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Why There's No iTunes For Movies 474

Posted by timothy
from the farhad-tells-all dept.
theodp writes "Slate's Farhad Manjoo would gladly pay a hefty monthly fee for immediate access to recent movies and TV shows — if someone would just take his money. In reality, he pays nothing because no company sells such a plan, and instead resorts to getting his programming from the friendly BitTorrent network.
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Why There's No iTunes For Movies

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  • by Richmeister (1188909) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:04AM (#27635473)
    It's under 'Movies' in the iTunes Store.
    • by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:06AM (#27635483)

      It's under 'Movies' in the iTunes Store.

      Well but the problem is... it's iTunes. I don't buy Hard- or Software from Apple. Why should I buy my movies from them. Completely neglecting the fact I can't even install their shitty software -of course.

      • by Winckle (870180) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:09AM (#27635501) Homepage

        Why do you boycott Apple?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Winckle (870180)

          Mods on crack, asking him why he doesn't like something is not flamebait.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Nerdfest (867930)
            Check the moderation on the parent post, and the one that follows it (mine). Both have been as high as at least +4, and keep being modded down as well. Expressing an opinion is strongly discouraged.
        • by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:11AM (#27635855)
          I tend to boycott Apple MP3 players mainly because of their proprietary formats and hardware lock-in. I's like a device I can just drop files on and play, without installing some bloated management software. There's people worse than me as well. I have a friend who was car shopping and rejected one car because it had an iPod connector. Having a custom connector is not even that bad if it can be used free by others, but the iPod connector is definitely not like that. I've recently removed QuickTime from my remaining Windows box because of their pushy update strategy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by tg123 (1409503)

            I tend to boycott Apple MP3 players mainly because of their proprietary formats and hardware lock-in................

            Funny thing is that apples audio formats have to be the easiest to convert to another format . I find putting everything in mp3 works well as itunes drops and plays mp3 files.

            apple's hardware is also in my experience very easy to circumvent , its almost as if apple is "just going through the motions."

            • by cthellis (733202) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @11:35AM (#27636803)
              They are. Also, their formats are not "proprietary," just the Fairplay DRM. (While, amusingly, MP3 is a proprietary format. Just the de-facto standard.) And since Apple was basically instrumental in getting the RIAA to back off music DRM everywhere (short of subscription rentals, of course), I'm not sure why people continue to have a stick up their butt on what was inherently RIAA-demanded DRM, and the problems that surrounded that and their licensing and distribution model.
          • by Jezza (39441) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:36AM (#27635993)

            AAC? My new Nintendo plays that! You don't need iTunes (as others have commented on) but for me at least it's a nice "one stop shop" for media files. As for "hardware lock-in" well there are plenty of after market widgets for iPod; I don't need to get my charger from Apple, I can buy speakers from almost anyone, most iPods work with any headphones (even the new Shuffle if you have a widget to replicate the control buttons).

            I see no more "lock-in" than any other popular make of "MP3 Player".

            Now the studios are letting Apple remove their DRM I can even convert iTunes bought Music to another format.

            On the subject of the "Shuffle" it's not like I'm going to be trapped by my purchase - if I decide I want to use something else in the future I can just convert the music and bin the player (it's cheap enough).

          • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:43AM (#27636037)

            I tend to boycott Apple MP3 players mainly because of their proprietary formats and hardware lock-in. I's like a device I can just drop files on and play, without installing some bloated management software. There's people worse than me as well. I have a friend who was car shopping and rejected one car because it had an iPod connector. Having a custom connector is not even that bad if it can be used free by others, but the iPod connector is definitely not like that. I've recently removed QuickTime from my remaining Windows box because of their pushy update strategy.

