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Books Media Music The Courts Your Rights Online

Will Your Books and Music Die With You? 248

Posted by timothy
from the entire-universe-dies-with-me-actually dept.
theodp writes "Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes, reports the WSJ, but when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us. 'I find it hard to imagine a situation where a family would be OK with losing a collection of 10,000 books and songs,' says author Evan Carroll of the problems created for one's heirs with digital content, which doesn't convey the same ownership rights as print books and CDs. So what's the solution? Amazon and Apple were mum when contacted, but with the growth of digital assets, Dazza Greenwood of MIT's Media Lab said it's time to reform and update IP law so content can be transferred to another's account or divided between several people."
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Will Your Books and Music Die With You?

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  • First (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:29AM (#41122499)

    Will anyone want your collection of Justin Bieber and Rihanna when you die?

    • Re:First (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:28PM (#41122891)

      No, but I want to be buried with my Slayer and Black Sabbath albums. It will be good on scaring off the undead and it will guarantee that I won't be stuck playing a harp in the afterlife.

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      not exactly what we're going for.

      This was my original intent with gamerslastwill.com though I never brought it to fruition.
      I figured that there was a substantial collection of digital media and games that I had bought. If I die, or any gamer dies, what happens to their access rights.

      What would happen to my steam account if I died. I've already written a will explaining it go to my son, who is now 4 years old.

      But I figured what happened to people's accounts on something like WoW or SW:TOR who have invested

      • by icebike (68054) *

        Seeing as how in-game assets can be worth real world money, they should be bequeathable.

        But I wonder...
        None of this stuff existed when you were a kid, and the stuff that did exist then is old hat, unused, and obsolete now, and other than the occasional pinball table collector pretty much no one cares. So don't expect any lasting value of any of these in-game assets. Infact, when your kid is 24, I doubt even YOU will place any value on these things. Raising a child and putting them thru college has a way of changing one's perspective on the relative worth of things.

        Second, on the matter of t

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          Just because somebody puts something in a contract doesn't mean it's legally enforcible. In the US, it's the individual estate laws of the various states that determines what can be transferred upon death. Saying that the terms of service can override this may look to a state judge like someone is effectively saying the individual states cannot make estate law. Worse, since the basis for the TOS is grounded in Federal law (Trade and Tarriff, and quite possibly Copyright - that is some clauses of a TOS may b

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:34AM (#41122517)
    Since everyone has their own collection of (digital) words and music, it's unlikely that you will suddenly develop a taste for someone-else's just because they've died and left you theirs. You may have a brief look through it, to see if it contains anything you've missed from your own collection, or you may hang on to it as a way to handle your grief.

    However you may also decide to delete the whole lot, unseen, just in case it contains the sort of "material" you'd prefer not to remember your departed loved one by.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Put another way how many cherished commercial books and albums have you personally inherited? Maybe it's a bad question since people who have, will be more likely to answer. But for me the answer is 0. I can't even get my dad to take an interest in getting his old slides scanned so we can see our childhood photos.
      • by sferics (189924)

        Well I have, and it's not about quantity or market value, either. There've got to be limits to this business of depossession through legal abstractions.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 25, 2012 @01:10PM (#41123171)

        My brother died unexpectedly at age 28 and I, 1.5 years younger, boxed up his CDs while we were cleaning out his apartment. I've since merged them with my collection. I find it rewarding and challenging, and sometimes a little nostalgic, to listen and interpret them as my own. On my college breaks I found it intriguing to examine my father's old vinyl record collection too.

        The idea of things being "too personal" isn't specific to music or books. Whoever has the job of sorting through the detritus of life will have to work discreetly and sort certain items into the trash or recycling box, while others get highlighted and passed around for closure or utility (often a little of both). Funny things, like cooking with one of his favorite old pans, have turned out to mean more to me than I expected.

        I'm still babying the last car he bought... 1999 garage queen with just 50k miles at present. Our oldest brother took his nicely equipped bikes, and rode them for many years. These higher value items carry a different kind of burden for the survivors, as they sometimes feel more like "legacy." It can be very upsetting if you feel your loss being compounded by the legacy being taken away as well. With more an more financial and emotional resources being poured into digital legacy, I can only imagine this will become a bigger issue in the future.

      • by bipbop (1144919)

        Quite a lot. I come from a family of readers, and my mother in particular collected science fiction and fantasy for most of her life. She's still alive (and now 71 years old!), but I took a lot of the books with me when I moved out.

