It's a blog.
In: Uncategorized15 Jan 2010
After reading a lot about DRM and what the RIAA and MPAA are doing to make sure you don’t share your music or videos, I began to wonder: why are libraries legal? The whole concept of a library is that you buy one copy of a book and share it with lots of people, so they don’t all have to buy a copy. (Additionally, the government does this. That’s socialism, at least by today’s political standards.)
Today, a coworker downloaded a technical videocast. It looked helpful, so I asked if he could send it my way when he was done with it. He hesitated, before telling me that he wasn’t sure if it was kosher. And he’s right.
But I’m conflicted on whether this makes sense. In “modern times,” it seems very reasonable. He bought it for his use, so sending it to me would be ripping off the video company and committing copyright infringement. On the other hand, that’s not at all what’s going on. I wanted to watch it when he was done, just like I’d borrow a DVD when he was done watching it, or just like I’d read the book when he was done. Even if he had sent me a copy and we both watched it on separate computers at the same time, is it really any different than putting the DVD on in the conference room?
The same author has an excellent e-book manual. I think I’d like to borrow it, but I’d also like to share it. It’s the same concept as the videocast, though: I don’t want to email it to the whole office and all my friends, I want to put it on a virtual bookshelf so my coworkers can grab it when they need it. Sending a copy of the book to them seems illegal and unethical, but buying a book and bringing it in so everyone in the office can borrow it doesn’t.
It’s just interesting to look at how things compare between digital and hardcopy material. And two questions that I mean more to spur thought than to get answered: