I don’t get it. When people started sharing music and software over the Internet, depriving artists, authors, and companies the money that — whether you agree with the price or not — they have the right to charge, did they really not see coming efforts by those same groups to protect and enforce their rights?

Don’t get me wrong; I can’t even begin to support the heavyhanded way that the SSSCA infringes on some already-present rights (like fair use and backups). I can, however, support the more general premise behind both WPA and the SSSCA — that reliance on the general law-abiding behavior of people has been a miserable failure, and that something is going to have to fill that breach.


I foresaw that they’d see the market reaction as an opportunity, and introduce new products to meet the demands of those customers who were clearly unsatisfied. I didn’t forsee that they’d want to make their existing products less attractive to purchase.

Seems they’re poor businesspeople.

• Posted by: Anil Dash on Apr 18, 2002, 2:55 PM

Yes and no; I think that that falsely sets up the two options as alternatives to each other, rather than co-existing complementary acts. In other words, I agree that the music industry (to choose one example of who I’m talking about) definitely has room to figure out how better to meet the demand for more granular and immediate access to music, but I don’t agree that efforts to protect their IP exist to the ideological exclusion of that.

I think that to say that most people’s use of Napster was a statement about the masses demanding better systems that would allow fair access to music is an enormous ideological stretch; in my experience, a ton of people used Napster because it let them get music without having to pay for it and without having to worry about being handcuffed for their lawbreaking by the mall security guard in front of their friends and loved ones.

Sure, there are people who approach this whole issue from the perspective of grander notions of right and wrong, and they’re fighting the good fight. SSSCA and its ilk, though, seem targeted at the people who are just monopolizing on a good opportunity to steal and feel clean about it, and that’s what I feel was something that should have been seen as an inevitable reaction.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Apr 18, 2002, 6:50 PM

I’m not surprised that the content distributors want to protect their revenue streams. On the other hand, they should not be surprised that I don’t want to be punished for wrongdoings that I did not commit. Also, I do not believe that society as a whole should be forced to take on burdens that do not directly benefit them in the slightest (like CBDTPA aka SSSCA), just so a few companies can maintain their profit margins. I see no upside for me — a long-term law-abiding paying customer — in ovine acquiescence to the content distributors’ demands.

I also see a lot more downside than you for the ordinary law-abiding consumer. Not sure what you mean by “SSSCA and its ilk seem targeted at the people who…” above — but my strong opposition to CBTDPA is based on the fact that such proposed laws are _not_ targeted. They work by treating everyone as a potential criminal, and imposing costs on all for the wrongdoing of a minority.

I don’t think I’m seeing this as an issue of right and wrong; I’m seeing it as a direct material burden on me that I do not feel I should have to take on. I don’t want to accept the expense and trouble of buying all new hardware and software so that Disney can be sure I’m not copying their nauseating videos. I don’t want to have to call Microsoft for a new license key every time I have to reinstall their crappy products. I don’t want to have to buy a separate CD player for work to play copy-protected CDs. What’s so ideological about any of that?

• Posted by: Joyce Park on Apr 21, 2002, 5:54 PM
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