say no to culture widgets

Doug Johnson asks Kindle questions. While I think it’s responsible (not paranoid) to voice concern over censorship, a more pointed reason why I’m so fanatically anti-DRM is that its objective is to keep individuals from sharing and creating society’s culture and knowledge. As Chomsky notes (6:52):

The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another – whose conception of themselves – the sense of value is just “how many created wants can I satisfy?”


In its current form, the Kindle is nothing but an attempt to package culture, turn it into “content”, and satisfy the wants of those who may otherwise be tempted to behave in a socially cooperative way. Say no to culture widgets!

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2 Responses to “say no to culture widgets”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Hi Peter,

    While I don’t agree with you on much of this, I certainly respect your passion and commitment to the issue and for making me think harder about the topic.

    The Kindle’s DRM doesn’t prevent me accessing information, only accessing it in a certain manner – electronically rather than in print. One need not have a Kindle to get the latest best seller – there are book stores and libraries. One need not use iTunes to get a song – there are CDs and the radio. Should material start appearing ONLY in DRM formats, I’d change my iTune quickly,

    But so far, I’ve never believed that paying for convenience is damaging to one’s culture or to intellectual freedom.

    All the best,

    Doug

  2. Peter Says:

    DRM doesn’t prevent me“, “One need not have a“, “One need not use“, “one’s culture

    Doug, your focus is entirely self-referencing. I’m not seeing any consideration of what kind of environment we can (or cannot) have in a social sense. Personal choices are rarely (ever?) independent of society at large.

    Should material start appearing ONLY in DRM formats, I’d change my iTune quickly

    Start? In many cases there are digitized works legally available only with DRM. On a personal note, Clay Shirkey’s “Here Comes Everybody” was the latest digitized book I couldn’t find a legal DRM-free copy of to buy. The publishers lost a sale and the author lost huge exposure (I was going to teach a few chapters in my classes).

    I’ve never believed that paying for convenience is damaging to one’s culture or to intellectual freedom.

    I don’t believe in “one’s culture”…at least in your context, it seems a euphemism for “my CD and book collection”. To me, culture is shared or it isn’t culture. Regardless, paying for convenience is not bad unless it comes at the price of relationships and creativity.

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