We have another request to pick your brains. We're getting so many requests, I guess I need to make a new Pick Groklaw's Brains category.
Struan Robertson, the editor of OUT-LAW.com, a legal news site in the UK provided by the law firm of Pinsent Masons, is looking for experiences you may have had at companies you work for or own. He's particularly looking for experiences of software firms that have been affected by a lack
interoperability. They are working on a feature story on the topic, and he'd like to get comments from you for that purpose.
He mentioned to me the following: "Competition laws are slow and difficult to apply; reverse engineering
may not always work and there are limits on when it is lawful. So
should it be possible to force companies to license interface
information on commercially-reasonable terms to allow
interoperability? You might be a software firm that was refused interface information by another company. Or, conversely, you might have designed an innovative interface and feel it is your right to keep rivals out." Either way, he'd be interested in your experience and point of view.
Of course, the first thing that came to my mind is Samba's struggles, Andrew Tridgell's testimony about it in the EU antitrust matter, referenced in FSFE's Sean Daly's interview with George Greve. And the farce about getting Microsoft Office to interoperate smoothly with ODF and the worry going forward about possible proprietary blobs and incomplete disclosure, as explained by CCIA in an older paper. This is the same question the French examined with respect to iTunes. But you may have other examples that weren't in the news. If so, if you'd share them, he'd appreciate it.
I'll let him tell you what he's looking for in his own words.
Here's his official request to pick your brains.
Should interoperability become a legal right in the US and EU?
I'm the editor of , a legal news site based in the UK. We're
exploring the possible need for a new law that could be used to force
companies to license interface information on commercially reasonable
terms to allow interoperability.
Do you have a view? We're particularly keen to hear from Groklaw readers
who know of cases where, e.g., a firm was refused interface information
for a proprietary platform. (The only examples I know are Apple's -
which doesn't want iTunes purchases playing on rivals to the iPod;
Microsoft's recent antitrust battle; and IBM's antitrust case from the