            You do understand that you can use iPods (as well as many other players) without having to use their proprietary formats, right? iPod will play the standard format MP3s as well its apparent successor, AAC. As for hardware lock-in, you get that with any MP3 player. Wanna use your Sansa case with an iRiver? Nope. Not going to fit. As for managing music goes, I once had a device where I had to drop and drag. Here's the problem with that: It got extremely cumbersome after a dozen songs. You may think you want "control" but when you have to manage 10,000 songs manually, it's a pain.

            As for your friend, I think it's rather short-sighted to reject a car worth tens of thousands of dollars because it has an optional feature he didn't want that could be replaced for hundreds of dollars or better yet, simply just not used.

            • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @11:14AM (#27636683) Homepage

              > You do understand that you can use iPods (as well as many other players) without having to use their proprietary formats, right?

              This isn't about someone complaining about music. This is someone complaining about Movies.

              iPods are very picky about what they will play when compared to other devices.

              This leads to the consumer needing a special purpose app just to deal
              with it rather than taking a generic converter and using it's defaults.

              If iPods were as picky about Music as they are about Movies, most people
              would conclude that they were proprietary.

          • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:54AM (#27636139) Homepage Journal

            I tend to boycott Apple MP3 players mainly because of their proprietary formats and hardware lock-in.

            Apple does NOT use "proprietary formats" for its iPod, that's just FUD spread around by people who never even tried one.

            The iPods are compatible with MP3, AAC, DRM'ed AAC, Apple Lossless (yes that one is proprietary but since it's lossless nothing would prevent you from converting back to something else later on, such as FLAC), MPEG-4, H.264. I may even have forgotten a few formats (such as Audible, but if that one is proprietary I don't think it's from Apple).

            I'd like a device I can just drop files on and play, without installing some bloated management software.

            Good luck with that, with today's portable media players being 1~160GB+ capacity it would be practically insane to manage files by hand. Let go of this useless obsession and learn to use metadata on your files. You'll probably even like smart playlists once you start using them.

            As for your friend, he probably won't be able to buy a car in a decade or so (...just kidding).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            m4a is proprietary to Apple? Since when?

      • by Macrat (638047) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:43AM (#27635701)
        Sounds like a bug with the user.
      • Well but the problem is... it's iTunes.

        While iTunes might not be something you want to use, it was the topic of the article.

      • by tg123 (1409503)

        Itunes is available for windows.

        Installing apples "shitty software" is very simple and free.

        Download and click install it then upgrades itself to latest version.

        The nice part about itunes is it contains a search built-in for movies and tv episodes. Every things "there for you on a plate" and you can subscribe to tv episodes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forgoil (104808)

      There is one problem with it, and it is not the fault of Apple. Since the distribution rights are owned by a silly amount of silly people in a silly amount of different countries, those countries won't get movies distributed in iTunes.

      Apparently they see some magic gain in *not* making their product available in *preferred* distribution channels. Basically they are assholes twice over. First to their customers (us), and then to their shareholders (why aren't we making money? Oh, because the distributers are

      • That's a logical solution, though factor in greed and you have 'not in my lifetime'

        Next in line to cash in will be the ISP's and backbone providers. (Indeed, they are trying already) They'll claim that each and every single bit actually costs them money to send over the glass, even though they are making a metric crap ton of cash above and beyond the cost to maintain and keep the infrastructure running and in good working order. Paying the electricity bill isn't exactly a struggle for them.

        • metric crap ton

          That's metric crap tonne. Interestingly enough, this weighs precisely the same as a metric My Little Pony tonne.

      • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:48AM (#27635731)

        Apparently they see some magic gain in *not* making their product available in *preferred* distribution channels.

        It's not magic, it's real money. Follow the entertainment trades like "Variety" and you will see that the studios are selling nice lump-sum deals for some movies into broadcast and cable distribution windows even before they hit the theaters. The domestic and foreign TV distribution channels are not going to pay this big money if the movie is widely distributed in one form or another prior to their contracted window of distribution. The studio *must* restrict online distribution -- or at least make a big show that it is trying to. It's part of their contractual obligations.

