October 31, 2003
Information vs Control
One of the most distructive pieces of legislation comming out of Congress might be this little beauty, at least for programmers. What is it and what does it to? Click on the link below to find out more…
Anyone here ever heard of Senator Fritz Hollings the Democrat from South Carolina? This gentleman (along with several other Senators) wants to make all programs have government approved copy protection put in them. Everything from Windows “copy” and “paste” to video games and camcorders. It would have essentially the same effect if you required that all writers to write using only government approved pencils and paper; writing only government approved content.
So why in the world would someone want this kind of draconian law knowing that would virtually stop software innovation within the United States? The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America feel its the only way to stop IP piracy that has been occurring since the proliferation of the Internet. While it may be true that excessive software regulation may be the only thing to save the MPAA and RIAA, fundamentally the problem comes down to; do we really want to give up our personal software rights to prop-up an obsolete industry structure?
Make no mistake about it, this fight is NOT about wither quality music and movies will be created. Nor is it about wither musicians, actors, and directors will be able to make a living from their content. Music was being created, paid for, and distributed long before the recording industry existed; and it will continue to do so long after. Both the MPAA and RIAA know this.
Computer networks and digital content are changing the way information is available. Fundamentally (regardless of what we thought during the dot com bubble) the Internet is about knowledge proliferation. At no other time in history has information been so easily available at such an inexpensive price. Organizations like the RIAA and MPAA are content (i.e. information) distributors and because there is a much faster, easier, and less pensive way to deliver content, these groups are finding themselves becoming extinct. And they know it. They could change their business models but the sad reality for them is that they will no longer be in control. One way or the other they will forever loose the iron grip (and by extension huge profits) they once had on information.
…and I am not willing to pay the price of my freedoms to keep it from happening.