Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Will Your Books and Music Die With You?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the entire-universe-dies-with-me-actually dept.

Books 248

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."

cancel ×

248 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122499)

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

Re:First (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:First (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122903)

Have you ever considered an electric harp piped through your favorite effects processor?

Not all of us. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122505)

"Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes"

No. No, I will not.

Re:Not all of us. (3, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41123035)

Already have. For definitions of accumulate=pirate.

As to what will happen to it after I die? Doesn't matter. Anybody that I know who wants a copy can have one while I'm alive. It takes three days just to copy the music (granting that's going from average SATA drive RAID to a USB2 external).

Re:Not all of us. (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41123119)

But what about your porn????

Too personal to be widely desirable (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122579)

But you can chose to gift or sell them to someone else as you would with a physical library.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41122631)

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.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (2)

sferics (189924) | about 2 years ago | (#41122743)

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.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 years ago | (#41122839)

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 domain and of general interest.

Ironically, the stuff that is the most economical and profitable to put on a Kindle are public domain classics and books of foundational cultural interest, and putting them on a Kindle makes them impossible to share or disseminate.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41123115)

You should be able to find most popular public domain works on 'project Gutenburg'. No need to collect them, just get them if you want them.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (3, Funny)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 2 years ago | (#41123225)

Who needs libraries when you can pay Time Warner $50 a month to read public domain books FOR FREE! :)

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (2)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#41122861)

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.

I'll be surprised if 2 people 'get' the joke(s): (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41123199)

I am now much more likely to listed to Back, Mozart, Brahms, etc.

He meant he leans toward Jeff Back, not Johann-Sebastian Back.

UID 4190? He must have joined Slashdot when it was still a magazine. But don't be hard on him, I get those "senior moments" too and you will one day, as well.

Re:Too personal to be widely desirable (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41123105)

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 collection.

My heirs can get the files the same way I did. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122521)

Well, maybe not the same way, with the ever-impending death of you-know-what, they may have to use BitTorrent or some such.

Or they can just copy what they want of my home RAID -- which would apply even if it was all purchased DRM-free rather than downloaded. If you're dumb enough to spend good money on DRMed data, it'll probably become inaccessible before you die anyway, as companies change hands and servers are shut down.

We need an equivalent to "white people problems" to indicate our non-sympathy for the fools who willingly ride the corporate content-rental railroad and are later shocked to learn it was for the corporation's benefit, not theirs.

Re:My heirs can get the files the same way I did. (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#41123223)

Yeah, the article's precepts are really off.

We shouldn't need to collect books and music. Only reason I do is as a hedge against copyright extremism, and because the Internet isn't always handy, and storage is cheap. And to serve as a list of stuff I like, but that's easily handled by keeping just lists, not content. This "problem" is not an issue.

You don't "own" anything any longer (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41122525)

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.

Re:You don't "own" anything any longer (2)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#41122593)

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?

Re:You don't "own" anything any longer (4, Insightful)

thegreatemu (1457577) | about 2 years ago | (#41122815)

copyright law?

Re:You don't "own" anything any longer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41123075)

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

Re:You don't "own" anything any longer (2)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#41123089)

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?

Re:You don't "own" anything any longer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41123205)

To make GPs point more clearly: what you are suggesting appears to be illegal.

Blind Trust? (4, Interesting)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Blind Trust? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122741)

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

Re:Blind Trust? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41122865)

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...

Yes, this is a valid problem (5, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#41122531)

...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.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (0)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41122607)

That's no reason to keep compact discs; a hard drive is tangible, too. The real question is, do you control it yourself.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#41123231)

That's no reason to keep compact discs; a hard drive is tangible, too. The real question is, do you control it yourself.

There's no reason to *not* keep them, and I continue to use them daily. Therefore, I'm keeping them.

Hard drive backups? Yeah, been there, done that, will continue to do so. Ever heard of tape backups? They're archival quality, even!

