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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Age of Copyright

We now live in a copyrighted world. From cells, to seeds, to the 'E' chord, to information limited to certain bits of plastic and metal; almost everything we touch and contact comes copyrighted and contractually to us. What kind of effect does this have on our world, and the way we interact with the information and technology around us?

There are many interesting and murky areas of copyright that many users of technology either purposely ignore, or are completely unaware of that challenge our very ideas of individuality, choice, and the right of ownership. Do you realize that when you buy software, you are only given a temporary license to utilize the software, and at anytime this right can be rescinded by those with the rights of ownership? Media purchased through iTunes must be viewed in iTunes proprietary formats which contain DRM (digital rights man
agement) protocols which can be used to track and monitor your media usage. In fact transferring these into formats more suitable for your various technological devices can place you, the user, into the hotseat as liable for charges of copyright violation.

Apple Computers does not limit this proprietary monopolization backed by copyright just to their digital media software. In fact, running OS X on any hardware that is not specifically sanctioned by Apple corporation is liable to prosecution as a violation of copyright, and in fact sued a small business in California which was installing Mac OSX on generic PC components.

This is why the debate over open source is as hot as ever. Many computer users believe that monopolies and control of information is a violation of rights, and advocate for user-controlled and created software which is protected under the GNU public license (and open-source license for public usage and manipulation of software and media). In this age where everything can seemingly be dominated by those wealthy and powerful enough to convince a judge that they have a right to place the name as the sole owner intellectual property, we need to come to a social consensus about where to draw the line. I believe people should get paid for what they create, and that our time and talent is worth financial compensation. However I don't believe in companies that, through their vast legal operations, are able to control and monopolize the entire industry while purposefully seeking the destruction of companies who may in the future threaten this foothold on the financial sector of technology. To scare you even more, these companies not only use the legal arena, but are actively seeking laws and political backing to support their technological regimes.

Be aware, and be afraid, be very afraid...

1 comment:

  1. So... after reading that, I think I'll stick to pens and pencils as my technology. Nobody can sue me for letting someone borrow my pencil, right?

    But seriously, not only is it scary, it's also quite sad how crazy everybody has gotten over things. I understand that nobody wants to see their ideas and products stolen and spread for free. But I think that "running OS X on any hardware that is not specifically sanctioned by Apple corporation is liable to prosecution as a violation of copyright" has to do more with sucking money out of people that protecting their products. Call me a cynic, but I don't believe for a second that this is all done in the interest of protecting the companies.

    Really interesting read! I'm glad you're exposing the ugly side of all this. :)