OWNERSHIP used to be about as straightforward as writing a cheque. If you bought something, you owned it. If it broke, you fixed it. If you no longer wanted it, you sold it or chucked it away. … In the digital age ownership has become more slippery. … consumers have been forced to accept that they do not control the software in their devices; they are only licensed to use it. … Buyers should be aware that some of their most basic property rights are under threat.
Ownership is not about to go away, but its meaning is changing. This requires careful scrutiny. Gadgets, by and large, are sold on the basis that they empower people to do what they want. To the extent they are controlled by somebody else, that freedom is compromised.