There's no doubt that the matter of intellectual property has become more prominent in the age of the internet now that some products -- like music -- have begun to lose their physical properties entirely. This shift has led to an increase in use of licenses designed to protect the IP of certain goods; so when you buy a song from the majority of online music services, that purchase is often accompanied by an agreement between you and the creator of the music. Some argue that manufacturers of electronic products have gone too far with their licenses, an opinion aired over at an article in The New Republic. One particular example of outlandish licensing agreements is that of Canon's EOS-1D which includes a separate agreement related specifically to the software that runs on the camera -- effectively the consumer does not own the software that keeps the camera running; he or she is instead licensed the right to use it. One clause of the disclaimer actually removes Canon's obligation to service or repair the camera if the software fails. These kind of agreements aren't completely watertight: courts can invalidate licenses if the company tries to impose excessive limits, the problem is that often they choose to favor companies over the individuals because it is felt that protection is required for fast moving areas like software design. Ultimately though, the threat of aggressive IP will never overrule the consumer's killer wallet-closing combo move. If consumers are unfairly restricted by certain companies, isn't it logical to assume that people won't buy that company's products anymore?
[Via Against Monopoly]
Canon's EOS-1D an example of all-controlling IP?
Conrad Quilty-Harper|November 18, 2006 11:00 PM
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