Monday, May 14, 2001

Forcing scarcity on non-excludable goods Microsoft has recently changed to a software rental model where customer rent software, and then have to give it back. The rental price is not so far from the outright purchase price, which was technically just a lease-in-perpetuity anyway.

The problem here is simple: the marginal cost of producing a piece of software is zero for everyone. Either companies (like Microsoft) can sell their software with onerous liscencing restrictions (like they do now, and have just made worse through their rental model) that limits what people can do with software their "own" (cannot sell it second hand, cannot lend it to a friend etc.) OR they go open-source and give their product to the public domain.

Dan Gilmore talks about the vampiric effect of this approach.
Idiot lawyers help the software industry own us all
And here's that philisophy at work in the model railroad business.
The extortion begins Check it out.


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