The End Of Ownership: Personal Property In The Digital Economy

Hardcover | November 4, 2016

byAaron Perzanowski, Jason Schultz

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If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don't own those purchases, you merely license them. That means your ebook vendor can delete the book from your device without warning or explanation -- as Amazon deleted Orwell's 1984 from the Kindles of surprised readers several years ago. These readers thought they owned their copies of 1984. Until, it turned out, they didn't. In The End of Ownership, Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz explore how notions of ownership have shifted in the digital marketplace, and make an argument for the benefits of personal property.

Of course, ebooks, cloud storage, streaming, and other digital goods offer users convenience and flexibility. But, Perzanowski and Schultz warn, consumers should be aware of the tradeoffs involving user constraints, permanence, and privacy. The rights of private property are clear, but few people manage to read their end user agreements. Perzanowski and Schultz argue that introducing aspects of private property and ownership into the digital marketplace would offer both legal and economic benefits. But, most important, it would affirm our sense of self-direction and autonomy. If we own our purchases, we are free to make whatever lawful use of them we please. Technology need not constrain our freedom; it can also empower us.

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From the Publisher

If you buy a book at the bookstore, you own it. You can take it home, scribble in the margins, put in on the shelf, lend it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale. But is the same thing true for the ebooks or other digital goods you buy? Retailers and copyright holders argue that you don't own those purchases, you merely license them. T...

Aaron Perzanowski is Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University. Jason Schultz is Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law and Director of NYU's Technology Law and Policy Clinic.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.56 inPublished:November 4, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262035014

ISBN - 13:9780262035019

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This is a lively must-read account of how digital formats have led to an unprecedented transformation of property law. Perzanowski and Schultz are law professors who specialize in intellectual property, and they argue that consumers need to be aware of the tradeoffs that come with the so-called freedom of cloud storage and streaming services.