Garage door opener wars. Thanks to advanced, articulate, extensively-deliberated copyright policy, we achieve wonders:
Chamberlain alleges Skylink's handheld portable transmitter can activate Chamberlain's garage door openers and, in doing so, unlawfully bypasses a technology-protection measure built into the device's software.
On one level, this is yet another reminder of how far we've failed to apply institutions and policies to the ontological nature of digital materials. Digital objects tend to be about linkage, porosity, and exchange, more like fields of force than discrete units on containers.
On another level, this foolish story shows how the level of copyright, a thin layer of force laminated over the details of our world since Anne, has thickened into visibility. Things are in the saddle and ride humankind, perhaps, or simply giants in the earth? No. Like a dinosaur's skeleton emerging into the light as a tar pit recedes, or an ancient city revealed by the erosion of archaeology, we're confronted with an entity that's been with us for a while, just alongside our general awareness, somehow present in marginal notes. Now copyright is in the full light of morning, nearly noon, and we're struck by how odd the damned thing is, how weirdly put together, assembled by heterogeneous committees sprawling across time in occasional mystery. And we trace that assembly and find threads, ropes, steel cables leading back to the rest of us, to our institutions and desktops, plugged into federal policy and garage doors openers, friends and ancestors.