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (2)

Knuckles (8964) | about 2 years ago | (#41122633)

(...) 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, which promptly went under, or were bought out by majors (who had no actual interest in the catalog), and so on. Many a band in recent years went through prolonged struggles to reaquire the rights in order to be able to rerelease albums.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (3, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | about 2 years ago | (#41122661)

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

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#41122775)

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.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (2)

bobstreo (1320787) | about 2 years ago | (#41122805)

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

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#41122849)

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.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (1)

Knuckles (8964) | about 2 years ago | (#41122829)

Yes (unless you find an 80 year old lady to take care of the painting [nytimes.com] ), but I was referring to a pre-digital time and pretty chaotic environment, where master tapes simply got lost. Also, if your recording studio loses digital masters, you are just as screwed as with tapes. Anyway, it was just an aside about reasons for valuable music disappearing from circulation, and isn't really on topic)

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (2)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41122717)

...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 only thing that might save a CD player built today is the possibility that the USB specification remains backwards compatible with devices 5 decades old, except that we're getting short range wireless communication in every device so I don't even know if that's going to last.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (2)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#41123221)

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? Phht, I say, phht! If you want a CD player you can buy one easily enough, and will continue to be able to do so. (Cassette decks are only now becoming scarce in retail stores, and boy did the CD make them look silly.)

3.) Surely you realize there's more to playing music than queuing something up on a computer and listening over headphones. (Not that I'm an audiophile, but there is something to be said for a quality amplifier and speaker combo. Just about anything can be plugged into them, and not all computer audio streams are created equally.)

4.) Audio reproduction does not necessitate the use of a computer. Also, the use of a computer does not necessitate audio reproduction. There are better ways to 'consume media' than via a general purpose computer, and there are plenty of high demand uses for general purpose computers that have *nothing at all* to do with media consumption.

Go to a used LP or used CD store sometime (yes, at least in this city they're located in different stores in different zipcodes even!). Just try and preach your views there. Report back with the results.

Re:Yes, this is a valid problem (3, Interesting)

berj (754323) | about 2 years ago | (#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).

Why would your data get inaccessible then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122533)

Seriously, normally you know the default passwords of your family and/or the stuff resides on a NAS accessible for all.

You never bought them in the first place (3, Insightful)

pointyhat (2649443) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:You never bought them in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122659)

I've downloaded hundreds (thousands?) of songs from Amazon, eMusic, and occasionally directly from a label like Warp or the artist's webpage. I can do anything I like with those files, there is no DRM, so I'm not sure how it is any different from the old Vinyl/CD model. If I wanted to I could burn it all to CDs and have a physical copy, I just don't see the need to. As it is, I'm trying to figure out what to do with the hundreds of CDs that are lying around collecting dust because I've ripped them all years ago.

Problem solved for me (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Problem solved for me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122575)

Good luck proving that in court.

Re:Problem solved for me (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41122609)

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.

Re:Problem solved for me (1)

adosch (1397357) | about 2 years ago | (#41122685)

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), because you had them in your possession, could hold onto them, look at them at a glance and see their monetary or personal worth. Who's going to look at your stack of media and go through the trouble of finding an older technology device to see what's on it?

Updated regulation is needed (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41122577)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

Casandro (751346) | about 2 years ago | (#41122637)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

CapuchinSeven (2266542) | about 2 years ago | (#41122641)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

MLCT (1148749) | about 2 years ago | (#41122753)

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 - and it is a workaround because there are far far simpler solutions (copying the file, or exporting to mp3 or exporting to wav) that are AFAIK, disallowed for itunes purchased material.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#41122879)

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) that are AFAIK, disallowed for itunes purchased material.

Apple has not required you to burn your music to CD for many years. If you have older songs you may need to do that to remove the DRM, but only older purchases. There is also software that will remove the DRM without burning to a CD, but those cost money. I paid $20 for the software that converts my audiobooks into DRM free formats that maintain the chapter and other info. But again, that is Audible and not iTunes.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41122899)

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

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about 2 years ago | (#41122671)

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 time. I would have suggested making things like bypassing DRM illegal (I believe it's the DMCA which prevents this?) but making DRM illegal will work even better, I think. Good suggestion.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about 2 years ago | (#41122733)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41122817)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about 2 years ago | (#41122863)

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.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41123067)

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

Uh, did you read the part about "Rip them yourself. No DRM,..."? That puts the music into currently used format. Next change of format, there will be format converters just like there is now. The same is true for books - deDRM the books & change them into whatever format you want.

