Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playboy, Elmer Fudd and Intellectual Property

An article in New World Notes today describes bona fide Playboy bunny avatars trekking around Second Life sniffing out sellers of bootlegged merchandise. The surrealistic image of IP-hunting metaverse bunnies is a great metaphor for the ongoing battle between intellectual property owners and neo-Lessigians.

Although it is said that information wants to be free, the fight is far from over. Peer-to-peer downloaders may be having a big party at the moment, but the knife of technology can cut both ways. Elmer Fudd may have the last laugh.

In K.W. Jeter's novel Noir, IP thieves are ruthlessly hunted and bagged for their neuro. If the future looks more like China than the Netherlands every bit and byte may be tracked. It may even be possible to detect your little human thoughts one day. Wouldn't the RIAA love to debit your account every time you had one of their songs stuck in your mind?

Oh well. These are certainly interesting times.

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