Some of us older folks remember when software was sold on floppies that had a block deliberately damaged.  This stopped copy programs from being able to dupe the software–for about a week, after which freeware tools showed up that did bit-level copying just fine.  We’re now in a worse situation, with software that just plain won’t run if it can’t connect to an internet server for authentication.  This is just plain wrong, and as President, I’ll make that sort of lockdown illegal.  That’s right: it will be illegal to sell software (or “license” software) which requires any sort of remote authentication to install or execute.  If you buy it, you own it.  You get to customize it (voiding the warantee, perhaps, but not running afoul of absurd laws), duplicate it, and use it as you please.  In the same vein,  I’ll leave corporations free to sell “DRM-locked” software, but make it explicitly legal for the ownder to remove and/or circumvent the DRM at will.  

As a comparison, just imagine buying a print book and not being allowed to write in the margin, or tear pages out, or  even  read it without calling Harcourt, Random, & Gesellschaft for permission every time you pick it up.

I’ve heard all the “you’ll kill the industry” counterarguments, and they’re nonsense.  You need look no further than Tor, which sells all ebooks sans DRM,  or to Red Hat and Revolution Analytics, two companies getting rich selling service and support for customized open-source software (GNU-Linux and R, respectively), to see that there are perfectly good business models which have no need of software lockdown whatsoever.

 

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