of copyright would allow for easier cloning of the GUI aspect of their software, but copyright removal won't do that much possibly towards solving interop issues with the interacting software components nor with secret file formats semantics. Extend their reach to do what?

Enter new markets with a ready solution. If they get the functional GPL code for free, they spend their time/resources creating interop issues and integrating instead of writing and debugging code. This is a real advantage to them, whose ultimate value/leverage can't be replicated by others that don't have monopolies. Remember, without copyright they can't rake it in hand over fist charging hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a plastic disc with a copy anymore.

They can bypass copyright law through contracts with partners and end users. What we would have to look at is will partners be incentivized enough to go along with Microsoft in sufficient numbers or not?

Microsoft can charge money at many levels. I already at the beginning of this comment the example that users using their software would need to be current in the MS payments online for the software to work. Alternatively, OEM vendors and other partners can pass on the MS tax through hardware. They can also, of course, continue to provide top support for MSsoftware. People will want to use new hardware and have it work.

Microsoft is also moving to online data storage as is Google and many others. With closed software, it's more difficult to recover your files during the time you are viewing them on the PC.

So if you spread their binaries for $0, they can bypass that and charge at a different level.

To break their grip, you have to be able to substitute their software to some degree. Missing copyright is not enough, especially if other legal threats exist.

I think the best approach to breaking the monopolies is to build the better (distinct) ballpark. Make open source clearly superior on the Linux platform (attack Windows). Motivate value-add services to be done on Linux (there are great incentives and unique tools to help to do this). Then users will eventually simply not upgrade their Windows systems (legacy) and seek their new software more and more on Linux. This is why I like the GPL and anything that will make it difficult for Windows to stay as fresh as possible and keep up with all value added to Linux.

[It looks like the ARM processor may also play a role in creating that distinct better nonMS ballpark. ..Also, Google is really pressuring Microsoft and creating important alternatives, many (though not all) based on FOSS and more open standards.]

Remember that Windows piracy exists in many places, yet people still have a tough time leaving Windows (now that they are hooked).

Bill Gates said: "About 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

It's true that copyright enforcement is one way for Bill Gates to cash in on China, but they can also add legal pressure through contracts and perhaps as well through patents. Additionally, they can utilize the methods I mentioned above in order to ensure that only paying customers have access. Of course, Microsoft wants everyone to have access even if they don't pay. They need the mindshare and addictions. With that and levers that they have, they can get the money from people higher up in the food chain. They'll have to sell ancillary services such as support, and such a business model does not require they have a proprietary code base they know well, or have lockin;

Online lock-in as I have been mentioning. Think of Active X components that don't work except on Windows, making use of some websites unacceptable otherwise and tying the user to the restraints imposed by that closed source piece of software (the ActiveX component). Microsoft will no longer be able to charge high prices for Windows once anyone can just turn right around and sell or give away cheap copies to people with impunity.

Micro recap: they prefer piracy over no one using their software. They find ways to collect money as long as they preserve some levers, levers that ultimately depend on people using their software to get mentally hooked as well as have the files/data/apps get hooked.

To beat Microsoft you can work to reverse engineer them out, but if that is not practical or a full solution (their software gets updated frequently remember), then you hope to build a better ballpark that people will grow to use for most of their uses. A **better** alternative ballpark is promoted through open source licenses like the GPL. The GPL prevents outright cloning unless you play on our fair terms (open source), at least to some degree. If Microsoft is forced to play on the same open terms (and removing copyright won't do this), then they do lose as they will get overrun.

With copyrights gone (so FOSS loses GPL), you need to make sure you can get enough people to cooperate on breaking the monopolies. Even then, it may take a while, and it may be more difficult than with the GPL in place. I do hope the GPL stays for a while longer.

Of course, if end users learn the value of open source, then that changes everything as they will try to make the sacrifices in bits and pieces! As always, marketing is important and FOSS could have the advantages of being the best value solution. Meanwhile, Microsoft doesn't stop with there own twisted and deceptive marketing. Definitely, we need patents to disappear in order to have a fair fight (that hopefully is not that messy).

A troll says:

You apparently don't understand

I understand perfectly, dickhead. It is you who apparently does not, else you would not be publicly insinuating negative things about my intelligence. Copping an attitude, as you have, and making things personal is always a sure sign of someone who is losing the argument on the factual merits and knows it.

Now imagine if I take that open source program and fudge with little pieces of it so that the effective "key" changes to something I know. Maybe the "key" is provided automatically if a check of hardware or of a database online passes a test or if you enter a different number.

I now give you this recompiled binary without revealing the source code.

First of all, without copyright law you can't stop people simply copying it and sharing it for free, so what's the business advantage of doing this?

Second, you'll be creating a harder-to-use/incompatible version in an established market. It won't gain any relevance. People will just ignore it.

Third, who the hell distributes open source software that needs an activation key to begin with?

They can build Windows so as to update itself upon first use each time you reboot (or every 20 hours or 20 minutes or on most network accesses, etc). These updates can cause Windows to fail to work if you don't pass some test (eg, you might need to log on to your Live account, if you are recent in your payments, in order to get a unique and changing key).

Make software that behaves like this, and nobody will use it. Why would they? a) there's probably an untroublesome-to-use open source version, b) there's probably an untroublesome-to-use prior version, and c) there's probably a crack and there's no more copyright (and thus no DMCA) for the idiot vendor to wield against whoever's distributing the crack.

Microsoft would have to do something to keep their software from eventually being cracked fully.

And the point would be? Remember, they won't get high margins selling copies anymore, and if they ever tried to go to some kind of monthly-payments and 24-hour-internet-required future "Windows" version, nobody would use it.

Remember, Microsoft has not, is not, and should not be expected to cooperate.

Remember, Microsoft should not be expected to remain relevant.

Additionally, studying source code from scratch vs studying binaries from scratch will reveal the source code approach to be much faster and easier.

Nobody's arguing with that. We're arguing that it's not relevant to copyright abolition being a good thing.

As long as Microsoft has leverage when they renew partner contracts, partners not wanting to go out of business will have to pay attention to Microsoft demands.

Nonsense. Abolish copyright and partners can just "pirate" Windows to their hearts' content. They have no need to "pay attention to Microsoft demands"; they can just load Windows on the computers they're selling while whistling and thumbing their noses at Microsoft. What can Microsoft do about it? Sue them for copyright infringement? Er ... oops.

[calls me a liar], if Digital Restricted Management is implemented properly and if you sign a EULA (a contract), then (a) it becomes legally risky to try to violate the EULA and (b) difficult for others to violate it for you by cracking the DRM so as to open up the software to you through other means.

Nonsense, dickhead. In particular, why the hell would I, or anyone, sign anything before downloading a copy of Windows Vista from isohunt or wherever? The one way that a software company can force buyers to "agree" to anything is by a) being the sole supplier of copies and b) making signing a condition of sale. Most don't do b) NOW, except in business-to-business contexts. And abolition of copyright eliminates a).

Difficulty of the EULAs means you will get diminished support from everyone else that wants (eg) to stay out of jail

Ridiculous. Absent copyright, the only possible legal hold a software company might have on a user is via contract law, which a) would require the user sign something first (the theory by which EULAs are magically binding without a signature requires copyright law) and b) would not allow for jail time anyway. Nobody is imprisoned for mere breach of contract.

Enter new markets with a ready solution. If they get the functional GPL code for free, they spend their time/resources creating interop issues

Why? So that they can waste their time? Nobody would use it. Let's say it's Apache and Linux. Microsoft clones Linux and makes their own distro, only they close the source code and make Apache not work on it. (Why, to drive people to IIS? Even though they can no longer sell IIS for big bucks?) What happens? No-one uses it. Why, when there are plenty of better, pre-existing Linux distributions? So, it just sits there on Microsoft's servers wasting disk space.

Big whup.

They want to go to a party no-one else is attending, let them.

They can bypass copyright law through contracts with partners and end users.

No, they can't. No consumer expects to have to sign something in order to buy software now, so anyone suddenly demanding that will wind up getting no business.

I already at the beginning of this comment the example that users using their software would need to be current in the MS payments online for the software to work.

The first version of Windows that requires a monthly subscription to some online service to use will be the next version after the last-ever popular version. If Microsoft tries something like that, they'll hand the desktop computer operating-system market to Ubuntu on a silver platter.

Think of Active X components that don't work except on Windows

Web developers will avoid them -- why reduce their audience? If Linux users can use their site too, that means more advertising money.

Linux users will just avoid websites that use them. Why wouldn't they? Plenty of other websites. And if they must use that particular site, they'll just torrent a copy of Windows to run in vmware for that one session. What'll stop them? Threat of a copyright lawsuit?

With copyrights gone (so FOSS loses GPL), you need to make sure you can get enough people to cooperate on breaking the monopolies.

What monopolies? No copyright, no monopolies in software. Where would one get a software monopoly without copyright (and without patents, due to Bilski)? Without "IP" in the software space the software market necessarily becomes a free, competitive market since the barrier to entry is so low. There's simply no way a software monopoly could be sustained for long absent copyright law.

It appears the comments are being mangled a bit. I used greaterthan greaterthan symbols to mark off quotes and these two characters have disappeared so that the quotes from Nobody Nowhere run into my comment without anything separating them but a single space.

In the last email, I replied to the following: -- Why, because closed source companies will have access not only to the vast base of open source software but also to their smallish body of in-house developed code, while open source companies will have only the former? -- Abolishing copyright will kick the last props out from under any enforceability of EULAs and DRM. -- The only "monopolistic" thing Microsoft will still retain, between in re Bilski and a hypothetical abolition of copyright, is trade secrecy of its source code, but it will have no legal way to force the cat back into the bag once any of that leaks, unlike with copyright. -- Extend their reach to do what? -- Remember, without copyright they can't rake it in hand over fist charging hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a plastic disc with a copy anymore. -- They'll have to sell ancillary services such as support, and such a business model does not require they have a proprietary code base they know well, or have lockin; -- Microsoft will no longer be able to charge high prices for Windows once anyone can just turn right around and sell or give away cheap copies to people with impunity.

In an earlier comment I quoted the following: -- # Remove software from copyright coverage (it's functional, not expressive)

In an earlier one I quoted the same thing as well: -- # Remove software from copyright coverage (it's functional, not expressive)

Basically, it seems this problem happened just recently and not on other postings. It means that the comments above don't make sense (true mostly of the long one I made prior to this comment) unless you manually separate the part that I was replying to from the reply I made to it.

Your comments don't make sense, alright, but for entirely different reasons than because of a little mangled formatting.
I find your amateurish suggestions boring.

It's time to take a fundamental look at what a "patent" is and completely redesign it to meet the needs of the software and IT industry.

Here is a first step http://bit.ly/6HLZX

An additional thought concerning patent/copyright reform.

5. Reform the law to clarify that it is legal for anyone who owns a piece of hardware (cell phone, Xbox console, kindle, Etc) to make any modifications they wish. The devices are their property.

@mark: It seems that you have the purpose of laws backwards. You wrote: "completely redesign it to meet the needs of the software and IT industry.". Patent and copyright law, in theory, were put into place to further (promote) progress in the arts and sciences. They were never intended to "protect" (serve) an industry. Unfortunately, the common perception now is that these laws are intended to guarantee a revenue stream. We need to get back to the original intent of these laws or to abolish them.

Nobody Nowhere,

Alright, I don't think you realized everything I was saying; however, you made some points, so I will try to take it slow.

I will wrap up with the following opinion that I think is decently supported: trade secret is a stronger card in Monopolysoft's hand than is copyright. The GPL weakens that card, but the GPL only has that power with copyright in force.

You said the partners would just take Windows and ignore Microsoft.

Let's pretend that eventually some partners would try this in an effort to take market share from others.

The point I am trying to make is that you cannot grow Windows unless you know how it ticks. Removing copyright does not suddenly make you know how it ticks. This is one reason why I went into the reverse engineering bit.

Let's see what might happen if we remove copyright.

People spread current Windows.

Some OEMs follow course.

Microsoft, obviously, now updates their supported Windows.

Other OEMs stick with Microsoft (if for no other reason than Microsoft will bribe some, others have contract terms that have not run out, others are conservative and don't move early or frequently, etc).

The Microsoft newer version is superior to the one everyone is passing out. This assumes Microsoft won't mess this up. How much time will they have to do this, eg, if they mess it up the first time? I don't know.

While this is going on Microsoft will lose some money, obviously. Again, what impact this will have will depend on the numbers and what other events happen. Microsoft might be able to lower their Windows OEM licenses enough to make the difference between that and the handout version be not that substantial. Their support of the newer version will command at least something of a premium. Early on there will also be some hardware that will only work with the newer version. Will hardware vendors lose their fear of Microsoft at this point and immediately set to support Linux with drivers? The newer Windows version might have fewer security issues and bugs. We would have to wait and see.

The story to this point is that Microsoft has momentum but the pressure on them is increasing and Microsoft is known for screwing things up a lot at times. Microsoft devs might lose extra motivation, eg, if stock heads down and competitors appear to be getting stronger (eg, Google). You also have more people that would be willing to jump ship.

OK, so let's get back.

The Windows that you spread, if it's one of the current Microsoft software, likely has features built in to make it easy to have certain components disabled rather easily if the user cannot authenticate in some manner. I understand people will be looking to crack this system, but that is one reason I spoke of the difficulties of reverse engineering. These existing OS could be modified through updates by Microsoft to eventually gain whatever Microsoft wants them to do (or not do).

