Subject: Re: FSBs and client-server
From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@free-expression.org>
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 10:13:38 -0500 (EST)

On Sat, 27 May 2000, Russell Nelson wrote:

> What it comes down to is that I think I know how to run my business
> better than anyone else.  Other people disagree, and create laws that
> interfere with my best judgement.  I continually find it curious that
> some businessmen support this kind of thing -- as if they *wanted* to
> make themselves, their employees, and their customers implement
> decisions of someone else's choosing.
> 
    Do you have any specific examples?  I know there's plenty of laws that
might "interfere with [X's] best judgement", but if X's best judgement
were to, say, sell defective products, I'm not too likely to care about
his not being able to legally make such a desicion.

> Now, as to Lessig's "duh" observation that sometimes you have a
> limited choices in the free market (code as "law" -- presumably this
> only being a problem when it's someone else's code), I fail to see how
> the situation is improved by further limiting the choices (legislation
> as law).
> 
    A lot of his argument is pointing out that such legislation is already
being made.   Because most people seemed to think "cyberspace" is
unregulated (though you, and everyone else on the list may be more savvy
than that).

> Some people justify government because it solves public goods
> problems.  All you have to do is create a good law and the market no
> longer fails.  But it just moves the public good problem to that of
> making good law.

    Like it or not, we live in a society.  As a society, we make choices
about how we want our society to work.  Government is the tool through
which such choices are made.  While I'll agree it doesn't always work in
an ideal (or near-ideal) manner, it's still closer than just giving up.    

> Fine, so with copyright we don't have a public goods problem related
> to authorship.  NOW we have a problem making copyright law meet
> societal goals.  What with the Disney copyright extensions, I'm not
> sure it is.  Another issue is out-of-print items -- I think copyright
> should only exist if the author is copying something.  If you take
> something out of print, you lose the copyright.  Hey, the same
> principle applies to trademarks -- you keep them only as long as you
> defend them.

   Fine.  Write your congressman.  I'd prefer to see a strict 20 year
copyright myself - should be more than enough to encourage creators.  I
don't know about that out-of-print thing though (for myself).

> But regardless of whether you agree, it points out that some problems
> are hard to solve, and that government can't solve a problem, it can
> just transform it.  Hopefully into one that's easier to solve, but in
> my experience just into one whose solution is less fair.  Or even
> just differently unfair.

    Depends on what you think is unfair.  And I don't think anyone is
arguing _every_ law is good law, or fair.  But enough are to make the
system worthwhile.  

Lynn