Monday, April 24, 2006
UP IP We All P for IP
One of the things that people really don't look at much, but that causes a lot of problems is Intellectual Property (IP) law. Remember the big brouhaha about the DCMA, that law that legitimized Digital Rights Management, paving the way for no backups of your DVDs, software, etc? That law is now apparently not tough enough, because some people in Congress want to make it even tougher. This is ridiculous. The breadth and depth of this, combined with the penalties associated ($10,000 fine, jail time) are insane. What ever happened to fair use? You know, that's the piece of the law that said if I buy something I can make copies of it for friends or whatever as long as I don't sell it for profit. Instead, we're left with draconian penalties for even breathing wrong. Technically, even streaming a list of your music or making it available over a corporate intranet would be a violation of the law and enough to get the RIAA to put your butt in the slammer.
I understand the need to protect IP, I really do. It's important for people to get what they deserve for what they've produced. However, when you have an organization strongarming you into doing absolutely nothing with the content you have (indeed, if you'd just rent it from them, it'd really help them out of a jam), it leads me to want to boycott. It's not a complete boycott because I do like music and unfortunately everyone is represented by the RIAA, however, I have drastically curtailed my music purchases due to their combination of DRM and higher prices. You want to know why the music industry is in the toilet? You only have to look as far as a powerful trade organization suing an old lady for something that she has no knowledge of, in part because she doesn't have a computer. Needless to say, they're On Notice.