If You Pay to Download Something, You Don't Actually Own It

You've no doubt seen the absurd campaigns by groups like the RIAA and the MPAA. The recurring claim is downloading = theft. There is an obvious difference between making a copy of something and stealing it, The handy infographic below should help you to understand that difference.



What the copyright police do not tell you is that when you buy something "legally" or "legitimately" online you do not own it. According to the term of service of companies like Amazon and Apple (iTunes) you are not actually buying content, only licensing it. A woman from Oslo recently found this out the hard way.
"“It’s a real wake-up call for consumers,” said David Fewer, an intellectual property lawyer and director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic.

When you buy a copy of The Great Gatsby from a bookstore, it becomes your property. And with that comes ownership rights: to loan it to a friend, to sell it in a garage sale, to hand it down to your kids.

But e-books do not come with any of those rights. Instead, the terms and conditions forAmazon Kindle state content is “licensed, not sold.” Amazon, Kobo Books and Apple iTunes state you cannot share or resell the content, and access can be revoked at any time.

So, in short, content producers don't want you to "steal" from them, but if you follow their rules and acquire things they way they'd like you to they reserve the right to steal from you (have a look at that infographic again).

I'm not saying that artists don't deserve to be paid or that you should get everything from Pirate Bay but you should understand that when you buy something "legally" (file sharing is still legal in Canada) that you are really only renting it, not buying it. Try to avoid purchasing from sites like iTunes and Amazon or any others that implement any kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) system.
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