Freitag, 7 Juni 2019

(English) #CopyrightWeek – What Does Ownership Mean to You?

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[Note: This analysis is published in the context of the 2019 #CopyrightWeek, under the theme of 15 January on ‘Device and Digital Ownership’, which revolves around the idea that: “As the things we buy increasingly exist either in digital form or as devices with software, we also find ourselves subject to onerous licensing agreements and technological restrictions. If you buy something, you should be able to truly own it – meaning you can learn how it works, repair it, remove unwanted features, or tinker with it to make it work in a new way”.]

This contribution has been republished from the iFixIt blog with their permission.

On 15 January, the #CopyrightWeek theme is ‘Device and Digital Ownership’. The starting point is that: “As the things we buy increasingly exist either in digital form or as devices with software, we also find ourselves subject to onerous licensing agreements and technological restrictions. If you buy something, you should be able to truly own it – meaning you can learn how it works, repair it, remove unwanted features, or tinker with it to make it work in a new way”.

The last time I got upset about breaking something was when I ripped a hole in the elbow of my favorite black wool sweater. Just a week earlier, I had mended a ripped seam in the sleeve (possibly a first for me). But this was a big, gaping, growing-as-we-speak hole. I’ll be honest, I was emotional—and it was an unfamiliar feeling for me.

See, I don’t own a lot of things. Clothes, shoes, a small collection of sadly neglected kitchen gadgets, and… that’s about it. It’s pretty embarrassing to admit as someone who works at an organization crusading for our right to do whatever we please with the stuff that we own. Like many other young people straddling the line between Millennial and Gen Z, I prefer (read: can afford) the more noncommittal things in life: apartment renting, music streaming, $20 H&M leggings. I embody, essentially, the kind of behavior iFixit advocates against.

As we’ve reported in years past, there are a few forces duking it out in the ring of declining ownership: increasing digitalization and the growing presence of software in physical products, the resulting number of licensing agreements, and the malice of manufacturers to use copyright law to mold these agreements into digital locks.

For digital natives like me, ownership is more important than ever. So I asked the employees of the experts on ownership—most of them Millennials as well—what ownership means to them. Their answers surprised me.

What does ownership mean to you? Tell us in the comments at iFixIt.

Social Media Manager and Copywriter at iFixit.com. [All content from this author is made available under a BY-NC-SA 3.0 license]