Info with a bell and chain - piracy and privacy issues

Tuesday, 17 June 2003, 9:14 AM EST

Stopping piracy and increasing privacy makes sense. But what will we lose by locking up our songs, movies, books, files and e-mails?

When Steve Jobs introduced the iTunes music store a few weeks ago, the acclaim was nearly universal. Nonetheless, a small but vocal minority viewed the online emporium as a menace—because the iTunes program somewhat limits a consumer’s ability to copy and share songs.

Even though Apple had broken ground by getting the record labels to accept fairly liberal terms of use—Apple-oids could listen to purchased songs on three computers and burn CDs—this bunch objected to any restrictions at all. They saw the iTunes store as a sugar-coated inducement for consumers to accept a new reality: some stuff on your computer isn’t really under your control. And as far as that goes, the critics are right. Say goodbye to the “Information Wants to Be Free” era. We’re entering the age of digital ankle bracelets.

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