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Shoplifting is better than downloading

February 10th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Off The Shelf — Shoplifting vs. Downloading

EXCELLENT article summing up the insane nature of the RIAA’s war on digital music.

Summary (references in original link above for accuracy):

Stealing
– Minimum Penalty: $0 – no jail
– Maximum Penalty: $100,000 – 1 year in jail
– Real World Example: Winona Ryder – $10,055 – 3 years probation

Infringing (Copyright violations via downloads)
– Minimum Penalty: $4,400
– Maximum Penalty: $3,400,000 – 1 year jail
– Real Word Example: Average RIAA settlement $14,875

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is only a problem with music. What we’re really talking about is DRM (digital rights management, not deadly reptilian men) which is now making its way into… well… just about everything. Back when DRM was just called “Let’s Make Some More Money” it was pioneered by Steve “Mac Daddy” Ballmer and Bill “Blitzkreig” Gates, along with the other hustlers at Microsoft. Somehow they managed to convince IBM to pay Microsoft a royalty for every copy of Windows they shipped. Rather than sell the operating system to IBM (as would’ve been done in the past) they retained ownership of it. When you buy a computer that comes preloaded with Windows you don’t really own it (just read that uber-long EULA you agree to when you first boot it or reinstall Windows). You are purchasing the right to use it (digital rights management, get it?).

In all honesty this does, when you think of the big picture, make sense. Computer users want support. They want someone to fix the problem for them, and the people who actually take an interest in learning while it gets fixed ultimately become computer geeks themselves. Do you really want to own the copy of Windows you’re using? Most users would say no. Microsoft offers automatic patching services, security updates, and a slew of new security features in XP SP2. I’m no Microsoft fan, but that’s only because I can take care of my own machine. Linux is the best example of this trend. Linux users tend to know how to fix their own machines and keep them secure. It’s not bad per se if you’re dependant on Microsoft for security, because you’re probably too busy to really invest the necessary time and learning required to do it yourself.

Linux isn’t something you can own because it’s open source, meaning nobody owns it. It’s open for anyone and everyone to change with the only condition being you must share your changes.

I’m done rambling now. There will certainly be more of this topic in the future 😛

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