I had an odd but illuminating discussion with the two 20-something brats who never appear at meal time, yet mysteriously eat all of the food in the refrigerator. They have no understanding of the concept of owning a work of art; be it a painting or an album (isn’t that a cute word!) or a movie. Their only interest is access to the ones and zeros. They have no interest in possessing that digital information. In fact, they seem to be mildly irritated by the idea that they could possibly be anything other than a passive observer of the work of others. They are comfortable with their several dollars/month habit of paying a third party for temporary access to the works of the artists they enjoy. They see no problem with endlessly consuming a product without any tangible representation of it available to them.
Even the argument that any ownership of art without possession of the digital representation is transitory fell on deaf, or merely uninterested ears. They care not that it is merely rental, and is subject to the whims of the owners of the “Cloud” or the even more fickle market…that may drive their “Cloud” owners out of business without any interest in who owned which bytes.
This is a huge intellectual gulf. I and most of my peers see these works as tangible. The current generation sees them as temporary entertainment; to be discarded as their tastes change, without any interest in the past, whether to preserve it or merely to mock it!
I wonder how the founders would react to this (Oh, you thought that I wasn’t going to politicize this? Hah!)? Is it a rejection of the principle of conserving the old and established order….or is it an old curmudgeon with too much time on his hands this evening telling the younger generation to get off his lawn?