David Pogue has a good article in Scientific American, describing how the death spiral of the DVD actually increases piracy. His point: the DVD is dieing, and there is growing demand for streaming rentals of movies to take its place. The problem: the terms of the rental suck: 24 hours to watch, no DVD extras, and even worse, streaming rentals are not available until months after the films appeared in theaters.
Worse, some movies never become available. Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, A Beautiful Mind, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Saving Private Ryan, Meet the Fockers, and so on, are not available to rent from the major online distributors.
The people want movies. None of Hollywood’s baffling legal constructs will stop the demand. The studios are trying to prevent a dam from bursting by putting up a picket fence.
And if you don’t make your product available legally, guess what? The people will get it illegally. Traffic to illegal download sites has more than sextupled since 2009, and file downloading is expected to grow about 23 percent annually until 2015. Why? Of the 10 most pirated movies of 2011, guess how many of them are available to rent online, as I write this in midsummer 2012? Zero. That’s right: Hollywood is actually encouraging the very practice they claim to be fighting (with new laws, for example).
My personal pet peeve with DVDs and Blu-rays: after purchasing the disc, why do I have to sit through numerous unskippable previews just to watch the film I want to see?
Via TechDirt, check out the MPAA’s daft response to Pogue’s article:
In response, in typically tone deaf fashion, MPAA spokesperson Howard Gantman has taken the usual tack of not actually addressing what Pogue wrote, but making an unrelated argument. He says that somehow, magically, because there are more crippled, annoying, expensive, incomplete movie services out there, no one should complain. You see, in the MPAA’s world “offering something” is proof that they’re innovating, even if it’s not what people want.
And you should take the time to read the EFF’s summary of the TPP agreement which, as currently drafted, would require ISPs to become copyright cops against their own customers.