There’s an interview at Gizmodo with Bill Gates, talking about intellectual property, patents, and digital right management (DRM) issues.
And I think it shows that Bill’s a liar, because I doubt he is stupid.
In the interview, Gates, who is arguing that DRM is necessary, good, and even in the best interests of the general public, plays the ultimate motherhood card. He tries to convince us that DRM initiatives and the privacy expectations of individuals are exactly the same thing:
Take medical records: is it your position that rights management for medical records is evil?
. . .
We remind people that, like if there’s a medical record that has somebody’s AIDS status in it, we have software – which is identical software [ to Microsoft’s DRM software (note added by JK)] – that says, ‘Hey, if you’re trying to forward to someone,’ that, ‘No, this is restricted. You can’t forward this to someone. They don’t have the right to see this.’ It’s the notion of ‘should there be confidential information?’
Confidentiality and privacy regarding medical information is one thing. Rights management of movies and music is entirely another thing.
This should be obvious to the most complete simpleton.
Medical information is not property!
Medical information is about an individual. It is discovered, not created. It’s information about my body, or information about your body. Therefore, it is personal, private, and owned (if it is owned at all) by the individual whose body it is about. As such, you are dealing with people.
Movies, music, and other forms of legally protected expression are ideas, or combinations of ideas. They are created within an existing cultural milieux, not discovered. They are created by one or more persons, but they are not data about those individuals. If they are owned (as our laws in North America and Europe claim) they are owned by a company, a consortium, or an person. As such, you are dealing with property.
Property and people are different, and should be treated differently – something the laws of our western nations have long held. Kill a person, and you will be jailed for a long time or perhaps executed. Destroy a house, and you will be jailed for a relatively short time.
There’s a qualitative different between people and property, and Bill Gates knows this.
Suggesting otherwise in an forum where he is attempting to generate support for technology that most people instinctively know is designed to limit their freedom is stupid at best and dishonest at worst.