Monday, April 15, 2013

What is it you own again?

This isn't a new theme in this space--indeed, I think I've covered all the available themes a few times over.  But when you purchase "digital goods", you don't really "own" anything. 

A recent Slashdot thread got me to thinking about it again.  In it various geeks outline their methods of ensuring that their families and children will be able to access "digital content" they've purchased after they die.  So A) it's depressing and B) it's depressing on a different level.  If you have to set up a password protected SAN share on your home network, and develop and encryption system--what is it you "own" again?

I'm far more enamored with services like Pandora which do not make any pretense of you're "buying" anything.  But everywhere else it's all "buy this, own it today!" which is quite simply a damn lie.

Any money spent to "purchase" digital "goods" is wasted.

Again, I'll pay a few pennies for the service of providing me with an mp3 or movie file.  But that's it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

reselling mp3's (part 2)

So a court has ruled that "reselling mp3's" is copyright infringement.  We talked about this not too long ago here on this blog.  In fact, I just looked over that post and it's pretty much the same rant I was about to make today.  After 250+ posts I've found that indeed, I have run out of arguments.

Suffice to say for now that, once again, data is not stuff.  Trying to treat it like actual stuff will not, cannot, ever work.  At some point, ordinary folks are going to realize they've been taken for a ride, and the thousands of dollars many of spent on electronic stuff was completely, utterly, wasted. 

"Buy it today!" the commercials shriek about the latest movie or pop album.  But when you try to "resell" it, well, you don't "own" it any more.  You were just licensing it.  You didn't know that.  You are going to be pissed.

I still think ReDigi, the company trying to set up an mp3 resale shop, has got to be a bit of a tongue in cheek operation.  They know what they are doing is preposterous, but they are playing along with the content industry's ideas of treating data like stuff. 

The whole idea is ludicrous.  For example, presumably, when you "resell" and mp3 you "bought" you must make sure you delete it from your hard drive,  or you're a dirty thief.  But if "reselling" an mp3 is preposterous, how can the original "sale" be any different?

A friend linked me to this image which discusses how pricing works in the human mind:

I think the whole "buying and selling" of digital data is a thing very much along those lines.  People aren't trained to think about it correctly, and so they are ridiculously easy to fool.

Which is why I'm here :-)  You're welcome! lol.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

HBO preternaturally calm

I read an interesting article today about HBO's Game of Thrones--everyone's favorite piracy topic.

In it, a rep from HBO says they don't send out the "Game of Thrones" police against casual torrenters.  He even seems resigned to piracy and not too disturbed about it.  The article mentions that they focus on people who are actually selling pirated copies, which of course is one of the main theses of this blog.

I don't know how honest they are being, but it's encouraging that they think this is the proper attitude to have publicly.

They also have a quote from one of the creators of the show waxing poetic on what he could do if people could even purchase a copy of a show for a buck, which I personally consider reasonable (if still a bit steep), presuming I can just download the damn thing and play it where I want.  They point out there is no way to do this, and so HBO is just giving up that money.

I'd be more confident about sanity starting to prevail if it wasn't for ACTA and other trade agreements which may undermine any chance for sane laws on copyright.