There’s a name for societies where a small elite own property and everyone else rents that property from them: it’s called feudalism. DRM never delivered a world of flexible consumer choice, but it was never supposed to. Instead, twenty years on, DRM is revealed to be exactly what we feared: an oligarchic gambit to end property ownership for the people, who become tenants in the fields of greedy, confiscatory tech and media companies, whose inventiveness is not devoted to marvelous new market propositions, but, rather, to new ways to coerce us into spending more for less.
With her open letter and the high-profile back-and-forth, Swift is bringing visibility to one of the music industry’s longest standing issues. And while it’s not a new problem, Swift’s discussion of it was enough to encourage artists including Sky Ferreira and Halsey to come forward about their own difficulties with label deals and ownership.
The way we regulated social media platforms didn’t end harassment, extremism or disinformation. It only gave them more power and made the problem worse.
Beware the legal-industrial copyright complex
Rejecting years of settled precedent, a federal court in New York has ruled [PDF] that you could infringe copyright simply by embedding a tweet in a web page. Even worse, the logic of the ruling applies to all in-line linking, not just embedding tweets. If adopted by other courts, this legally and technically misguided decision would threaten millions of ordinary Internet users with infringement liability.