Software to do format conversion is available free of cost, & no doubt available for purchase as well.

Anyone who does not deDRM their files isn't paying attention.

Thomas Stockham [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Stockham] of U. of Utah did some work restoring Enrico Caruso recordings, tho I don't know offhand if the originals were on wax cylinders. Anything with electronic speaker playback can readily be digitized. Ultimately, if no one bothers to keep formats up to date, then obviously it is not important to them.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41122799)

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?

Re:Updated regulation is needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122971)

Because DRM is not about copyright -- DRMing public domain works is perfectly feasible. Public domain doesn't grant you a right to easily copy things, it merely removes the author's "right" to legally forbid you from copying. They can still make it technically difficult.

Also because copyright will never expire, it'll just keep getting extended.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#41123149)

Also because copyright will never expire, it'll just keep getting extended.

Sonny Bono's great great grandchildren have to eat too, you insensitive clod.

Re:Updated regulation is needed (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41122853)

So your solution is to pile on more and more controls, rules and laws, where the actual problem IS the controls, rules and laws? Well, that will surely work this time, why not?

--

The actual solution is to get rid of copyright and patent law altogether. Let the people and companies do whatever they have to do to compete in the market without the government handing them a monopoly.

The easy solution (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 2 years ago | (#41122585)

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

One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122589)

I buy CD's. I buy books. I rip my CD's to a lossless format for use among my many devices. Fuck the cloud. Fuck DRM. Fuck the downloads. Fuck the RIAA. Fuck em all. My stuff will be in boxes when I die for my people to do with as they please. No permission required from anyone.

Re:One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122709)

"I buy CD's. I buy books. "

How about _reading_ one, especially a Grammar one.

Re:One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122759)

Is "Grammar" now capitalized anywhere in a sentence? Since you seem to have a problem with someone buying things rather than renting I am left to assume that you a corporate shill. BMI perhaps?

Re:One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#41122823)

My stuff will be in boxes when I die for my people to do with as they please.

Damn right. I don't expect to live long enough to be a burden on my children, but I can get even by leaving them an attic and basement full of random shit for them to sort through.

Re:One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122923)

If you really want to get even then visit when them when they are grown. Print full pages of solid primary colors on their printers. Stomp through the house. Dirty EVERY glass and leave just a 1/4 of an ounce in it and leave it in the refrigerator. Place new bars of soap in a glass of water. Use a half of a bottle of shampoo at a pop. Unwind ALL the toilet paper. What am I forgetting?

Re:One day they will rot away almost certainly.... (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#41122983)

My wife and I have promised to come to their houses for dinner and say "I don't like it" before we taste it - and fight at the table.

piracy is superior once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122599)

my movies, tv shows, and music are on several hds inside of an htpc for which the wife and several friends know the root pw

they will be available to my heirs when i die

sucks to be you people who "bought" media from amazon and apple, I own the stuff I downloaded from piratebay, can you say the same for your "legitimate" copies?

Re:piracy is superior once again (1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 2 years ago | (#41122667)

You don't own anything it is just in your possesion.

Re:piracy is superior once again (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | about 2 years ago | (#41122737)

You possess a copy, you don't own it. If this distinction seems minor to you, try using a piece of music you think you "own" in a game that you write or in a movie you make and you'll find out what the true status is.

Re:piracy is superior once again (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#41123229)

You possess a copy, you don't own it.

I own the damned copy. Ownership of a copy is recognized in copyright law, and a separate thing from ownership of the copyright or a license to any of the rights which make up copyright. A lot of publishers attempt to claim you don't even own the copy, some convincingly (e.g. a rental DVD), some rather less so (e.g. a product with an EULA printed within the packaging of a product you bought from a middleman.)

Whats that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122603)

You mean owning a real physical copy is in many ways more desirable than renting a license from apple/amazon/steam.

YOU DONT SAY?

