I do this for a living and I can’t keep this stuff straight. It’s not just me. Wired opines:
It’s time for lawmakers, trade groups, and public-interest organizations to get down to the hard work of hammering out standards for what businesses can and can’t do to customers’ computers. Such an effort will need to be international, because the Net knows no bounds. It will need to come up with simple, understandable language for end-user licensing agreements. It will need to draw red lines around unacceptably invasive hacks and map gray areas between spying and market research.
I’m not holding my breath, though. After all, we asked for this. We didn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the goose that laid the golden egg of technological progress, so we allowed manufacturers to claim more and more control over the ways we use their products and what they can do with our information. It should come as no surprise that they’re using that power as a cover for bigger, possibly more lucrative schemes.
Over the top? Probably. But this may be one of those cases where “the market” isn’t going to do the job right. It’s almost guaranteed not to because the market does not operate efficiently where it is already distorted — as the copyright regime is — by rent-seeking grabs in the form of legal rules.