7.09.2013

Pwnage

"Screw fair use!" shouted the copyright owners.
One of the things that I hate (among others) about DRM and eBooks and licensing is that companies have taken ownership away. But Johann Thorsson pointed out on BookRiot last week that the trend of licensing instead of owning media is something we've collectively been on the road to accepting for a decade. Spotify and Pandora users have gotten used to not owning music. We don't have to, because it's out there in the cloud and we can listen to just about anything. Hulu and Netflix users have gotten used to not owning movies and TV.

I already download books for free from NetGalley and OverDrive from my Library. I've made my peace with buying books from Amazon's Kindle store, mostly because I don't think about the fact that I'm really just leasing them instead of having owning them outright like I would if I bought the book in print. It bothers me, though. Thorsson made a good point that's stuck with me since I read his post. If the copyright owners provide access to an online library expansive enough to contain the books you want to read for the foreseeable future, does it really matter that you don't own the book you downloaded to read that one time (or two)?

Not that getting used to leasing instead of owning makes it right that copyright owners found out how to use licensing instead of letting things stay under the right of first sale. I feel a little scammed when I think about the ramifications.

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