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Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [affs-project] Re: [Fsfe-uk] Re: APIG inital report
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 08:11:56 +0000

On Thu, 2006-02-23 at 00:49 +0000, Graham Seaman wrote:
> >Well, it's a monopoly in a colloquial sense - we're talking about
> >exclusive control of something - but not in a economic sense. It's not
> >control of a market, it's control of supply of a particular product in
> >a market. 
> It's refusal to allow a market to be created.

Well, it's not really - it's refusal to supply product. 

I'm not saying these aren't monopolies, because in the common sense of
the word they pretty much are. But it's not the type of monopoly that
competition law would apply to, or that free market economics would be
concerned about.

> I think MJ is following normal usage: google for 'copyright grant of 
> monopoly' and see how many references you get.

Oh sure, and I don't disagree with what he's saying. My point is that
it's not really right to argue control of market in a free market sense:
the free market does not force you to supply product, nor does it
dictate the terms. You generally wouldn't apply the term "market" to so
limited a scope as supply of one particular author's works. 

If you argue that DRM restricts the consumer, there are only two
available premises:

     1. the DRM system is blocking activities you should be able to do;
     2. the DRM system is blocking activities you would otherwise like
        to do, but don't necessarily have the rights to do.

The problem with the first argument is that DRM proponents claim their
systems are getting better, and that the discrepancy is small. In some
instances, they might even be right. And the second argument is
obviously nothing to do with DRM.

In this country, we really do have the most pathetic, limited rights to
use works protected by copyright. I think often, a lot of the problems
with DRM are actually symptomatic of this failure to include basic
rights. I also suspect that a stronger system of fair use rights (e.g.,
I'm allowed to copy my CD for my car) would pretty much kill off DRM in
terms of copy and playback restrictions.



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