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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:17 PM

 

The Ownership Society in the Digital Age.

A thread floating around here on Netflix's changing TOS got me to thinking. It wasn't that long ago, perhaps twenty years or less, that when you bought something, it was yours. A book, a CD, a movie, even software. This was the Ownership Society. But as the Digital Age has changed many products from being physical, tangible goods into simple streams of 1's and 0's, we no longer own the things that we pay for.

Take books. With physical, paper books, once you bought it, you were free to do what you wished with it. You could lend it out, resell it to somebody else, stash it on your bookshelf for future reference, whatever, you owned it. Now, with ebooks, your options of what you can do with that book are quite limited. You can't resell it, you can lend it out for a limited period of time and only a limited number of times. Your book that you paid for, but don't really own, can even be repossessed by the original company for a variety of reasons.

The same applies with music and movies as well, in essence what you are paying for is an elaborate rental agreement, be it for movies, music, books, whatever that you download. You don't own those works, you are only renting them.

Now the Supreme Court, in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is deciding whether we will truly own physical things, ie printed books, CD's, a car, even a house. If the court uphold the lower court ruling, we're screwed. We will no longer truly own the things that we bought and paid for, be it books or furniture, music or tools, because if you truly own something, you can resell it.

We are becoming a renter society.

This has been coming on for awhile. Some of the first groundbreaking on this was done with long term car leasing, you know, nothing down, X amount of dollars per month for three years or such. When it first started, most people rightly said the leasing was a sucker's move. After all, if you went the leasing route, you would constantly making monthly car payments, have nothing tangible to show for those payments, and you would have to get another car in three years. Back in 1990, only seven percent of new cars were leased. Now almost a quarter of new cars are leased, and the only reason I figure is that the monthly lease rates are cheaper than monthly payments to own the car. That, and possibly the fact that we've now got consumers who are so fixated on new, bright and shiny objects that they are constantly going through new cars anyway.

Yet with leases, you don't have full control of your car. Maintenance is done when the company you're leasing from wants it done(this includes the infamous three thousand mile oil change, a totally unnecessary act that is wasteful and only profits the oil companies) and where they want it done, you can kiss off that great independent garage that has been in business for decades and does a great job cheap.

The same thing is happening in our food supply. Corporations like Monsanto exercise strict control of their genetically engineered seed and plants, where they can be planted, what can be used on them, even who can and cannot buy them. Heaven forbid if you farm next door to somebody growing a Monsanto GE crop. If it cross pollinates with yours, your crop is now forfeited to Monsanto, thanks to various patent laws.

Meanwhile, the Ownership Society is even continuing to slip away from the market that coined the term, housing. After decades of relative stability, the housing recession has driven millions into becoming renters. The percentage of homeowners has dropped into the basement, but this foreclosure crisis only accelerated a long term decline in home ownership, a decline that started a couple of decades ago.

What this means is that we're becoming a nation of tenants, depending on corporations for our shelter, our food, not even owning the clothes on our back. We are, in essence, reverting back to a feudal society, only instead of being ruled by kings and emperors, we're being ruled by corporations, the same corporations who are the lease holders on our food, shelter, transportation, oh, and employ us as well.

How long before we wake up and realize that we're living in a New Feudal Age? How long before we recognize that we own nothing?

Probably closer than you think unless we start acting now.

36 replies, 2698 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Ownership Society in the Digital Age. (Original post)
MadHound Dec 2012 OP
leftlibdem420 Dec 2012 #1
Laelth Dec 2012 #2
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #3
PopeOxycontinI Dec 2012 #4
Promethean Dec 2012 #12
duffyduff Dec 2012 #33
musiclawyer Dec 2012 #5
duffyduff Dec 2012 #34
me b zola Dec 2012 #6
hunter Dec 2012 #7
zeemike Dec 2012 #8
Dustlawyer Dec 2012 #9
savannah43 Dec 2012 #17
Dustlawyer Dec 2012 #25
rrneck Dec 2012 #10
nolabels Dec 2012 #11
Bernardo de La Paz Dec 2012 #13
quakerboy Dec 2012 #27
Bernardo de La Paz Dec 2012 #32
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #14
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #16
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #18
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #19
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #22
lastlib Dec 2012 #15
duffyduff Dec 2012 #35
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #20
ProSense Dec 2012 #23
quakerboy Dec 2012 #28
WhoIsNumberNone Dec 2012 #21
Stonepounder Dec 2012 #24
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #26
woo me with science Dec 2012 #29
Doctor_J Dec 2012 #30
duffyduff Dec 2012 #31
woo me with science Dec 2012 #36

Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:23 PM

1. It's the fault of the liberal and the social democratic left...

 

In many countries, including the United States, the moderate left has done nothing to stand up for the rights of consumers with respect to the imposition of draconian copyright laws and curtailments on the rights of consumers. In Canada, it's now even illegal to jailbreak an iPhone, though to be fair the law in question was passed by a right-wing government that got elected because of idiots, some unfortunately on the left, who oppose electoral reform.

As long as business interests behave this way, consumers have the moral right to ignore any and all copyright laws and to hide themselves from the people charged with enforcing them by any means necessary. I would even go as far as to argue that t here is a moral duty to intentionally infringe on Disney's copyrights to punish them for the damage they've done by bribing "Democrats" like ex-KKK member Earnest Hollings to lobby for obscene copyright term extensions. Unfortunately, I have too often seen people even on this very website who have come out in favour of things like absurdly long copyright terms, the criminalization of technologies used to pick digital locks, the provision of legal protection for regional lock technologies, bans on parallel importing, and punitive damages for non-commercial infringement, and it's something that Skinner and the admin ought to treat in the same way as opposition to equal marriage and to a woman's right to choose. No sane progressive can support these things, and no privately-run progressive website should welcome such reactionary and ignorant "discourse".

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:26 PM

2. Made me think. Well done. k&r n/t

-Laelth

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:43 PM

3. Too many ifs, buts and maybes in that article

for it to be anything other than much ado about nothing.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:48 PM

4. It might not be so bad.

You can still buy physical books, CDs, etc. This case involving textbooks may
not have very far-reaching implications. People will still sell and buy second-hand like
crazy and no will usually know, care, or be able to enforce the sillier rules.
People still pirate movies and music like crazy, and there are smart ways to go about it.
Amazon sells non-DRMed mp3s, and Apple dropped DRM from most of the itunes catalog.
The new Netflix TOS is creepy, though.

Ebooks bother me, though, so I don't bother with them. My sister is a librarian
who has to keep up with this shit, and she believes most publishers will NEVER
allow non-DRMed ebooks. For whatever reason, they are much more anal
than the music industry which now allows non-DRMed content over Amazon and
itunes. I wonder if that might be because controlling the flow of information
via books is more important to the elite than the relatively innocuous medium
of music.

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Response to PopeOxycontinI (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:57 PM

12. I think that books are just simply getting into the digital age late

In the beginning the music industry was just as hardcore as the book publishers about DRM. Over time the music industry gave up on the BS, mostly because they realized that even if they could get laws they would be unenforceable. The same will come with books as well. Already there are more and more authors becoming their own publisher and releasing books in electronic format. Once that movement hits the point where people no longer need the big publishers for a significant amount of quality literature then change will come and fast.

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Response to PopeOxycontinI (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:34 PM

33. I just got a Kindle, but I wouldn't waste money on a download

that cost more than 4 or 5 dollars. Hells bells, you can get a physical book for as little as 1 penny plus shipping for four dollars through Amazon's sellers and it is yours forever.

An eBook is NOT yours. It is worth nothing in resale, and it can't be autographed. Try and upload picture books. It's a joke.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:51 PM

5. "Renting books, songs, movies"

Electronically, I have no problem with. It's entertainment. If I love it enough I can look for hard copies. They will still be made at least in the short run

But if I purchase, and once the digital version is the only choice I have, I want the freedom to do what I want with it.

Cars and other necessity items should have interest rate caps when renting. Otherwise we contribute to unequal bimodal consumerism

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Response to musiclawyer (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:36 PM

34. CDs still exist because people want the physical copy, plus

it is going to be higher quality than a download that you rip onto a CD. Same is true with DVDs.