        When a studio gets confident that the money it can make via "easy early global online" distribution will be enough to off-set the reduced fees it can charge its "old school" distribution partners, believe me, they'll pull the trigger on it. But the old school guys pay big bucks, and, currently, the new skool online direct-to-consumer model is, literally, pennies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DrgnDancer (137700)

          It does seem to me though, that iTunes has proved the "If you build it they will come" theory of digital distribution. The music industry kicked and screamed and cried and refused to build a good digital distribution center both because they were worried about piracy (which didn't really seem to get any worse), and because they were completely unconvinced it could ever make any amount of money. So Apple built iTunes, which is at best a "decent" attempt at a distribution center, and it's a license to print

      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:15AM (#27635875) Journal

        internet, and no, that do *NOT* mean through some crap IE webbrowser crap solution with sub par quality

        It also doesn't mean iTunes. Sorry, iTunes may be great software, but it is not the web, and not everyone has or wants iTunes.

        DRM is only part of the problem, and getting rid of it is a great step forward. Now let's see this the rest of the way -- just the Internet, or at most email -- better yet, publish that website as a REST API to allow anyone to develop an iTunes-like client.

        HTML and FLAC over HTTP for the win.

    • Technically, you're right. But it doesn't work like iTunes - it has a very limited range of movies on offer and the prices are often not at all competitive. If you're outside the US, the range of stuff on offer is even worse, and the prices are much more prohibitive. So although it runs out of the iTunes store, it's very far from being an iTunes for movies in anything but name.
    • by mspohr (589790) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:20AM (#27635553)
      If you would RTFA (or had actually used iTunes movies), you would know about the very limited selection and restrictions on use from iTunes (and other 'services') due to the Byzantine industry contracts.

      It sounds like a hopeless situation and it looks like the best option is to use the ubiquitous peer to peer sources which offer free convenient downloads of just about anything you could want.

    • Marketing 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:21AM (#27635895) Homepage

      My ISP offers a movie service, BUT you have to install a proprietary player to play the movie on.

      I'm a customer, I want the option of having the product as a .avi but the service is not giving me the service I want and am willing to pay for.

      So I use The Pirate Bay, money has nothing to do with my decision Movies cost nothing anyway even on DVDs it's all about the service. The Pirate Bay simply provides a better service than the studios can so they get all my downloads.

      Considering how big the market for movies is that must be a fair bit of money they are missing out on, all because they want people to use a certain piece of software.

      • My ISP offers a movie service, BUT you have to install a proprietary player to play the movie on.

        I'm a customer, I want the option of having the product as a .avi

        In what codec? The United States is home to Slashdot, the major motion picture studios, and two-thirds of native English speakers in the developed world. But in the United States, most codecs used in AVI files are subject to several patents. For example, the codecs commonly used in DivX .avi files are MPEG-4 Part 2 video (patented) and MPEG-1 layer 3 audio (also patented). So the software needed to play .avi files is just as non-free as your ISP's player.

  • by XPeter (1429763) * on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:05AM (#27635477) Homepage

    In school, we had a trademark infringement lawyer come speak to us during computer science telling us how bad it was to illegally download music movies and such. But now as I read this, since there is no where to buy these movies piracy seems like the only option.

    I'm glad Slashdot is here to educate me.

  • Miro http://www.getmiro.com/ [getmiro.com] goes quite a way to make streaming media and video torrents an enjoyable experience. It is sort of the iTunes (without store) for video.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bursch-X (458146)
      It's more like an iTunes Store for Movies without the store and the movies. It's basically a souped up Firefox (XUL) customised to be used for audio and video podcasts. Your point? None. My point? None either, just wanted to mention that Miro brings nothing, nada, zilch to the table here.
  • Segmentation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:08AM (#27635499)
    As I wrote several times before about TV shows, game releases and cinema starts this is all about segmentation. Putting up an international one-price-for-all platform for movie purchases would undermine the local market branches the industry has elaborately established over the past decades. You can charge different prices for movies in the EU, Asia, US and so forth. The differences make for additional profit. They would never give that up voluntarily.
    • by tpgp (48001) * on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:22AM (#27635567) Homepage

      Itunes pricing is already segmented. Amazon's digital offering is region locked. As are all the other players.

