I am not a cloud-storage guy nor am I a download media guy. I did some pay per view on Amazon Prime when I lived in the states, but that is inaccessible here in Mexico. But I have my own machines where I store my own content. The music and video content on my machines I ripped from CDs and DVDs. And on all my machines (and backup HDDs) I encrypt everything except the OS and the applications. It’s not necessarily about the whole NSA thing – although that counts – but mostly for theft or loss. Steal one of my machines and all you get is the hardware and applications. What you don’t get is my fabulous movie collection, my huge music library, books, or any of my personal documents or information. And for this, I heartily recommend TrueCrypt.

To slightly change the subject, there is a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that is presently being negotiated in secret between 12 countries that will further restrict your access and use of digital media. FYI – that music you downloaded? You don’t own it. No, read the fine print. You only have a limited right of use. By contrast, buying the CD/DVD is an entirely different matter and legally speaking you have many more freedoms with the right to copy and use them than their downloadable brothers. But that too could change.

For background information you should first become familiar with the Digital Millennial Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1996 to understand the legal underpinnings of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and just where we all stand in this digital world. And cloud storage? That’s part of the NSA’s playground. And in the news last week (Washington Post included) it was revealed that newly released emails show a ‘close relationship between Google and the NSA’. That’s great, huh?

If the TPP as it is written becomes a reality then the copies of your music files that you have stored in the cloud would constitute copyright infringement. If what I have read is true then all copies (even temporary copies) would constitute copyright infringement. So my DVD collection that I reduced to ISOs then further reduced them (in size) when I converted them to MP4s would put me and my copies at risk too.

So we’re not talking about Beyonce getting her panties in a twist because you copied one of her recent hits that you then uploaded to the cloud. Oh no. We’re talking about Warner Brothers, Sony, or some other big player coming after your ass with the sheriff. And Intellectual Property (IP) infringement – as in how you use, copy, store, play, and manage your digital media – will take on some serious punitive measures if/when the TPP gets traction. And we all know the sheriff doesn’t play fair anyway. Think NSA and Eric Snowden. Think the IRS and their recent persecution (read, audit) of [up to 10%] of the conservatives (aka Tea Party).

And don’t tell me that everything sitting on your laptop or PC is kosher because we all know that each and everyone of us has at least something that doesn’t actually from an IP standpoint belong to us. But somehow if you were the exception and as pure as the driven snow remember this:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

So if you want to speak out against the TPP then you could start by clicking here. Maybe there is a better place to get info/protest TPP. If so, please let me know.