Taking Away Intellectual Property Protection For Those With Market Power
from the interesting-ideas dept
Over at Silicon.com, someone has come up with an interesting suggestion for adjusting intellectual property laws for software – saying that if you own more than 50% of the market, you should be forced to give away your product – and its source code – for free. The writer then makes some very good points about why forcing companies to give away their software isn’t unfair – and how they should still be able to make plenty of money with such market power, even if the offering was free. I agree that companies can still make money offering software for free, but I don’t think the overall suggestion is that good. If a company wants to charge for software, that’s their business. Furthermore, any such “forced freeness” would lead to unintended consequences as companies and users tried to game the system. The big question, of course, is how would the markets be defined? Software companies will suddenly start redefining their markets to make them as broad as possible, to give them smaller market share numbers for the purposes of such a rule. Already, we see the opposite happening for PR purposes. Just how many software companies are the “leader” in their market – after redefining that market to make sure they’re basically the only player?