        On the other hand, my mother listens to nothing but church hymns, and my father nothing but marches. I like a lot of music, but answer to your question is zero in that particular column.

        • by HuguesT (84078)

          There are some splendid things among church "hymns". Have you tried Bach's cantatas, or just about any of the classical requiems (Mozart, Brahms, Fauré, even Ligetti?). Among marches there are some pretty cool things too, like the Souza marches.

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @01:42PM (#41123421) Journal

        The usual way this happens is that they let the family go through the library and pick anything they want, then they sell what's left in a lot at auction to a used bookstore owner. This doesn't work for digital books, which makes digital books no more valuable than borrowing the book from a library or watching a streaming video from Netflix. Without permanence and individual transferability, there is no real value to "owning" a copy of the content, because no one will ever want the entire collection enough to pay any significant amount of money for it. Individuals won't because they won't like everything (and thus will consider parts of the collection as having zero value), and dealers won't because they won't be able to parcel it out and no individual will be willing to pay them much for it (because they won't like everything and...).

        For this reason, I try fairly hard not to accumulate digital books, music, movies, or non-transferrable digital software downloads. If there are alternatives, I tend to choose them even if they are more expensive, because those alternatives have actual value beyond the value of their temporary utility.

      • by icebike (68054) * on Saturday August 25, 2012 @02:24PM (#41123723)

        Put another way how many cherished commercial books and albums have you personally inherited? Maybe it's a bad question since people who have, will be more likely to answer. But for me the answer is 0. I can't even get my dad to take an interest in getting his old slides scanned so we can see our childhood photos.

        I inherited not more than 5 books from my parents. They were big time library patrons, without enough money after putting 5 kids thru college, to amass their own collection. Turns out a couple of these books have collector value, being first editions which were handed down to my parents from my grand parents. (early Audubon stuff). So, no, most of us don't have huge libraries of stuff handed down.

        But that is water under the bridge at this point, and the discussion is about what we can hand down today. I've got an entire wall covered by bookshelves that someone will pick over when I shuffle off. I've got at least as many digital books that they may look at when they find my several nook e-readers laying around.

        Hard to say if they might want any of that, but it should be my decision to give, and their decision to receive.

        Now as to those slides, its your job to scan them.
        He has his memories. He probably never needs to even look at the slides.
        You've probably got the skills to scan them, sift them, and save them. He probably doesn't want to waste his remaining hours
        moving images from one media to another when he knows you will inherit the entire collection anyway.

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Note that many public libraries are (were?) started with bequeaths of private collections. The Library of Congress was based on a gift of Thomas Jefferson's library, etc.

      My father ran into this recently. He was redoing his will and he wants to leave all of his books to his Mason lodge, since they have a large reading room. However, he's been Kindling it up now for two or three years, and it occurred to him that he wasn't going to be able to pass these on, even though the books on the Kindle are public do

    • by drwho (4190)

      It is very possible that as a person ages, there tastes may change. Sure, I put on a Devo tune every so often for fun, but I am now much more likely to listed to Back, Mozart, Brahms, etc. That's the stuff that my father loved, and which bored me when I was young. Tastes aside, wouldn't it be nice to be able to listen to your parents' music collection as a way to remember them when they're long dead? I would think so. My parents are still alive so that's not an issue yet.

    • Mega music collections by there nature will have lots and lots of junk you would never listen to. I for one would delete all the works of the Beatles if I didn't know that someone downtrade from me will want them.

      Also having lots of music you've never listened to is fun. Occasionally you learn things like 'fag punk' exists that you can't unlearn (kind of like the definition of 'space docking').

      I accept that I am off topic. I'm talking about libraries of pirated music. I would never buy 1% of my collect

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:36AM (#41122525) Homepage

    It's all a "license" now. Ownership, while not entirely a thing of the past, has changed form... or rather, has reverted in form. There is ownership and there is property. The problem is that the property is you and the ownership is someone or something else.

    • by tooyoung (853621)
      Could someone explain to me what limitation prevents me from giving a copy of every single song I've ever purchased from Amazon or iTunes to a friend?
      • by thegreatemu (1457577) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:18PM (#41122815)

        copyright law?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Copyright law doesn't prevent that - it just makes it illegal.

