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Andrea Manka
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This is one of those cases where the values of a society have to be balanced against each other to form a solution. No one could credibly and cogently argue that looking at buildings on Google Earth is more important than protecting sensitive sites from terrorism and attack. Personally, I rub against the instinct that Google Earth fosters a feeling that it is "okay" to invade the privacy of others. Though Google might have the right to post satellite pictures, I can't help but feel that having people look at aerial views of my house violates my rights. Just because a technology is available doesn't mean we should use it. Though this goes against my usual intincts about First Amendment issues, I think that Google Earth is dangerous enough to be censored to a large degree. In short, not only should governments be able to obscure sensitive sites, but I should be able to write a letter to Google and tell them to stop broadcasting satellite pictures of my domicile over the internet as well.
The relationship between users of Second Life and Linden Labs is a relationship governed through contract. This is paradoxical to a United States citizen's position vis a vis the government. As such, the free speech rights that people have as citizens vis a vis the government do not apply to their contractual relationship with Linden Labs. Also, if we think about the real world, people do not have free speech rights in all forums anyhow. You cannot come into my house and say what you want to me, and I can lobby my city council to restrict your ability to ride down my street screaming about penises from a megaphone at 6 a.m. I think there is a great deal of misunderstanding among the non-lawyers of the world about the right to free speech being absolute. The current conflict in Second Life is partially due to the fact that the disgruntled Second Life terrorists expected their contract with Linden Labs to grant them access to their utopian ideal. I would not be surprised if most of those upset with the commercial "invasion" are upset with the commericalism that we are innundated with every day. Though it might be upsetting to users that Linden Labs is growing as a company, the company doesn't have a fiduciary duty to the users, only their shareholders, and they have no legal obligation to maintain an open forum.
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2007 on Armed conflict at a virtual level at Cairns Blog
I agree with Anthony Sanchez that the private interests that go along with digital content have gone awry. Another point that I think was missed is that the shackling of digital content with DRM and the squelching of fair use rights actually stifles creativity. Consider mash-ups, some of which have become internet sensations. They are also the subject of immediate take-down letters from the owners of the original works. Really, what those who make mash-ups (for non-commercial use) are using the original works for a sort of academic or educational use. The private interest, and the encouragement of "useful arts" are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes the public interest can be served by less privatization. This is difficult for Americans to swallow, but in terms of digital content and the possibility for creative flourishing, it is true.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2007 on engineering scarcity at Cairns Blog
I really responded to the idea that the market may be the way to break the tyranny of DRM. My understanding is that the purpose of DRM is entirely to protect the owner of intellectual property. Often, the creators of DRM do not take into account the ease with which users can take their music and use it on whatever devices they own. It was easy to do that when cassette tapes were the norm, but it's harder when an iPod keeps music purchased on Rhapsody without. The market, and the law in European Countries, is beginning to tell Jobs that DRM is preventing people from using thier purchased music in a way that they are accustomed to. If technology doesn't expand possibilities, then it's not useful and desirable. Technology that closes off possibilities makes people nostalgic for boom boxes and tape players.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2007 on In Response to Gilmore at Cairns Blog
I really responded to the idea that the market may be the way to break the tyranny of DRM. My understanding is that the purpose of DRM is entirely to protect the owner of intellectual property. Often, the creators of DRM do not take into account the ease with which users can take their music and use it on whatever devices they own. It was easy to do that when cassette tapes were the norm, but it's harder when an iPod keeps music purchased on Rhapsody without. The market, and the law in European Countries, is beginning to tell Jobs that DRM is preventing people from using thier purchased music in a way that they are accustomed to. If technology doesn't expand possibilities, then it's not useful and desirable. Technology that closes off possibilities makes people nostalgic for boom boxes and tape players.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2007 on In Response to Gilmore at Cairns Blog