By John Gruber
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Doctorow’s caustic analysis of Amazon’s Unbox terms of service is, well, his usual stridency. But he’s correct that you get far fewer rights with an Unbox download than with a DVD purchased from Amazon. He doesn’t mention in it in this essay, but the same goes for iTunes movie downloads, although I think iTunes’s usage rights are better than Unbox’s. My favorite bit is this one, on how entertainment industry executives think:
I once attended a DRM negotiation where an MPAA vice-president said, “Watching a show that’s being received in one room while you’re sitting in another room has value, and if it has value, we should be able to charge money for it.” Siva Vaidhyanathan calls this the “if value, then right” theory — if something has value, someone must have a right to sell it. So while you might be accustomed to extracting unexpected value from your old media — ripping a CD to play it on your iPod, copying a cartoon and sticking it on your fridge, taking your books with you when you move overseas — forget about it from now on.
★ Friday, 15 September 2006