October 10, 2001
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Copy protection

Dan Bricklin's latest essay argues that copy protection robs the future, endangers our cultural heritage and subverts the work of librarians, archivists, and curators. He also observes that this is, at heart, an issue of class. "Like the days when 'art' was only accessible to the rich, two classes will probably develop: Copy protected and not copy protected, the "high art" and "folk art" of tomorrow."

I suspect that many artists would find Bricklin's last clause puzzling; High Art, in today's net art world, seems closely tied to the academy. It's the Mass Media that worries about Rights Management. In the long term, though, I think it's important to remember that saving literature from commerce would reduce the artists once again to the status of servant to the Prince and the Priest, to the state and to established ideology. In the growing medievalization of our culture, this is one of the more worrisome developments.