Posted 171 days ago
It does seem somewhat random for how software rights were set up compared to many other forms of media. For example, she cites two cases "decided on the very same day" with the "very same panel of judges" who ruled that whereas used music CD's could be resold on eBay, used software could not be resold on the platform. This seems contradictory, but it does kind of make sense when you think a bit more about it: the music CD is the means by which music is transmitted, whereas the software is the product that you are purchasing for your computer. But at the same time, there is now a different way to download software, as there is music, so this case seems pretty bizarre.
Kolbert argues that if it sounds weird and made-up to us, it's probably because it is weird and made-up. People simply don't know how to deal with property rights revolving around emerging technologies, and we just kind of go with the flow until people complain. Although now a lot of this is controlled by lobbyists from Big Tech firms to make sure they continue holding their property rights, I don't think it started that way. I think firms saw a hole they could wiggle in through, and some thrived while others didn't do so well because of weird laws (eBay). Obviously, now, we should fight for better privacy/property rights on the software we use, sort of like the GDPR laws passed in Europe a few years ago, but I think the current state of things is less due to some sort of malevolance and more due to randomness and uncertainty.