And this is why I mentioned we might be OK (or not) by going back to XP. Perhaps XP version 2 or 3 (the better ones) are too much under Microsoft's control. I don't know these details. Will people want to go back further than Windows XP SP2?

Also, we don't know when copyright would be removed (assuming this does happen), so the picture then could be very different than it is today.

OK, so back to Windows XP or maybe something else.

Will people really go for an OS that costs a little less but is bit rotting: will have more malware problems.. will work less well with newer hardware.. will be short on features (eg, 3D effects).. will very possibly simply stop working properly by the next automatic update?

If push comes to shove, I expect Microsoft will do everything they can to make their older software break down, preferably gracefully, but as the pressure mounts, perhaps not so gracefully. I expect to see lots more malware for the old stuff as Microsoft employees try to salvage their job and stock options (wink wink).

At this point, assuming Microsoft can survive for a few years, people will be pressed to keep going with the newer Microsoft supported software, though more will take the FOSS leap. Questions here are where will Linux be in terms of features, polish, compatibility, and marketing/ecosystem? Also how patient will people be with Microsoft? At the end of the day, if users are very very upset (as you suggested would happen in large numbers if Microsoft gets too pushy), they will accept Linux if it's "good enough" or else move to Macs (unless Apple is screwing things up worse). I expect to see more branded Linux show up. We should also keep our eyes on ARM and also expect surprises.

Alright, so my main point was that if Microsoft can maintain the confidence of partners and users to some degree, any freebie version that is not supported by them will be significantly inferior, bit rot, be overtaken by problems, etc. Maybe many of these users will eventually prefer the bit more expensive authentic Windows to anything else. Microsoft can play a roll here since they control access to their OS, but much of what ultimately happens will depend on how their actions are seen and how much they offer in the newer package. If enough people hate Microsoft enough and call them out on everything and spread the word about the risks of closed source and how Microsoft ultimately controls and is responsible.. then they can certainly go down.

OK, so to address quickly a few other items from your last comment..

The ActiveX bit has been going on for a long time yet look at Microsoft's market share. Point is that that technique has brought them much success in the past in keeping competitors at bay. Active X is just one example of various Microsoft employs of trade secret leverage, of closed source being leveraged for lock-in purposes.

Do not underestimate Microsoft. As a smaller leaner company, they might work more carefully. They might put out an OS, by the time any copyright nullification takes hold, that people would really like.

Also, Google can become a Microsoft to some degree if they spread closed source software that gets widely adopted. Will they be as dirty as Microsoft? Currently, Google has lots of sway online, and they are not affected too much by the GPL at the network/services end (AGPL is needed); however, the GPL does limit them some. I'd otherwise expect them to be putting out a more closed source desktop OS then they are now.

Also, without something like the GPL, Linux, BSD, etc would be expected to fork a lot more with many parts not being contributed back. Large and small companies would take out their closed versions. We'd see UNIX The Sequel to some extent. Eg, Google's OS would be closed source at least in important bits.

To end this reply, let me ask again, how much would people really bail to something else (eg, you mentioned Ubuntu) if the Windows OS would stop working unless people paid (or got the OS from an "authorized source" already)? I think it's possible that Microsoft could execute in ways were many people will in fact pay. People are used to paying for cable monthly. I can see Microsoft move over to a similar model gradually enough to keep their revenues up enough and people not up at arms. Remember that if Microsoft gets WinFOSS, this will really help their platform remain very competitive with anything Linux is likely to offer. They will integrate the WinFOSS they most like, but all WinFOSS they haven't yet gotten to can be used to match that on Linux. People (especially if Linux is not marketed well) will pay real dollars monthly for a Microsoft service that fill them up with lots of branded WinFOSS on a regular basis. This option will be even more tempting if this branded Win(nolonger)FOSS works extra seamlessly with the whole desktop. Finally, Microsoft, through partners like Novell (which has deals biased in Microsoft's favor (as Novell is having financial difficulties)) will also try to grab a piece of and have influence over the Linux market. There are many variables to this saga that would make "predicting" difficult, but I will repeat the important point, that Microsoft has a significant advantage to producing Windows newer versions that will dominate at least over freebie Windows. So the main question is, will Ubuntu or something else be up to the task and how much market share will these competitors be able to take and how fast? Will people know about Ubuntu and be willing to go through some switching pains (unless they are fed up already with Microsoft too much)? How much of the industry will be tempted to keep playing ball with Microsoft and how much will decide to back Linux more than Microsoft? In any case, the fight is between Microsoft's Windows (not the free ones) and some FOSS OS like Linux.

Copyright removal won't (IMO) make freebie Windows supplant Microsoft's Windows. Copyright removal won't remove Microsoft's closed source business model and the effectiveness of it. Copyright removal may hasten their demise.. or not. The GPL has power because it excerts pressure to open up. It is trade secret, not copyright, that is the biggest barrier to cracking strong software monopolies, and the GPL (supported by copyright) keeps a bit of a check on trade secret. [Patents can actually become worse than trade secret if these gain enough legitimacy instead of losing it.]

Let me try to list the more important summary points from the prior long comment:

The key to removing software monopolies is not copyright (and patent) removal, but getting people to value open source and more importantly, open source platforms (privacy, control, flexibility, extra low cost, etc). If we can't establish an ecosystem and strong marketing for something like Linux, then Microsoft will keep dominating with their trade secrets and existing reinforced levers.

Copyright removal may actually make things a little worse to the extent it makes conversion of FOSS (ie, open source) to closed source much more likely to become widespread, as the GPL and "copyleft" would be neutered. We would see much more forking into proprietary versions and less contributions back to FOSS. We would also see closed source monopolies gain a large supply of raw materials to help reinforce their monopolies. Hopefully there would always be a large "hobbyist" backing for pure FOSS to make up for the losses, but I would expect we would see a loss of support in various areas.

Patent removal would have nothing but positives. This is the biggest threat against FOSS (and against small competitors in general).

The biggest obstacle of all, if patents don't gain strength or if patents do gain strength but the large players find a way to deal and wheel, is trade secret when used aggressively to build reinforced monopolies. Obviously, if everyone decided not to support such monopolies, than over time the monopolies would fall, but there are many reasons why people and vendors would be tempted to continue to support these monopolies. The biggy is trade secret.

[Also, Nobody Nowhere, Bilski, today, is not a done deal as far as removing software patents go.]

I have not been arguing for copyright on software to stay as a long-term goal. I have tried to make the case that (a) removing copyright on software will not itself end software monopolies nor itself quickly hasten their demise; (b) if copyrights on software are removed, things might actually become a bit more difficult for FOSS and for competition from small firms, especially if patents stay; (c) if we are going to keep around bad monopolies anyway or if we have to pick between removing copyright or patents, let's not focus on the weaker cases but on the stronger one.. or else weaken each gradually.

Some people won't see a problem with (b)'s result (assuming it's true) because trade secret is a right, even if it's a powerful one. I sort of agree, but I don't see the point in making things even more difficult for the time being if nothing else is gained (if horrible patents remain in place).

The true final solution is likely no copyrights nor patents and then to try to improve upon and sell the virtues of whatever product you think is best (eg, market open source).

Primary Recommendations:

A - Weaken patents and maybe remove software patents or at least weaken them significantly or work to keep FOSS safe

B - If A, then weaken copyright (the easy answer is to reduce the length significantly). If patents were removed for software, then ideally remove copyright; however, the software monopolies are not primarily due to copyrights but to trade secret and there would be a cost of some sort to competition from small firms and individuals in nullifying copyright licenses like the GPL.

C - If society can handle it, end all patents and copyrights.

[I have not thought too much about trademarks except that it stinks having the shorter types of possible trademark-able phrases be hogged by wealthy groups. We should probably open up words and symbols to everyone and rely on unique id's whenever we want to refer to a specific entity unambiguously. I'm not sure.]

Troll #1 writes:

I find your amateurish suggestions boring.

I'm sorry, but your response is incorrect. You leave with nothing, and won't be coming back for next week's Tournament of Champions. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

It's time to take a fundamental look at what a "patent" is and completely redesign it to meet the needs of the software and IT industry.

No, it's time to destroy it completely and amend the Constitition to change the Progress Clause to something about how, to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, Congress shall be forbidden to grant monopoly privileges to any private actor for any reason whatsoever.

Troll #2 writes:

Alright, I don't think you realized everything I was saying.

Actually, I did. I just don't agree with much of it.

Trade secret is a stronger card in Monopolysoft's hand than is copyright.

Nonsense. Without copyright, they can't charge an exorbitant price for a copy of their software. There goes nearly 100% of their revenue instantly if copyright is abolished. And without revenue, they can't do much of anything with their trade secrets. Unless there's some way to leverage trade secrets in the process of filing Chapter 11, of course.

The point I am trying to make is that you cannot grow Windows unless you know how it ticks.

But you can install it on new hardware. We were discussing OEMs installing new machines with Windows, remember?

Microsoft, obviously, now updates their supported Windows.

Other OEMs stick with Microsoft (if for no other reason than Microsoft will bribe some, others have contract terms that have not run out, others are conservative and don't move early or frequently, etc).

The Microsoft newer version is superior to the one everyone is passing out.

Here's where you go off the rails. Has there been a version of Windows since XP that was strictly "superior", with some must-have new feature?

And you're still forgetting that as soon as MS releases this "superior" version, anyone can copy and install the binary for free. No copyright, remember? Oh, yeah, you seemed to think they'd lock it to some online account with a monthly fee. Well, either the authentication would get cracked or else no-one would use it, "superior" though it may be.

Once again, M$'s revenue stream dries up and that's the end of the big bad monopolist you're so terrified of.

The newer Windows version might have fewer security issues and bugs.

Yeah, and bacon might sprout wings.

The troll goes on to suggest that M$ would use automatic updates to intentionally sabotage old versions to push people to go to this hypothetical monthly-subscription version.

Of course, people would just disable automatic updates, jump ship to Linux, etc. if they did something THAT stupid and self-defeating.

Don't forget also that free MacOS will have been loosed upon the world, as well, when copyright was abolished.

My main point was that if Microsoft can maintain the confidence of partners and users to some degree, any freebie version that is not supported by them will be significantly inferior.

That's just it. Using any of the tactics you describe will LOSE them the confidence of partners and users almost immediately.

Microsoft can play a roll here since they control access to their OS.

That's just it -- absent copyright, they DON'T control access, and any other method they might use to try to grab it back (contracts, sabotaged updates, new kinds of activation nonsense) will be flimsy and will tend to simply backfire by losing them the confidence of partners and users.

Also, without something like the GPL, Linux, BSD, etc would be expected to fork a lot more with many parts not being contributed back. Large and small companies would take out their closed versions. We'd see UNIX The Sequel to some extent.

Why on earth would any company do this? By taking a fork closed source they'd be cutting themselves off from the vast majority of potential contributed improvements. That'd be cutting off their own nose to spite their face. There's simply no advantage in it, and a big disadvantage, compared to playing ball with the open source community and selling support. (Keep in mind they can't lock people in and then charge high prices for copies, absent copyright.)

I think it's possible that Microsoft could execute in ways were many people will in fact pay.

Even if they did, how would that be worse than the status quo? Let the free market sort everything out. It's what we should have done all along, and what Thomas Jefferson originally pushed for.

This option will be even more tempting if this branded Win(nolonger)FOSS works extra seamlessly with the whole desktop.

Microsoft? Work extra seamlessly? That's a joke, right?

There are many variables to this saga that would make "predicting" difficult.

Then why are you so certain that the outcome would be bad?

It is trade secret, not copyright, that is the biggest barrier to cracking strong software monopolies.

Those monopolies only have value if they can generate monopoly rents. Without copyright, they cannot.

The key to removing software monopolies is not copyright (and patent) removal, but getting people to value open source and more importantly, open source platforms.

Getting people to value open source may well be important. I don't argue that. But copyright is evil and must be removed also.

We would see much more forking into proprietary versions and less contributions back to FOSS.

An assertion you make repeatedly, but for which you fail to provide any evidence whatsoever. Remember, without copyright this proprietary forking won't be lucrative so why would anyone do it? And what would attract users to the proprietary fork? Oh, yeah, that's right: nothing.

Removing copyright on software will not itself end software monopolies nor itself quickly hasten their demise.

Wrong. An "IP" monopoly that can't make much money selling copies is a soon-to-be ex-monopoly. Just look at the RIAA now, and that's without copyright abolition, just widespread infringement and increasing competition. They could adapt, but they don't seem willing to. Microsoft, likewise, could in theory adapt, but a) they probably won't and b) if they did, would the result still be evil, or would it be reformed? To retain market share and relevance they might have to learn to play reasonably nice.

I have not thought too much about trademarks except that it stinks having the shorter types of possible trademark-able phrases be hogged by wealthy groups. We should probably open up words and symbols to everyone and rely on unique id's whenever we want to refer to a specific entity unambiguously. I'm not sure.

Unrealistic. But we should pare down trademark so that only a use intended to cause consumer confusion, selling a similar product in the same market, can ever be infringing. No "dilution" concept. Also, to keep a mark, the only requirement would be that it be used in commerce, to avoid over-aggressive lawsuits based on a need to be seen "defending" the mark.

As a final note, I shall remark that nowhere have I advocated against also abolishing patents.

I'm going to take this slowly to see if I can convince myself of your position.

One important item omitted from this reply is a discussion on how (or whether) a system might be able to keep itself from failing except under legitimate authentication.

>> Oh, yeah, you seemed to think they'd lock it to some online account with a monthly fee. Well, either the authentication would get cracked or else no-one would use it, "superior" though it may be.

