Wednesday, June 07, 2006

More on Digital Rights and DRM

I am seeing more in the online press on the large corporations' management of your digital rights. "All you create are belong to us" seems to be the undercurrent of the proposed laws. Some articles, like the one on arstechnica ("arse technica" ... awesome) likens the response of the content ownership corporations to that of the church when he adapted or re-invented the Chinese printing press to the european alphabet and put a dent in the business of the scribes in the monasteries. Makes sense. If you control the market, and some disruptive technology comes along, wouldn't you try to quash it?

More along these lines are articles about the DMCA having killed off entire classes of devices, such as TVRs that can skip commercials. Ah, evidence of the truth emerging. You're not being sold entertainment, it's your eyeballs being sold to advertisers. You are the product. I linked to the "Death by DMCA" story already before, but here it is again.

This all ties into the freedom-spouting right wing. Apparently the freedom of corporations is more important than that of the individual or the community. With the moral compass so astray, it's not surpising to see books on the subject. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is interesting in that the author appears to have had a change of heart. The Washington Post as an interview with the author here. Worth reading, although it's probably less relevant to your if you were not personal withness to an economic collapse. The point is all that we consume has effects elsewhere:
  • Buying at Wal Mart, Target, et. al.: The poorest Americans are funding the rise of the force that will subjugate them in the future: China. They have more US currency in reserve than anyone else. Should we have to go to war with them, they could easily tank the US economy (making waging war or maintaining diplomatic leverage) by dumping US dollars at half price onto the market. Defend Taiwan? Unlikely.
  • Diamonds. In spite of De Beers aggressive marketing, there are few guarantees that the rock on your wife's finger was not acquired by hacking off the arms of children of half a village in Africa.
  • Cell phones. Certain minerals (namely Coltan) in there are also acquired using dubious methods in Africa.
  • Oil. Unless you've lived in a cave the last little while, your SUV's appetite for oil as you drive to church is supporting dictators in Nigeria and elsewhere, along with secret police, private militaries deployed by the oil giants (oh, sorry, "contract security"), the works.
Before you can say "you damn nazi or commie," may I remind you that a great number of these policies were also ignored by the more liberal governments, with possibly worse issues having been ignored by them (remember Rwanda? The convenient armored vehicles denied to the UN by the US, because their value happens to be pretty close to the dollar amount the US owed the UN? Didn't think so.). Articles by the radical New York Times, Mediafilter. Aw heck, here is the Google result. Yep, all you read on the web is true.

Neither Canada nor the USA can claim either ignorance, or even having cared about these as problems. Perhaps that's not their job, since it's a free market economy. Or is it?


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