It’s no surprise that the cable industry is growing despite the availability of allegedly “free” content available on the Web. People want content, but they are also lazy, and sometimes enjoy the being submissive to programming. (Why are we trying to get people to make difficult decisions and choices, when all they want to do is shut their mind and NOT think?) It’s wonderful and scary that my tastes can be categorized so that on channels like Pandora.com I can listen to the type of music I want with only a few “bad apples.”
That’s why I don’t understand why people are so opposed to DRM. I’m not saying that every product should be protected, but why isn’t it fair that people who develop advanced technology be asking a few bucks for the services that they offer? Obviously, from the number of people using TIVOs and iPods, people are willing to pay. It’s not a matter of whether people can use open technology, but a question of whether they have to. I can grow organic vegetables in my backyard, but I’d rather go to Whole Foods and buy something. It is being lazy and productive at the same time. Not everyone appreciates DIY.
It’s interesting that people talk a lot about DRM regarding music or videos, but not about photography. Though somewhat on a different level, how difficult is Sony, Nikon, and Canon making it for camera uses because their lens are not compatible? However, camera users (or at least those who use DSLRs) complain less about that compatibility because they are willing to accept the different quality and characteristics of the different products. The same goes with PS3 and Xbox360 players. They take a certain pride in knowing that their community is somewhat exclusive, compared to those people who can play free online games through the Internet.
In my ideal world, products would be like what they are in Second Life: the original maker of the product is “watermarked” regardless of the owner and people can choose how they products are distributed. Although some of the high-quality products and programs require money, there is an abundance of freebies and the quality of freebies keeps getting higher and higher. This stimulates the people (who charge for their products) to make even better products for those who are willing to pay. There are always people willing to pay.
Is that unfair? Because some people have money and some people don’t? Do people want a socialist society? In a completely ideal world, no one would have to develop anything and things would just grow on trees to pluck for free- where everyone is equal and has equal access to the same technology. Unfortunately, the Garden of Eden does not work in this society, and free riders can only get a free ride when there are alternatives of people who are paying for development and usage of the technology.
I don’t believe a trend towards open access will improve society, in the same way that `I don’t believe that an equal society is a good one. Inequality and the desire for superiority is what triggers motivation for advancement. Otherwise, where would we get the motivation to develop new things?
I’m not worried that technological devices will become tethered. Sure, a bulk of them will- catering to those who are willing to pay for their laziness/ productivity. There will be others who can’t pay but have access to the same content due to the openness of the web. Then there will be those who want something different- something more.