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Stefan's headers [was:Names and identifiers]


On Sat, 09 Jun 2018 13:02:30 -0400, Richard Damon wrote:

> On 6/9/18 6:48 AM, Marko Rauhamaa wrote:
>> Richard Damon <Richard at Damon-Family.org>:
>>> Copyright law is not what makes something 'closed source' in the eyes
>>> of the Open Source community. For example, Microsoft doesn't use
>>> Copyright to keep the source code for Windows secret, they just don't
>>> provide it.
>> It would leak out with developers who move to new jobs. And that would
>> be good.
> 
> If you plan on eliminating not only copyright, but trade secret and
> non-disclosure laws, sure, maybe. Yes probably some limited stuff would
> leak. More likely the work conditions at those places would get
> stricter, and likely would make it hard for someone inside to 'make a
> copy'.
> 
> More importantly, if we didn't have copyright laws, we likely didn't get
> windows or even Dos anywhere near as early, and maybe even not home
> computers.

I think that Marko is being awfully naive about copyright, but I think 
that your claim is a gross misrepresentation of the early history of 
computing. The money was in selling the hardware, especially in the home 
computer market, not the software.

Things would have been ... interesting ... if (let's say) IBM had been 
free just take CP/M and use that, but don't underestimate the benefits of 
dealing with the people who actually wrote the software and understand 
it, even if you could just take the software and work on it yourself.

(Richard Stallman makes a pretty penny consulting for GNU software.)

Another factor you failed to account for is that without piracy (in other 
words, despite copyright, not because of copyright) Microsoft's software 
would be unlikely to hold its preeminent position it does today. From 
Word and especially Excel, Windows, MS BASIC and DOS, Microsoft captured 
the market *because of* copyright infringement, not in spite of it.

The bottom line is, the idea that copyright is responsible for innovation 
is more a matter of faith than economic reality. Economists who study 
this sort of thing argue back and forth whether the economic cost of 
copyright outweighs the benefits, but one way or the other it is hardly a 
clear cut win for copyright as conventional wisdom says.

I think the wise thing is to have *just enough* copyright but not too 
much. Zero is not enough, but what we have now is too much.


-- 
Steven D'Aprano
"Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson