[free-sklyarov] DMCA and market control (was: NY Times: Copy-protection schemes cripple eBook sales)

Lars Gaarden larsg at eurorights.org
Tue Aug 28 06:46:09 PDT 2001

Richard M. Smith wrote:

> "I feel that was one of our greatest shortcomings," Mr. Brass said. He
> promised that the next generation of hand-held computers using a
> Microsoft operating system would be able to run the improved software.

Really wonderful, huh? Microsoft is already controlling their monopoly
through copyright law, draconian licensing deals, patents, trade
secrets and the computer software network effect (that is, if everybody
is using Word, the market value of a competing office suite is close to
nil if it can't handle .doc files - the barrier to entry for competitors
becomes the Chinese Wall).

Now they'll get that same network effect by the fact that content
providers will flock to the formats they control - and competitors
will be at a severe disadvantage since it is now illegal to produce
competing players for the same format.

One of the problems of the DMCA and the EUCD that should get more
attention, is that it is a powerful market control measure. It will
essentially kill software and hardware vendors that want to produce
competing products without entering a licensing agreement with the
company that control the most widespread format.

MS has near complete control of ISVs and hardware vendors because they
control the operating system. EUCD/DMCA will give those that control
the most popular digital formats even more control, since this
monopoly is now protected by law.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world.  Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead.

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