Subject: Re: Opportunity lost? Challenge declined!?
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 12:46:58 +0900

>>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <tim@oreilly.com> writes:

    Tim> License terms like the right to fork, and the right to
    Tim> redistribute under the same terms, are *protections* of open
    Tim> source effectiveness, not causes of them.

I don't understand your distinction.  True, they protect activities
that a monopolist certainly wishes to allow in some degree.  But any
monopolist in his right mind would refuse to permit them in unlimited
quantity.  Certainly licensing forks of the software will be very rare
in the absence of an a priori commitment to permit them.  The
interests of the developer and of society do not coincide, the Chinese
sage notwithstanding.

You simply cannot get around the fact that a monopoly will want to
restrict quantity in order to increase price.  Grant intellectual
property, and the holder of those rights will not want to permit the
socially optimal levels of use of their product, either in source or
executable form.  Protecting those rights is what distinguishes free
software from proprietary software.

True, there's a difference between the license and the actual exercise
of the rights granted, but that seems awfully academic.

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