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Re: Recommendation for a CL data structures library

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Recommendation for a CL data structures library
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 16:11:43 -0000
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On 3/29/2010 12:43 PM, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
"The copyright misuse defense is similar to an antitrust claim, where a
copyright owner has misused the limited monopoly granted by the
copyright. However, the Lasercomb decision made it clear that the
copyright misuse defense is available even when the misuse does not
reach the level of an antitrust violation. "

Well, here is the Lasercomb decision:
    Lasercomb undoubtedly has the right to protect against copying
    of the Interact code. Its standard licensing agreement, however,
    goes much further and essentially attempts to suppress any
    attempt by the licensee to independently implement the idea
    which Interact expresses. The agreement forbids the licensee
    to develop or assist in developing any kind of computer-assisted
    die-making software. If the licensee is a business, it is to
    prevent all its directors, officers and employees from assisting
    in any manner to develop computer-assisted die-making software.
    Although one or another licensee might succeed in negotiating out
    the noncompete provisions, this does not negate the fact that
    Lasercomb is attempting to use its copyright in a manner adverse
    to the public policy embodied in copyright law, and that it has
    succeeded in doing so with at least one licensee.
    We think the anticompetitive language in Lasercomb’s licensing
    agreement is at least as egregious as that which led us to bar
    the infringement action in Compton, and therefore amounts to
    misuse of its copyright. Again, the analysis necessary to a
    finding of misuse is similar to but separate from the analysis
    necessary to a finding of antitrust violation. The misuse arises
    from Lasercomb’s attempt to use its copyright in a particular
    expression, the Interact software, to control competition in an
    area outside the copyright, i.e., the idea of computer-assisted
    die manufacture, regardless of whether such conduct amounts to
    an antitrust violation.

As you can see, misuse of copyright occurs just as I said it does,
when copyright is used in an attempt to limit competition. But as
Daniel Wallace discovered, and as you appear not to know no matter
how often you are told, the GPL does not limit competition. Rather,
by requiring that source code be free, it enhances competition by
making the use of covered works available to anyone who receives
them. It is fundamental to the understanding of anti-competitive
doctrine that these laws protect the public, not the competitors.

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