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Songs on the Security of Networks
a blog by Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

To have a cookie and dowload it too

This is an ancient post, published more than 4 years ago.
As such, it might not anymore reflect the views of the author or the state of the world. It is provided as historical record.

Hipocrisy of the media corporations and other entities engaged in the War on Fun is indeed fascinating.

On one hand they hold firmly that copyright infringement (as downloading and making files available on the Internet without proper license should be called) is “theft” or “piracy”, as if those files were a physical thing one can deprive somebody of. So, they talk about files on the Internet as if they still were physical media, with all the (handy) consequences.

However, on the other hand the physical media are more and more often encumbered with so called “protection mechanisms”, because of which I – a paying customer – am unable to access the content I paid for, as soon as I go to, say, the United States. There is even a hard push against the second-hand market for physical media – yes, the media business is trying to kill the first-sale doctrine, something we all take for granted for decades.

That hipocrisy can be spectacular at times. For example, in case of selling content via iTunes. Long story short, a band has an agreement which stipulates that from sales (e.g. of a physical medium with their content) they get much less than from licensing. The argument here is that to “sell”, the physical media must be first produced, which creates additional costs.

Obviously, those costs are not present in “digital sales”, e.g. via iTunes – but that doesn’t prevent Warner Music Group from claiming these are (a’la physical) “sales”, not “licensing” (which of course means they can pay artists much less). I am curious what would WMG do if the consumers that bought those files via iTunes decided to go with such “physical” interpretation and would want to re-sell their files as per the first-sale doctrine?

The rule of thumb that Big Media seems to follow is that if something is on Teh Intertubes, they try to use convenient for them “physical media” interpretation; however, when talking about real physical media, they choose to ignore some rules regarding those. It’s nice to be able to choose what rules one abides and when, isn’t it?..

By the way, maybe it’s time to start playing the same game, and also start calling the copyright term law extentions – “grand theft”? In fact, it would be much more justified in this case – while the Big Media do not lose access to files that are made available on the Internet, the society indeed does lose access to culture – recently to music and songs in the EU, for another 20 years.