        • by tooyoung (853621)
          Then to make my point more clearly in the context of the story - how do my music purchases from Amazon or iTunes die along with me? Isn't my family still able to to maintain and listen to my music collection?
          • by jamstar7 (694492)
            Your music 'dies' with you because your license to have them expired when you did, if not sooner. Remember, we're talking about the *AAs here, they get really touchy about their 'rights'.
          • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @01:23PM (#41123269)
            Because you are licensed to play that music. The license is non-transferable. It dies when you do. For your family to listen to the collection after you die is legally no different than if they'd grabbed it all off of a p2p network.
            • by russotto (537200)

              Because you are licensed to play that music.

              But private performance (i.e. "playing" the music to an audience consisting only of one's family and/or "social circle") is not one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. So from whence did this "license to play" derive?

  • Blind Trust? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChromaticDragon (1034458) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:36AM (#41122529)

    Is this a case where corporate personhood is a good thing?

    Does this mean what you should do is fire up a trust and have the trust purchase all the media? Then the trust lives on (and is ownership transfers or was likely already shared with your intended recipient(s)).

    Or is that going to get you in trouble with your trust "sharing" its media with you?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or you could just put your account login information in your Will.

    • Re:Blind Trust? (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:26PM (#41122865) Journal

      There are really two problems working together:

      1. Most DRM systems(and even some many non-DRMed consumer 'cloud sync' stuff) are built around the architectural assumption that a given device will have one 'account' authorized/set/whatever at a time, and each 'account' will have some set of things licensed to it. Even if you have my credentials, it is generally somewhere between 'awkward' and 'designed not to be possible' for you to actually use a union of your account and mine, or even transfer stuff from my account to yours. You can deathorize your account and authorize mine, and then be stuck with access just to my stuff, and even switch back and forth; but you generally can't transparently access the contents of both.

      2. Because this stuff is mostly distributed on a 'licensed not sold, DRM-circumvention-forbidden, the EULA owns you now, suck it peasant' basis, you likely don't have much clout in terms of getting anything in #1 changed in your favor. At best, those UI/UX decisions are just a customer support problem, at worst, you might be explicitly prohibited from accessing somebody else's account, even if they wanted you to, and Dear Old Dad's estate can get its account banhammered for even trying to let the heirs in(if detected, obviously password sharing happens all the time).

      Some sort of keeps-the-accountants-employed trust structure might have some advantages(incidentally, given the very low cost of setting up a US corporation in places like Delaware and Nevada, has anybody considered getting around the regional restrictions by purchasing through a US shell's credit card?); but it would be unlikely to save you from the fact that account aggregation is generally somewhere between unsupported and explicitly forbidden...

  • by ThorGod (456163) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:37AM (#41122531) Journal

    ...and just one of the many reasons I have hundreds of CDs lying around. I've bought some music and videos from iTunes. I prefer buying CDs because they're physical and tangible. Google or Apple can't decide to "close the service" and take all of my CDs away.

    For that matter, there are still recordings only to be found on vinyl. There's either too weak of a modern interest in certain albums or "not enough profit" for record companies in re-releasing them. Either way, I don't see physical media going away anytime soon.

    • by Knuckles (8964)

      (...) There's either too weak of a modern interest in certain albums or "not enough profit" for record companies in re-releasing them. (...)

      Or the rights to the music have become a holy mess. It's typical, e.g., of 80ies/90ies indie recordings, when the artistic and commercial envirnonment was in a frenzy of development, people had too much to do in the present and didn't think about tomorrow (or didn't have an interest in tomorrow at all), most people didn't really know what they were doing, etc. And of course the copyright laws weren't up to the task of dealing with such a volatile environment. Recording artists sold rights to indie labels, w

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Knuckles (8964)

        And then there's the frequent problem of "where the hell are the master tapes?"

        • Let's talk about (movie) films on cellulose. Or old paintings. Or manuscripts. Or textiles. Or samurai sords. Things degrade if someone doesn't care (and continue to care) that they stay whole and in good condition. One generation of neglect and a priceless masterpiece can be lost for all time. At least with digital we can preserve a true and perfect copy.
          • by bobstreo (1320787)

            Let's talk about (movie) films on cellulose. Or old paintings. Or manuscripts. Or textiles. Or samurai sords. Things degrade if someone doesn't care (and continue to care) that they stay whole and in good condition. One generation of neglect and a priceless masterpiece can be lost for all time. At least with digital we can preserve a true and perfect copy.

