As long as there are alternatives to Microsoft (like MacOS X) there is hope we can escape such a future. When I buy a CD, I should be able to do whatever I want with it. I should be able to play it either on my computer or my stereo. I should be able to copy tracks to my computer to play whenever I want. I should be able to burn music mix CDs with tracks from several different CDs I own. This is no longer about protecting artist’s rights. The artist hardly makes any profit from their CD sales, even at current inflated prices. Most of the money goes to the record companies and distributors. People are buying fewer CDs not because of file sharing but because of inflated prices and because record companies aren’t giving people what they want to hear. The record companies would rather promote a few artists while less-known artists making great music have a hard time getting heard.
Microsoft’s management has taken a hostile view of customers. Jim Allchin sees that we’re all ripping him off, so he puts in activation codes. His Hollywood buddies see that we’re ripping them off, so they put in digital rights management stuff. At the same time MSN views me as a pair of eyeballs to be “monetized” so they put spam and ads and other intrustive marketing techniques into my life. Oh, and Microsoft views its developers, not as partners who will help give users like me better products, but as “warriors” who must be convinced to not use Java. This is not the world I wanted to see come about. I should be able to buy a CD, turn it into digital files on my computer, and carry those files around with me. Soon, if this industry keeps going, I’m just gonna be marked as a criminal and I won’t be able to use my own property the way I’d like. Hell, I just took a really cool picture of a surfer in Hawaii. Imagine the day when it’d be impossible for me to share that with you because of the deals Microsoft and other companies are making (and what our government is putting into law).