Share account before you die? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41122613)

Duh

Problem solved in a common sense way

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

Physical devices can be inherited (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#41122629)

In the small odds my kindle is still running when I die, I'd be happy to leave it to a grandkid.

Re:Physical devices can be inherited (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41123007)

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.

Stop being lazy. (0, Flamebait)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 2 years ago | (#41122645)

Get off your ass head down to the bookstore and browse the shelves. People buy books online because it is easy to do so from the mothers basement in your underwear. And if you are engaged in that sort of behaveour you will not have anyone to inherit your stuff so its a non-issue. I preffer to grab a large double-double head down to the store enjoy myself and sometime I meet people that I can have inteligent conversations with, people that have the same interests I do.

Re:Stop being lazy. (1)

ctid (449118) | about 2 years ago | (#41122731)

The issue is that we're all different. As an example, in the old days, when I went on holiday on the continent I used to take six or seven paperback books with me. There was no point in carrying them back to England, so I left them in hotel rooms or coffee shops when I finished with them. A few years ago, I decided to have a clear out of books that I had read and would be unlikely to read again. I probably took five hundred or so to charity shops, but I still have more than a thousand books lying around in my apartment. I wouldn't call myself "lazy" but I possibly read differently to the way you read.

Having a Kindle has revolutionised my reading, but of course using it a lot means that after I die I'll be leaving some of my property to Amazon rather than to my family. This is an interesting problem - other people will have the same issue relating to music. It's not just a question of being "lazy".

Hard Copy? (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about 2 years ago | (#41122689)

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.

And photos and all other digital media (1)

bernywork (57298) | about 2 years ago | (#41122705)

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, this is why we have copyright libraries around the world, to keep this stuff for our future generations. As long as Disney don't get their way (They'd better not) this stuff will all hit public domain and our grandchildren will get access to all this anyway.

Honestly, I don't know how much of a loss this really is and whether it's worth talking about in the grand scheme of things..

Perhaps this is what will save paper (2)

rbrander (73222) | about 2 years ago | (#41122719)

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.

Re:Perhaps this is what will save paper (1)

Plekto (1018050) | about 2 years ago | (#41122835)

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 online-only and you have to pay a rather large fee if you buy the game used to play online. The publishers have been trying for over twenty years to drive places like Gamestop out of business and move towards a digital-only model.

Hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122721)

I doubt it makes much difference. My dad has a few first edition hardcovers signed by the author and science textbooks I would probably keep. The rest of his books would get donated. And we don't have the same taste in music, so those CDs would probably get sold off as well. As for electronic files, I really don't think much of modern entertainment is worth keeping around anyway. Access to books, music, films, etc in the digital age won't be like actually owning them. You will be renting them as long as you pay up.

Probably would have been best to stay in the analogue world, but so it goes.

They were never alive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122735)

so no. And unless you wrote the book yourself and never published it, there are lots of copies. If I die, do you think I'll have the only copy of Ringworld?

Familie accounts (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 2 years ago | (#41122761)

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 divorce who gets the library? All those issues start long before death comes into play, they essentially start right when you want to interact with another human being.

Not really (2)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41122765)

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.

No rights, and no expectation of rights (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 2 years ago | (#41122777)

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 guarantee that you absolutely and irrevocably own what you're buying.

2) Only support digital businesses that don't use copy protection. This may mean going without the latest top 40 music download or the hottest new ebook, but in this age of self-publishing, there's a vast array of unrestricted content available, much of it wonderful. The people producing it are far more likely to appreciate the purchase, and you won't just be lining the pockets of companies fighting to take away your rights.

Some people may say that piracy is a valid option, but even discounting any moral arguments around it, all you're doing is giving companies reason to further lock down content. If nobody is buying their stuff AND nobody is pirating it, they'll have no scapegoat, and will be forced to make a real change. Meanwhile, you'll be helping the actual authors / musicians / etc. make a living off of their works and avoid the publishing middlemen.

Update Berne (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122779)

Transferring digital assets in probate isn't IP's only problem. The primary international treaty governing copyright, the Berne Convention, has been revised since the 1970s, so there's virtually nothing about digital issues in it.