Alright, you admit that perhaps it's possible to create such a linkage. [Let's work with this assumption for the rest of this comment.]

Then you imply this means people would not use it.

Well, if this implication was true, shouldn't we today see people avoiding MSware and instead flocking to Linux? If people pay today, then why would they not pay in the above scenario? In each case they want to use the software, in each case they pay, and in each case there is no sufficiently working substitute.

Keep in mind that substituting out some software for a free copy is not an actual substitution if that free copy won't work.

>> Once again, M$'s revenue stream dries up

Well, I won't agree this will happen ("there goes nearly 100% of their revenue instantly") if you can't explain how it is that today people pay Microsoft under a scenario that is so similar to the above hypothetical (of no copyrights but of Microsoft being able to maintain authentication trustworthiness).

Remember, I am assuming you agree that *perhaps* they can tie a working Windows into a pay system.

I don't want to argue with you on every point. Don't think I am. We agree on much IMO except in degree I think. The ultimate question is about how successful will copyright abolition for software be in restoring a competitive market with little lock-in (except the mild lock-in of real quality service, etc).

>> Of course, people would just disable automatic updates, jump ship to Linux, etc. if they did something THAT stupid and self-defeating.

This is a repeat of the above, but I want to note that disabling automatic updates is not an elixir. There might be a scenario (at least you admit this might exist) where the software simply will start to fail if you disable the ability of the software to update itself, assuming if that updating was key to the Lock-in Security System of the software.

>> Don't forget also that free MacOS will have been loosed upon the world, as well, when copyright was abolished.

Apple will be attempting the same thing Microsoft is attempting. Google will as well, as will other folks. At least, if this could work for Microsoft in theory, then it could work for others in theory, and likely work for others even if we take them in combination. Small numbers of players tend to collude if that will help them maintain high profit margins. [So these other companies become almost as competing subsidiaries of some larger entity.]

I won't go into a longer discussion now (though I have covered some of it on this thread) about taking a full open source system and changing it enough (and afterwards not opening the source to the new modified system you distribute) so that you can benefit from the open source growth yet produce and maintain a system like the one we are talking about: that it won't work unless authenticated properly.

>> That's just it. Using any of the tactics you describe will LOSE them the confidence of partners and users almost immediately.

Answer the above and maybe I'll believe that they will lose the confidence of users.

As for partners, partners will want to take part of a system where commoditization is not likely. In other words, a system as is being discussed here would be attractive to many partners if they are allowed to leverage it to improve their margins.

[Note, I'm not against you. I just think you haven't made your case, and I fear your conclusions might be off potentially too much for my level of comfort.]

>> That's just it -- absent copyright, they DON'T control access, and any other method they might use to try to grab it back (contracts, sabotaged updates, new kinds of activation nonsense) will be flimsy and will tend to simply backfire by losing them the confidence of partners and users.

This is repetition.

>> There's simply no advantage in it, and a big disadvantage, compared to playing ball with the open source community and selling support. (Keep in mind they can't lock people in and then charge high prices for copies, absent copyright.)

Only when you show that copyright is the key point, then might the "simply no advantage in it" follow.

I don't think you can show copyright is key if you can't address the above question, as the above question not answered would mean that trade secret can in fact be leveraged into high margins (at least under the assumption stated at the top).

>> Microsoft? Work extra seamlessly? That's a joke, right?

Don't get distracted. Replace Microsoft with Apple or Google or Adobe or even with a group of several of these conspiring.

>> There are many variables to this saga that would make "predicting" difficult.

>> Then why are you so certain that the outcome would be bad?

I'm trying to gain as much confidence one way or other.

>> Those monopolies only have value if they can generate monopoly rents. Without copyright, they cannot.

You'll need to address the question I posed at the top.

Remember, today, people pay Microsoft not a priori because of copyright. They pay because there is no good substitute (in their minds) at a significantly lower price.

And if you admit that Microsoft or someone else *might be able* to keep their system secure over time (ie, stay ahead of the crackers), so that the systems not authenticating as necessary will become of low quality, then the introduction of freebie clones tomorrow will not provide that substitute. Hence, why wouldn't people pay much as they do today?

What will be different tomorrow as a consequence of no copyright that will impact this "formula"? What am I missing from the formula?

>> But copyright is evil and must be removed also.

In the spirit of this posting, let me ask: do you think a copyright of 2 years is essentially as evil as one of 100+ years?

The rest of your comments and some I omitted is just repeat.

You take copyright removal as implying that much money cannot be made (nearing monopoly, etc), yet you haven't proved this. We agree?

As for trademark, I'll look into that some other day, year, whatever.

Alright, you admit

I "admit" nothing.

Well, if this implication was true, shouldn't we today see people avoiding MSware and instead flocking to Linux?

This "implication" was that if Microsoft went to a monthly-payments-required model people wouldn't "up"grade to whatever new version had that requirement. Since current versions of Windows require only one up-front payment, often hidden in the price of a new computer rather than paid explicitly, current consumer choices of operating system have no relevance to what they'd do if MS made Windows 8 (say) require recurring payments to use.

On the other hand, consumers expect that they pay once for goods, and a monthly fee only for subscriptions to magazines, utilities, and things of that nature, in which something keeps being produced that they keep consuming. In particular, they view shrink-wrapped software like Windows as goods and are sure to balk if asked to pay for it over and over again instead of (at most) just once.

Keep in mind that substituting out some software for a free copy is not an actual substitution if that free copy won't work.

There's no evidence that "the free copy won't work".

You can't explain how it is that today people pay Microsoft under a scenario that is so similar to the above hypothetical (of no copyrights but of Microsoft being able to maintain authentication trustworthiness)

Because they don't. a) Right now we do have copyrights. b) Authentication is currently a nonissue; XP activation was cracked, Vista activation was cracked. Windows 7 activation will be if it hasn't already. c) People mostly don't pay Microsoft. They pay OEMs and the OEMs pay Microsoft. If the OEMs could legally crack Windows and install it for free on their new machines tomorrow, they'd stop paying Microsoft tomorrow.

The software simply will start to fail if you disable the ability of the software to update itself.

Not true of current versions, and if M$ tried to force people to adopt a version that did behave this way, it would backfire.

Apple will be attempting the same thing Microsoft is attempting.

If they're stupid. People would, again, not adopt the new version if they tried.

Small numbers of players tend to collude if that will help them maintain high profit margins.

If they were only competing with Linux that might be a problem, but they'd also be competing with the older, now-liberated versions of their own software. Unless their new, subscription-requiring versions contain MUST-HAVE NEW FEATURES (and has ANY established genre of software, e.g. OS or word processor, offered such a thing in the last ten years?), and maybe not even then, people will simply ignore them because they aren't being given any reason to buy.

I won't go into a longer discussion now (though I have covered some of it on this thread) about taking a full open source system and changing it enough (and afterwards not opening the source to the new modified system you distribute) so that you can benefit from the open source growth yet produce and maintain a system like the one we are talking about: that it won't work unless authenticated properly.

So you're now worried someone will take a Linux distro, say Debian, and make an inferior fork that is harder to use, costs money to use, and generally is all around awful? I say let them. People will simply ignore them and use a properly-functioning version of Debian instead.

As for partners, partners will want to take part of a system where commoditization is not likely.

OEMs make their margins on hardware, not the preinstalled operating system. The operating system is a cost center for them. Given the chance to install what people want (Windows) without paying (Windows, post-copyright-abolition), they'll do it and lower prices. So will their competitors.

And no, a free-to-install but pay-to-use Windows wouldn't work here, because either people wouldn't buy the machines, or they'd buy them, blow away the preinstalled Windows, and install an older Windows or some other OS.

I just think you haven't made your case.

But I have made it, and your publicly accusing me of not doing so will not change the facts. Do not do so again.

Your conclusions might be off.

No. Nothing about me is "off". Do not publicly claim otherwise again.

This is repetition.

I'm being exactly as repetitive as you are.

Only when you show that copyright is the key point.

Already have. Now shut up. This argument is over. You've said your piece, I've rebutted it, now we both get on with our lives. Understood?

Don't get distracted.

Stop being rude and insulting. I haven't gotten distracted; I've made an important point, which is that what you are suggesting is especially unlikely for Microsoft to ever succeed at.

Replace Microsoft with Apple or Google or Adobe or even with a group of several of these conspiring.

Your big fear, lock-in, requires established major market share, which, of this group, only Microsoft has (in the operating system market).

You'll need to address the question I posed at the top.

How many times? I've already addressed everything you've said about four times now. Five, then? Six? Ten? A million? Come on, be reasonable. I should only have to do so ONCE.

Remember, today, people pay Microsoft not a priori because of copyright. They pay because there is no good substitute (in their minds) at a significantly lower price.

Disingenuous. They pay because of what you said, and because Windows has a high price tag. Windows has a high price tag in turn because of ... drumroll ... copyright.

Hence, why wouldn't people pay much as they do today?

What do they pay today? To their minds, nil; it's folded into the price of a new computer. Tell them that starting tomorrow they have to swipe their credit card at some web site and get dinged with a monthly fee, and you bring the upgrade treadmill to a screeching halt. Use malicious automatic updates to cripple older versions and you hand your market share over to Apple and/or Linux on a silver platter.

You take copyright removal as implying that much money cannot be made (nearing monopoly, etc), yet you haven't proved this.

Actually, I have, and other economists have. A competitive market drives prices to marginal cost. The ONLY thing propping up the price of e.g. a copy of Windows is copyright.

We agree?

Evidently not. So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, since you have used up your long-argumentative-posts-quota for the month.

Homeless and Nameless,

In this reply I give an example of the sort of reason one might want to buy into the updated service if you use Windows in the first place. Freebie will suffer.

>> I "admit" nothing.

Admit Nothing, Deny Everything

You did say: >> Oh, yeah, you seemed to think they'd lock it to some online account with a monthly fee. Well, either the authentication would get cracked or else no-one would use it, "superior" though it may be.

That does sound to me like if you entertain the possibility that a computer system can be kept in a state requiring authentication (ongoing "phone home" chats) to remain in good shape, else you'd have little reason to even mention "no-one would use it".

Just to be sure, I did clarify the assumption I was making. I'll say more on keeping the freebie Windows crippled later on.

>> In particular, they view shrink-wrapped software like Windows as goods and are sure to balk if asked to pay for it over and over again instead of (at most) just once.

Many businesses pay recurring fees.

Many people practice this drill as well, including with antivirus and various other software (even if yearly). Did people bail en masse? No, (a) they accept failures to malware and a high periodic payment to have a system cleaning done every now and then or after a major incident or else (b) they pay up (or if technical, (c) they might do a re-installation themselves.. or (d) move to Linux).

>> in which something keeps being produced that they keep consuming.

Customized FOSS integrated with the desktop and other Windows apps would be one very good example of value added monthly. These will be branded and mixed with proprietary software. The apps likely won't even be FOSS since original FOSS could be modified for lock-in effects (similar to the "authentic" vs "freebie" Windows example coming up, as these software would be integrated into Windows in a number of ways). For a monthly fee so as to have anything on the storefront, many would bite.

Microsoft always integrates and creates interop issues so that leaving their ecosystem will create problems. This is Microsoft (and other's as well) behavior 101.

Microsoft will work hard to make sure some of this software is exclusive to their system. Other exclusives would be webservices and website accesses or special features. Also hardware. Exclusives draw people.

Do people not pay for monthly XBox Live?

In short, the recurring payment is to continue to get updated versions of software and software generally at your fingertips and any other thing of value that gets refreshed daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Honestly, I don't see what you think is so strange about monthly payments, especially with partnerships that are likely to develop where you perhaps integrate cable tv and the PC, etc.

>> There's no evidence that "the free copy won't work".

Alright, let's consider some of the things Microsoft could do to get users to subscribe to their system and create problems for those that don't.

The hairy and large Windows binary has many threads of execution running repeatedly that move lots of data around. Many system calls, system interrupt handling, etc, will have occasional side-effects that appear (on first appearance to someone looking) to have no purpose. There would also be many times when Internet calls would be made to Redmond and apparently random bits in small quantities be downloaded and uploaded.

Before the software is usable in any extensive way (Day 1, right off a CD/DVD/etc), you have to get online, and the PC calls Redmond, logs in, etc and downloads an update that fixes the Windows software. Without this initial update, the software will decay eventually and be limited in what it can do. The network account (on this and future "phone home" calls) gives the client PC random numbers to be used in future connections (something like a one-time password but not necessarily one time and with some flexibility/resiliency). This feature helps make it difficult for many user to try to piggy-back on a single paying account.

As Windows runs and adds, moves, calculates, etc, values here and there, certain future effects are getting set up. If you don't download an eventual update, some of this activity will eventually begin in bits and pieces to destroy the Windows software. This can be done in a controlled fashion so that the damage can be undone up to a point (eg, if the user eventually allows the system to update itself properly). An analogy with humans would be like drinking a long-lasting poison (or having a chronic disease) where you become hooked on a steady periodic dose of some medicine because no fix is known due to the complex and widespread nature of the problems.

It's not very complicated in theory and the many many traps can be scattered all over the place and surface at unexpected times. Because of all the moving around of data and indirect memory/file referencing (unpredictable data and destination locations), it's very difficult for someone to reverse engineer these things except in bits and pieces over time. Some of these effects will rear their head over time (or when certain data values have changed into trigger position). It's difficult to home in on all of these things even if you have huge resources. Also, those that don't trigger for a long time effectively remain hidden in the huge and changing Windows code because most "reverse engineers" will not decipher the entire Windows source and analyze it from beginning to end. Most reverse engineering is done (I'm guessing) by prodding the system and measuring the behavior (eg, by recording the memory and register and file values for changes and also to analyze near the time when some effect is observed (this is costly, btw)). A full analysis would be difficult indeed. In fact, how many people know all of GNU/Linux? And Linux is open source (English text) and open to the whole world.

