Subject: Re: freedom and human kindness (was Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software)
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 13:13:27 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Bernard" == Bernard Lang <Bernard.Lang@inria.fr> writes:

    Bernard> Given the (naturally monopolistic) structure of the
    Bernard> software market (at least where
    Bernard> infrastructure/commodities are concerned),

Please don't use the term "natural monopoly" to refer to software where 
I can hear it---it confuses me.  :-)  It is not a natural monopoly in
the technical economics sense because

    1.  property rights are a legal creation; without property rights
        there is a clear second-mover advantage (avoiding sunk costs of
        development).  Not to deny that first mover advantages exist,
        but the cost advantage in a given product goes to copycats.

    2.  There is (ex post development) no social benefit to the
        monopoly; the duplication of development costs can be avoided
        in many cases by the simple expedient of not granting
        intellectual property rights.

-- 
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."