Subject: SSSCA - Analysis (Q&D)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:35:29 +0900

 Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:35:29 +0900
>>>>> "kms" == Karsten M Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com> writes:

    kms> ...and not altogether unbiased.  I'd be interested to hear
    kms> other's reads of this, I think I'm on relatively firm ground
    kms> for most of the analysis here, but it's pretty breathtaking.

I'd say you're full of shit on some of it (for example, the antitrust
exemption does not grant free rein to (generic) collusion, although it
does make it somewhat easier; leave the antitrust "analysis" out of
it).  I'll grant you the "breathtaking" for what's left.  The
exemption from the Sunshine Act (which is both the legal and the real
point of the antitrust exemption also) is pretty astounding; there's
simply no justification for that.  None in the Act (no "findings" :-),
and nothing I can come up with plausibly, except "security through
obscurity", which even the industry experts would surely deprecate.

I don't think the immediate economic implications for free software
are as dire as you think they are.  Remember, really free software
won't run correctly on these machines, so only "FSBs" that license the
technology will be able to distribute  useful  software.  This creates
an artificial shortage and some "FSBs" may make  more  money under
this act than otherwise.  NB.  There would no longer be any such thing
as a pure FSB, thus the quotes.

Of course, a quick read leads me to the same conclusion as you: the
common copyleft licenses will be incompatible with the law.  But, say,
Berkeley DB should be OK.  I don't see that Sleepycat's business would
be directly affected in any way but positively, by ruling out
competition from redistributors.

However, completely free software would be a lot less useful and fun,
it would be impossible to produce many of the most popular (ie,
flash'n'trash) kinds of useful free software as a hobby, and I expect
that this would eventually decimate the movement.  I think it would
also, as you put it, shit on the whole IT industry.  And that would
not be good for anybody, including companies that first order might be
benefited by the protection this "Monopoly Protection Act" gives them.


By the way, "Barron's" is a financial publication which may or may not
support the SSSCA.  The phrase is "robber baron".


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