Law in the Internet Society

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SebastianBresserFirstEssay 3 - 05 Dec 2017 - Main.EbenMoglen
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 I will focus on another example: Marketing. Marketing budgets (not: revenue) of large proprietary software companies dwarf those of open source software initiatives. The 2015 ad spent of Apple alone (before stopping disclosure) had risen to a record amount of $1.8 billion. Apple, more than any other software company before, put hard- and software design (as in aesthetics) at the very core of its product development and, like many other companies, cares more about communicating quality than about providing quality. Open source proponents, conversely, seem to hope that the quality (functional, not aesthetic) of the software advertises itself. Independent of whether this hope is the result of lacking understanding or lacking financial resources: the quality did and will not advertise itself. Hence, if open source software is to become the software of choice, it will also need a serious marketing budget.

Because I'm a reader who knows something about this subject, this seems to me like a beginning basic introduction, where a reader less informed might judge differently.

Whether intended for a general reader or a specialist, however, the essay would certainly be improved by discussing the difference between copyleft licensing, where the legal conditions on use of the work are designed to protect users' rights, and "permissive" licensing, in which the developers of new programs or versions of programs have a right to render their own versions proprietary, thus ousting users of their rights. A discussion of the difference would be informative to general readers, and would help more expert readers gain confidence in the analysis.

Similarly, I think you would improve the next draft by explaining more fully why the "serious marketing budget" (which, for example, Google and device manufacturers certainly have for Android) doesn't really improve peoples' understanding of their rights in the software they use, or how those rights should be protected.


Revision 3r3 - 05 Dec 2017 - 19:51:48 - EbenMoglen
Revision 2r2 - 20 Nov 2017 - 13:40:18 - SebastianBresser
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