Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tech: Ownership Ain't What It Used To Be

Just because you paid for something doesn't mean you own it.

"Deere & Co., makers of John Deere tractors and other equipment, sent a letter to the United States Copyright Office asking that it not allow owners of the company’s tractors to circumvent or modify the software it builds into its machines," according to Canada's Globe and Mail, and unfortunately John Deere isn't the first.

Just like any piece of multimedia you've purchased from Amazon.com, an increasing number of devices have DRM-controls built into them. This makes it a crime to take something old and make it new, both in the respect of taking bought-and-paid-for CDs and ripping them to put the media on an MP3 player, and of taking old hareware and repurposing it into something more useful (The Globe and Mail suggests examples such as old blender to mix paint or fixing your own car).

Multimedia purchased from large retailers like Amazon.com is just as bad. If you bought it through their services, you can only use it on their approved platforms. They've even created an Amazon-specific eBook format to keep you trapped. And if you think for a moment that you've actually bought any of those books, movies, or music, you're sadly mistaken. What you've actually paid for is a license to use the product within strict guidelines: no remixing, no converting it into other formats, and very limited sharing with others (if you're lucky).

"In this world, “property” becomes the exclusive purview of manufacturers. You don’t get to own your computerized devices: You are only and forevermore a tenant of them, and the manufacturers are the landlords and they get to decide how you use the goods they deign to allow you to pay for."

Does this seem unjust to you? Do you feel you deserve to gain the full value of your personal belongings regardless whether you bought the hard-copy or the digital edition? Give the EFF a call, and join the war against DCMA (US) and C-11 (Canada).

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