Glenn's Junk Chest

An assortment of Glenn's writings, photography, gaming resources, flash movies, and other creative output.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Copyright: Ownership?

The media giants have been very clear in their position. You don't own your content, you have a license to view/use it from them. In their eyes, you're not allowed to make a backup copy, install it on your iPod, watch it on a device built for a foreign region, etc., because the license they set all the terms for doesn't cover that.

This isn't fair in any eyes but theirs, of course, but let's say, for the purposes of argument, that it's all true.

Now, take one of those shiny discs, with the content you've licensed. Gaze at it warmly. Fondle its smooth digital surface. Hold it up to the light and marvel at the way the light refracts. Take out a key, and put a big scratch across it. Try to play it in your device. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Doesn't work anymore, right? But you paid good money for the license to view that content. Call the content owner up, and ask for a replacement. Patiently explain that since you already paid your $25 for a license to use the content, and they said you couldn't back it up, that you should be entitled to a new copy for the $1 or $2 cost of the media alone.

Did they say no? Fancy that. Where is all the convoluted language about licensing and right-to-view now? Is it possible that when the media is intact, you license the content, but as soon as it's scratched, you own it? Looks like it to me.

Could it be, in the end, that the huge quest to control your ability to copy content you buy, all in the name of preventing piracy, is really all about selling you the same thing over and over again?