PLEASE NOTE: “As an Amazon Associate, [Need Coffee] earns from qualifying purchases." You know we make money from Amazon links,
and I know you know this, but they make us say it anyway. More info, click here.

Engadget and DRM: Rights vs. Things We Deserve


So we’re I’m a bit behind. Anyway, Boing Boing pointed us to this editorial over on Engadget, where they’re taking Apple and EMI to task for not giving them everything they want right freaking now.

Go give it a read. I’m not going to say that I don’t agree with a lot of what the author, Ryan, has to say. But here’s what I found interesting. I was going to take him to task over what Cory at Boing Boing quoted:

But we don’t believe having free, usable, uncrippled media is a feature — it’s a right.

It looks like somebody in the comments took Ryan to task on it already. But what was odd is that I didn’t recall reading that particular quote in the article. Instead, I backed up, rooted around and found this:

But we don’t believe having free, usable, uncrippled media is a feature — it’s what we deserve, and we demand it.

Huh. And then Ryan mentioned in the comments that he still thinks it’s a right:

We believe cripple-free media is a right. Maybe not a constitutional-fight-to-the-death kind of right, but we believe it’s a right nonethelesss. It’s important to remember that Apple has a very real agenda here, and it’s not always just about doing what consumers want.

So what happened? Did Ryan change the article after the fact with no notation? I mean, we’ll change articles after the fact here at Needcoffee, but normally it’s because we can’t spell worth a shit. Though if somebody calls us on something we have a tendency to at least make a note about it, if nothing else to give credit to whoever corrected us. But then again, we’re pop culture buffoons here out to entertain and we don’t pretend to be anything but that. So anybody who takes anything we do or say seriously on this site (including this rant, mind you), well, YMMV.

But still: I throw this in the Rant category which means I get to bitch about things. If Ryan thinks that it’s still a right, why did the article get changed? I mean, just because somebody thinks you’re wrong about something, if you still think you’re right, freaking stick to your guns. The commenter was right (no pun intended) regardless: it isn’t a right. As far as I’m concerned, your rights are things that you fight for. What you deserve is what you bitch about in an editorial. Ryan appears to think somewhere in the middle. I have the right to my opinion, Ryan has the right to his, but neither of us have the right to tell anybody else what to do with their media…or at least to be heeded and followed without the consent of the media owners.

I can release my books under a Creative Commons license so you can read them for free–which I have done–but if you told me you had a right to my books for free, I would stab you. In the eye. With a ball point pen. Twice. That’s twice in the same eye, mind you. But I’m hardcore like that. You can even demand it and I’ll just ignore you, but if you try and tell me it’s your right–pen in the eye, folks.

Also, here’s something else that’s fun: Ryan says, “…Apple has a very real agenda here, and it’s not always just about doing what consumers want.” Well, guess what: a lot of consumers feel the same way that Ryan does. In fact, a lot of consumers take it even further and think they have a right to all information everywhere…for free. Not just DRM-free but free-free. As in no dinero. So does Ryan think that Apple should really give consumers what they want and open up iTunes for no charge? Does Ryan think that Apple will stay in business if they do this? Or that any company will stay in business if they do that? Just give shit away? Hell, if tip jars worked I’d be able to quit my day job.

But I digress.

It’s the job of the business to do the right thing for the business. It’s just been my position personally that you can strike a nice balance: do what’s right for the consumers (without sinking your business), and they will follow you–which is right for the business. But if something was good for the consumers and bad for the business–and that was the edict by which businesses lived–then businesses wouldn’t live. They would die. And then the Ryans of the world wouldn’t have anybody to bitch at.

Cut them some slack. They woke up one day and their entire business model was shot to shit. If you’ve ever been in a large corporation, you know that large corporations move with all the nimbleness of a lame apatosaur. At least somebody’s trying something and making a change. Those that do change in time will prosper, those that don’t, will die. If you don’t like the terms of purchase for an item, stop buying it. That will make more of a difference than whining about rights that you simply do not have.

Okay, rant ends. As you were. Hugs all around. Here’s some espresso.

Update: Tuffley was not behind. He brought the EMI/Apple deal up way back here. The concept of me being behind on something is not very earth shattering, I know.