Also complicating matter is that a sufficient amount of reverse engineering would have to be done quickly because Microsoft updates will change much of this around on a periodic basis so many new possible breakages will always be introduced and removed.

BTW, to observe proper behavior (to try and learn the "protocols"), you have to keep the box updated and analyze it under "normal" conditions.

The idea of cracking would be to be able to produce an older cracked version of freebie Windows where you know how to trick the software (with special hardware on the motherboard or with the network) or else know which bits in the CD/DVD/harddrive to change so as to remove these effects.

Note, that without hardware support (DRM), Microsoft can't hide secrets within Windows; however, they can effectively hide many needles and needle components in the huge haystack, in a huge sea of noise. They can for example, have triggers appear based off indirect memory references (so you don't know where you will end up until the "evil" call is actually made since context will matter much). Also the decaying can happens slowly simply by changing bits here and there. Note that things like picture data (eg, a jpg file for a Windows icon) can hide key data in this scheme. Also, these hidden bits can serve as code, and code that would not be aligned to boundary so it would appear invisible in probably any dissasembler until the moment of calling under the right context.

Of course, I think Microsoft could in time convince some partners and likely has today in different ways, to support a branded Windows through hardware DRM. That would make everything even easier since then encryption could hide almost everything and you couldn't resolve the PC's keys except if you had very expensive equipment and lots of time to crack the hardware (so the field of researchers goes down significantly). Anyway, DRM extra security is not necessary since Windows would already be designed from the factory to decay if not saved in time through the proper uploads. [Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_rot which happens even if there is no attempt to create sabotage]

Note that Jack can keep a Windows version updated and then copy that and give to Jane and friends. However, this will simply reset the ticking clock to that point. To be safe, you'd need to figure out the method to the madness (the "protocol") now and into the future. And many would not have observed the triggering effect of these booby traps being built because the effects are scattered in time and renews periodically with Microsoft updates (and it's extremely hard to spot everything anyway).

If Jill surrenders and doesn't fight the updates (updates can happen "silently" and in bits and pieces), then this phoning home can do the checking and, if tests not passed, updates might speed up sabotaging of the system further, silently, and subtlety (perhaps leading Jill to pass on broken copies to Mark as if they were good).

I'll say a bit more below about refreshing to brand new Freebie Windows on a continual basis.

Another issue. Microsoft can readily see to it that malware (to the aforementioned triggers and to other flaws) be created in a steady fashion. The protection against this is to accept the downloads. Without knowing Windows precisely, you can't counter this on an ongoing basis from a single shot.

>> Because they don't. a) Right now we do have copyrights. b) Authentication is currently a nonissue; XP activation was cracked, Vista activation was cracked. Windows 7 activation will be if it hasn't already.

Microsoft wants people to use their software over alternatives. I quoted Gates comment earlier in this thread stating just this.

Hasn't Microsoft kicked many people with an XBox mod or something and from Live for various reasons?

The main issue is what is possible. It won't just be Microsoft trying to execute. It will be Google, Apple, and others. Not true of current versions, and if M$ tried to force people to adopt a version that did behave this way, it would backfire.

Well, will people get a freebie "new version" (and new version means that the latest update has been downloaded, eg, one hour ago) every hour or whenever the last freebie copy failed to pass the "heartbeat and download check"?

Say a third party provides this service of keeping your freebie Windows always uptodate (ie, a copy of an updated "authentic" Windows), the odds of failure at many points go up. Who will pay for all of these servers/bandwidth to provide these third party updates? Such an update mechanism likely won't be smart enough to be piece-meal all the time and will involve a huge download of gigabytes. I think Microsoft will make a great case that people should just trust the source (them) and pay the small monthly fee to them instead of to a third party (who almost surely will make more mistakes with this than will Microsoft).

Don't forget even old versions of existing Windows have many secrets people have not figured out (reversed engineered), even after many years and without pressure from Microsoft (I think for anticompetitive reasons, the "wine" people likely don't get bothered much if at all).

What about Linux?

Well, the bottom line is the same. Will what they get from Microsoft (Apple, etc) be better than the Linux route? People will look at ease and familiarity, costs, brand, etc. People will pay to have fewer hassles.

I'm not saying Linux doesn't have a shot then, but the main reason will likely be for similar reasons as now, reasons that primarily have little to do with copyright.

To what degree with the industry support Linux in the ways that Microsoft will surely keep working to add value to their system (absorb FOSS and lock it; get exclusives to apps, services, and hardware; work to keep developers and value add people's minds on Microsoft's protocols, API, brand, educational material, etc)?

>> c) People mostly don't pay Microsoft. They pay OEMs and the OEMs pay Microsoft. If the OEMs could legally crack Windows and install it for free on their new machines tomorrow, they'd stop paying Microsoft tomorrow.

No matter who installs, the issue is that if there is not a good crack/substitute to continued updates from Microsoft that keep the system running smoothly continuously, then this freebie route will clearly be inferior if even usable. People pay for superior (hassle free maintenance of working system).

>> but they'd also be competing with the older, now-liberated versions of their own software.

The point of the long discussion earlier in this reply is to try to show that a system designed to fail without maintenance (from phoning home) is never "liberated".

If copyright were gone, Microsoft would have justification for getting more aggressive. Today they have less to worry.

What I think is that eventually Linux will make its serious impact and that copyright will stay in some form.

Anyway, removal of copyright will add pressure to Microsoft to execute more aggressive strategy with less room for mistakes. On the other hand, it will make it easier for them to leverage GPL software (of which there is quite a bit) to augment their trade secret lock-in offerings.

>> So you're now worried someone will take a Linux distro, say Debian, and make an inferior fork that is harder to use, costs money to use, and generally is all around awful? I say let them. People will simply ignore them and use a properly-functioning version of Debian instead.

Why worse? Is Ubuntu condemn to be worse than Debian? It's about adding value. Any leveraging of Debian, already gets what Debian offers for free. The costs to the company would be creating, testing, and maintaining the new "tweaks".

>> OEMs make their margins on hardware, not the preinstalled operating system.

I agree some OEMs will attempt the freebie route,

.. but there are a number of ways OEMs can leverage partnerships with Microsoft if Microsoft has large market share. The profits are split in a sense. Also, OEMs might broaden out to adjacent businesses. Also, I was also referring to retailers and various other players.

>> Given the chance to install what people want (Windows) without paying (Windows, post-copyright-abolition), they'll do it and lower prices. So will their competitors.

As I tried to make the case, this would not be true if the freebies are of inferior quality and would require added costs and maintenance and risks to keep in working or quasi-working order.

>> And no, a free-to-install but pay-to-use Windows wouldn't work here, because either people wouldn't buy the machines, or they'd buy them, blow away the pre-installed Windows, and install an older Windows or some other OS.

See above.

>> But I have made it, and your publicly accusing me of not doing so will not change the facts. Do not do so again.

Stop being silly. The arguments are all here for everyone to see. We are arguing and each is capable of making mistakes. I still think you are misjudging a number of things. Maybe this current reply helps.

>> > blah blah >> blah blah >> > blah blah >> blah blah ...

>> Your big fear, lock-in, requires established major market share, which, of this group, only Microsoft has (in the operating system market).

If Microsoft stumbles, currently Apple or Google are in the best position (of "proprietary" vendors and large companies) to absorb most of those gains.

Further, Google seems more competent (technically and busines savvy, at least for the current environment and moving forward) than Microsoft, and they have large market share (with lots of awareness over many people potentially) they can leverage.

>> How many times? I've already addressed everything you've said about four times now. Five, then? Six? Ten? A million? Come on, be reasonable. I should only have to do so ONCE.

Sorry, for getting so repetitive in that email. It actually appeared at first that the submit didn't work and I thought about submitting a shorter version.

In any case, there is new material in this reply as promised. I am more than willing to keep at this conversation as long as we are being logical and providing material to digest.

>> Actually, I have, and other economists have. A competitive market drives prices to marginal cost. The ONLY thing propping up the price of e.g. a copy of Windows is copyright.

Just to address this for the record, I'm claiming lock-in (trade secret) is the more important element and because of the complex intricate nature of the product, having a copy does not fix the problems as would having a "copy" of a shoe, pizza, self contained automobile, etc.

>> So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, since you have used up your long-argumentative-posts-quota for the month.

You can stop when you want. Your comments are long as well. We likely each feel the need to address the other thoroughly. Plus, I already warned this reply was coming, so you shouldn't be surprised.

Troll:

What part of "you have used up your long-argumentative-posts-quote for the month" did you not understand, idiot?

[insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Many businesses pay recurring fees.

We are discussing consumers, not businesses. And, of course, businesses will realize they can get on fine using the functionality already available in software that does not come with recurring fees, and so won't "up"grade.

Many people practice this drill as well, including with antivirus and various other software (even if yearly).

With antivirus you're actually getting something in the way of an ongoing service with that yearly fee.

For a monthly fee so as to have anything on the storefront, many would bite.

Aren't you forgetting something? In the hypothetical post-copyright world, they can have "anything on the storefront" (software-wise) FREE.

Right NOW people might pay a monthly fee to have access to everything from e.g. Adobe, MS, and the like, and stuff like 3DSMAX and Autocad, that cost a fortune to buy individually, but that reason goes away with the death of copyright, as copies of those programs become freely distributable and their price tags collapse to zero.

Other exclusives would be webservices and website accesses or special features.

Which nobody will use. There are plenty of websites on the net and someone else will offer an equivalent one without strings attached. Remember what happened to AOL's subscription model when the internet came along?

Do people not pay for monthly XBox Live?

That's different. That's an ongoing gaming service. People also pay monthly for World of Warcraft but it hasn't magically caused the death of freedom on PCs.

If M$ creates a recurring-fee web service and a tied-in hardware/software platform for it, the end result will be another XBox Live: a dedicated purpose gadget that some people might choose to have AS WELL AS a general-purpose PC running ordinary Windows, or Linux, or whatever.

In short, the recurring payment is to continue to get updated versions of software and software generally at your fingertips and any other thing of value that gets refreshed daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

In a post-copyright world, that can easily be available for free in the form of downloads and some kind of RSS feed. Microsoft won't be offering anything compelling here.

Honestly, I don't see what you think is so strange about monthly payments, especially with partnerships that are likely to develop where you perhaps integrate cable tv and the PC, etc.

I don't think there's anything strange about them, but I also don't think that they're somehow going to magically be forced down everyone's throats.

Alright, let's consider some of the things Microsoft could do to get users to subscribe to their system and create problems for those that don't. [much deleted]

You make one fatal assumption: that people will update to this new thing in the first place, which will then enable them to force people to this paying subscription thing.

Actually, you make two. The second is that when M$ tries to tighten the noose they won't just say "fuck it" and jump ship to Linux (or MacOS).

Before the software is usable in any extensive way (Day 1, right off a CD/DVD/etc)

And why, pray tell, would anyone install this hypothetical CD/DVD/etc? When what they already have is working fine and YOU have been making dire predictions of doom about exactly that CD/DVD/etc loudly in public?

In fact, how many people know all of GNU/Linux? And Linux is open source (English text)

Hah. This troll thinks Linux is written in English rather than C. What a hoot!

The idea of cracking would be to be able to produce an older cracked version of freebie Windows where you know how to trick the software (with special hardware on the motherboard or with the network) or else know which bits in the CD/DVD/harddrive to change so as to remove these effects.

Has the idea of people simply sticking with Windows 7, Vista, or even XP not occurred to you? (And that, absent copyright, people can reverse engineer these sufficiently to write drivers for them for new hardware?)

Your hypothetical booby-trapped Windows 8 would have to a) offer a compelling new feature and b) somehow not become widely known to be booby-trapped for your scenario to be at all possible.

Of course, I think Microsoft could in time convince some partners and likely has today in different ways, to support a branded Windows through hardware DRM.

Of course you think that, since you're a moron. Any smart person will quickly see that there's no mileage in this for a hardware manufacturer who can make a lot more money mass-producing and selling cheap commodity hardware that runs as wide a variety of Linux and older Windows versions as possible. In fact, that's why Apple lost out to PC clone makers way back when.

If Microsoft decides to become the new Apple by producing their own expensive, locked in system like the Mac was ten years ago, they can expect to subsist on Maccish levels of market share in the future. No big threat to freedom there.

Microsoft wants people to use their software over alternatives.

Then it would be wise of them not to pursue the route of creating a Macintosh-alike in the future instead of continuing to make operating systems for generic PCs.

Hasn't Microsoft kicked many people with an XBox mod or something and from Live for various reasons?

Gaming is different from general-purpose computing. Kicking cheaters from your game servers attracts more customers, who get to play knowing there won't be many cheaters playing against them. On the other hand, arbitrarily kicking some people off of being able to use their own computers for their own stuff is a sure way to send your market share plummeting quickly to zero as everyone prefers open systems that they can trust and rely on. If Microsoft tries any of the stupid stunts you're so terrified of, they'll just drive tons of potential customers straight into the loving arms of Linux.

The main issue is what is possible.

No, the main issue is WHAT WILL HAPPEN. There are lots of things that M$ can try but how people would react to those things is very important. You seem to assume that people will just accept whatever M$ dishes out. The rocky early years for Vista are proof that this simply is not true.

