Subject: Re: eCos license [was Re: EROS license]
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 18:14:56 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rn" == Russell Nelson <> writes:

    rn> Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that just eCos was being dumped.
    rn> I'm suggesting that you can make a case in America that ALL
    rn> free software is being dumped

I think this would be impossibly hard to do; you'd have to show that
FS distributors were foreigners taking a loss and causing harm to US
businesses.  Who would they sue?  Linux Torvalds and (among a cast of
thousands) the KDD Labs in Tokyo (who mirror CTAN, GNU and,
among others?  Nah.  All that stuff is being redistributed by US
agents, too---but domestically you not only need to show _harm_, but
further _intent to monopolize_ (see below).

    rn> (that is, violating antitrust law -- a rule all too often of
    rn> men, not law).

To violate antitrust law you need to restrain trade.  FS involves no
prior restraints on others distributing their products (except in the
viral clause, and I think given the principle of copyright, not to
mention the spirit of the rest of the GPL, you'd be hard put to work
on that basis).  No soap there.  To establish predation (the domestic
anti-trust equivalent of dumping on export markets), you would need to
show that the FS distributor was attempting to establish a monopoly.
Uh-uh, by definition they're giving away the store.  (Best source on
this kind of thing is Franklin Fisher, et al "Folded, Spindled, and
Mutilated: US v. IBM." MIT Press, 1985 or so.  Dense, but readable by
the economic layman.  Fisher was the main expert witness on the side
of the angels^H^H^H^H^H^Hdefendent.)

U.S. antitrust enforcement has its problems, but I advise FSB
operators to lose sleep in more pleasant ways than worrying about a
summons from the FTC.

You probably could prove the point in the EC though, especially if you 
could show that the code was genetically modified---which of course it 
is.  :-P

    rn> Then again, you can also make the case that Microsoft is
    rn> violating antitrust, and if there were a competitor selling

Well, yes.  The boneheaded decisions at every turn to go for greater
and greater integration of every product can only be economically
justified if they result in monopolization.  QED.  In my "ekspaht
ohpeenyon, sah," of course.  :-)  This is basically what the judge
said; he's waiting on more evidence about whether it's as boneheaded
as it seems.  Really, the only evidence that Microsoft has in its
favor is that all the textbooks recommend modularization, and we all
know that academics have no idea what works in the real world.  :-)

    rn> Doors '98 for the same price as Microsoft, they'd be violating
    rn> antitrust (even if it's the price that clears the market).

Doors '98?  They'd be violating Morrison's copyright, first.  :-)

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