replacing the regime of ownership with one of rental. And, perhaps more controversially still, I try to make the case that such a dramatic change is in fact not, as most commentators of the decision have concluded, a terrible loss for consumers but a liberating victory." It would appear that Mr. Downes is asserting that the average citizen does not have a right to property. With that in mind, why should I be grateful that my right to own something is being taken away by a corporation?
Beyond the simple right to property, there are other concerns:
- No mention is made in the "End of Software Ownership" of the consumer as possessing any rights what-so-ever. When one rents an apartment, the landlord is obligated to keep it in a livable conditions. Existing EULA's basically say, if it doesn't work, too bad. Not only that but the EULA's also grant companies the ability to change the rules post-sale (after-the-fact). So you buy (rent) a product and the next day the cost just doubled as expressed in a new freshly posted EULA that you never saw. You don't accept, well your license is terminated.
- The upgrade cycle. Companies can now reach into YOUR computer to "brick" or turn-off stuff at their whim. So if XYX company unilaterally declares a perfectly good program obsolete they can turn it off. The customer has virtually no recourse? Intuit is a good example of this strategy. At least in the "old" days you could use your software until it really broke or became obsolete.
- You pay for something, the company says Oops we've had a change of heart and they remove the content without your permission. Remember the removal of Orwell books from the Kindle. Due process for the consumer, you must be joking.
- In the "End of Software Ownership" the statement is made that software rapidly becomes worthless. Well, it that is true - why should a company care about retaining ownership? If a product is worthless to the consumer then it is also worthless to the company. If a product is worthless, companies shouldn't care who owns it. In fact, Mr. should be advocating that it be in the public domain so that the user community can determine when a product is truly "obsolete". To state that companies determine when a product is "obsolete" is arrogant and counter to the concept of the free market. In the free market, a product is obsolete when the consumers no longer desire to use it.