Copyright Protection of Operating Software, Copyright Misuse, and Antitrust
Dennis S. Karjala
Arizona State University College of Law
Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 9, P. 161, 1999
The fundamental problem in the Microsoft antitrust litigation is not Microsoft's abusive or predatory behavior but rather the socially suboptimal combination of a strong copyright in operating software with a market in which network effects inexorably reduce the efficient number of competitors. Because of network effects, structural remedies like breaking up Microsoft are unlikely to be effective or to encourage an optimal level of technological innovation. It is Microsoft's overly strong copyright that must be limited, so that the public benefits of a large, standardized network are maintained while allowing firms other than the copyright owner to seek technological innovations in the dominant operating software. This is best achieved by mandating full public disclosure of the Windows source code and a compulsory license allowing third parties to develop improved versions of the software.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 6, 2000
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