The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 November 2002

Unintellectual property

"The Digital Millennium Copyright Act doesn't affect me," you sniff. "I don't download music and I don't pirate software. All those people complaining about it — nothing but a bunch of thieves trying to justify themselves."

Well, think again, chum, and by "again" I mean "once." Storm Concepts operates a site called FatWallet.com; its members utilize an extensive array of message boards to swap information about bargains available online. Perfectly harmless, right? Then some big-name retailers threatened the site with legal action under the DMCA, claiming that their sale prices are trade secrets, hence actionable. Subsequently, FatWallet.com asked members to refrain from posting prices from those retailers, lest the lawyers escalate the attack.

Now ask yourself: Are people who are trying to save money thieves? If you're prepared to answer "Yes" to this question, I fully expect you to pay full MSRP on your next car, and to brag about it to all your neighbors. I expect you to call the police and complain about everyone in line during two-for-one Wednesdays at Whataburger. And I expect you to take the standard deduction on your Federal tax return for the rest of your unnatural life.

Or you can do us all a favor and fall on your sword right now. If you don't have a sword, get one. And don't expect a discount.

Posted at 9:36 PM to PEBKAC