Respecting content

I’ve often talked about the need for societal respect of content copyright. For example, the RIAA would not have a leg to stand on if people didn’t think it was socially ok to steal music. After all, when you look at your mp3 collection and see music you never paid for, its really no difference culturally than if you had a pile of stolen CDs sitting right there on the floor.

So I wonder, is skipping commercials with my DVR any different? If the implied contract between the content provider and myself is “here is our content, and our ads” then aren’t I bound to that contract?

After all, I have the choice to not watch the content. Nobody is forcing me. My job isn’t relying on watching reality TV nor MTV.

As we move to a culture that is more and more digitally driven, should we as a society stop and think about how we respect ourselves and respect the wishes and rights of others? Maybe if we did this more often, we’d have less of this lawsuit nonsense going on.

On the other hand, maybe we do need to go to hell first, where everything becomes so digitally locked up that we can’t do a damn thing with our content. Then we’ll stop buying most content because it is crap after all, and then the pendulum might swing back towards open systems after the major industries have collapsed.

What do you think? Do you feel we’re disrespecting ourselves by not having the self control to respect a content providers right to price their content? Do you feel that we disrespect ourselves when we talk ourselves into thinking that copying is not stealing? Do you think we disrespect ourselves when we’ll steal music but not steal the cds we burn it to?

Its all fascinating to me.