Say a third party provides this service of keeping your freebie Windows always uptodate (ie, a copy of an updated "authentic" Windows), the odds of failure at many points go up. Who will pay for all of these[snip]

Who gives a shit? NOBODY WILL USE THIS HYPOTHETICAL SHODDY INTENTIONALLY-BROKEN FUTURE VERSION OF WINDOWS, MORON! Why would they? Tell me what it's got that Windows 7 doesn't have and that can't be had simply by downloading and installing something from Sourceforge or wherever. Other than electronic syphilis, that is.

servers/bandwidth to provide these third party updates?

BitTorrent.

I think Microsoft will make a great case that people should just trust the source (them)

No, you think Microsoft will make a lousy case that anyone should just trust them, because you think Microsoft will be deliberately sabotaging their computers and doing other underhanded things. In that, you're probably right -- they have a track record of doing underhanded things, so they'll probably continue to do so, and therefore will make a very lousy case that anyone should just trust them.

Well, the bottom line is the same. Will what they get from Microsoft (Apple, etc) be better than the Linux route?

According to you, no, it will be much worse, and by design.

People will look at ease and familiarity, costs, brand, etc.

Ease and familiarity means a gui that behaves as they expect. Linux has pretty much caught up in that area, and in that area, MS itself has been playing catch up to Apple.

Costs: Linux is free.

Brand: people are getting inured to brand, these days. Moreover, Microsoft's brand is associated inextricably with bugs, glitches, viruses, money grabs, and underhanded business tactics. Apple will beat Microsoft in any contest decided by brand loyalty, and some of the Linux distros, notably Ubuntu, are getting good reputations now.

People will pay to have fewer hassles.

That suggests a weird inversion: if M$ did somehow spew your hypothetical hassle-filled and crippled Windows 8 at the world you might be able to get rich selling high-priced copies of Linux as an alternative. :) Well, no, since people would just copy it for free, legally, but I trust you get my point.

To what degree with the industry support Linux in the ways that Microsoft will surely keep working to add value to their system (absorb FOSS and lock it; get exclusives to apps, services, and hardware; work to keep developers and value add people's minds on Microsoft's protocols, API, brand, educational material, etc)?

You just don't get it, do you? These days the value is in the network and in having an open-ended set of possibilities. People tolerate walled gardens on their phones and in their XBoxes, but not in their general-purpose computers. The death of AOL and the poor market share of the Mac have proven that, and when more open iPhone clones come along, Apple's cloistered and controlled app store will not remain very successful for very long. They're about to have to adapt or die as the flood of Palm Pre and Android phones is unleashed.

No matter who installs, the issue is that if there is not a good crack/substitute to continued updates from Microsoft that keep the system running

No, you idiot, the OEMs will install Windows Vista or something, not your hypothetical Windows 8. If Vista works better than 8, and you're saying it will, they'll prefer Vista.

People pay for superior (hassle free maintenance of working system).

Then people would be more willing to pay for Linux than for your hypothetical Windows 8.

The point of the long discussion earlier in this reply is to try to show that a system designed to fail without maintenance (from phoning home) is never "liberated".

So maybe Windows 8 would never be liberated. But I was talking about Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP there, which would be and which your inferior, shoddy Windows 8 would be competing unfavorably with.

If copyright were gone, Microsoft would have justification for getting more aggressive. Today they have less to worry.

Maybe so, but they wouldn't be able to accomplish anything by getting more aggressive.

What I think is that eventually Linux will make its serious impact and that copyright will stay in some form.

You can think what you want, bozo, just so long as you quit arguing with those that are better-informed than you. ("Linux is written in English" indeed...tee hee...)

Anyway, removal of copyright will add pressure to Microsoft to execute more aggressive strategy with less room for mistakes.

Thereby assuring their death knell shortly thereafter.

On the other hand, it will make it easier for them to leverage GPL software (of which there is quite a bit) to augment their trade secret lock-in offerings.

Why would anyone prefer, say, a shoddy, buggy, locked-down, intentionally crummified version of Apache or OpenOffice to an unadulterated version freely available from e.g. Sourceforge? You still have not explained that.

Why worse? Is Ubuntu condemn to be worse than Debian? It's about adding value.

Ubuntu adds value. Your hypothetical Microsoft fork removes value. So if, as you say, "it's about adding value", why the FUCK do you think ANYONE would use the Microsoft fork??!?! Please explain.

There are a number of ways OEMs can leverage partnerships with Microsoft if Microsoft has large market share.

Microsoft won't have, for very long.

Also, I was also referring to retailers and various other players.

Retailers can also sell cheap copies of Windows 7 and earlier, post-copyright. With a big sign saying "AVOID all the hassles and costs reported with Windows 8! Get Windows 7 today!"

"Given the chance to install what people want (Windows) without paying (Windows, post-copyright-abolition), they'll do it and lower prices. So will their competitors."

As I tried to make the case, this would not be true if the freebies are of inferior quality

YOU JUST DON'T GET IT!!! WINDOWS 7 AND EARLIER WILL NOT JUST MAGICALLY DISAPPEAR! M$ MAKING WINDOWS 8 OF INFERIOR QUALITY WILL NOT DO ANYTHING BUT LOSE THEM MARKET SHARE!!! IDIOT!!!

See above.

Indeed, see above. Idiot.

[insult deleted]. The arguments are all here for everyone to see. We are arguing and [insult deleted]. I still think [insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Maybe this current reply helps.

It does not. Your shutting up and stopping attacking me would help.

Further, Google seems more competent (technically and busines savvy, at least for the current environment and moving forward) than Microsoft, and they have large market share (with lots of awareness over many people potentially) they can leverage.

And a business model that does not involve, nor benefit from, lock-in.

Sorry, for getting so repetitive in that email. It actually appeared at first that the submit didn't work and I thought about submitting a shorter version.

That's because someone keeps hacking the site to kill the ability to post comments. I had suspected that that was you, since it started happening at the same time as you started your unreasoning and pointless arguing here. I figured maybe you decided to try something underhanded in order to get the last word. Too bad the site's operator keeps undoing the damage then, eh?

In any case, there is new material in this reply as promised. I am more than willing to keep at this conversation

I don't respond well to threats.

Just to address this for the record, I'm claiming lock-in (trade secret) is the more important element and because of the complex intricate nature of the product, having a copy does not fix the problems as would having a "copy" of a shoe, pizza, self contained automobile, etc.

Having a copy of a problem-free version (or a version whose problems are known quantities, with known workarounds) does.

You can stop when you want.

Of course not. I can't in good conscience let you have the last word, when you're wrong. People might get the mistaken impression that you actually won and that you're actually right, and then they'll be misled into not supporting IP abolition, and we can't have that.

Your comments are long as well.

Only because yours are.

We likely each feel the need to address the other thoroughly.

I've explained why I do. Why do you? A rational person would absorb my arguments, be convinced by them, and then walk away satisfied. You, obviously, are not a rational person. But why? What are you hung up on that has you so terrified that you can't think straight? Or is it just that you own a few copyrights yourself that you make money off and wouldn't like to lose? Indeed, maybe you're just a shill for Disney or some other big copyright holder -- perhaps even Microsoft.

Nobody Nowhere, can you explain where you got the idea that you could make long posts as much as you want while other people have a quota?

Can you tell me why it is that you are calling me troll when I am not calling you stupid?

I find it hilarious that you claim I insult you when you riddle your comment with insults at me. It is possible you have a very thin skin. Does my conversation about trade secret bother you?

Here, let's look at an example I just found by going back to an earlier reply: "No. Nothing about me is 'off'. Do not publicly claim otherwise again."

Are you serious? I have to ask. A sure liar or confused individual is someone that claims nothing about them is off. Or perhaps I simply draw different interpretations to your words. What do you mean by off? I meant being incorrect. So you claim nothing about you is incorrect? Interesting.

OK, one more: "Already have. Now shut up. This argument is over."

Here we see you demonstrate what many would consider rude behavior, followed by what apparently is a lie.

I'll have to go back and pick something serious and specific to ask you (maybe as material for my next comment) because you did not reply to the most interesting part of my last comment (I even brought attention to it before I wrote that last comment).

Let me mention one more thing now.

Linux is written in C and various other langauges. However, virtually all the documentation and function and variable names have English roots. I didn't mention C because it wasn't clear to me that you would even know what C was. English was precise enough for the moment because I was contrasting to binary.

BTW, I did make a few typos/mistakes in the last long comment but I'm not sure if you recognized them. I may go back and fix these or not.

>> A rational person would absorb my arguments, be convinced by them, and then walk away satisfied. You, obviously, are not a rational person. But why? What are you hung up on that has you so terrified that you can't think straight? Or is it just that you own a few copyrights yourself that you make money off and wouldn't like to lose? Indeed, maybe you're just a shill for Disney or some other big copyright holder -- perhaps even Microsoft.

You have been downplaying or denying the value of trade secret during this whole thread. Does this mean you are a shill for Microsoft?

Nobody Nowhere, can you explain where you got the idea that you could make long posts as much as you want while other people have a quota?

If our positions were reversed (i.e. you'd written something innocuous and I was the attacker) then I'd have the quota.

Can you tell me why it is that you are calling me troll when I am not calling you stupid?

Actually, you did, several times, though not in as many words; as for "troll", it's common Internet parlance for one such as you that stubbornly keeps repeating the same arguments over and over again and forcing others to rebut them.

I find it hilarious that you claim I insult you when you riddle your comment with insults at me.

Turnabout is fair play.

It is possible you [insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Are you serious? [calls me a liar]

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Here we see you demonstrate what many would consider [insult deleted], followed by [calls me a liar]

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You did not reply to the most interesting part of my last comment.

If so, then it must not have been relevant.

[here the troll made excuses to cover his ignorance about how Linux is programmed]

You have been downplaying or denying the value of trade secret during this whole thread.

Because it's unimportant. I pointed out other examples of failures of "walled garden", closed offerings -- the Mac never got big market share like the PC; AOL when consumer Internet access became widespread. Another example would be the collapse of DRM in the digital-music industry (its demise in the movie industry is now just about due, if a similar timeline is followed).

Also see Stephan Kinsella's latest top level post, where he mentions that trade secrets and NDAs are much weaker than copyright because they are not binding on third parties. He obviously agrees with me on this score, so that means you're outnumbered at least two to one. I suggest you just give up now.

Does this mean you are [insult deleted]?

Absolutely not. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

+> We are discussing consumers, not businesses.

Microsoft generates significant revenues from businesses. When discussing how "the market" might react, I consider more than just the consumers.

+> With antivirus you're actually getting something in the way of an ongoing service with that yearly fee.

And what are updates to Microsoft software? You don't call that an ongoing service?

There are many examples possible, but a key debate point is, without copyrights, can that service provider make their particular digital bits offering impossible to duplicate? [That's what I address next and end this reply there.]

+> And, of course, businesses will realize they can get on fine using the functionality already available in software that does not come with recurring fees, and so won't "up"grade.

I sure hope businesses would see that *today*, since there are significant options today in many cases that don't involve recurring fees for businesses, but many businesses apparently have not seen the light.

Why are you so sure they will see the light tomorrow that they don't see today?

Is your answer that those businesses want the option that includes the Microsoft software (and not Linux)..

..and that with no copyrights, a third party will be able to provide a clone of everything Microsoft provides?

OK, I can follow that, but there is a potential monkey wrench I want to consider.

Microsoft (Google, whomever) designs the system so that repeated phoning home is necessary in order for the software to stay in good working order.

A third party that wants to substitute for Microsoft would need to know how to maintain the client freebie Windows so that these don't collapse. Let's look at two approaches.

The first approach is that the provider keeps their "authentic" Windows in good order with the intention to give everyone a fresh copy of all software as much as needed. [Also, a peer to peer network could be used to achieve this effect in order to ameliorate bandwidth and other scaling issues.] A new fresh copy will need to be downloaded over and over since the copies will fairly soon begin to decay. After downloading (and future bandwidth might allow gigabytes to be downloaded quickly), we can press onto a recycled partition automatically (future cpu's and disks/memory might allow this to be done quickly). Without thinking about this more deeply, it seems to me that it might be a problem jumping to that new image without losing your current state (eg, what apps you have open, customizations, etc).

In fact, generally, there might be a problem with your personal data if you use this mechanism to refresh. Personalized files might be integrated into the system as a whole so that you can't re-integrate a fresh freebie Windows from a third party with your existing personal data without knowing the decay protocol (or the Decay-and-Integration Protocol).

A second option I want to look at is for the competitor to substitute Microsoft as the phone homing server; however, this won't work without knowing Windows behavior and/or Microsoft servers behavior to precision because the challenge and response will be unique based on random values or variables (eg, the mouse screen coordinates for the last 2 minutes) where you will need to know the specifics of the Decay-and-Integration Protocol. Simply, having the client Windows binary is not enough to know how to answer its unique phone home questions accurately.

[I'm not sure if I will get any closer to accepting the main position you have been advocating except with the next few statements.]

So I think it comes down to this: it's possible for Microsoft or someone else to make themselves irreplaceable, but it likely won't be easy.

And if you can't replace pay Windows, then the contest boils to something like Linux/Mac/etc under whatever system those provide against irreplaceable pay Windows. Will people see enough value in the unique Microsoft offering? To some degree, that is the very question we have today, yet Microsoft hasn't fallen from their perch.

I'm going to take a break and wait for your reply to see where we stand.

>> If our positions were reversed (i.e. you'd written something innocuous and I was the attacker) then I'd have the quota.

Never heard of that rule.

In any case, you attacked the person that spoke of 50 year copyright.

If you call your comment polite, then I think my comment your you was also polite.

