Thursday, October 11, 2001

Convergence resurrected Convergence used to be a mushy phrase that meant TV, radio, the Web etc. were all coming together in some vague way. Now it describes the chain that links content construction (tools), recording (format), delivery (transmission protocol) and eventual "consumption" (reading). Publishers want this entire chain to be secure (thus the SSSCA) and Microsoft is only too happy to oblige, thus extending monopoly control to all digital information. Publishers are free to lock-up their content in any way they choose so long as 1) they pay for it, 2) people who still want to share can, and 3) existing fair use laws are enforced.

If the above three are respected, then publishers will do just fine in some areas and poorly in others where open, unrestricted, and free (beer/speech) alternatives deliver more value and a better overall experience (like this *ahem* weblog). Publishers are free to try and restrict access to their content, but they cannot ban sharing, nor should they eliminate the existing fair-use rights consumers enjoy. They should also be wary of any such system that hands total power over to Microsoft. In the long run it will hurt them just as it's burning the locked-in business community. Personally, I'd like to see legistlation that mandated fair use provisions in any digital protection scheme and maintained that free, open, and unencrypted information (and distribution) could not be outlawed. (Link via Tomolak)

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