      I'm not sure your point holds.

    • Re:Segmentation (Score:5, Informative)

      by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:55AM (#27635771)

      They aren't making much money from the Philippines then. The most expensive movie you can see here is around $10 USD, and that's for a world wide hyped movie on opening night at the posh end of town. On average it's about $4 in a good cinema. They are competing against piracy though, a single pirated movie is about $1, $2 will get you a disc containing anywhere up to 32 movies. 12 is about average though, any more than that and the compression makes them look worse than the phone cam in the cinema kind. Now an original movie purchased from a store in shrink wrap with hologram stickers, that'll set you back 1 to 2 bucks as well. They are well and truly in competition with the pirates now. Arrrrr. Most people can't be arsed to go to the mall and buy the originals though. Pirated stuff lives closer to home, and it has the adverts stripped out.

      So aside from geographic IP mapping which is trivially defeated with proxies, or charging a single price for world wide distribution, people are just going to flock to the cheapest and most convenient source. I figure if they can still turn a profit at 2 bucks for an original movie on DVD, they aren't hurting so bad after all.

    • Re:Segmentation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:58AM (#27635783) Homepage
      It's not so much the different price that's annoying. It's not having the chance to watch some things because of where you live. I can't see how giving everyone the chance to buy something that doesn't exist in their country is a bad thing.

      We need to put an end to regional distribution deals for the internet. The internet should, in fact, be considered it's own region and that would allow them to get around existing distribution deals.
  • False right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:10AM (#27635507)

    So basically Manjoo is saying that copyright holders are obligated to make their works available to him in the format and timing he demands, or else he has the right to get them illegally?

    I think we call can agree that current copyright is unreasonable and undemocratic (since it was bought for by the music/movie industry). But Manjoo's reasoning doesn't make a ton of sense either.

    • Re:False right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Winckle (870180) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:13AM (#27635523) Homepage

      Perhaps he doesn't have the right, but the MPAA shouldn't act so surprised when people do it.

    • Re:False right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by djmurdoch (306849) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:17AM (#27635541)

      So basically Manjoo is saying that copyright holders are obligated to make their works available to him in the format and timing he demands, or else he has the right to get them illegally?

      No, he calls himself a scofflaw. He's saying that there's a market for works in the format and timing that the customer chooses. Currently it's a black market, and the studios are going to lose a ton of money because they don't offer a legal alternative.

    • Re:False right (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:18AM (#27635545)

      So basically Manjoo is saying that copyright holders are obligated to make their works available to him in the format and timing he demands, or else he has the right to get them illegally?

      A customer expecting the seller to sell him what he wants in order to get his money? Why, the very idea!

    • Re:False right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:19AM (#27635549)

      If they aren't selling it, they they are losing nothing when we pirate it. This in turn means that there is no damage to them, and thus no case against us.

      If they are selling it, but there are artificial barriers caused by legal restrictions on over-riding region coding and the like, then this could be argued to be an illegal restriction on free trade under WTO rules, although we all know that no-one with the money to fight such a case ever would.

    • I agree with you, but I think there's an important point to be made about this, which Manjoo also hinted at. If the studios and so on don't start changing their business model to tap in to the internet market and clean up obsolete restrictions (like 24 hrs to watch), people will get the movies illegally. Some people will get them illegally anyway, but a decent, legal service would be a big draw and would remove the kind of argument that says "well, they don't want to provide me with their stuff legally, so
    • Well, you cant buy it for any price. So you Bittorrent it.

      And if prices are stupid, like a soundtrack going for 17.99 vs the movie itself going for 15.99, guess what? Piratebay here we come.