On the other hand, your first words to me were:

+> Some doofus spouts:

+> Removing copyrights for software entirely would empower large existing players even further against a lot of software written using "copyleft" open source licenses.

So, no I don't see why I get a quota and you don't.

+> as for "troll", it's common Internet parlance for one such as you that stubbornly keeps repeating the same arguments over and over again and forcing others to rebut them.

That's your opinion about my comments. My opinion is that you are doing the same exact thing.

I suppose this means I should shorten Anybody Anywhere to just Another Troll or Troll #3.

+> Turnabout is fair play.

Conveniently, this "fair play" is in the eye of the beholder since one must judge if the other was verbally hostile. You might think anyone that disagrees with you has drawn first blood.

I already stated what your initial words were to me. Contrast that with what I said to you. I think you have been less than fair.

But I'm not offended easily. You are I imagine.

I also said: +> It is possible you have a very thin skin.

I have reasons for thinking you are thin skinned (offended easily), as I just tried to explain. Do you think it's impossible that you would have thin skin or do you agree with me that it is possible you have thin skin?

[If I miscalculated, I will try to make amends, but I do think you jumped the gun first. Apparently "first" is all the excuse you need.. too bad most everything in life is an opinion (eg, a perceived fact) and nothing more.]

+> No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

OK, so you denied something I suggested might be true, but why don't you answer in a logical or convincing way the question I posed (which you haven't answered yet) so that it doesn't appear to someone reading that you aren't actually lying again about you not being a liar.

I'll repeat the question:

To this comment of yours: "No. Nothing about me is 'off'. Do not publicly claim otherwise again."

I posed the following questions (with remarks): "Are you serious? I have to ask. A sure liar or confused individual is someone that claims nothing about them is off. Or perhaps I simply draw different interpretations to your words. What do you mean by off? I meant being incorrect. So you claim nothing about you is incorrect? Interesting."

+> If so, then it must not have been relevant.

Perhaps, but I ask because I think if you understood what I was saying then you would have addressed it since the implication would be (as I understand it) that trade secret is more important to Microsoft than copyright.

In the reply I made that precedes this one, I covered this issue again, and my conclusion was the same, except that in practice it might be very difficult for Microsoft to manage changing their OS fast enough to create sufficient headaches for many of those that would be avoiding paying Microsoft.

+> the Mac never got big market share like the PC

Doesn't the Mac (Apple) have copyright?

Windows does have high market share, and they have trade secret.

They each have both, so you can't use that excuse.

+> AOL when consumer Internet access became widespread

Many software companies have used trade secret, as well as copyright, and failed to achieve or maintain a monopoly. I fail to see how this serves as an example against trade secret and not against copyright.

+> Another example would be the collapse of DRM in the digital-music industry

Ditto.

Also, I don't think vendors are done trying DRM. I think many want to take another stab.

That is, however, an important example IMO because it does suggest a number of difficulties involved in forcing DRM.

One thing to keep in mind is that for this to work, all/most hardware and desired content would have to support it. There are many players in the hardware and content fields and many of the major ones would have to play along. Part of the reason not to play along is that DRM technology of today/yesterday appears to add high costs and performance problems.

Software is much more complex than typical songs/movies/etc. [Ex, a few broken bits or bytes in a song may not be noticeable to anyone's ear, but a single broken bit in software could potentially bring the house down.]

Personally, I hope talented content creators adopt more open licenses (copyright is still with us) because they find overall value to openness. Surely, I will be adding pressure in the direction of openness; however, this is different than the Microsoft case.

In the case of Microsoft software, I assume Microsoft is the only one holding the secret. Losing copyright would open up their binaries to cloning, but this won't reveal how the software ticks. See my prior comment for some more details of why I think knowing the "protocol" is likely necessary.

+> Also see Stephan Kinsella's latest top level post

I have run out of time for tonight, but if you want me to reply to it, could you be a little more specific. The latest posting I saw was about patents, and I don't have time now to look more closely.

Troll: I must ask you to at least limit yourself to 1 comment a day, in the interests of allowing me more time to pursue other interests. Otherwise, my duty of care to this site in correcting the misinformation you keep posting will consume too much of my time.

Microsoft generates significant revenues from businesses. When discussing how "the market" might react, I consider more than just the consumers.

But business won't fall for the kinds of stupid tricks you seem to think consumers will fall for. They'll do a cost/benefit analysis, decide your evil Windows 8 isn't worth it, and not upgrade. So much for Windows 8.

And what are updates to Microsoft software? You don't call that an ongoing service?

Antivirus software subscriptions get you new virus definitions. What does an M$ update get you? A bug fix.

Correcting product defects is not an ongoing service; it is rectifying a past error.

How would you react if a car company sold lemons, but provided a subscription service where over time they would identify and fix the occasional problem with the lemon you bought from them? You'd tell them to shove it and go get a real car with a proper warranty from a real car company.

By the same token, software bugfixes are supposed to be (and currently are) free of charge.

(This isn't the same as car maintenance to undo the effects of ongoing wear and tear. Cars, being mechanical, suffer wear and tear. Software doesn't, or if somehow it does, simply erasing and reinstalling the binaries magically resets the odometer to zero and makes it shiny and new again, at least if it is properly designed. Bugs in software are not wear and tear; they are manufacturer's defects.)

There are many examples possible, but a key debate point is, without copyrights, can that service provider make their particular digital bits offering impossible to duplicate?

No. Bits can be duplicated by their very nature.

They can have particular bits sooner than someone else; e.g. without copyright Blizzard could continue raking it in with World of Warcraft with only slight changes to their business model. They'd have new dungeons and other stuff before any copycats.

I sure hope businesses would see that *today*, since there are significant options today in many cases that don't involve recurring fees for businesses, but many businesses apparently have not seen the light.

You mean, they won't switch to Linux? It's the costs of switching and retraining. But there would be some (probably lower) costs of switching to Windows 8 from Windows 7 (or whatever), so that actually argues against their going for that hypothetical, dubious upgrade. Especially once a short time passes after release and Windows 8 begins to acquire a very poor reputation with the early adopters, as it would if it had the properties you hypothesize.

..and that with no copyrights, a third party will be able to provide a clone of everything Microsoft provides?

With no copyrights, their own file-copy command at their own DOS prompt will be able to provide a clone of everything Microsoft provides. They'll be able to make as many copies of Windows, Office, &c. as they want to without being sued, "audited", or what-have-you.

Microsoft (Google, whomever) designs the system so that repeated phoning home is necessary in order for the software to stay in good working order.

Now you're again assuming businesses will adopt your hypothetical Windows 8 wholesale. They won't.

A third party that wants to substitute for Microsoft would need to know how to maintain the client freebie Windows so that these don't collapse.

No, they'd just have to provide copies of an older, non-crippled version of Windows instead of drinking the Windows 8 Kool-Aid.

[much deleted as it is irrelevant once the assumption that businesses will adopt Windows 8 whole-sale is demolished]

So I think it comes down to this: it's possible for Microsoft or someone else to make themselves irreplaceable

Nope. They might make themselves costly to replace, but even then only with a lot of lemminglike behavior from businessmen that one normally expects to be much savvier than that.

Will people see enough value in the unique Microsoft offering? To some degree, that is the very question we have today, yet Microsoft hasn't fallen from their perch.

The equation changes once Microsoft is competing with freely-redistributable older versions of their own software and not just FOSS. And then some old source code leaks, or more reverse engineering is done, and people increasingly build bridges between the old, now-freed MS software and FOSS.

I'm going to take a break and wait for your reply to see where we stand.

An interesting lie. As for where we stand: as usual, I'm standing here pwning your punk ass from here into next week. I'd have thought you'd have gotten tired of it by now, but perhaps you're some kind of a masochist?

Never heard of that rule.

Well, there's a first time for everything.

In any case, you attacked the person that spoke of 50 year copyright.

I was correcting their error. Furthermore, that person was not you.

If you call your comment polite, then I think my comment your you was also polite.

Your first one, perhaps. They've degenerated since then, with several instances recently of your insinuating that I'm stupid or outright accusing me of lying.

Of course, I'm neither stupid nor lying, unlike you.

So, no I don't see why I get a quota and you don't.

Well, I guess it sucks to be you, then. It's been explained; if the explanation is too complex for your feeble brain to comprehend (but one hint: it partly has to do with the fact that I'm the one of us that's right and you're the one of us that's wrong) then that's just too bad.

That's your opinion about my comments. My opinion is that you are doing the same exact thing.

I am being no more repetitive than you are, and moreover, I am doing it in response to you.

The troll is the one who keeps repeating the same incorrect arguments or nonsense. The guy who keeps patiently (ok, sometimes not so patiently) correcting those with correct and logical arguments is not a troll, because he is not doing the same thing. The one is making a mess. The other is cleaning it up. When the one makes the same mess repeatedly people will assume that it's deliberate rather than an accident, especially if they've been told precisely how to avoid the same error happening again.

Similarly, the quota. It makes much more sense to impose a quota on mess-making than to impose one on cleaning-of-messes.

I suppose this means [insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You might think anyone that disagrees with you has drawn first blood.

No, but people that call me stupid, call me a liar, and repeat the same wrong arguments over and over after being corrected on them several times? Certainly.

I think [insult deleted]

That much has become painfully obvious. Think what you wish, but do stop broadcasting it in public. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true, and if you keep claiming otherwise after repeated corrections on that score, it will become clear that you are intentionally lying about me rather than merely mistaken. And then you've crossed the line from merely being a troll to having committed libel.

I also said [insult deleted]

Yes, you did, and I deleted it for a reason, jackass: because it doesn't bear repeating. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I have reasons for thinking you are [insult deleted]

I'm sure you do, somewhere in that twisted mass of synapses you call a brain, but it doesn't make it true. Indeed, none of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

If I miscalculated, I will try to make amends, but I do think you [insult deleted]

Nope, you miscalculated. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I'll be expecting those amends within the next 24 hours, now.

Why don't you answer in a logical or convincing way the question I posed

Either I did, or the question was rendered moot by some other part of the argument that you lost, or else it was completely irrelevant to the question of what would happen to Windows if copyright were abolished.

[calls me a liar and then suggests that I might be stupid]

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

And we now have an answer to the trichotomy above: it was completely irrelevant to the question of what would happen to Windows if copyright were abolished.

Perhaps, but I ask because I think if you understood what I was saying then you would have addressed it

Either I did, or it was rendered moot ... you get the picture.

Doesn't the Mac (Apple) have copyright?

Irrelevant. The point is that open systems beat proprietary systems in the marketplace. Open PCs beat Macs, the open Internet beat AOL, open MP3s beat AAC and other DRM'd music formats, and Android and the Palm Pre are about to clobber Apple's app store if Apple doesn't do something to open up iPhone development more and do it fast.

One thing to keep in mind is that for [DRM/lock-in] to work, all/most hardware and desired content would have to support it.

That ship has sailed long ago. Open PCs and open formats for audio, video, and several other forms of "desired content" have long become established as defacto standards. Microsoft cannot simply legislate that away even with copyright, let alone without.

I have run out of time for tonight, but if you want me to reply to it, could you be a little more specific.

I was quite specific, given that both my comment and the Kinsella post in question bear timestamps, as do the Kinsella post's neighbors.

The latest posting I saw was about patents

That's the one. It touches on other topics.

I don't have time now to look more closely.

Then perhaps you should have wasted less of it arguing with me.

Rise and shine, Troll.

+> I must ask you to at least limit yourself to 1 comment a day, in the interests of allowing me more time to pursue other interests.

You should know by now that I post when I get the impression you have not seen the light.

It seems to me that you think that third parties could replace Microsoft virtually as a given if copyright were nullified.

Let's look at a possible scenario in the future. This example might help communicate what apparently my other comments haven't yet been able to do.

Eight years have passed.

Windows XP SPxx is hardly used and won't work on any hardware or with apps that were developed within the last few years. It also gets taken over by malware almost instantly when place online (XP is no longer supported by Microsoft with patches). For most people, this potential option will never cross the radar.

Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 9 are the Windows software being used.

Copyright comes down.

Yeah.

The next day, Microsoft announces that the above Windows products will stop working if they are not kept online "receiving updates" from Microsoft.

Initially, most people do nothing differently. They stay online just as they were the day before, and most people see no difference because they paid for their software (eg, when bought the PC).

At this point, Microsoft is not hemorrhaging.

After a few months there are various third parties trying to replace Microsoft in the sense that they sell PCs with cloned Windows software at a modest discount.

Some of the people that buy these new PCs find the software becomes very unstable fairly quickly no matter which of Vista... Windows 9 the PC came with. The reason is that the binaries and hardware were hacked, but the effects wore off in a short amount of time.

Others find that their PCs do contact Microsoft leading to a message popping up periodically for a week asking to pay for an upgrade to "authentic Windows". These PCs each came with a free copy of "authentic" Windows that is bit-exact to the original. Those people that got the pop-up and ignored it find the machines go sour after the week is up. Most of these last group of people then decide that instead of staying with an high spec but unusable computer, they might as well pay for an "authentic" Windows from Microsoft.

Over the next few years, this is repeated, each time with varying results but usually along the lines described. Microsoft holds on to their position, more or less.

Meanwhile, the story with Linux at this point is about the same as it was in 2009: it is hardly being advertized, so most people don't even know about it and don't factor it into their purchasing decisions.

[In real life, copyright or no, Linux being moved forward aggressively will help knock Windows down.]

