• The Nature of Ownership in the D...

    Albert Boswijk

    4 months and 4 weeks

    The Nature of Ownership in the Digital Economy Sigrid Opheim Yndestad

    Ownership in the Digital Economy: From “Buy” to “License”

    The change in the way that we buy and consume music, movies and books from physical objects to digital file downloads and streaming has been widely debated in recent years. These may have been the most observable changes, buy they are just one aspects of a much bigger shift that has given corporations more control over the products that we as consumers buy, even after the transaction is finalized and we have brought the products home. This is largely caused by changes in the computer systems that control many of the products we buy, such as cars, mobile phones and coffee makers, and these changes are harder to observe than the digitalization of physical objects. But let’s discuss the latter first. Most consumers that click on the “buy-button” online assumes that when they purchase the product they can keep it forever, but this assumption is being altered by the shift from consuming physical objects to digital files and streaming. Music streaming services such as Spotify are constantly changing which songs are available, so even if you have your own Spotify library with tons of playlist, many of the songs may have disappeared the next time you want to listen to it.[1] Another example of how consumers loose control over products they buy is Amazons remote deletion of the book “1984” by Georg Orwell on peoples Kindle [2]. It illustrates that the whole concept of “buying” is changing, and in fact is becoming more similar to licensing or leasing in the sense that you are not guaranteed to keep it forever, since the seller maintains control.

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