Feb 222010
Flow chart of purchasing or pirating a DVD

I recently described the pleasure available to anyone attempting to watch DVDs on a computer. Then I went out and purchased Star Trek. The media industry has been very reluctant to face facts, and it really seems they’re completely out of touch or just belligerent.

Let me explain:

  • Consumers want to enjoy content. Everyone enjoys a quality film or tune. Sometimes we even enjoy bad ones just to be snarky. Generally, we will do this in the easiest way possible – we won’t go see a movie in theaters when we can watch a DVD at home. And we’re not surprised when we’re asked to pay for things (TANSTAAFL). But when we do, it’s nice to get what we actually thought we were buying.
  • Industry wants to make a profit. Nice and simple…

Buying Star Trek, I figured I could take it home and watch it. But it turns out that this DVD was also shipped broken, so my PC thinks the DVD is scratched and doesn’t play it. I had to copy the movie onto my computer just to watch it. Ironically, this is exactly what their “copy protection” is supposed to stop.

So, I bought a DVD for $9 and spent half an hour just trying to get it to play. Had I been so inclined, I could have illegally downloaded the same movie in roughly the same amount of time. This means that in many ways it is more expensive and more difficult for me to do the right thing – to do what the industry wants me to do. I have to go out of my way to be a “good consumer” because the industry thinks it can force everyone to be a “good consumer”.

I am by no means the first person to come to this conclusion. These ideas have been floating around for years, indicating just how out of touch media executives seem to be. They’ve spent more than a decade attempting to keep consumers in the box. During this same time, consumers have come to expect that media be more and more flexible so that it can be enjoyed at any time.

The consumer is already winning, and will continue to win, because the industry relies on us. They want us to purchase their content. But they also insist that we only use their content the way they see fit. As an example, review this diagram:

Flow chart of purchasing or pirating a DVD

Copy or Purchase a DVD – The author of this image is unknown.

My question is: how many consumers will just stop bothering with the industry’s rules?

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