If people pay Microsoft in the end, if third parties cannot properly substitute for Microsoft, if Linux is still not marketed properly, if Apple is pulling the same tricks as Microsoft, then people will pay. The alternative (to most) is to have a crippled computer using a very old Windows or else not use a computer. And if the cost is much like the current cost they already pay for Windows, then I don't think most people would complain that much.

Same goes for business users.

+> No. Bits can be duplicated by their very nature.

Unfortunately, if you need phone home and that is a unique conversation, there are no bits to copy as far as that conversation goes.

Copying the original software bits is not enough if recurring phone home "maintenance" is needed because only Microsoft knows the formula to derive the correct bits for any particular conversation needed to prevent software decay.

+> Correcting product defects is not an ongoing service; it is rectifying a past error.

If the software did not have "errors", then it would not very much need antivirus.

People pay for antivirus because it helps them. The antivirus vendors charge for antivirus because that is their business model, and they do a good enough job to beat the free stuff. If they were no better than the free stuff (or did not bring enough value to the table for that user), then people would eventually likely stop paying.

Netscape once charged for software whose equivalent Microsoft later gave away for free. Before Microsoft did this, people payed. Afterwards, users didnt' want to.

Same goes here. Paying is relative. If the options to paying are worse, people will pay Microsoft for X or Y reason.

It may be a one-time payment at the cash register, or it may be something else.

+> This isn't the same as car maintenance to undo the effects of ongoing wear and tear.

All is relative.

Ex1: If car A went 10 years without needing any maintenance or perhaps needing a very small amount while car B needed much more, then people would move towards car A and complain about B.

Ex2: If B's maintenance is actually better than average (forget about car A) and car C needs 3 times as much as B, then people will accept and pay for B and its faults.

Ex3: If car B is the only car where you can get GPS tracking and various other features, people will forgive car B if they really want the exclusives.

+> How would you react if a car company sold lemons, but provided a subscription service where over time they would identify and fix the occasional problem with the lemon you bought from them? You'd tell them to shove it and go get a real car with a proper warranty from a real car company.

Would people really stick with a lemon, as you put it, if the "patches" were free instead of costing $$? I don't think so. I think the analogy does not quite succeed because people stick with Windows because to a large extent they have or believe they have few alternatives. When most of what you know is a lemon or else fails in some other crucial way, you stick with the lemon.

And as just mentioned in the "relative" discussion, if the choice is between paying for lemon fixes or not having a car, you pay. At least it appears this is the choice most have taken.. unless of course the analogy of Windows to a lemon is off in some way.

+> > I'm going to take a break and wait for your reply to see where we stand. +> An interesting lie

Really, in what way?

+> I'm standing here pwning your punk ass from here into next week.

I'm getting a better idea of what your rose colored glasses do to light.

+> Well, there's a first time for everything.

I'm beginning to think you recognizing your mistakes is not one of them.

+> > Why don't you answer in a logical or convincing way the question I posed +> Either I did, or the question was rendered moot by some other part of the argument that you lost, or else it was completely irrelevant to the question of what would happen to Windows if copyright were abolished.

You didn't.

It wasn't relevant to the main question, but I did say why it was important. It's because it smelled quite a bit like a lie, and until you address it directly, there is little else I think most rational people will think.

If that was a lie, then perhaps you claiming you are not lying and I am lying by claiming you are or might be is also a lie. I wonder what part of what you are saying can be trusted. Fortunately, the discussion is all there for anyone to read.

Should I repeat the question because I noticed you still didn't answer it?

+> The point is that open systems beat proprietary systems in the marketplace.

Assuming this were true, what does that have to do with copyright?

If open systems always beat proprietary systems in the market place, then why are you calling for the end of copyright? Open system are going to win, remember?

FWIW, I want open systems to win, but there are too many flaws in our society to believe any particular outcome will win no matter what. For example, Microsoft has been king of the hill for how long now? They keep introducing proprietary apps (no open code) and protocols which frequently gain traction. Flash and much proprietary software and file formats are alive today and doing quite well.

+> Also see Stephan Kinsella's latest top level post, where he mentions that trade secrets and NDAs are much weaker than copyright because they are not binding on third parties. He obviously agrees with me on this score, so that means you're outnumbered at least two to one. I suggest you just give up now.

+> I was quite specific, given that both my comment and the Kinsella post in question bear timestamps, as do the Kinsella post's neighbors.

OK, I was tired and didn't catch that he put up another posting 20 minutes after you made your comment. I read your comment a while after that last posting of his.

He didn't say very much that I think is relevant here. The question here is whether Microsoft's monopoly exists more because of trade secret or because of copyright? I am not questioning the certitude of Microsoft's monopoly over their software. That is a strong monopoly. I'm arguing their management of trade secret is more responsible for their market share dominance ("desktop monopoly").

To give an analogy to show why I think Stephan's comment is not very relevant here.

Say I am the only one with knowledge of and access to the last significant diamond mind on earth. Say I exploit that to dominate "the diamond industry" within 10 years. I make a gazillion dollars and own the market.

Meanwhile, I also have a copyright on a particular 5-line letter I wrote to my banker that got me the initial funding that allowed me to begin extracting from the mine.

The question is, which is more responsible for my monopoly on diamonds, my trade secret or my copyright?

My trade secret! The 5-line letter was a detail. I could have easily paid someone else to write a similar letter for me. It's irrelevant how strong of a monopoly is the copyright vs. the trade secret. The question is about a monopoly that is different from both of these, even if related to each of these.

+> I'll be expecting those amends within the next 24 hours, now.

If I were you, I'd start holding my breath after you answer the question so that you might clear up your name, first. There is no point in me even attempting to make amends with you with your glasses acting up as they are.

+> > That's your opinion about my comments. My opinion is that you are doing the same exact thing. +> I am being no more repetitive than you are, and moreover, I am doing it in response to you.

You effectively said my first comment was perhaps polite, despite you beginning your very first counter-reply calling me a troll. Naturally, I have been doing the natural thing from that point onward: replying to you because I want to make an attempt at answering your inaccuracies and/or unwarranted rudeness (ie, we're probably, in each of our minds, doing something very similar except from different perspectives).

-- A fellow troll

+> Assuming this were true, what does that have to do with copyright?

To troll: When I reread this section of my reply, I realized troll might have been calling a no-copyright arena as being open, while I was thinking along the lines of a no-secret-source-code arena or at least a no-secret-protocols arena.

Thus, I see what troll meant by copyright being related to open systems, but this realization on my part doesn't affect my opinion about the relative strategic strengths to Microsoft of the following two items:

-- (a) keeping their source code secret

vs

-- (b) having a copyright on the binaries they distribute

Essentially, I believe that the value of the information kept within a huge body of source code that can't be seen by the public is greater than the information that would be accessible more easily to anyone from a copy of any particular very large binary produced from such source code.

The source code would lose its copyright, but we can't see it.

The binary would lose its copyright and we can see it, but it's much less useful than the source code because of all the translation and obfuscating mappings that have transpired and because of how easily it can be dramatically changed again within a short time under pressured conditions.

Users of all types need to start DEMANDING source code from their vendors as a hedge against security, privacy, etc, abuses. That will end Microsoft's reign and go far to neutralize Google or anyone else trying to outdo Microsoft in the future.

It's people's choice if they want to accept products missing key information. Unfortunately, we all pay the consequences because of the network effect; thus, I care about this issue quite a bit.

[I am aware that trade secrets of many sorts are used as a matter of course by many businesses and that source code is a type of trade secret; however, I can vote with my dollars and words to promote open source products, as I see open source growth as a very important tool to battling encroachments upon many types of user freedoms. Software is too powerful, complex, and pervasive and can easily be abused to potentially great damage.]

PS: Haven't I already posted a comment today!!!! Well, yes I have. I guess this means I am taking an advance on the quota I have reserved for this thread on future days.

A troll writes:

Rise and shine, [insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You should know by now that I post when I get the impression you [insult deleted].

You're wrong. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Let's look at a possible scenario in the future. This example might help communicate what apparently my other comments haven't yet been able to do.

They communicate quite clearly that you're a delusional paranoid.

Windows XP SPxx is hardly used and won't work on any hardware or with apps that were developed within the last few years.

Why not? Remember, without copyright people are free to hack XP and implement drivers for it for new hardware. It may not be as easy as it would be with the source code, but it's possible.

It also gets taken over by malware almost instantly when place online (XP is no longer supported by Microsoft with patches)

Its security holes have mostly been fixed by now, and no new ones are being introduced. And again, third party patches have become possible, if not easy to create.

Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 9 are the Windows software being used. ... The next day, Microsoft announces that the above Windows products will stop working if they are not kept online "receiving updates" from Microsoft.

Except that that's not true. Vista, at the very least, functions fine without any internet connection at all.

[rest of implausible scenario deleted]

+> No. Bits can be duplicated by their very nature.

Unfortunately, if you need phone home and that is a unique conversation, there are no bits to copy as far as that conversation goes.

I was not referring to the hypothetical updates of your hypothetical Windows 8. I was referring to copies of e.g. Windows Vista or any other Windows version created before your hypothetical online-requiring version.

+> Correcting product defects is not an ongoing service; it is rectifying a past error.

If the software did not have "errors", then it would not very much need antivirus.

Not true. Viruses are inherently possible in any general-purpose computing system. Bugs may make it easier to sneak one onto a system, but they are not needed.

Be careful, troll -- your profound ignorance about how computers actually work is showing again.

+> This isn't the same as car maintenance to undo the effects of ongoing wear and tear.

All is relative.

Obviously you've completely missed the point, or else you get it but wish you hadn't, since your response is completely incoherent.

Ex3: If car B is the only car where you can get GPS tracking and various other features, people will forgive car B if they really want the exclusives.

And now we're back to your hypothetical "exclusives" again. How, pray tell, do you think Microsoft is going to stop competitors offering equivalent functionality to any new feature they introduce?

If M$ had some magical means of doing so, don't you think they'd have used it to prevent OpenOffice, say, from coming into existence, or Firefox?

Would people really stick with a lemon, as you put it, if the "patches" were free instead of costing $$? I don't think so. I think [insult deleted]

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

+> > I'm going to take a break and wait for your reply to see where we stand. +> An interesting lie

Really, in what way?

You didn't wait for my reply before posting your next comment. When I checked I found two in a row from you, the first containing your assertion that you were going to take a break and the second proving that you didn't actually do so.

+> I'm standing here pwning your punk ass from here into next week.

[nonsense deleted]

I have little interest in the many and varied things that inhabit your delusional fantasy world; sorry.

+> Well, there's a first time for everything.

I'm beginning to think you recognizing [insult deleted]

I will resist your vicious lies with my dying breath if I have to. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

+> > Why don't you answer in a logical or convincing way the question I posed +> Either I did, or the question was rendered moot by some other part of the argument that you lost, or else it was completely irrelevant to the question of what would happen to Windows if copyright were abolished.

You didn't.

I listed three alternatives. You just said that the first wasn't the case. Indeed, on further reading it became clear that the third was instead.

It wasn't relevant to the main question

And now you admit it.

[calls me a liar]

No, you're the liar. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

+> The point is that open systems beat proprietary systems in the marketplace.

Assuming this were true, what does that have to do with copyright?

It is true, and I have furnished plenty of supporting evidence that it is true. As for copyright: nothing. It has plenty to do with your own bugbear, trade secrecy, though. It disproves your fears of a magical instant M$ takeover under onerous terms if copyright is abolished.

If open systems always beat proprietary systems in the market place, then why are you calling for the end of copyright? Open system are going to win, remember?

The end of copyright will help culture, and open systems, fluorish. So will the end of patents, at least for the latter of the two.

FWIW, I want open systems to win, but there are too many flaws in our society to believe any particular outcome will win no matter what.

It doesn't have to win "no matter what"; it just has to win more often than not, and thus come to dominate.

For example, Microsoft has been king of the hill for how long now? They keep introducing proprietary apps (no open code) and protocols which frequently gain traction.

MS has exactly two things that have gained traction: Windows and Office. Everywhere else they have failed miserably time and again: PlaysForSure, Zune, IE (now being clobbered by multiple competitors), OE,.... The list goes on.

He didn't say very much that I think is relevant here.

Neither have you. But he did say one thing that was very relevant, much more relevant than much of what you have written.

The question here is whether Microsoft's monopoly exists more because of trade secret or because of copyright?

It's because of copyright. Without it, anyone could make copies of their perfectly-functional Vista installs for anyone else for free, legally, and there goes M$'s monopoly rents, and thus their monopoly.

Say I am the only one with knowledge of and access to the last significant diamond mind on earth. Say I exploit that to dominate "the diamond industry" within 10 years. I make a gazillion dollars and own the market.

Irrelevant. The monopoly comes from owning the real estate with the resource on it, rather than from a trade secret.

+> I'll be expecting those amends within the next 24 hours, now.

[insults deleted]

My character is just fine, as is my eyesight. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

You effectively said my first comment was perhaps polite

I did not. I said it wasn't as blatantly rude as the later ones. It still was somewhat rude though.

Naturally, I have been doing the natural thing from that point onward: replying to you because I want to make an attempt at answering your [insults deleted].

No, you're the stupid one and the troll. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

A troll violated his one post a day quota. Guards! Seize him!

To [insult deleted]: When I reread this section of my reply, I realized [insult deleted] might have been ...

Wrong. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Thus, I see what [insult deleted] meant by copyright being related to open systems

No, you're the troll. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

[lots of nonsense and irrelevancy deleted]

Users of all types need to start DEMANDING source code from their vendors as a hedge against security, privacy, etc, abuses. That will end Microsoft's reign and go far to neutralize Google or anyone else trying to outdo Microsoft in the future.

