This chapter observes two trends: the rise of the digital marketplace as the result of technological development and the decline of ownership due to aggressive intellectual property laws, restrictive contractual provisions and technological locks. Admittedly, the market offers consumers a choice between ownership and more conditional, impermanent access to goods, but because of the asymmetric information possessed by consumers and retailers or IP rights holders, consumers frequently cannot make informed decisions. This leads to the loss of control over the goods they purchase; more importantly, the lack of ownership rights has serious implications for cultural preservation, innovation and consumer autonomy. The rest of the book unfolds by detailing how consumers and IP rights holders contend for control over physical and digital goods in various areas.
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