A Digital Ownership Tug-of-War
How much control can a corporation claim over a digitally generated product for which it has the license? It’s a debated question, but the digital rights movement—a burgeoning worldwide critical mass of hackers, digital activists, and creative professionals who seek broader rights for media consumers—is trying its best to make sure that the answer favors the consumer public, according to Hector Postigo, Temple University mass media and communications professor. In The Digital Rights Movement, he profiles the issues and actors behind the movement and the huge ramifications that it may hold for media consumers everywhere.
Privacy, free speech, technological innovation, first sale—digital-rights activists are involved in these and many other issues relevant to media users, Postigo explains. Globally, they resist what they deem to be overly exclusive media-copyright protections on software programs, ebooks, digitally generated art and music, and other creative digital content. They strive for new participatory rights that grant consumers not only more access to the products, but also the freedom to become active co-creators of them.
Postigo details the movement’s historical development, seminal technological applications such as iTunes hacking programs and BitTorrents, and the landmark legal cases that won international attention and popular support for the cause. He also describes numerous groups and individuals involved in advancing digital rights, such as the consumer-rights nonprofit Electronic Freedom Foundation; Web entrepreneur Dmitri Sklyarov, who was arrested by the U.S. government for patenting and selling a program that circumvented access-protection measures on ebooks; and “hacker” Eric Corley, operator of the Web site The Hacker Quarterly.
Digital ownership is a subject with room for many points of view. Postigo comes across as highly sympathetic to the digital-rights activists and hackers’ point of view. His account, however, is thoroughly factual and detailed, and is worthy reading for students and experts of software law and technology alike.—Rick Docksai
- About WFS
- Contact Us
- Frequently Asked Questions
- History of WFS
- Board and Council
- Press Room
- Futurist Gear
- Are You the Next CEO of the World Future Society?
- Book a WFS / Futurist Magazine Speaker
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
March 8, 2014 - This is a great time to be an astronomer. It appears we are discovering exoplanets by the boat load and we are finding out that solar systems, some like ours, and some bizarrely different, seem to be the rule and not the exception.
March 8, 2014 - For several years I worked with an Australian company developing a new skimmer technology for remediating oil spills. That got me very interested in this subject area. So I keep my eyes open for new technological innovations that can address what remains an industry-wide problem for fossil fuel and transportation providers.
How will we change as technology learns to communicate with our emotions?
March 7, 2014 - The greatest challenge renewable energy providers face is achieving a sustainable continuous supply of guaranteed power delivered to consumers either through the grid or off grid. That's the single issue holding back large-scale adoption of renewables.
Yesterday my wife Deb and I had lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, and afterwards we’re given the typical fortune cookies that come with the bill. Jokingly I broke open the first one and asked, “I wonder if it’d be possible to create a real fortune sometime in the future and put it into these cookies?”
March 6, 2014 - I am finally back from Florida and once again sifting through the content my web crawlers and affiliations with social networks that provide me with the fodder I turn into 21st Century Tech blog.
Seth MacFarlane, the multitasking comedian and creator of Family Guy, and other raunchy fare, happens also to be the driving force behind the new version of Carl Sagan's classic science show COSMOS, which will appear Sunday on Fox and simultaneously on other networks, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I know a number of the writers and producers who have striven to create something stunning, vivid and updated for the 21st Century.