[free-sklyarov] RE: DMCA and market control

Richard M. Smith rms at privacyfoundation.org
Tue Aug 28 12:56:37 PDT 2001

Yes, I agree.  I think that the problem of file format monopolies is a
largely unexplored area of the DMCA.


-----Original Message-----
From: Lars Gaarden [mailto:larsg at eurorights.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 9:46 AM
To: Richard M. Smith
Cc: free-sklyarov at zork.net
Subject: DMCA and market control (was: NY Times: Copy-protection schemes
cripple eBook sales)

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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