            Unless George Lucas can access it

            • I don't know what you're talking about. Everyone knows Han shot first, it's right there on the DVD, which is exactly the same as what was on the VHS tape.
    • ...and just one of the many reasons I have hundreds of CDs lying around. I've bought some music and videos from iTunes. I prefer buying CDs because they're physical and tangible. Google or Apple can't decide to "close the service" and take all of my CDs away.

      For that matter, there are still recordings only to be found on vinyl. There's either too weak of a modern interest in certain albums or "not enough profit" for record companies in re-releasing them. Either way, I don't see physical media going away anytime soon.

      If you are 35 right now, and you live to 80, you are going to die around the year 2055. Optical media is dying in this decade and we're at the point that my car doesn't have a CD player, laptops don't, and I don't own one because I threw mine out 5 years ago, and there are 50 tutorials on how to convert your legitimate windows disks to bootable flash drives along with all of your software install disks.

      There was a Cowboy Bebop about going to the ends of the solar system to find the last Betamax player, the

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        LOL Your post is just so full of over assumptions and speculation that all I can do is laugh. Thank you, supremely silly person, thank you.

        1.) I'm significantly younger than 35, thank you very much. I listen to the range of music that I do because of my personal taste. I'm far from alone in having these tastes.

        2.) "Optical media is dying this decade." Oh yeah? What led you to believe that? Because Apple and a handful of laptop manufacturers sell one or two models (per manufacturer) without optical drives? P

      • by Velex (120469)

        They didn't go to the end of the solar system to find a Betamax player. They had to go to Earth.

        Anyway, I also tend to buy CDs instead of the cloudy web 2.0 DRMed to all crap version. I guess I'm not trendy enough to use iTunes. Then I rip all my CDs to FLAC and also transcode to MP3 for use in mobile devices. Then the CD sits on my shelf and is never opened again unless I want to check something in the lyrics or look at the art.

        What GP really ought to do is get one of those USB turntables and reco

        • by bipbop (1144919)

          And no, you can't tell the difference between a vinyl and a digital recording, and if you can, I have some gold-plated audio cables to sell to you.

          I know what you mean, but I want to clarify your point:

          • You can't tell the difference between vinyl and a digital copy of that vinyl;
          • You can tell the difference between a digital recording and a vinyl copy of that digital recording, because it degrades in a characteristic manner.
    • by berj (754323) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @01:08PM (#41123151)

      ...and just one of the many reasons I have hundreds of CDs lying around. I've bought some music and videos from iTunes. I prefer buying CDs because they're physical and tangible. Google or Apple can't decide to "close the service" and take all of my CDs away.

      Apple can't do anything to your purchased music once it's on your hard drive. There's no DRM whatsoever on the music files. Do with them as you please. Movies can be re-encoded (probably lose quality but for me that's not a huge deal) or have their DRM stripped. Books can have their DRM stripped. I'm pretty sure that it's still legal in the US to strip DRM for your personal stuff and it definitely is in Canada (the efforts of our current government to ban it notwithstanding).

  • by pointyhat (2649443) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:38AM (#41122539)

    They are just licenses these days. They are not tangible so it's hard to apply property rights to them.

    It's a great business model though - you have to buy it again rather than passing it on through death or disinterest.

    This sort of shit disgusts me, so I still buy real books and CDs. If new content is not being produced in this way, there is still plenty to read and listen to.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:40AM (#41122551)

    I have the unusual habit of paying writers directly after downloading their books on warez sites. So as far as I'm concerned, my books are paid for and readable by anyone who happens to inherit them after I die.

    Not that I give a toss about what happens after I die, mind you...

    • by erroneus (253617)

      It's not the creators your have to pay. It's the "rights holders."

      Morally, you might feel justified but the legal system has nothing to do with morality.

    • by adosch (1397357)

      I have the unusual habit of paying writers directly after downloading their books on warez sites. So as far as I'm concerned, my books are paid for and readable by anyone who happens to inherit them after I die.

      Not that I give a toss about what happens after I die, mind you...

      Although I agree, I really don't because it doesn't sound you have you ever had to go through a deceased family members belongings and disseminate it between the immediate kin. For you and me in 50 years, we're talking about 'digital media' here on a boat-load of CDs, DVDs, or some sort of ssd/spinning storage media, not tangible items.

