Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Mossberg says: The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg is probably the best technology writer in the country. He writes in a fashion that is accessible to those with little interest all the intricacies of most gadgets, yet still informative.
Mossberg has a column in Thursday's Journal that makes an excellent case that the media companies have gone too far in their zeal to make a buck.
Let's be clear: The theft of intellectual property on the Internet is a real problem. Millions of copies of songs, TV shows and movies are being distributed over the Internet by people who have no legal right to do so, robbing media companies and artists of rightful compensation for their work.
Even if you think the record labels and movie studios are stupid and greedy, as many do, that doesn't entitle you to steal their products. If your local supermarket were run by people you didn't like, and charged more than you thought was fair, you wouldn't be entitled to shoplift Cheerios from its shelves.
On the other hand, I believe that consumers should have broad leeway to use legally purchased music and video for personal, noncommercial purposes in any way they want -- as long as they don't engage in mass distribution. They should be able to copy it to as many personal digital devices as they own, convert it to any format those devices require, and play it in whatever locations, at whatever times, they choose.
Read the whole thing.