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February 07, 2007


Anthony Sanchez

A simple adage I always tell myself to describe situations like is that private interest does not always intersect with public interest. Surely we want to respect -to various degrees- private interest. Without private interest, innovation would be suffocated. However, in the case of DRM, it seems that private interest has gone awry! The public is losing out on information that can free itself from physical world constraints. The public can benefit greatly from cheaper, widely available information. Though I wouldn't be able to spell it out now I'm sure there is a better way to balance the situation, to find that intersection where profit meets public good. One thing is for sure though: we must move away from imposing physical conceptions onto digital technology. Digital information is not like a paper book that can be read by only one person at a time. Digital information can be shared and spread with ease.

Andrea Manka

I agree with Anthony Sanchez that the private interests that go along with digital content have gone awry.

Another point that I think was missed is that the shackling of digital content with DRM and the squelching of fair use rights actually stifles creativity.

Consider mash-ups, some of which have become internet sensations. They are also the subject of immediate take-down letters from the owners of the original works. Really, what those who make mash-ups (for non-commercial use) are using the original works for a sort of academic or educational use.

The private interest, and the encouragement of "useful arts" are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes the public interest can be served by less privatization. This is difficult for Americans to swallow, but in terms of digital content and the possibility for creative flourishing, it is true.

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