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SubjectRe: Why DRM exists [was Re: Flame Linus to a crisp!]
On Sun, Apr 27, 2003 at 06:07:17PM -0400, Ross Vandegrift wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 27, 2003 at 11:50:37AM -0700, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > 1) Corporations are threatened when people copy their content and/or
> > products.
> > 2) Corporations have a lot of money which they use to get the government
> > to create laws to protect the corporate interests.
> > 3) Corporations have a lot of money which they use to create technology
> > which will remove threats to the corporation.
> > 4) The more you inist that you are doing nothing wrong the more motivated
> > the corporation becomes to stop you.
> [snip]
> > What I'm trying to
> > say is that I think that the organizations which *create* the IP will
> > vigorously defend that. The more you try and circumvent that the more
> > draconian they will get.
> I think that you simply meant in your email to identify free software as
> a cause for this paranoia. I can kinda see the logic, and you might be
> right.

Whew. At least I'm not totally crazy, one person saw what I was saying.

I don't think it is exclusively the open source folks that have the
business guys worried, they are also worried about the illegal wholesale
replication of the software which occurs in places like China.

> But what I think what fired up many other readers (and me as well, until
> I read your reply), is that your email reads like the solution is to
> stop making free software/independant music/etc and just pay for what
> we're offered. After all, individual creations will only serve to increase
> the paranoia of the corporations.

If that's what you heard, I didn't get across what I meant. In the
business world, it's a well established fact that you don't win by
copying the leader, the leader will always out distance you.

My message was that instead of sitting around copying other people's
programs, it would be far more interesting if the open source community
came up with original works on their own. That's how you win. It's a
lot more work but when you win, you really win. In the copying model,
you are always playing catchup to the leader.

By the way, I wouldn't object to the copying so much if I didn't see it
as a threat to the open source community itself. I take the long view
which says that if you look far enough out, if the open source community
is successful enough, there won't be anything left to copy.

That's not a problem except that the commercial companies are spending
the R&D to create new stuff and the open source guys using the proprietary
programs as a roadmap to make a free version. Not a problem until you go
looking for a business model based on open source which can generate the
revenue that it takes to do something new. Nobody has in the many years
I've pointed out this problem.
Larry McVoy lm at
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