TEH 135: What do we really own? Has tech changed it?

In This Episode: What do we really own? Has tech changed it?

This week the TEH Podcast is hosted by Leo Notenboom, the “Chief Question Answerer” at Ask Leo!, and Gary Rosenzweig, the host and producer of MacMost, and mobile game developer at Clever Media.

(You’ll find longer Bios on the Hosts page.)

Top Stories

  • You Don’t Own What You Think You Own.
    • Music. You can’t play it in public, can’t record your own version. Copyright means you get the rights to do different things.
    • Software. You can only run it on a certain number of machines, can’t sell copies, can’t make your own version.
    • Book. You “own” the book. You can give it away, but can’t copy it, or take the text as your own.
    • Kindle. Tied to your Amazon account, you can’t give it away.
    • CDs and DVDs. You used to be able to copy them easily, but it wasn’t legal.
    • Buy a computer. You can’t produce your own copy of the chips or design, or software. Patents.
  • Trying to find examples of what you do own:
    • Land? Nope You just own the deed with covenants.
    • Food? Nope. (Ask Monsanto).
    • Water? Nope again, because there are water rights.
  • Do we have a right to repair the things we “own”? (https://www.repair.org/ & https://securepairs.org/)

Ain’t it Cool

BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion

2 Comments on “TEH 135: What do we really own? Has tech changed it?

  1. I can buy a toaster and take the heating elements out to make a pizza oven. I own the physical item and do with it what I want. I don’t own the patents or trademarks.
    It would be dumb but I could buy hundreds of the toasters and make pizza ovens for sale but I couldn’t put the toaster’s trademarks on my pizza oven.
    I could open up a Mac (which I purchased as a physical item) and do things as long as I don’t affect Apple’s intellectual property that I never purchased.
    I could purchase a battery from someone else and make things fit, even cutting the case as needed to do that. No intellectual property issues with that but I cannot claim it is a fully apple product anymore.
    Getting repair parts for old items as been discussed for decades. Try getting a replacement seat for a 1970 Pinto from Ford. Apple has decided (in their typical “you will use our stuff as we decide it should be used” way that it is better for their business to have the additional sales by annoying their customers.

  2. For me psychologically, the notion of paying Apple or Amazon a monthly fee “forever“ is a little disturbing. While I think there is still a way to purchase music and other media to “own“, the push to use streaming services and build your digital library leads people into the monthly subscription model which never ends. Maybe one day I would like to feel free of these subscription plans (in aggregate, all these subscriptions are NOT cheap) and just enjoy the media that I purchased. Having the media to give to friends or family, and pass on to heirs is also a value, just like a car, furniture, etc.


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