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You will own nothing?

4 Dec 2023

Yes, your daily dose is back.

According to some, the World Economic Forum is trying to create "a new world order" in which "you will own nothing and be happy".

Some people believe this is a chilling portent of things to come, others dismiss it as nothing more than a conspiracy theory.

However, during the past week we saw just a little more evidence to support the claims of the former rather than the latter.

I'm talking about those PlayStation users who suddenly found that Sony took back stuff they thought they'd bought and paid for, without compensation and without apology.

I'm not a Playstation owner or user so this doesn't affect me but apparently a very significant number of people have been robbed by one of the world's largest media companies.

The PS online service allowed its users to purchase TV series and movies, in the same way you'd buy a DVD or BluRay disk. For a one-time payment you would, allegedly, have life-long access to that title via the service. In a world where we're rapidly transitioning from a world of physical media to one where all your stuff is stored in the cloud, this seemed like a reasonable option for many. After all, why fill your house with bookcases overflowing with disks and their cases when all that stuff can be safely stored on someone else's computer?

Unfortunately for those who took this option, Sony has advised that quite a few of those titles will now be removed and will no longer be available to those who were duped into believing they'd purchased a copy for their perpetual use.

It seems that Sony only had limited-time rights to these movies and TV series yet it went ahead and sold life-time licenses to its users.

Now however, Sony's rights to the titles have expired so they are being deleted from the cloud and those who purchased them in good faith are out of luck and out of pocket.

I'm pretty sure there's probably some clause in the EULA associated with the PS service that indemnifies Sony against such things happening but surely that's completely eclipsed by the fact that they told customers they were "buying" that content. Not renting -- buying!

To my mind, this is absolulely no different to someone selling you a car that is still on finance, without disclosing the fact that it is still on finance. You drive it around for a while, confident that you "own" the vehicle -- only to find out a few months or maybe a year later, that it gets reposessed because the seller didn't actually own it in the first place.

Media companies such as Sony are constantly complaining that their intellectual property is being "stolen" by pirates and that such crimes must be punished. How ironic therefore, that they themselves are also engaged in such an agregious act of theft?

Personally, I'm kind of "over" the whole concept of wasting my life consuming movies and TV series as a pastime. The less of life one has left, the more one values the important things. I strongly doubt that anyone's final words will be "I wish I'd watched more Netflix".

For this reason, when the credit card expired and was replaced last month I didn't bother updating the payment information on my Netflix or Amazon Prime Video accounts so they're no longer accessible -- and I don't miss them at all.

And, whilst on the subject of cloud-based risks... I see that Google seems to have deleted a bunch of folks data that was bing hosted on its cloud.

Apparently many people have discovered that on both free and paid Google Drive accounts, all uploads performed since sometime in May have simply vanished into the ether.

Sounds a lot like something went really badly wrong and they discovered that their latest backup was in May -- so that's what they restored.

If you're affected by this the response (again) seems to be "we've done nothing wrong, read the EULA you agreed to when you signed up".

Conspiracy or reality -- it doesn't matter. The fact is that we increasingly own nothing but strangely enough, it's not making us happy.

Carpe Diem folks!

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