What Do You Own?

Yesterday afternoon, I told my father that my car was overheating while idling. This, obviously, was various serious, and I asked him if he could think of anything off the top of his head. I did this, while I was bent over my engine, checking coolant and oil levels, both of which were fairly low. By the day's end, I'd diagnosed and solved the problem. Two days ago, I arrived home to discover a new computer case in the mail. I took my computer to the kitchen, and, two or three hours later, it was purring happily in its new skin. I'll be writing more on both of these topics later, as well as the idea of game modding, and how they make people better, but for now, I want to get your opinion on something.

Do you own your gaming stuff?

You spend money on it.

I spent money on my case, thus I can do what I want to it. I spent money on my car, thus, I can do what I need to it. I have spent thirteen years making Microsoft Flight Simulator do what amuses me--even if it means starting global nuclear armageddon (yes, this is possible, and I totally did it).

This weekend, I've been softmodding my Wii. In a recent discussion with Shaun, I expressed some of my qualms about posting an article on the subject. I'd like to, because it's a fascinating one, but I ran into some issues (like obtaining DIOS MIOS to work with Configurable USB loader and my 32GB USB drive not working). He, rightly, informed me that posting about illegal activities is a bannable offense.

Then he said something that perplexed me: "Here's a thing; Nintendo doesn't want you to do it."

My kneejerk response--I have no impulse control when I'm approaching twenty-four hours of wakefulness, apparently--was "That's nice, but I own it."

Then, I went, "wait, do I?"

Then I thought about software, and how consumers are supposedly only buying licenses to the software (this, as far as I am aware, isn't law, it's just EULA, and EULAs are apparently not actually legally enforceable). Of course, thinking about software only reminded me about how the EU says that we own our licenses and can totally sell them, though publishers tend to want these things to be non-transferable, and say so in their EULAs.

When we spend money on a product, do we have rights, within reason, to that product? If I choose to buy a television, should I not also have the right to disassemble it and place its panel in, say, a fully-sized recreation of a Mech cockpit?

So, two questions (taking into account obvious exceptions like "schooling, where you do not "own" the school or its supplies, but are paying for an intangible education):

1. Do you own what you pay for?

2. Should you own what you pay for?