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   RE: Software patent debate: we lose round one

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  • From: "Clark C. Evans" <cce@clarkevans.com>
  • To: Kay Michael <Michael.Kay@icl.com>
  • Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 14:40:42 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 31 May 2000, Kay Michael wrote:
> If copyright were to expire after a million copies have
> been sold, the developer would still get a fair return and 
> anti-trust trials would be unnecessary.

Suppose that the copyright application had two 
additional fields:  


I have often thought that this "simple" and 
backwards-compatible change would allow for 
competition not only based upon the material
copyrighted, but further, upon how the creator
decided to limit the copyright.

Imagine a software consumer saying:

  "Well, software X is $14.95 but its competitor
   Y is $29.99.  But look; Y has lowered the
   copyright term to 3 years... hmm.. and has
   legally stated that the source code will be
   available upon the copyright expiration.
   I guess this means I probably won't be 
   locked-in after the copyright expires. 
   Yes.  Y is the better deal."

I don't think the above analysis is so far fetched;
especially for large corporate buyers.  And all it
may take is a simple backwards compatible change
to allow for competition based on the copyright
terms as well as price and features.  After all, 
this is a capitalistic society!  Why not have 
competition for the copyright expiration 
date -- we have competition for everything else...

Certainly one could do it through contracts, 
however, without a standard contract this
won't work... and the copyright office is
the perfect place to standardize.



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