The way I do it is if I want a particular song, I download it, but if I want an artist's work or a complete album, I buy the CD.

You pay through the nose for items you do NOT own.

I really, really HATE this trend.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:09 PM

6. Recommended

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:10 PM

7. I'm doing my best not to support this renewal of feudalism.

I use open source and other free software, specifically Debian and its derivatives.

I read books I download from http://www.gutenberg.org and other public domain or Creative Commons sorts of projects.

I buy art and music directly from the artists.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:26 PM

8. We are a lot closer to a feudalistic society than most people know.

Eventually the banks and the investor class will own most private property and most people will have to pay them rent, and wages will keep them scratching for a living and enough to pay the rent...once we get there we will be basically slaves to them
People become slaves when they have no land and have no choice but to work for the owners of it at a price they want to pay...which will be just enough to keep you scratching for that living.
You must remember this only sounds bad to the bottom 90%...for the top 1% and their vassals it sounds like an Ayn Rand paradise.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:27 PM

9. K&R! We don't even have representative government anymore. We cannot compete with the wash

of money they use to get their candidates elected, or keep their candidates bought! We need to demand COMPLETE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM (CCFR)! We need to spread this message in every posts and all over the internets! One person can make a difference by just expressing their support of this when they comment. If you convince someone else to do this you have made a difference. If we persevere and grow in number, we will be heard. They will fight this like there is no tomorrow, b/c if we get our representative government back, there will be no tomorrow for the likes of these corrupt politicians and corporations. When there are individuals or corporations that are above the law (no indictments for the financial collapse), when you have as here, lost your freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, you no longer have a representative government! It is not about Democrats or Republicans, this hurts us all. Please help me spread the word and gain support for CCFR! Who is with me?

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:36 PM

17. I am. I was exhausted after the election, but I'm getting my wind back.

Rovian and other election fraud should be front and center, too, don't you think? I despise cheaters.

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Response to savannah43 (Reply #17)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:45 PM

25. We have not heard the last on the computer

election fraud. Read or watch Stephen Spoonamore if you want to know more. I think there was too big of a difference in votes for them to employ the electronic hacking. Glad to have you aboard!

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:40 PM

10. Culture that is easily consumed is easily discarded.

The tools used to easily consume content do not contribute cultural value. Touch pads are designed to consume content, not produce it. IPods make it easy to store and consume vast quantities of production music. Digitized images can be churned out and copied with almost no effort.

Our culture, meaning the arts, are increasingly intended to be easily distributed rather than offer a deeper insight into the human condition. There is no money in content production, but there is a boatload of cash to be made in distributing content that is easily consumed. The more easily it is consumed, the more the consumers will want to replace it. Thus we have production music designed to be earworms with hook lines, lol cats, blogs that are written to go viral, and McRibs.

If you want to actually get something out of an image, go to an art gallery or a museum. If you want to appreciate music, attend a live performance. If you want to read a book, go to a book store and invest in a book that has content you want to keep.

But truly, the best way to appreciate and enjoy culture is to produce it yourself. The producers of cultural content do so because they want to explore, but they are not special, magical shamans who have some insight into the human condition any more than anybody else. They have just given up the luxury of having others answer those questions for them. Anybody can do it. The human voice was designed to be able to sing. Human eyes are designed to make sense of the world around us. Our ears can hear just the right note. All it takes is practice and sacrifice.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:53 PM

11. That is no lie

I am seeing holes of daylight in my mortgage. The mortgage company knows their little gold mine of paper is starting to go up in smoke and want to offer me all kinds of deals to get me in for more years. I just get to laugh all the way to the bank statement while seeing their time growing short

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:02 PM

13. Much fuming against copyright written by people who never create desirable music or art or fiction.

People who create intellectual property work very hard at it. The successful ones study and practice for years to get where they are.

Musicians, composers, sculptors, artists, painters, illustrators, photographers, writers, authors, novelists, screenwriters, directors, videographers, programmers, inventors, reviewers, bloggers, ....

