A Consumer’s Thoughts and Memories are Theft

Since the creation of life-cubes, combined with data auras and clouds, it has become possible for consumers to store and distribute a wide range of data through various neural, contact and other networks. Even worse, the growing evidence from Transhumanist hobbyists and the military that next-gen nanotech neural networks are entirely feasible and inevitable demonstrates that we are facing a threat never before seen, a threat even worse than that posed by the illegal file sharing and music download services that plagued the internet at the turn of the century.


Then, the solution was to encourage the so-called “analog sunset” and to help build locked in devices such as classic music players like the iPod and the Zune, and High Definition television and DVD recorders that allowed Digital Rights Management (DRM) of content. The success in maintaining control throughout a consumer’s life cycle proved that DRM could be accepted and effective, and closed the door on those who opposed or argued against it.

Over time, however, we’ve faced an increasing threat with the use of brain-machine interfaces and more sophisticated media “body hack” devices that have turned eyes and ears into recorders of their own; a consumer merely needs a life-cube to store the events they’ve experienced, effectively side-stepping industry safeguards. While in some cases DRM is still effective with your average consumer, it is a matter of time before the control we have over our content will diminish.

The days of tomorrow will likely be far worse with no hardware device involved at all, simply a consumer’s mind.

All this has led to the inevitable question: how does one maintain DRM on what are, basically, the thoughts and memories of a consumer, and would it be ethical to do so?

There have been several useful proposals put forward to try and deal with this problem, but by far the best has been that proposed by Dream. Their solution is simply to follow the philosophy that inspired the same strategies years ago: the record player is the property of the record makers.

In other words, our industries should treat the consumer’s mind as simply another device that requires DRM capabilities added to it. Just as it was theft to download, copy or distribute a digital file, so too is it theft for a consumer to listen to a song or watch a film and save it for later playback, or to redistribute it. It was unethical for a consumer then, and so it is now. We have a right to our content, and we have a right to enforce it by whatever means or necessary.

While the answer to how we can implement such a system is by no means clear, what is certain is that if our industry does not take direct action now, we may well face extinction. If we and our governments, along with the UAN, can take the lead in helping develop and standardize tomorrow’s neural networks, we can perhaps help oversee tomorrow’s digital sunset, and shift towards a neural sunrise.

Unknown speaker in a talk entitled “The Future of DRM” at a private Dream and AACSLA sponsored event, circa. 2025

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January 9, 2007