The key problem is that, here and abroad, crony capitalism reigns supreme. Legislative bodies only listen when deep pocketed lobbyists speak. Copyright extension, bad as it was, was bought by Disney et al. Being responsible, financially and otherwise, simply isn't on the typical legislator's to-do list. Getting reelected and getting rich are. In the U.S., for instance, there are laws against you or I engaging in trivial levels are insider trading. There are no laws that keep members of Congress from investing in companies that they're benefiting with legislation.

And Amazon, Apple, Google and the rest, have no interest in seeing this change. With the laws unsettled, they're in a position exploit that vacuum. Transferring digital assets at death is on the same legal level as a used digital music and ebook market. Neither Amazon nor Apple want that. And Google, copier of much that is copyrighted but out of print, wants to settle problems with orphan authors (i.e. the Google Book Settlement) in ways that benefit it alone. And almost daily we see how these corporate giants are using patent and trademark law to stifle competition. In a similar fashion, Amazon is using clueless (or worse) lawyers at the DOJ to attack Apple and the publishing industry, so it can resume it's drive to dominate print and ebook distribution here

And the tech press isn't doing any of us a favor. It's dominated by faddish geeks obsessed with the next new gadget, geeks who know nothing about law and little about how life in general works. As a result, they're easy to manipulate, the nonsense they wrote during the debate about the Google Book Settlement being one example.

Our core problem, though, lies with voters. A disturbingly high percentage of the U.S. now see the federal government as a 'sugar daddy' who sends them money. They'll vote for anyone, no matter how crooked, who claims their government money gravy train is threatened. The rich get bailouts when their finances turn sour and subsidies under Obama's pseudo-stimulus scheme. The poor get promised also sorts of government benefits unrelated to actually working for a living. The people who get shafted are those who work honest and hard, particularly those who create new businesses and jobs.

And our economy is in a mess because no one who could be creating good jobs wants to battle an Obama administration that is making clear it'll tax any money they make, regulate them to the strangulation point, attach them (i.e. Gibson Guitar) if they don't contribute politically to Democrats Chicago style, and claim to be virtuous doing so.

And worst of all, there are many, particularly in our news media, that believe those claims of virtue are true.

Yes (2)

Megahard (1053072) | about 2 years ago | (#41122783)

I'm building a pyramid to store all my worldly possessions with my mummified body after I die.

Re:Yes (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#41123217)

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.

Already planning to pass on my main e-mail account (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122785)

to my son, who shares the same first and last name (different middle though).

Hopefully he'll do the same and this will continue in the family for as long as there is e-mail.

The big question is ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#41122789)

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

Easy...form a Foundation (1)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#41122811)

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).

Legally (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41122979)

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.

Call me a Pinko... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41122993)

... but I don't see why a person should have a right to something just on account of the fact that their parent had it and died. If you ask me, this is a step in the right direction.

Re:Call me a Pinko... (1)

drwho (4190) | about 2 years ago | (#41123061)

you're a pinko communist good-for-nothing.

My family (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about 2 years ago | (#41123009)

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 there is something of mine they want but can't get from my stuff for some reason, it's sure to be pirateable.

Mine wont. (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41123077)

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.

As usual they don't see the BIG picture (2)

kcredden (1007529) | about 2 years ago | (#41123153)

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's song, and find out if you bought it legally or not. Probably not even economically feasible. Yes Corporations perform corporate extortion (IE: RIAA saying "pay us $5,000 for our precious copyright infringement or else we'll sue you into economic bondage) but that is becoming increasingly rare and also it's if they can find out. But onto the topic. Copyright law may say "you cannot do anything but kiss our rumps." But in practically, they cannot do a thing to stop individuals from actually making MP3s of every song they own. (and If I pay money for something, I own it.) Or converting every book, DVD, etc to an open, non-DRM format. The WSJ may be a good paper, but they're missing the big picture. Individuals cannot be stopped, and the idea of dying with all this DRM blocked digital works is frankly a dead issue. Only ones who do not want to take a bit of time to exercise their rights and are sheep are at risk.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>