      It was easy to inherit vinyl records, cassette tapes, books, developed photos, movies are a bit of a stretch (because home recording devices were VERY expensive back then),

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:44AM (#41122577) Homepage

    They need to make DRM illegal. Sorry, but once you release something, copyright has always been based on honor. By creating mechanisms to lock down content, it is taking it out of the peoples' hands.

    By pointing out that things are "lost" and then correcting the truth to reveal that nothing was "lost" because the notion of ownership was an illusion in the first place proves what has been stolen from under our noses.

    Now you have a "license" for particular works on your ipod, but not your car stereo or anywhere else. If you want the same content there, you have to pay again and again. And if for some reason you violate the license terms, you might just lose it all. The point is to note who is in control. Those who are in control are the owners. Since you don't have control over your iPhone or other devices which are locked down, you don't own it either.

    These are all truths that people have a hard time accepting.

    • by Casandro (751346)

      Absolutely. Although it's most likely the DRM provider will hit the bucket before you.

      There is in short no non-idiotic advantage of DRM.

    • Rubbish. When I buy something on iTunes for my phone it's DRM free. If I want to put it on my iPad it's DRM free. If I want to play it in my car I burn it to a CD and its DRM free.
      • by MLCT (1148749)
        Can you copy the file to a usb stick? Could that file then be played without requiring an apple product? If you can't (by design) then that is digital rights management. Simple. DRM isn't copyright protection, it is any number of enforced restrictions on what you can do with something you have paid for - not enforced retrospectively by law (e.g. If you chose to illegally redistribute the song), but enforced pro-actively by software/hardware restrictions.

        Burning to a cd as an audio cd is a workaround
        • by jittles (1613415)

          Can you copy the file to a usb stick?

          Yes.

          Could that file then be played without requiring an apple product?

          Yes. The only exception I have found to this is the aax format used by Audible. Nothing but Apple products seems to handle that format natively. But you can convert it to the same format iTunes uses for its music, and then play it where ever you'd like.

          If you can't (by design) then that is digital rights management. Simple. DRM isn't copyright protection, it is any number of enforced restrictions on what you can do with something you have paid for - not enforced retrospectively by law (e.g. If you chose to illegally redistribute the song), but enforced pro-actively by software/hardware restrictions.

          All new purchases on iTunes are DRM free. Same with Amazon's music service.

          Burning to a cd as an audio cd is a workaround - and it is a workaround because there are far far simpler solutions (copying the file, or exporting to mp3 or exporting to wav)

      • Music, yes. Video, books, and executables? I hope you like 'fairplay'...

    • I see nothing wrong with de-DRM-ing stuff which I pay for. I understand that that may be illegal in some places, but it's not where I am, AFAIK. So whenever I buy a kindle ebook for example, I de-DRM it and back it up in a couple of places, in a few different formats as well. It's a bit tedious but it lets me use what I've paid for in whatever manner I want to...

      DRM bypassing isn't all that hard if you know where to look. I haven't come across a system yet which isn't cracked within a reasonably short t

      • Where are you? Because it's illegal in the US, all of Europe and Australia. Not yet Canada - an effort was made to ban circumvention there in Bill C-60, C-61 and C-32. Each failed and was reintroduced next session, thus the new numbers. Sooner or later one will get through. C-32 almost passed, only failing on a procedural issue.
    • by Plekto (1018050)

      Used record/CD store. $1-$3. Rip them yourself. No DRM, no idiocy, and you have the physical copy which is still worth nearly as much as you paid for it.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Until the technology that plays the media is out of manufacture or banned or both.

        Do you have any wax cylinder players? 8 Track recordings or players? Cassette tapes or players?

        Both the media and the players are temporary. The content must be preserved by changing formats over the years. So while your solution of "that's why I only buy CDs" is ridiculously temporary.

        Human legacy is in jeopardy and most people can't see beyond a couple of decades or their own personal interests.

        • by Plekto (1018050)

          True, but for the next 40 or 50 years, it's 100% likely that record players and CD players will still be available. So the entire library of music, worldwide, from about 1940-2010 will be available to me to use if I wish. What future generations do with it hardly matters as I have the physical originals and the digital copies of them.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      By creating mechanisms to lock down content, it is taking it out of the peoples' hands.

      My favorite part is where no one ever worries about DRM needing to expire. One day (long after we all die, but still) the DRM-ed works are going to go into public domain.
      Why doesn't all DRM have a kill switch to support that need?

  • The easy solution is to not leave the content you've paid for tied to some account maintained by big corporations.

