We’re participating in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law—addressing what’s at stake and what we need to do to make sure that Copyright Law promotes creativity and innovation.

The last time I got upset about breaking something was when I ripped a hole in the elbow of my favorite black wool sweater. Just a week earlier, I had mended a ripped seam in the sleeve (possibly a first for me). But this was a big, gaping, growing-as-we-speak hole. I’ll be honest, I was emotional—and it was an unfamiliar feeling for me.   

See, I don’t own a lot of things. Clothes, shoes, a small collection of sadly neglected kitchen gadgets, and… that’s about it. It’s pretty embarrassing to admit as someone who works at an organization crusading for our right to do whatever we please with the stuff that we own. Like many other young people straddling the line between Millennial and Gen Z, I prefer (read: can afford) the more noncommittal things in life: apartment renting, music streaming, $20 H&M leggings. I embody, essentially, the kind of behavior iFixit advocates against.

As we’ve reported in years past, there are a few forces duking it out in the ring of declining ownership: increasing digitalization and the growing presence of software in physical products, the resulting number of licensing agreements, and the malice of manufacturers to use copyright law to mold these agreements into digital locks.

For digital natives like me, ownership is more important than ever. So I asked the employees of the experts on ownership—most of them Millennials as well—what ownership means to them. Their answers surprised me.

What does ownership mean to you? Tell us in the comments.

Learn more about how you can participate in Copyright Week.

Elise Barsch is Social Media Manager and Copywriter at iFixit.com.

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