iPod, Therefore I Am
Apple's popular MP3 gadget is at the front lines of a battle for digital rights. Can the government, the entertainment industry and Microsoft stop it?The phenomenon known as the iPod is emerging from the shadows of Napster and the Mac to become a force unto its own. As a designer toy, it offers the promise of mobility, the allure of 21st Century Art Deco and the gratification of impulse buying. But behind the scenes, Apple Computers MP3 device is the bulwark of an increasingly serious battle for digital rights versus the virtual law firm of Achcroft, Valenti and Gates. With the help of an increasingly pliable Congress, Microsoft has moved rapidly to encapsulate digital content in a digital-rights-management layer of protection.
Opponents on both the left and the right have charged that Attorney General Ashcroft has wrapped an assault on personal privacy and constitutional rights in a blanket of paranoia surrounding the War on Terrorism. Riding this favorable tide, Microsoft and the content industry have turned our fair-use freedoms into an attack on private property. With laws on the books now constraining our ability to obtain hardware devices that allow the same type of copying weve enjoyed for decades, Microsoft is refreshing its product lines to embed the DRM bits in Office, Windows and its suite of servers.