  • Duh

    Problem solved in a common sense way

    Amazon and apple sell un drm music so that's not an issue

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @11:52AM (#41122629) Journal
    In the small odds my kindle is still running when I die, I'd be happy to leave it to a grandkid.
    • In the small odds my kindle is still running when I die, I'd be happy to leave it to a grandkid.

      Who will likely use it as a tea cozy.

      • Who will likely use it as a tea cozy.

        I was visiting a friend last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.
        'This is the 21st century', he said. 'I don't waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.'
        I can tell you, that poor fly never knew what hit it...
  • This is yet another reason I don't have any online music, e-books, or other media, and still prefer the old-fashioned physical types.

    Plus, it's fun to go out and get records for a dollar or two at the local used music store and rip them myself. $1 for a record of 10-12 songs. That's excellent economics and the quality doesn't need to be perfect if it's being compressed anyways. Used books? You can buy almost any fictional novel these days for under $3, used. Most are closer to a dollar.

  • Ultimately, yep, we're all going to lose this stuff unless we keep backups. People lost photos and data in house fires, it's going to become questions in later generations of what's actually worthwhile keeping. Photos of you with your trousers around your ankles out drunk on some random sat night might be hilarious to you on facebook now, but they aren't going to mean anything to your grandchildren. I think ultimately, a lot of this stuff needs to be forgotten....

    We're going to lose our music and our books,

  • by rbrander (73222) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:05PM (#41122719) Homepage

    My most cherished possessions are books that have come down through three generations from a great-grandfather.

    I wouldn't count on any e-publisher catering to your desire to pass your "possessions" on; indeed, they may finally come out and state it plainly that you're just renting the content. If prodded on the issue that you'd value the ability to pass them on, they'll probably say something to the effect that that this would create real problems for them - since people would use the mechanism to pass books from person to person weeks apart, letting 10 kids in a classroom all read one copy of The Hunger Games - whereas the "legitimate" usage of passing them on at death is not valued by most buyers, as its just too far in the future.

    Ironic, that viewpoint, since they also claim that authors need 100 years of copyright AFTER their own death, as they value that so terribly much, without it, they'll never write the book.

    • by Plekto (1018050)

      You hit upon the real reason driving this, though. Which is that a book usually DOES go through several owners before it becomes unreadable. And a bunch of kids in a classroom do share a single book in some poorer areas of the world. Of course they hate the idea of re-sale since they no longer have control of it. Their wet dream is to find a way to force each and every person who ever reads it to pay full price for a new copy.

      You see this with video games as well. Almost every game now is essentially o

  • The problem already starts long before death, as how to you even share those books and other digital goods with the rest of your family? Do you give your Kindle device to your kids? Do they get their own but reuse your account? What if they get their own account? What about games on Steam, etc.? A lot of digital services right now don't really have a clean way of sharing digital goods with the rest of the family and many form of sharing might be considered a TOS violation. What about when it comes to a divo

  • by fermion (181285) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:12PM (#41122765) Homepage Journal
    First, anyone who has a password to our accounts for all practical intents and purposes owns the content. When one dies, as long as some can get onto you equipment they have access to content.

    Second we really don't know where the DRM movement is going. The only thing impeding the transfer of ownership is the DRM. If there is no DRM, then pretty much no one owns it. We simply pay a sum to reward the stakeholders, and hopefully the creator.

    Third, the widespread ownership of such content is relatively recent phenomena. Conservatives outlets like the WSJ want us to believe that this is the way it has always been, and will always be, but that is not true. For books, it has been at most a couple hundred years that cheap books have been available so the average person could have a big collection, and more likely a hundred is a better estimate. We probably had have large collection of vinyl for 50 years of so. Movies has only been priced to sell in the consumer market since the 80's.

    So what does this mean? A changing definition of ownership. If I have an LP or a VHS or a book, I only own a copy, nothing else. If I the copy is destroyed or lost, there is not legal right for a replacement of the content. If one had money for a cassete recorder, or a copy machine or a second VCR, one could make a copy, but there are generational losses, and copying on large scales to make a backup of everything was very time consuming. WIth a CD and a computer one was able to own the content for the first time, but that has only been around for less than a generation.This kind of forms a background on why music is not copy protected as much as books and movies.

