Monday, November 14, 2005

Other people’s property

Jim Horton continues his great commentary on the Sony BMG fiasco. The central issue, to my way of thinking, is Sony’s assumption that it was acceptable to harm their customer’s property in attempt to protect their own. This is a line that must never be crossed; to cross this line is to put your foot on a very slippery slope indeed. The IT world would become a cesspool of cyber warlords.

This sort of incident is part of what is driving the free software movement. It is not simply that you have to pay for proprietary software, most of us are OK with that, it is that you have no way of knowing what is buried in that code. Sony did not just hurt itself with this incident; it hurt the whole idea of proprietary software.

Magazines and newspapers survived the invention of the copy machine, TV and films survived the introduction of the VCR, the music industry would not only survive file sharing, it will flourish once it adopts its business model. The increasing adoption of Linux indicates that you can make money from free.

I don’t understand it either.

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