Over the years, new trends, technology and the development of new systems have allowed for the possibility of a future where you own nothing. This is due to a change in what it means to have Intellectual Property, and who even needs it.

 

Creative Industry

For the average day to day person, Intellectual Property might seem a distant issue, especially if they don’t do much when it comes to creating content. However, once you make a step towards content creation, that is music production, graphic design, video editing, scripting or anything that requires creativity, Intellectual Property and Copyright suddenly becomes a problem that either has to be worked around or prevents your success. 

 

As it currently stands, only the content creator has the right of ownership to their produced work as well as the ability to re-produce that work. To be able to use someone else’s work you either have to pay for the right or follow the rules of Fair Use, ultimately limiting the ability a creator has over using pre-existing content in their work.

 

Digital Rights Management (DRM) exists to allow copyright rules to extend to digital media, as the creation of Copyright existed far before digital media became commonly used. Thanks to DRM, people and companies can have copyright ownership of digital media such as songs, videos and video games.

 

Streaming

Spotify Premium, Spotify’s subscription based streaming service, allows users to download up to 3333 songs on a single device. However, although users can access all 3333 downloaded songs, they have ownership of none of them. This is in stark contrast to CDs, where as soon as you bought the CD, you immediately had ownership over it. This change in what it means to purchase something is just the start when it comes to the end of ownership. 

 

However, the natural benefit to streaming is that as long as you have an internet connection, you can access as many songs as you’d like that exists on that streaming platform whereas with CDs, you only had access to the CDs you owned. Unfortunately, this comes with a trade off, as almost every streaming service’s marketing model requires them to track the media you play, listen or watch, raising issues surrounding your Privacy & Anonimity, since where listening to a CD alone 

meant you were truly alone, you’re never alone when you use streaming services.

 

Software as a Service

In 2012, Adobe began a 5 year transition towards Software as a service, which would eventually grant access to the entire Creative Suite on a subscription based service but remove the user’s ownership by having all apps centrally hosted. By centrally hosting the apps, Adobe now provided the user access to the software, rather than having the user simply acces it themselves after buying the software.

 

One thing that both Spotify Premium and Adobe’s Creative Cloud is the usage of micropayments, which is crucial as it means as soon as the user stops paying for the subscription, they no longer have access to any of their downloaded songs on Spotify or the software they installed through Creative Cloud. However, while a user is subscribed, they have full access to the service anywhere with an internet connection, which in conjunction with reasonably affordable micropayments allows for Globalisation and Cultural Diversity.

 

However, both Spotify and Adobe’s new systems create new challenges that didn’t exist before. Where previously, once a CD was owned by you it became your responsibility and would be kept at your house, streaming services such as Spotify and SAAS are hosted at cloud server farms, which creates a new form of security issue beyond simply having someone break into your house with the security of the company’s servers.

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