Morphex's blogologue (Life, technology, music, politics, business, mental health and more)

This is the blog of Morten W. Petersen, aka. morphex in various places. I blog about my life, and what I find interesting and/or important. This is a personal blog without any editor or a lot of oversight so treat it as such. :)

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Why the internet is a win (oh it's all about control?)

Over the last couple of years I've been reading various websites and a common theme (that I have noticed anyway) is sticking it to the man, whoever that might be.

It's interesting to see how those who were .. dominant in their time, such as recording companies, getting squeezed on for example DRM.

I had a chat with some FIX people earlier tonight (telnet fix.no), which sparked this post; we were talking about music, downloading music and paying for it. We also discussed DVDs and their region codes.. I think I've bumped into the problem with region codes once so I haven't given much thought to it.

Anyway, you can see the Wikipedia page here:

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_region_code

which mentions that "The purpose of this system is to allow motion picture studios to control the various aspects of a release (including content, date and, in particular, price) according to the region."

OK. Well, back to DRM. I think that's a system dreamed up by paranoid a-holes who want to earn as much as possible (see Wikipedia quote), and they're clinging to it for dear life, because they don't have the ability to adapt. They can't compete a virtually free product, so what they need to do is give up DRM and protecting their old ways and find a better product. Many things spring to mind for music: hold more concerts, charge more for the concert, give each user who downloads a song a certificate of some sort, which says that the user supports that band (that could be social credibility..). Heck, make buying a song a lottery, so that people can win concert tickets with a backstage pass!

I could go on and on.

Now, back to downloading music. I use mp3sparks, because it's my understanding that it is legal in Norway (that's what some Norwegian state person said in some article on a website a while ago anyway). There is an ethical issue there however, and that is artist compensation; from what I understand, artists get little or no compensation when I buy music from mp3sparks. OK.

But what about giving me a DRM-free alternative, where I can buy the music and do whatever I want with it? I'm not saying I want buy music, start a file sharing site and rob artists of their money, but I want to buy something, own it, maybe give a couple of songs to my friends so they can try them out. I see Amazon have started a DRM-free store, but it's not available for users outside of the US. I do have some qualms about using Amazon though, due to their lame 1-click patents and what have you. And the DRM-free music selection in the iTunes store sucks (last time I checked - this is in Norway) iTunes sucks (it's slow and a in my opinion poorly designed piece of software). I'm not an Apple hater though, I have an iPod shuffle and love it.

Which brings me to watermarking. When you purchase some watermarked songs and decide to share some with your friends so that they can try it out, and some end up on a file sharing site for whatever reason - are you to blame? Do you get prosecuted and/or sued? There are some issues with watermarking, but in any case, it's a lesser "weevil" than DRM in my opinion.

The internet is a wonderful, open ended thing and it's sparking conversations between people, all over the world. No one owns it, no one can control it and look! It's exploding.

The internet is so elusive that protesters in Burma are able to use it and broadcast the truth about what's happening there. So, not only is the government feeling pressure from beneath (yes.. I think some states govern "over" people), they're getting pressure from the rest of the world as well, because politicians are being pressured by people who get access to information about what's happening in Burma.

Ultimately though, governments have to serve the people, or you'll have revolutions, protests and whatnot. And the people on top will listen to the masses when they change their minds about something. So what we need is an open way to communicate and collaborate, and the internet is just that. You can talk to anyone in the world, exchange ideas and opinions and make people smarter, more informed.

DRM is one of many pitfalls we can fall into in the new information age; because it enables some to control others. Control has an overhead!

First we have region codes or DRM, then we get systems that block certain information in certain regions and ultimately we get more of the status quo, where information about what's really going on is being withheld from us. Is that what we want?

I don't need someone to feed me bullshit and tell me what to do. I want to understand why something is and make up my own mind and make my own decisions and take the consequences for it.

That's what the internet can bring; we can have .. systems that enable people to voice their opinions on issues and make it count. What if someone starts a Facebook group for human rights, and 1/3 of the population in a region join it? Doesn't that send a pretty clear message?

If the ones in control don't respond to it, we can get organized and revolt, or "vote" for someone else..

The internet enables people, it is a wonderful thing, as it is today.

OK, I'm done with this quick little rant. Maybe I'll give more thought to it and rewrite it later.. thanks for listening. :)

[Permalink] [By morphex] [Politics (and judicial matters) (Atom feed)] [27 Sep 02:41 Europe/Oslo]