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:57 PM

27. It seems like you have missed the point

If you paint a portrait, and I buy that portrait from you, who owns it? Do I have a right to sell it?

If you write the program for the best video game ever, and then you make a bunch of copies and sell them, and I buy one copy, but then I finish the game and do not want it anymore, do I have the right to sell it to another person?

I generally wouldn't argue that I have the right to reproduce those items, unless you have sold/given me the right to do so(although I am not so sure that you should be able to sell that right). But once you have sold me an existing copy that you have created, I think that that particular copy becomes mine, with the right to use it, alter it, destroy it, or sell it, at my own whim.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #27)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:32 PM

32. I agree with you that you should be able to resell or give away your copy. nt

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:26 PM

14. kr. back in the 90s i read some business exec type laying out exactly this as a business plan.

 

at the time it seemed a little far-fetched.

i wish i had saved that article.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #14)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:35 PM

16. Restrictions on hard copy book sales

which are the actual subject here were in place at least as far back as the fifties. If for example a UK edition stated not for sale in the USA it meant exactly that. It presumably follows that those who cannot grasp that can't read anyway.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #16)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:40 PM

18. i meant renting everything & owning nothing outright. sorry you couldn't grasp that.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #18)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:48 PM

19. I wasn't referring to you.

I meant those who buy the hard copy books.

The subject of renting obviously differs.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:13 PM

22. not sure why you responded to my post then -- with a personal dig.

 

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 02:32 PM

15. I will give up my books

when you pry them out of my cold, dead, tightly-clenched fingers!

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Response to lastlib (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:43 PM

35. +1,000

I probably have around 2,000 real, tangible books that I have no intention of selling.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:06 PM

20. Home ownership & car ownership have bit something of an illusion for quite a while.

Via home mortages and car loans.

If somebody can kick you out of your home, or repossess a car, just because you miss a couple monthly payments, it's questionable whether it was ever really your property in the first place.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:22 PM

23. It has been that way forever, and the illusion

doesn't require a home mortgage. Property tax delinquency can also result in your home being seized even after you pay off the mortgage.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:59 PM

28. Till that final payment is made

you are a renter.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:12 PM

21. Better than communism- where the government owns everything...

ask any right winger. They have no problem with being slaves, as long as the master gets to keep all his money.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:35 PM

24. This is really not all that new, just an extension.

Take a look at pharmaceuticals. It is technically illegal for US residents to buy their prescription drugs in Canada, even though its cheaper. The government can blather all they want about 'safety', but the real reason is the courts protecting drug company's profits. The same thing here. The courts are moving to protect big business profits. There is no other real reason. Wait until we have to pay a 'transfer' fee to the manufacturer when we want to sell anything we own.

Feudalism here we come.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:56 PM

26. Shows the concept of property is amorphous, and evolves over time...

And the way our definition of property changes over time will benefit one part of society at the expense of another part.

So the question arises: who decides? For example, who decides the property line between industry and consumer with regard to a consumer product?

Whoever has more power decides.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 04:45 PM

29. K&R We are a nation of farm animals for profit.

Time to stop being sheep and passive cows.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 06:37 PM

30. THis is called corporatism, or fascism

when profit-based corporations run the government, they make the laws, and the old "rule of law" becomes an anachronism. Expect the same thing to happen with schools, etc. With no anti-trust laws, eventually one conglomerate will decide what you read, watch, eat, drink, read, drive, and so forth. Think of what radio is like right now, with nothing but identical far right hatred spewing from every outlet. That's what every facet of life will be like.

At some point I am confident the masses will rise up, oil up the guillotines, and have our day. But it will have to get worse first.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:31 PM

31. That's what really gets me about ebooks, downloads, etc.

Corporations are trying to shove this stuff down our throats so that we never own ANYTHING. ONLY the rich will be able to have tangible books, DVDs, CDs, etc. Downloadable items aren't substitutes for the real things.

Granted, I have a Kindle and an iPod, but I have those as supplemental to tangible items. I don't subscribe to Netflix, preferring to own DVDs that I want.

Corporations and/or the elite WANT the younger generations to be satisfied with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Everything else will have strings attached.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:07 PM

36. Kick

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