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Reason’s December issue celebrates the magazine’s 50th anniversary with a series of commissioned pieces on the past and future of the magazine’s subjects: freedom, markets, property rights, privacy and similar matters: I contributed a short story to the issue called Sole and Despotic Dominion, which takes the form of a support chat between a dishwasher owner and its manufacturer’s rep, who has the unhappy job of describing why the dishwasher won’t accept his dishes.


The story is part of a series of thought-experiments/science fiction tales about appliances that follow the Iphone App Store model of limiting interoperability to manufacturer-approved items; it started with the 2015 story “If Dishwashers Were Iphones,” and it followed up in my novella “Unauthorized Bread,” which will be published in my 2019 book Radicalized (Unauthorized Bread is also being developed for TV).

I am using Disher dishes. The ones I bought in Dubai.

Sir yes thank you. Please stand by while I investigate your account.

THANK YOU FOR STANDING BY. WE AT DISHER VALUE YOUR TRUST AND STRIVE TO EARN IT EVERY DAY. IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS, CONCERNS OR COMPLIMENTS ABOUT YOUR DISHER EXPERIENCE PLEASE LET US KNOW

Sir thank you I am back. I see from your IP address and other telemetry that you are in Melstone, Montana. Is that correct?

Yes. I took a new job and got relocated here.

Sir thank you I see your problem. Your dishes were sold for use within Shia territories in the Middle East and Asian regions. They are not authorized for use in the USA.

What? Are you crazy? They’re Disher dishes, this is a Disher dishwasher!

Sir I am sorry you are unhappy. However, I must correct you. Please allow me to offer this frequently asked question:

Q. ARE PRODUCTS BOUGHT IN FOREIGN KITCHEN STORES USABLE WITH MY DISHER SPECKLESS?

A. NO.

The trademarks and other intellectual property in the products sold by different Disher affiliated companies through the regional Kitchen Stores are licensed for use on a territory-by-territory basis. In many cases, different territorial licensors own the exclusive right to manufacture and distribute different brands in the Kitchen Store, and part of Disher’s commitment to respecting international laws and intellectual property is our use of the sensors in Disher Speckless systems to optimize your Disher experience by ensuring that our devices do not violate these important contractual arrangements.

You’re joking.

Sir I’m afraid it’s not a joke. Please allow me to offer this frequently asked question:


Sole and Despotic Dominion [Cory Doctorow/Reason]

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