Jason's Blog

Archive for March 2nd, 2006

Ownership VS. renting of movies

by on Mar.02, 2006, under General

Instead of the normal “Link of the Day”, I wanted to post this link to an article on ThinkSecret regarding movies and iTunes. Specifically, it talks about how Apple is in discussions with major studios to try and get movie content delivered through the iTunes music store. I wanted to highlight a few things in the article that stand out in my mind.

Let me quote from the article:
“Mr. Jobs is insistent that content be sold as a download-to-own model, as music is with the iTunes Music Store, but the movie industry as a whole favors the subscription model and appears unwilling to budge.” The big thing here is as I’ve repeated in past posts –THE MOVIE INDUSTRY DOES NOT WANT YOU TO OWN MOVIES. Let me repeat that.

Now, why do I emphasize this? Because this is at the hart of so much of the debate on upcoming HDTV, recording, and movie formats. What it comes down to is Studio’s seem to want you to pay and pay and pay for the rights to access movies. When you buy a movie, you pay them once. They don’t continue to make money off of this content afterwards. Further, you’re buying into only popular content. To release older content or not-so-popular content is more expensive. They don’t earn as much money. Every movie release is a gamble on whether it will make money. The movie studios want you to pay a subscription fee, in essence, so they can produce movies and budget things out, without having to worry about future sales.

THIS IS THE PRECISE PROBLEM. Instead of producing decent content, with-in a set budget, the movie studios in essence want a “tax” on consumers watching their content. You don’t get to pick and choose anymore – it’s an all or nothing thing. You either watch what they produce, and pay for all of the stuff, regardless of how bad the content may be, or don’t watch any of it at all. This is what a subscription model is in my view. The minute you stop paying that subscription fee, you can no longer watch your movies.

Let’s take this to another step – the TV. The debate going around the internet among the technologically savvy, or just the technologically aware, is on the new standard for television. In the future, instead of being able to record movies as you wish onto your VCR, Studios want you to just “rent” these shows.

LET ME CLARIFY – Your VCR will no longer work. Or, it may work, but in a VERY limited fashion. This ties into the whole concept of ownership/renting as stated above. Having the ability to record a show on TV means studios are not getting any money off of tape/dvd sales – a bad thing in their view. Thus, the strong emphasis on DRM and controlling what you can record using this new HD format. What’s worse, is this format is going to be REQUIRED in the future. You won’t have an option BUT to use this new format by I think 2007 (I’ll look it up later).

SO, to sum up. Movie studios don’t like you owning content. In a few years, particularly with the new “high-definition” formats coming out, you won’t have ANY control over the content. Next, they want you to pay them a subscription fee in order to view this content. Last, your normal means of saving this content to watch again is going to be wiped out when you are forced to switch to HDTV in the future.

In other words, we’re ALL getting screwed, by a VERY large pig known as the movie industry/recording industry/etc. SO, WAKE UP AND PAY ATTENTION. God knows, right now, I almost wish for the blink tag back to emphasize this, as it can’t be emphasized enough. And, let me add this real quick to all those who think there’ll be an easy solution around this. The DMCA. The fact that this encryption system is a LOT harder to break. Lawyers. LOTS of money being thrown around. In other words, getting around this stuff is not really going to be an option for most people. And, if you do try and get around it, you’re branded as a criminal and have your pants sued off. Literally. Then big hairy men come from behind you and… well, you get the picture. So, take a gander at some of these links:

WritersBlockLive post on this (as seen previously on poetshome)
ArsTechnica commentary on DRM vs. Fair Use (i.e. protecting content vs. using a VCR)
BIG discourse on DRM and why it’s BAD.
Boycott AACS site

EVERYONE. Wake up call time. Get up, call your senator, call your representative. Post some of these links along with more information. THINK about the stuff I’m talking about, please, before watching television as you choose is a crime.

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