Though I personally don't download illegal music and movies off the internet it's not necessarily out of deference to the MPAA or RIAA, both organizations I actually abhor. Their tactics are dumb, not helpful to their cause, and antagonistic to even those who understand the idea of stamping out piracy. I mainly don't download music or movies for the same primary reason that I don't buy many CDs and DVDs. I just don't want to watch or listen to most of their crap. I already own most of what I want. If once in a while something good does come around I do buy the DVD.
Music is a different beast. I am very much a fan of the idea that if I buy a CD or a song I am buying the right to hear that song or album anywhere and anyway I want. My license should be able to be temporarily shared out to someone else as either both me and other people can listen to said music when we are both in the same place or someone else can use my license so long as I am not using it. This seems a bit weird to many people but I believe it is a direct extension of how we use CDs and DVDs. We can invite friends over to watch a movie or play music on our stereo, though not for profit. This type of license is what we have come to expect from those medium by the end of the 20th century and should try to maintain it going into the 21st century even though the medium itself may change.
I fully expect in the 21st century to be able to buy music over the internet either piecemeal or in bulk rather cheaply to reflect the cheeper cost of distribution compared to CDs. DRM like that used in iTunes from Apple, though I hardly like to be treated like a potential criminal, is leagues better than the DRM used by the likes of Sony. I would prefer watermarking in conjunction with minimal DRM where any music I download is watermarked with my license information so that bots can monitor the illegal or even legal trade of music. The current DRM being pushed by companies like Sony BMG are another large reason why I don't buy CDs. I shudder to even put a music CD into my CD drive as now I can't know what programs are going to be installed that can not only install programs onto my computer without my knowledge or permission but can wreak havoc on my computer and violate my civil rights. The computer is the primary way I listen to music. I don't have a normal CD player and don't want one.
While I'm on the subject of legal license I would mention that I am in favor of shorter length of patents and copyright. You can see way down at the bottom of this page that I have a Creative Commons non commercial license for all the content on this cite. I believe it is a form of injustice to keep what quite obviously should be in the public domain as it has becomes ingrained into the consciousness of a civilization, far exceeds the limit of time needed to gain profit for the loss of R&D, and in too many cases is not even being sold or used by the parent company anymore (or whomever may currently now own the rights) but is kept for their licensing portfolio. If companies can't turn out a profit unless they keep their one single money maker for even up to 120 years, quite a bit longer than current average American lifespan of 75 years, that is a clear sign of a bad business which needs to be choked off and the way made clear for slimmer less bloated companies to take its place. Why exactly does the surviving estate of a dead creator need to keep a copyright for 75 years after said person has died?
Also what is this scary trend of companies who's sole purpose is to create or collect intellectual property (IP) in bids to essentially hold entire industries ransom after the whatever invention becomes ubiquitous (READ JPEG and SCO)? I think after a certain time if a company or someone invents something yet doesn't tell anyone about it they forfeit their copyright if someone else 'invents' the same thing. They certainly shouldn't be able to wait until the company turns a huge profit to suddenly strike and sue them. I do know part of the problem is a slow as molasses patent office and for that matter a dumb patent office. Why for the love of all that is holy should a company be able to patent parts of the human genome or naturally occurring elements? Handing out patents for any damned thing is detrimental to the health of the economy, stifling innovation rather than promoting it. Also allowing companies to change a small aspect of their patent as a loophole to continue keeping it out of the public domain is criminal.
Oi. For a good rundown on frequent misconceptions about copyright go here.
posted by dharh 2:02 PM Jan 17th, 2006
Read some interesting pages about Microsoft over the last week or two. The most telling was How Microsoft Lost the API War which has a theory about the change internally from backwards compatibility. There is some more evidence that this change has become quite pervasive here and here. As someone who believes heartily that backwards compatibility is key to having a large enough software base for good adoption this trend is most telling that Microsoft is going in the wrong direction. Lawrence Lessig posted on his blog an interesting speech Cory Doctorow gave to some people at Microsoft about DRM. Finally, if its to be believed, Transgaming has announced WineX 4.0, named Cedega, which will be able to run Windows games on Linux with very good compatibility and performance.
posted by dharh 11:41 AM Jun 22nd, 2004