No disagreement here, but irrelevant to the copyright related points.

I am aware that trade secrets of many sorts are used as a matter of course by many businesses and that source code is a type of trade secret; however, I can vote with my dollars and words to promote open source products

As can I. And I can also vote with my words to promote copyright abolition, and I have the right to do so without coming under verbal attack, and even being subjected to character assassination, by the likes of you.

Hey Mr. Troll, sir, I'm going to try to end my half of the conversation.

Throughout this thread, I haven't spent too much time thinking about the effects no copyright would have on "culture". For this reason, I haven't looked at DRM too much.

I've been thinking about it some more now, and I'd have to agree with you that ending copyright would really change the game significantly for culture. Because of the significance of this and the dramatic changes that would likely occur, perhaps I would not worry too much about Microsoft. Linux would gain popularity just on enthusiasm, and that popularity would carry it over anything Microsoft would likely be able to accomplish.

With DRM and no copyright, if we can see the visual work (hear it, etc), we can copy it down, and this is even assuming the technology to pull out the bits automatically from the screens is not available outside of some DRM conspiring group and that the digital information gets deleted automatically after an expiration period. However, there are so many potential points of failure that probably few people would have to resort to hand copying anything.

I think you at least partly understand or could understand most of what I had said about the lock-in effect possible with such a large body of code as is Windows being the plaything of by a single entity, but, under the "new world order", I don't think people would let Microsoft become an obstacle. I had not sufficiently appreciated how things might have changed to see that people really would have little patience for paying for something with Linux not too far away. Basically, if not now, then certainly (I'd guess) then, people would market the heck out of Linux and that would end the story with Microsoft.

Not sure if copyright would ever go completely, but if enough people realize the implications, that might lead to sufficient pressure to neuter that body of law.

If copyright goes, I can't imagine patents staying. During its 20 year lifetime, every patent offers the equivalent coverage of many many (currently) copyrighted works.

...

Ahem

You are a disrespectful disgrace to humanity. My only regret in ending this is the significant amount of cases where you will have ended up with the last work. I get sick just reading some of the things that I didn't read carefully before or did but overlooking your asanineship. I'm also abandoning a very long comment I was building, but I know how to take loses. Not having exactly finished, I know there are minutes I have recaptured from plodding in this swampland.

Endearingly yours, the man whose shoes you might one day be fit to polish.

PS: The future after The Uncopyrightnaissance is not MS software clones, idiot. Fixing up XP through it's binaries will be more than 10 times worse than simply expanding Linux. And let's not forget how lame XP will be in 8 years. Also, don't pretend you know what XP, Vista, or 7 does behind your back.. unless you know something I don't that is relevant to this discussion. May all your important youtube clips be on XP when the shoe drops.

PS2: For your information and embarrassment, look what Santa Claus brought to town days back: http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2010-01-23-011-35-NW-MS&tbovrmode=1#talkback_area "Widespread attacks exploit newly patched IE bug" http://www.esecurityplanet.com/features/article.php/3860131/article.htm

PS3: If you were actually smart, as in not an idiot, you would have cut your time banging the keyboard by over 90% simply by calling my essence "irrelevant and imaginary" on account of me having called you a troll. You're never going to get back those hours, chump. Hah!

PS4: Troll, I call a virus an "error". If the software doesn't have "errors", it doesn't have viruses. ..Do I have to cross every t and dot every i for you?

PS5: None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true, you irreverent SOB. Learn to write unnastily, as I write.

PS6: I most certainly did wait for your reply to that comment before continuing where I left off. Details: You posted at :47. I started a counter-reply to it but only covered a piece of this :47 before deciding to take a break and wait for your reply to me. I posted this first "unfinished" reply at :21. At that time I noticed you had posted a different comment at :39 while I was working on :21. I quickly wrote something in reply to that one and posted at :25 before ultimately going to bed. After getting up (and taking care of some things), I read a new reply of yours, :37, which was to my "unfinished" :21, at which point I decided to reply to this :37 (having seen your reply to my :21, having taken a break, and having a better idea of "where we stand"). This last reply was posted at :18. Pay attention.

PS7: There is no "magical" or "instant" or "takeover" in what I am talking about.

PS8: MS clearly has more than exactly two things that have gained traction, and if IE with it's >50% share is being "clobbered".. you really are dumber than you look.

PS9: The diamond analogy is irrelevant because of property rights?! No, allow me to explain this one to you as well, troll. My focus was not on property rights. I factored everything out that I could so as to focus on trade secret vs copyright. In my analogy, the diamonds are legally open for the taking. Pretend these are public lands and the government was feeling generous. The lucky stiff's awareness of how and ability to take the diamonds so as to try to preserve his trade secret (including where to look, when to look and dig and how, how to carry on under some degree of protection/anonymity/etc, and when and where to bring them to market) and the lack of similar information and abilities by others was assumed to be the predominant factor in stiff profiting from the established monopoly. Does this make sense to you, Canary?

PS10: Alright, I'm sure I own you an apology for at least some of the things I have said. Too bad for you I wrote down that debt!!!!!

:---P ......

A troll writes:

Hey [insult], I'm going to try to end my half of the conversation.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I've been thinking about it some more now, and I'd have to agree with you that ending copyright would really change the game significantly for culture. Because of the significance of this and the dramatic changes that would likely occur, perhaps I would not worry too much about Microsoft.

Aha.

I had not sufficiently appreciated how things might have changed to see that people really would have little patience for paying for something with Linux not too far away.

Aha.

Not sure if copyright would ever go completely, but if enough people realize the implications, that might lead to sufficient pressure to neuter that body of law.

As far as noncommercial copying is concerned, that ship has already sailed.

If copyright goes, I can't imagine patents staying.

If anything, patents are likely to go first; free culture and free software doesn't quite have the emotional punch of starving sick people being denied food and medication because drugs are patented, seeds are patented, and special recovery-formula foods are patented. A recent post on this site highlights that patents and stopping global warming might wind up at loggerheads, and if that happens, it won't take more than one or two more Katrinas to kill patents.

You are a [vicious insult deleted]. [Implied insult deleted]. [Vicious insult deleted]. I'm also abandoning a very long comment I was building, but [implied, misspelled insult deleted]. Not having exactly finished, I know there are minutes I have recaptured from [implied insult deleted].

No. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Endearingly yours, [insult deleted]

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS: The future after The Uncopyrightnaissance is not MS software clones, [insult deleted]

No, you're the idiot.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS2: [implied insult deleted]

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS3: [insults deleted]

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS4: [insult deleted], I call a virus an "error".

Your mistake. And none of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

If the software doesn't have "errors", it doesn't have viruses.

Not true. Software errors may make it easier to infect a computer with a virus, but the good old fashioned double click of an infected executable is always a possible vector.

PS5: [insults deleted] unnastily, as I write.

Bonus points for irony. Oh, and none of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS6: I most certainly did wait for your reply to that comment before continuing

The record proves otherwise: two comments in a row by you before the next one by me.

[a whole lot of irrelevant detail deleted that doesn't change the facts above; ending with an insult]

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS7: There is no "magical" or "instant" or "takeover" in what I am talking about.

Well, you didn't use those exact words, but what you described would indeed have required magic to accomplish, probably including mind control.

PS8: MS clearly has more than exactly two things that have gained traction

I wasn't counting the XBox, only PC software, since PC user freedom was the matter at issue here. And the XBox is a poor cousin to the Wii and PS3 anyway.

and if IE with it's >50% share is being "clobbered".

Considering it once had over 95% share and will be below 50 in a few months, yes, it's being clobbered.

you really are [vicious insult deleted]

No, you're the idiot.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS9: The diamond analogy is irrelevant because of property rights?!

Yes. The monopoly comes from owning the land containing the hypothetical only remaining productive diamond mine, not from any trade secrecy.

No

Yes. See above.

[Insult deleted]. My focus was not on property rights. I factored everything out that I could so as to focus on trade secret vs copyright.

You failed, and you're the idiot and the troll.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

In my analogy, the diamonds are legally open for the taking.

Of course not. Going onto someone else's land to remove diamonds from their mine is clearly trespass and burglary.

[a bunch of implausible nonsense, ending with an insult, deleted]

No, you're the birdbrain.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

PS10: Alright, I'm sure I own you an apology for at least some of the things I have said.

You do indeed.

P.S. None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

I am making a good try to end my half...

+> Your mistake.

I was well aware that a virus might be possible in a perfect software system; however, it might not. Rather than think about it more, I realized that "error" is defined by the objectives of the user and can be defined to mean no unintended effects, which would include virus. [Notice my original statement had errors in quotes.] I'm not certain, but I think it's possible a system could be *usable* yet locked down enough so that this is effectively the case that virus are impossible.

...

BTW, I have not changed too much my position except mostly that I am cautiously excited about the thought copyrights would be removed across the board (I'll have opportunity to grow more into this view later).

I still do not recommend that copyright be dropped exclusively for software and not elsewhere. This is the essence of what I spend time here describing. The original posting suggested patents for software might stay with copyrights being removed only for software and entirely, and I think this is less than ideal.

Source code is an expression. Knocking only software copyrights would tend to get software houses that want to remain aggressive (and there are still a lot), to clamp down further through trade secret and codified scrambling/decay techniques. You can modify open source a bit and not specify what you did and make reverse engineering difficult. If most of the industry adopts this approach, I still tend to think it will have a negative effect. BSD license lends itself to that. GPL pressures for openness.

** Removing copyright on binaries BUT keeping it on source code is probably the short term ideal as goes software -- if ordinary copyright (think "culture") are not knocked out or reduced significantly. I think this compromise resolves most of the issues for software expressed on this thread. After all, I have seen no one specifically argue at any length for the removal of software source copyright while keeping ordinary copyright. Meanwhile, I have seen Troll NN call for freely distributable binaries. That mix (source follows regular copyright while binaries lose it) is fine with me (meaning I think it's a better idea than not).

+> Of course not. Going onto someone else's land to remove diamonds from their mine is clearly trespass and burglary.

I don't think all countries follow our property laws to the T (duh), yet, even in the US, I have heard that certain public parks allow people to walk away with various items.

I think there are other scenarios where that analogy also works. If you weren't so stubborn... [Go ahead, take the honors.]

A liar wrote:

I am making a good try to end my half...

Obviously not, or your comment that I am quoting would not exist. You implied a promise to shut up and now you've broken that promise.

I was well aware that a virus might be possible in a perfect software system

Then when you said that it was not, you were lying rather than merely mistaken? That makes two lies and counting.

I realized that "error" is defined by the objectives of the user and can be defined to mean no unintended effects, which would include virus.

Arguable, but we hadn't been discussing computer errors in general. We'd specifically been discussing defects in software, i.e. bugs. And you have now conceded that a system with no bugs in its software may still potentially be infected by a virus.

BTW, I have not changed too much my position

Oh, really? In your last post, you conceded many of my major points and reserved your energies of disputation for a lengthy tacked-on temper-tantrum of pointless and childish ad hominem character attacks. (Do you always react like that when you lose, or only on the internet?)

except mostly that I am cautiously excited about the thought copyrights would be removed across the board (I'll have opportunity to grow more into this view later).

Ah, very good.

I still do not recommend that copyright be dropped exclusively for software and not elsewhere.

And I never have; I recommended it be dropped period.

The original posting suggested patents for software might stay with copyrights being removed only for software and entirely, and I think this is less than ideal.

That much I agree with; patents being gone as well would be better, ergo their remaining would be less than ideal.

Source code is an expression. Knocking only software copyrights would tend to get software houses that want to remain aggressive (and there are still a lot), to clamp down further through trade secret and codified scrambling/decay techniques. You can modify open source a bit and not specify what you did and make reverse engineering difficult. If most of the industry adopts this approach, I still tend to think it will have a negative effect. BSD license lends itself to that. GPL pressures for openness.

And yet, BSD-licensed open source exists and appears to be thriving, while GPL-licensed stuff sometimes has its own problems, often involving license compatibility. Open source licenses are beginning to emerge as a tower of Babel that can make at least as big a mess of things, and impede innovation as much as, closed source licenses. Abolishing copyright gets rid of both.

Removing copyright on binaries BUT keeping it on source code is probably the short term ideal as goes software

Don't be silly. That still defangs the GPL (redistributing binaries, which aren't copyrighted, becomes legal no matter what so the GPL's requirement to make the source for those binaries available no longer has any leverage to enforce it) while still retaining some amount of evil mercantilist privilege.

I think this compromise resolves most of the issues for software expressed on this thread.

It doesn't, and it took me all of twenty milliseconds to compute that it doesn't. If you genuinely didn't discover that yourself pretty quickly, at best you didn't think at all before posting and at worst you're an imbecile. If you did, but posted it anyway, then that makes lie #3. In all three cases it doesn't look very good for you.

After all, I have seen no one specifically argue at any length for the removal of software source copyright while keeping ordinary copyright.

Because it's an idiotic idea.

Meanwhile, I have seen [insult deleted] call for freely distributable binaries.

No, you're the troll.

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

+> Of course not. Going onto someone else's land to remove diamonds from their mine is clearly trespass and burglary.

I don't think all countries follow our property laws to the T (duh), yet, even in the US, I have heard that certain public parks allow people to walk away with various items.

Diamond mines are not public parks and communism, being a dying creed and pretty much moot at this point, is therefore pretty much irrelevant.

I think there are other scenarios where that analogy also works.

It doesn't work, so how the heck could there be "other scenarios" where it "also works"?

If you weren't so [insult deleted]...

None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.


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Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the

Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples

Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since