Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 11:09:20 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 13, 2000 at 08:56:36AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> > >
> >
> > My point exactly, but you and Zero seem to think that some european
> > court is gonna issue an arrest warrant to the FFL to apprehend Bill
> > Gates from his pad in Medina and that the US Gov't is just gonna sit
> > idly by and let this shit go on.
> No, I don't believe that. What I _do_ believe is that it's possible
> that some senior Microsoft France execs may end up doing time, and Bill
> will have to take care where his flights land in case some zealous
> prosecutor decides to arrest him for complicity if he lands on French
> territory.

Oh wow, now Bill is being treated lik Pinochet. That is just OVER the top.

> > > Ahem: Champagne and Burgundy are _regions_ of France. Their produce
> > > is appelation controlee, meaning it's graded by quality. This is to
> > > some extent a hold-over from the agricultural age, and you'll note the
> > > tendency to name modern wines by the grape they're produced from -- which
> > > isn't a controlled designation.
> >
> > If someone in California makes wine that is indistinguishable from
> > champagne to a panel of tasters in a double blind test, it is champagne,
> > and they should be free to call it that.
> By that reasoning, if I can make an operating system that is
> indistinguishable from Windows (presumably by reverse-engineering all
> their APIs), I should be free to call it Windows. Right?

If there were no current copyright, sure. Champagne has been made for hundreds of
years, and its original creators are long dead.

> > Accepting the claims of the
> > French for 'cultural heritage', when that 'heritage' is nothing more
> > than a desire to maintain their elite attitude as being the 'superior
> > culture' of the planet is ludicrous.
> Nonsense. Appelation controlee status is just a variation on trademark
> law, one that you don't recognize because you're a parochial-minded
> American with very little experience of the outside world.
> Calling Californian bubbly "Champagne" is an attempt to violate the
> regional trademark.

Trademarks can only belong to one company. Champagne applies to anyone in that
region that makes it and uses that process. Region is irrelevant when the end
product is the same, and trademarks, like copyrights, are not immortal.

> > > Anheur-Busch are still allowed to call their product "Budweiser" in most
> > > parts of Europe (although in the Czech republic and Switzerland "Budweiser"
> > > is an apellation controlee and AB's product isn't brewed in the right way or
> > > the right place to carry the name "Budweiser").
> >
> > Frankly I side with the Czechs. Budweiser (american) sucks. It would do
> > us good to make them produce their products to a quality standard (any
> > quality standard, just name one...)
> You realise you've just swapped sides in this argument?

No, I haven't. If Budweiser used the same standard as is required by the Czechs,
with the sole difference being its made in Milwaukee rather than Brno, or wherever,
then it is 'budweiser' by rights. The only provincialism or parochialism going on
here is by people who think that a product name can be restricted by where it is

> > > Ahem. How much of Airbus is government owned? I seem to recall some rather
> > > large shareholders that are private companies, like British Aerospace ...
> > >
> > > I guess you're just sore because Airbus is outselling Boeing 60/40 at
> > > present, without the hidden subsidy of military R&D contracts ;-)
> >
> > So the government subsidy of the workers benefits packages isn't a
> > subsidy????
> Of _course_ it's a subsidy! So is the F-22 contract Boeing is feeding off.
> What annoys me is the hypocrisy of US politicians claiming that it's
> unfair for Airbus to receive government subsidies when their own big
> aerospace contractor is snarfing billions out of the public trough under
> the rubric "defense spending", although the government has little or no
> interest in buying actual military hardware built with that money. A
> good chunk of it ends up feeding into civilian R&D, in much the same way that
> the Boeing 747 got started as a re-working of Boeing's failed bid for the
> C-5 contract.

That is a total and utter lie that is promulgated by the Airbus propaganda trough.
The 747 was not funded at all by competition for the C-5 contract. Once it was
built, it was entered in the competition, but it was from the outset a civilian
design. The only current Boeing civilian aircraft product that was R&D funded by the
government was the C-135 (737). I suppose you are going to try to say that the DC-10
was also funded by the government, but it wasn't. McDonnell didn't sell any to the
feds until several years after it was already on the market.

I don't care much for Boeing. I do really hate flying on Airbus planes though.
Freaking sardine cans, made for chinamen or children.

> Look, the issue here is that governments play favourites with their
> domestic markets. And they aren't going to stop, either, because if one
> stops, the others will continue; their own companies will enjoy a
> competitive advantage, and governments still see companies based on their
> soil as strategic assets (paying tax to them).
> This is an entirely different issue from trademark law, and variants
> thereon like the appelation controllee stuff (which doesn't exist in
> the USA but is widely recognized as having the weight of trademark
> law elsewhere in the world). Incidentally, it can be argued that those
> Californian bubbly producers who call their produce Champagne have exactly
> the same relationship to the real thing that Chinese software pirates
> have with Microsoft: they're simply infringing a form of intellectual
> property that isn't recognized [much] in their home country.

Except that the people who originated appelation controlee are long dead, and Bill
Gates is quite alive.... a distinct difference.

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