The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's Right When I Want to Do It - Right? 

Scott Adams was discussing this sort of thing not that long ago, except he was discussing it in terms of what "society" thinks is right and wrong. In general, on a personal level, we view things as right and wrong in very greedy ways. If I want to do it, then it's right. If I don't want to do it, then it's wrong. BOCTAOE.

Take for example this article on Cato (Via Instapundit):

The courts have a proven track record of fashioning balanced remedies for the copyright challenges created by new technologies. But when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, it cut the courts out of this role and instead banned any devices that "circumvent" digital rights management (DRM) technologies, which control access to copyrighted content.

The result has been a legal regime that reduces options and competition in how consumers enjoy media and entertainment. Today, the copyright industry is exerting increasing control over playback devices, cable media offerings, and even Internet streaming. Some firms have used the DMCA to thwart competition by preventing research and reverse engineering. Others have brought the weight of criminal sanctions to bear against critics, competitors, and researchers.

The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders—and the technology companies that distribute their content—the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

This strikes me as strange because I've never thought of Cato as being exactly a fan of the judicial system. But of course, nobody is their fan unless they disagree with a law. Then judges are always honest, right and fair, as long as they decide in your favor.

Take abortion for instance. The same folks who think that states ought to be able to pass legislation outlawing abortion, and decry those who like Roe v. Wade were also perfectly happy to go to court for Terry Schiavo... and then go back to court, and then go to court one more time, and then again. (Yes I realize that simply mentioning that name opens a can of worms, but what can I say... I like fishing.) Those who think Roe v. Wade was properly decided in court generally screamed and cursed when marijuana was legalized in some states, and then turned over in the courts. Examples of this abound everywhere.

The same applies here. Personally, I think the DCMA is a terrible law. I hate it. But then again, I hate any form of digital copy protect scheme. That's why I don't own any media that is copy protected. All the music on my Creative Zen is in MP3 format, and will continue to be. I used to own a single eBook, but got rid of it as soon as I was able to find a paper edition. I don't use iTunes because you can't download to any player other than an iPod.

I may only be one consumer, but this is how I choose to fight oppressive copy protection schemes. I don't use them.

Comments:

At a buck a pop - if there's a song I really want, I'll use iTunes.

You're allowed 6 'dubbings' - so all you have to do is record it to a CD - then rip it into mp3format. Any songs from iTunes will then go on any mp3player.

It's an extra step - but I love my mp3player, and don't want to shell out a couple hundred bucks for an iPod.

  Posted at March 22, 2006 4:17 PM by Blogger Kuflax  
For a while last year Pepsi and Mtn. Dew were running a promotion where you could get free songs from iTunes. Since I drink Dt. Mtn Dew a lot at work, I racked up quite a few points, and got a bunch of songs from iTunes.

When I had a CD's full, I would burn them to a CD, then re-rip them, then re-tag them. Then download some more, burn, rip and re-tag. At the end of the promotion I uninstalled iTunes because it just wasn't worth the trouble any more.

  Posted at March 22, 2006 4:23 PM by Blogger Nick  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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