Monday, April 12, 2010

Content is a right, not a DVD

How many times should I have to buy a DVD? In an ideal world, just once.

I don't look at movies or music the way I used to. I think it happened at about the same time I ripped all the music from my CDs to my computer, because suddenly I had two copies: one real and one digital. As long as it doesn't explode (fingers crossed), that content is on my computer forever. With everyone doing this now, I'm going to assume other people are seeing content differently as well.

Virtual and hard copies of content aren't on equal footing. Should my notebook burn down, I still have the CDs as back ups. iTunes not only doesn't send a CD (I mean, I'm paying full price and I'd just rip it anyways, so can you just send me the 15 cent disk?) or offer me more than a single download. Plus, my CDs have a sentimental value and they are something physical I can hold and love (unless my computer was burned due to a larger house fire...). No matter how digital I get, a hard copy is something I will value more because virtual content feels secondary, frail and less real.

As a result, I don't value virtual content very highly, and I'm often appalled when I see iTunes is charging full price. I think this is probably a big driver of illegal downloading--I don't know if people really feel they are "stealing" as digital copies are not considered as valuable--because, you can't download a real car, or a real DVD. I refuse to pay full price for a one time download.

If content is a right, not a DVD, I think we need to reevaluate some things.

Image: source