While William Patry’s article on “How the Copyright Wars Are Being fought and Why” and Southpark’s espisode “HUMANCENTiPAD” may differ in more than a few ways, the two pieces of work coincide on one idea; businesses have overstepped. Both Trey Parker, South Park’s primary director, and William Patry use their mediums to explain how modern day companies are letting the danger of copyrighting interfere with their customer relations.
Patry, who dwells much more deeply into the subject, is quick to point out that the fault is not entirely the businesses. As he explains, “Many businesses understandable worry about shifting from a declining volume but still profitable product to a newer product that may or may not become capable of generating substantial revenues.”(Patry, 2) It is understandable that companies want their product, and product revenue, to be protected. As the soul producer of that product, it is their right to profit for their good. However, it is also important that the company maintains a good relationship with the customer, meaning that their product rules cannot go too far. Parker shows us an extreme example of a company’s rules going to far in his episode “HUMANCENTiPAD”.
One company that I believe has gone too far through their terms and conditions is Apple. When reading through the iTunes terms and conditions, it is obvious that the company is trying to leach as much money as possible out of their customers. By first ensuring that no one will be able to share libraries by saying that “An Associated Device can be associated with only one Account at any given time”(Apple), Apple then drops the hammer by stating that “You may switch an Associated Device to a different Account only once every 90 days.”(Apple) This final rule is what puts Apple over the edge. It is greedy and overreaching of them to expect that customers will not share music. Driven by their obsession for money, Apple, like a great many more companies, have begun to drive their customers away.
While Parker’s HUMANCENTiPAD episode is obviously an extremity, it hits many key points. Parker points out, through vulgar examples, that companies are able to hid powerful restrictions in their terms and conditions, limiting what their customers might do. This can be seen through Apple, as they control how customers can share their music. HUMANCENTiPAD also shows how extreme copyright rules can create and/or heighten the public’s distaste towards a company. Because of this, modern day companies walk a delicate line between being profitable and maintaining public satisfaction. Both are key components to a company’s success, and must be kept at the highest level. HUMANCENTiPAD, along with Patry’s article, works as a warning to the CEOS of our time, showing what can happen if copyright terms and conditions become too overreaching.
“HUMAN CENTiPAD.” South Park. Dir. Trey Parker. Comedy Central. 27 April 2011.
Television. 8 September 2012.
Patry, William. Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2009. Print.
“Terms and Conditions.” iTunes Store Terms and Conditions. Apple, 23 May 2012. Web. 09 Sept. 2012 http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html.