Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Is the FSF engaged in predatory business practices?
Author: Seth Gordon Posted: 8/25/2000; 11:05:08 AM Topic: Next survey: Are you an open source developer? Msg #: 20222 (In response to 20197) Prev/Next: 20221 / 20223Legally the restriction on predatory practice is only true if the business acting in a predatory fashion is a monopoly.Actually, it's still illegal if the business is trying to become a monopoly, and if there's a "dangerous probability" that the attempt will succeed. (See the judge's verdict in the Microsoft case, citing Spectrum Sports Inc. v. McQuillan, 506 US 447, 456.
Nevertheless, does the FSF's license for GCC constitute "predation", in the antitrust sense? Consider:
- The FSF is not a business; it's a nonprofit charitable organization. It doesn't make money from every copy of GCC that is used -- only from the CD-ROMs that it sells directly. If you want to get GCC without paying the FSF, it's easy to find alternative sources that provide exactly the same code.
- If you make a modified version of GCC, you don't have to assign your copyright to the FSF. You will have to abide by the terms of the GPL for redistributing your version, but you still own the copyright on the parts that you created.
- Many programmers have contributed to GCC and assigned their copyrights to the FSF. Presumably, some of these programmers would not have done so without the "poison pill" of the GPL protecting their selfish interests -- they considered the availability of derivative works to be their compensation for their contributions. If an antitrust action forces the FSF to relese GCC under non-GPL terms, how will those programmers be compensated for their work?
There are responses to this message:
- The FSF is predatory and is not a charity, Brett Glass, 8/25/2000; 12:03:52 PM
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