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

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WIENS K., The End of Ownership: Why You Need to Fight America's Copyright Laws,, 17.01.2014

Type Article
Topics Property


"If something can have a computer in it, eventually it will have a computer in it. Our physical objects aren’t just physical anymore."

"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."

"Designing software into physical objects changes the rules of ownership — and right now it’s not in our favor. Programming and code are copyrighted. You are not an owner; you are a licensee."

"Just last year, carmaker Renault integrated DRM into a car battery — giving Renault the ability to shut down your car if you violate their contract. A few years ago, Texas Instruments threatened a hobbyist with legal action when he reverse-engineered his calculator, figured out how to install a different operating system, and shared his findings on the internet. (TI demanded he remove his blog post.) And there are many more examples among the thousand tiny cuts inflicted in the name of copyright: keeping diagnostic codes from neighborhood car mechanics; preventing developers from modifying digital media for the disabled; and stopping consumers from unlocking cell phones for use on different carriers."

"Congress could legalize unlocking phones on Monday, tablets on Tuesday, cars on Wednesday, and a different gizmo every day from now until the end of week let alone year. It won’t matter. The day after that, there will be yet another new computerized product, a new thing with code for its connective tissue."