When Digital Files Are Outlawed
The new Apple iTunes 11 is out. It is very social and the Old Man of Cupertino is smiling in Heaven. The Djinn is slowly being forced back into his bottle, the one with the fading bumper sticker on the side, "When Digital Files are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Digital Files." With the new law-and-order sheriff, the black hats are on notice that you do not really own all that much in this life. The earth is the Lord's and you are only borrowing it until the license terms are updated and you hit the "Agree" button again, and the credit card keeps working. In God we trust, everybody else pays cash and obtains.
Back in the day you owned your books and your records and your tapes; why you even owned your old newspapers and magazines. They stacked up in piles in the garage until you could not stand it anymore and joined the neighbors in that social ritual known as a garage sale, followed by a trip to the recycler or the goodwill truck for the less fortunate, those without a garage. In a later time all those sights and sounds ended up on little plastic disks, strips of plastic tape, and spinning wildly on the Mad Hatter's saucer in your very own computer hard drive. All that was yours, you owned it all.
The old owning days are over, and the garage sale will have to have other things to sell. Those new eBooks on the little electric window you peer through to all those other amazing worlds are only rented, like those tapes from the video store. Anytime the store wants them back they push a button somewhere and your magic window closes.
In the new iTunes 11 it is much easier to give Apple all your digital files and rent them back from them for only $24.99/year. Books, movies, music, all of it can be "put in the cloud" and you can access it anywhere, anytime with your magic window or even your old PC computer. But, when the credit card stops, the music stops and that chair you were going to sit on is no longer. You can rent the chair again when you wish to. It is convenient and simple that way.
We are not starshine, we are information, and we only rent it now. Those without the means will wander outside, disconnected in another parallel society of the informationless. They will think different and live different from the people with the windows. They will be the outlaws. Money always separates worlds that way.