Salon on the US SC Grokster Case

30 Mar ’05

Salon has a great article on what is at stake in the US Supreme Court appeal of the Grokster case. Quote:

If the entertainment studios had their way, every time a format changed, you’d have to buy all your records all over again. In their ideal world, we would hold restricted licenses to our content, not ownership. Digital rights management would cripple our all-powerful computers, creating backups would be impossible, and the basic human impulse to share the wealth of information that helps define who we are would be beset with obstacles. This is not paranoia. At every step of the way, intellectual-property-right holders have resisted technological innovations that give ordinary people more scope to enjoy and consume music, television, movies or any other content.

That’s why MGM vs. Grokster is so important. The deeper we get into the digital age, the more we will be defined not by our relationships with physical objects but with the data that we have accumulated in our journeys through life. If we lose the right to own that data and do what we want with it, if the power of the computer, and the Net, is taken from us, we’re at risk of losing a lot more than a few files — we stand at risk of losing the evidence that tells us who we are.

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