Why Must We Copy?

I see these reports of people up in arms over what they can or cannot do with TV shows, music CDs, and protected music downloads and I’m compelled to ask why? Breaking the copy protections so that you can do what you please with the content violates the DMCA. Violating the DMCA is a criminal offense. Not only do you not get to do what you want with the content, you might get a hefty fine or jail time to go with it. Now the company who put roadblocks around their copyrighted material so you couldn’t do what you want with their content has screwed you twice. So why do it?

I know why HBO is doing it—DVD sales. If they can sell you a subscription to their network and sell you the season as an overpriced DVD boxed set, they will. It is not your god given right to record Six Feet Under and burn it to DVD. If you read the fine print of the cable contract, it may not even be your fair use right. If you really cannot stand the thought of not burning HBO programming to DVD, cancel your HBO subscription instead of finding ways to circumvent the law. Vote with your wallet. If one million people stop paying for HBO, maybe they will change their position. Better yet, cancel your entire cable subscription. If enough people unplug from the cable system, the cable operators will become our biggest lobbyists to change the way the networks distribute content. Rent the past episodes through an all-you-can eat DVD service as part of your $20 monthly fee; does it really matter if you see the episodes the same week they come out (or even the same year)?

But no, we all must have our TV, have it our way, and have it no matter what the distributor mandates. It’s part of our cultural heritage, just like bad pop music. We’ve all become a bunch of spoiled little children who must get their way at all costs, even if it breaks the law. Stop whining and start advocating your friends to make an impact in something they really do have control over. Stockholders listen to the demands of the market. In the meantime, seek out compelling indie films to fill those free hours.

Categorized as DVD

By Jake

Jake blog's many places on a variety of topics, including travel, tech, baseball, and writing. You can read more of his technology articles on Delighted Robot. Jake occasionally posts about great food at Daily Munch.

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