Why keep downloads on the down-low? (Guardian Unlimited Business)

People are happy to pay for music and literature online, so legal limits go against the democratic tenets of the internet, writes Victor Keegan.

This article is a breath of fresh air in a stinking well of corporate greed.

The article starts out with this and just keeps rolling…

A few years ago if you started talking about digital rights management (DRM), people would make excuses and leave the room. Now it is a talking point in clubs and pubs as record companies try to sue people, for illegal downloads or uploads, and governments across Europe are threatening to take Apple to court to open up its hugely successful iTunes software to competitors.

DRM is not just a problem for the music industry. Recently I attended a seminar at the British Library (standing room only, by the way), which is deeply worried about the way restrictive digital rights contracts are being imposed by companies. The British Library is one of the world’s great treasure houses, yet less than one percent of its priceless archive has been digitised because of potential conflicts about digital rights and preservation. If that’s not a digital scandal then I don’t know what is.

This article is a must read to be sure. This is not just a music and movie problem. It is across the boards and coming right at us like a freight train … errrr, DRMtrainwreck.

Comments on: "Why keep downloads on the down-low" (2)

  1. erictravis said:

    I’m not against copy-protection, per se. Should anyone able to publish a copy of a book that took years to write, without any royalties to the writer? Should they make their living from public “book readings” (can you fill Madison Square for a book reading)? What I’m against is technology like the Sony rootkit, or any other technology that allows people to gather personal data. Hopefully, Apple learned their lesson with the backlash from their “mini-store” which, without requesting permission from the user, kept track of the user’s music preferences (it is now off by default – you have to enable the “feature”). The bottom line is, people should get paid for their art, no matter the medium, and the purveyors of such materials should stay out of our lives. If a friend shares a tune or movie with you and you like it, buy it. Distributing a tune to a friend is one thing; distributing a tune to 100,000 people is another 😉

  2. Yep. Very true.

    However, copyright has changed so much that it is hard to even understand these days what the true purpose of copyright was intended to be.


    Copyright law in the United States is part of Federal law, and is authorized by the US Constitution. The power to enact copyright law is granted in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, also known as the Copyright Clause, which states:

    The Congress shall have Power [. . .] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    This clause forms the basis for US Copyright Law (“Science”, “Authors”, “Writings”) and Patent Law (“useful Arts”, “Inventors”, “Discoveries”), and includes the limited terms (or durations) allowed for copyrights and patents (“limited Times”), as well as the items they may protect (“exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”).


    United States copyright law
    From Wikipedia


    There was a time when copyright was actually a good thing for everyone. Now it is totally one sided thanks to the DMCA, and the new hardware and software levels of DRM, with Vista and maybe even the Intel Macs as enablers.

    Now nothing has moved nothing created since Mickey Mouse has moved into the public domain … thanks to Disney and the ‘Sonny Bono’ fiasco.


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