From the iTunes 9 readme, emph mine:

This software may be used to reproduce materials. It is licensed to you only for reproduction of non-copyrighted materials, materials for which you own the copyright, or materials you are authorized or legally permitted to reproduce. If you are uncertain about your right to copy any material, contact your legal advisor.

Corporate society in the United States assumes that the standard citizen has, in theory, access to resources that most don't. In fact, they assume that real entities (people) have the same sorts of resources the collective, ficticious, legal entities (corporations) have and utilize on a day to day basis. When these assumptions are made, the individual is hurt.

Who is my legal advisor? If we hadn't built a house, I'm betting I wouldn't even be able to say "my lawyer" with any confidence. Even then, I'm not calling to ask about CD ripping. He's nice enough in this case that he'd probably talk to me for 10-15 minutes without charging, but that's rare in my limited experience. Very rare.

When corporations assume people operate as they do, with the same sorts of access to legal representation, cash and credit lines, and other resources that its employees, other than a few past CEOs, would never have on their own, they should be, in select cases, held liable for providing such little legal guidance for their tools. If ripping a CD is illegal -- ever -- Apple should tell its users in the readme that nobody short of weirdos like me read anyhow. And when iTunes' installer has a button labeled "Read license" that doesn't require clicking before the app installs, well, they should be liable for whatever users do after moving forward.

I don't like the RIAA. I don't like it much at all. I despise the current length of copyright protection that essentially neuters the growth of the public domain. But when it comes to such willful negligence as you see in quotes like the above and installers like iTunes 9's, I can't help but wonder how protections and rights in the US have swung so far over into the corporations' favor. A hint: The people, by not staying vigilant, let it happen. I'm not sure how one makes protections shift back.

Labels: , , , ,