    One may complain that one has to pay $10 a month for movies, and if one does not pay, one loses the collection, but what has one lost? What does ownership really mean in terms of real history, not that made up by the WSJ. It is true that if one has a collection of books those books could be converted to a small amount of cash. The real value of books and music, at least in my upbringing, was the culture and education they provided. This far surpassed any cash value. And think of this. I don't have the vast collection of my father's books and music because he let go of books over the years, as they are very bulky to move, and the records were destroyed in a flood. OTOH if the books and music were on Amazon, and I had his password, I would.

  • You don't own the things you buy, you're just licensing them. Since the licenses aren't transferable, that's the end of that story. It sucks, but at the same time, these services have a right to dictate the terms that you're purchasing under. By using the service and buying from them, you agree to those terms, so you don't have much of a right to complain about them.

    There are two valid solutions to this:

    1) Only buy physical media. Yes, it can be kind of a pain in the ass sometimes, but it's the only way to

  • by Megahard (1053072) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:13PM (#41122783)
    I'm building a pyramid to store all my worldly possessions with my mummified body after I die.
    • I am printing out all my data and building the pyramid out of the reams of paper as a monument to myself.

      But I am having my body wood chipped, frozen then used as chum for all my friends to go deep sea fishing.

  • ... would Ron Paul support making sure we keep these rights through government laws and enforcement?

  • This is the easy one. Just do what the rich do to get around inheritance tax: form a non-profit foundation, which buys all the music on yer ipod, the foundation is immortal so there's no issues about inheritance. You can start a non-profit org really cheaply, but the yearly paperwork involved varies state to state (NY state requires yearly reports to be filed).

  • Most digital content is not linked to you or your life at all and exists under an account. You can pass on the username and password like any other object.

  • doesn't care about the majority of my books and music. What they DO care about, they have their own copies of. Many things legally (because we obviously consider it worth the money and want the makers to make more good stuff), some things not.

    Instead of having to clean out a house full of junk and trying to sell books and music that pretty much no one wants - so it ends up being shuffled between thrift stores or simply thrown away - when I die, my kids will just have to erase kindles and mp3 players. If t
  • Mine wont. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @12:57PM (#41123077) Homepage

    As I violently violate the law and strip out the DRM from every purchase. it's mine, I dont care about their TOS, I'm going to get rid of their restrictions and make sure my purchases cant be stolen from me.

  • The concept of 'you don't own anything any longer' or copyright law is not a true law; it's a corporation law. A law 'of the land' for example - Murder - is one that is enforced by peace officers, and the judicial system. It is also very binding too. As in, your ass is in jail for a long time. Corporation law against individuals, on the other hand is nearly unenforceable, and cannot easily be found out. For now, RIAA/MPAA cannot come into your systems and snoop to see if you have the latest copy of Beaver'
  • When I die, things will belong to those who inherit it. They will get the things I own. This is including my car including the gasoline in that car and also any debts I have.

    If you have books from the library, they will still belong to the library when I die. They will not suddenly belong to those who I mentioned in my will.
    Things I do not own, they will not get. e.g. they will not get my car if it is leased. I am not the owner, so they do not get it from me. It was never mine to give away.

    And here lies the

  • Buy hard copies. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suprcvic (684521) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @02:25PM (#41123737)
    This is why I buy hard copies of any book I really like. Partly to show off that I've read it but also to pass along to my children or others who may be interested.
  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @05:01PM (#41124821) Journal

    When i die, my stuff will be easy access ('cept for for the porn, it's truecrypted, some things family doesn't need access to). Will they want it? I doubt it. But don't care. I will be dead.

    So whatever happens after i die happens. I will be dead.

  • by pbjones (315127) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @05:42PM (#41125069)

    /. has covered this many times before, Technology has a limited life, if you have Digital music, you can move it to a physical medium, but you then need a device to use that physical medium. If you have books, you move them to a medium that can store the material, if you have some sort of limited, proprietary format THEN YOU DID IT WRONG. I buy physical medium and transfer it to digital, and I have several devices to replay the content, I buy books, too many books, but I doubt that my Grandkids will care.

  • by jsepeta (412566) on Saturday August 25, 2012 @06:40PM (#41125431) Homepage

    we'll no longer have books available to the general population. libraries will have been closed by the "let's eliminate taxes" nutjobs. cassettes, cd's, records will be artifacts from an ancient era. the content creators will own the rights, and you're lucky to have any music to listen to while you read people magazine on your idevice. the future is going to suck.

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