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Strange Restrictions

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on June 24, 2012 in News & Opinion |

It seems strange to me, coming from a country which claims to be the Land of the Free, to see so many restrictions on my freedoms, on my rights, on what I may or may not do. And it seems all the more strange that this revelation on my life has first become evident since I left the Land of the Free to travel and study in the Old World of Europe.

It came home to me yet again today as I was reading an article on Ola Ray, the dancer who starred alongside Michael Jackson in the music video Thriller. The article is on Yahoo! Music and includes a video. The thing is, I’m not allowed to see the video. Instead I get:

People who live where you live aren’t allowed to watch this video. Not because we don’t luv ya, but because the owners have some restrictions. The good news, is there are tens of thousands of other videos to choose from.

Now, I don’t know how you see it but, quite aside from the language used here, it irks me somewhat that Yahoo! Music should suggest I look at a different video rather than the one related specifically to this article. I can, to a certain extent, understand that there might be a few restrictions on some music, on some music videos being shown in certain countries around the world but … we’re talking about a video from 1983 here and not just any video: it’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which has been released throughout the known world and can be seen absolutely everywhere.

Even more amusing is the self-promotion at the top of the page, which seems to fit in so well with the Thriller restriction:

Discover Yahoo! With Your Friends

Explore news, videos, and much more based on what your friends are reading and watching. Publish your own activity and retain full control.

Full control is, for me, something completely different.

Now, I could well understand it if the article was on the new Spiderman film, or on something else which hasn’t been released throughout the world. There are enough examples of music, film, even a few books – although here not so much – which have restrictions placed on them, through Internet usage, to protect the rights and income of the copyright holders. I have no problem with that at all. But Thriller?

As an aside, on books: I can order books not yet published in Germany and have them delivered here with no problems whatsoever. As far as I know this is also possible with music to a certain extent, but not with films on DVD.

Perhaps it is time we really did give a little bit of thought to the outdated copyright laws, not in the form of SOPA and all the rest, but in such a manner which fits with our international, border-free society as expressed by the Internet. Sure, there will still be some restrictions, but not as many as we have now, not as frustrating as it is now, and not as meaningless either.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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