A world fragmented
I recently got “upgraded” from google android market to “google play” which supposedly lets you also buy movies, music and books apart from android apps. Guess what?
We’re sorry. The Google Play music player is currently only available in the United States.
We’re sorry, the document you requested is not available in your country.
That’s when I started to realize that I’m probably not the only one, that Switzerland is probably not the only country, and google play is probably not the only service that experiences this. Indeed, it’s what happened to the webmaster of Depeche Mode too. With the same predictable reaction.
I find it rather strange that anyone on this planet can cope with the “content industry” blaming the results of their distribution mess onto “dearth of copyright enforcement”; including some morons of legislators which seem to believe it and start rows upon rows of new copyright-toughening. Don’t they see an industry producing a total fuck-up in their attempt to fragment the market in order to sustain their obsolete business-model?
You do realise what happens in the world of “things” if you try to do the same? Yes, smuggling and black markets develop.
And, didn’t anyone notice that I can very well fly to the USA, buy CDs, DVDs and books there, and take them home? I can even order CDs, DVDs and physical books via the internet, and they will deliver it. Across borders. With the same content they don’t want to sell me in digital form? (We’ll ignore those ridiculous region-codes for now)
Does not work here
The stupidity does not end there. Maybe, maybe somebody in your or some other country, will actually want to sell you something. But then, this happens:
Our eBooks are AdobeDRM protected. That means that your eBooks can only be read on devices which support the DRM protection (certain eReader, iPad-Apps, programmes on PC/Mac etc). Please beware of the following limitations:
* You need the Adobe Digital Editions and an AdobeID to unlock and read the eBooks.
* Up to 6 devices can be authorized with the same AdobeID.
* You can not print out eBooks.
You’re kidding me? You deliberately made it impossible for me to read my books on the platform and operating system of my choice? In the above case, that means not on Linux. Since 2007, by the way.
Obviously, this is a blatant attempt to control the market of media-players and book-readers to the detriment of the customers. Why didn’t consumer-protection and antitrust-law already step in? Instead, which morons let this kind of monopoly-making practice even be given protection by law?
And, in reference to the title, what do you think will happen if you couple your content to some specific player? The customers will happily buy both content and player, change their operating system, not use their hardware they already have, and submit to the whim of arbitrarily instituted restrictions like “no printing”? No, they won’t. They’ll just get their movies, media and books from somewhere else.
We locked it up again
Now with that situation of deliberate or accidental market fragmentation and institutionalized incompatibility, you might want to avoid the whole mess altogether, and decide that you do not want to participate in that market. Instead, you might want to read, watch or listen to something older.
Foiled again! The very same industries managed to retroactively expand the duration of copyright again and again. When Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote “Tarzan”, he could expect 28 years of copyright protection after publication. The last “Tarzan”-Novel was theoretically out of copyright in 1972. But that’s not what happened. 1976 this was extended retroactively, and 1998 extended again; so it was placed under copyright again and will only be out of copyright in 2020. Unless someone expands it again.
Obviously if you’re going to disfranchise the public via lobbying in copyright extensions, you do not exactly foster the respect for said copyright.
Instead, what happens is what Thomas Babington Macauley predicted 1841: “And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the works of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living.”
So you’re whining about the public violating a law (you extended in scope and duration by factors) refuse to sell some media in some countries (because the distribution system you installed doesn’t allow it) in a format everyone can use (with a system you put into place to control the players market)? Well, just shut the fuck up!