One Man’s Junk

We forsook the aged for youth.  We placed our value on progress over understanding, innovation over experience, instant gratification over pondering consequences.  In short, evidences of our great knowledge are everywhere, but wisdom is seldom found

This dilemma has no other explanation.  The digital revolution brought us e-books and mp3’s.  Television and movies can be streamed.  Comics, magazines, and newspapers can all be read on tablets.  We are fine with this because of convenience.  We are enamored with it because the technology looks so pretty and smells so good.  We have failed to consider the long term impact on intellectual property rights of the goods we buy.

When book stores and comic shops completely go the way of record stores, perhaps then that cartoon light bulb will flicker on above our heads.  Loss of ownership over the goods we buy?  Nonsense, right?  Yet, that is preciously what has been gradually happening in the interactive entertainment industry.

Imagine the repercussions a ban on used items could have.  You would be paying for the right to “borrow” items to live on and those said items can be stripped from you at a moments notice.

That’s the attitude behind proposals to eliminate the sale of used games.  One idea gaining a lot of steam is inserting a chip into next generation consoles that disable them from playing used games unless you pay a rental fee.  Game publishers protest that they are not making money off the sale of used games.  However, authors don’t cry they don’t make a penny off used book sales.  Directors don’t hide their heads in shame over the sale of used DVDs.  What makes games any different?

It began with the digital revolution.  Today it is common place for new games to be released as bug filled messes.  It can be patched later, if they get around to it.  In order to inflate the price of the game past $60, certain elements are packed into downloadable chunks and sold separately.  Buy the game used and you are forced to pay for an online pass.  Don’t think for a moment that other industries are not taking notice.

Who owns the property you buy?  Well, if its 100 percent digital, it’s easy for publishers to say they do.  You are paying to be entertained by it and no more.  Your rights to use can be canceled at any time and will be nonrefundable.  We are essentially feeding a big, bad wolf that will turn on us at any moment.

A clear message needs to be sent by us, the consumers.  Corporations are deaf to protest rallies, picket lines, and angry letters.  The only thing they listen to are dollar signs.  We must speak with our wallets.  If that chip goes into that system, I don’t buy it.  If the game is broken, it can stay that way on the shelf.

Yes, piracy is awful.  I understand that artists deserve to be paid for their work.  However, I am against hurting honest consumers, like you and me, because of a few rotten apples.  It’s time we ponder long and hard over the long term effects of a completely digital society.  Are these fancy technological advancements really to our benefit?  Or will it be to our decline?

By D.L. Timmerman


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