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News Link • Technology: Software

The End of Ownership: Why You Need to Fight America’s Copyright Laws

•, By Kyle Wiens
 But it suddenly occurred to me that this silly card was the perfect example of what I call The Law of Electronic Eventuality: If something can have a computer in it, eventually it will have a computer in it. Our physical objects aren’t just physical anymore. Code runs unseen through phones, watches, smoke alarms, birthday cards, and more like connective tissue. As with muscle, it’s that connective tissue that makes a thing work.

Without code, without software, our Things become inert. Dead.

While this ushers in a whole new world of possibilities, it’s also redefining ownership. Because when you purchase a physical object, you don’t actually buy the software in it — that code belongs to someone else. If you do something the manufacturer doesn’t like — repair it, hack it, unlock it — you could lose the right to use “their” software in “your” thing. And as these lines between physical and digital blur, it pits copyright and physical ownership rights against each other.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

some people live by principles. They would never think of stealing copyrighted material, or dispersing it beyond what the law allows, simply on principle.

The problem is, if they use computers, etc., they are throwing around copyrighted material all the time, accidentally. There is so much copyrighted software out there, that if you make almost any kind of software whatever, you are probably accidentally including some scripting that is already in use in some other copyrighted software.

So here you are, a end user. You wouldn't break copyright, but you can't help it because a whole bunch of the software you are using has broken copyright. It's just that the companies breaking copyright haven't gotten caught in their honest mistake yet.

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