      It's called competitive pressure, and that's how the free market works. If copyright and patents were more sane, they'd be more respected and crap like this wouldnt happen. So, the path of least resistance is downloading.

      Those who call me names: I dont care. I have what you spend money on and mine isnt crippled.

      Those who

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      [repost - I forgot I wasn't logged in the first time....]

      He isn't saying he has the RIGHT to get them illegally.

      Just that he WILL get them illegally.

      And for companies interested in doing business - "right" is not important - it is what your customers will tolerate, and pay for, that matters.

      Remember, when you are talking about "rights" that copyright (and patent, trademark, etc...) is a right conferred because it is in the public good. It is a profoundly "conditional" right. And when that conferral ceases t

    • So basically Manjoo is saying that copyright holders are obligated to make their works available to him in the format and timing he demands, or else he has the right to get them illegally?

      I have some sympathy with this viewpoint. Copyright is a bargain between society and the creator, where the creator gets a time-limited monopoly in exchange for distributing their work. If they are not making a bona fide effort to distribute their work, then should they be able to retain copyright? I don't believe that they should, and I think that compulsory, nondiscriminatory, licensing should be a requirement for being granted copyright. That said, I disagree with his conclusion. He should be arguin

      • However the bad laws are not going to be repealed or amended no matter how much people complain because vested interests will not allow it. Therefore the only alternative is a mass campaign of civil disobedience.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      But Manjoo's reasoning doesn't make a ton of sense either.

      What about it doesn't make sense? If copyright doesn't serve society, then it should be abolished. The only kind of works it seems to promote are mass market bullshit. I don't give a fuck about protecting or promoting those. True art needs to be made. And finally, anyone who releases any media without a license saying that it enters copyright when copyright originally expired is taking advantage of bad laws, and doesn't deserve copyright protection — but that appears to just be my opinion. There is no

  • Money, again (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psychodelicacy (1170611) * <psychodelicacy@gmail.com> on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:11AM (#27635511) Homepage

    Interesting article. It seems that the studios etc. are wary of losing the guaranteed revenue that comes from the premium and pay-per-view TV channels. But what happens when these channels wise up to the fact that an increasing number of people are getting these films for free online? Will they become more reluctant to pay the studios for the right to show a movie that everyone's already seen via bittorrent?

    Does anyone have any figures on how pay-per-view services are doing? I wouldn't be surprised to see that the number of people paying for the Hollywood blockbusters is on a downward trend as broadband speeds increase.

  • Yip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Norsefire (1494323) * on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:13AM (#27635529) Journal
    The only thing I pirate are episodes of a TV series, it only started showing here about a month ago (5 months after it started showing in the US). At the end of the first series I bought the DVDs of the season, and I intend to do the same for the second. I've tried to find a legit way to watch it, mainly because I would like to contribute towards the ratings of the series. I've tried watching it through NBC's website, Amazon, Hulu, and many other websites but no one will offer it to viewers outside of the US.

    I'm a fan of the show, I want to watch it legitimately and if I could I would pay to do so.

    It just goes to show how far behind with the times the entire industry is that people *want* to pay them and can't, so they break the law instead.
    • by mpe (36238)
      The only thing I pirate are episodes of a TV series, it only started showing here about a month ago (5 months after it started showing in the US).

      What those involved don't appear to understand is that this kind of "staggered release" actually encourages piracy.

      At the end of the first series I bought the DVDs of the season, and I intend to do the same for the second. I've tried to find a legit way to watch it, mainly because I would like to contribute towards the ratings of the series.

      The way ratings a
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:33AM (#27635629) Homepage

    The answer is twofold. First, the vast majority of people will not pay a hefty monthly fee for immediate access to recent movies and TV shows. So there really is not market for it. You cannot compete with free by putting a "hefty" fee on it. God, that's fricken ludicrous. Why is this completely asinine idea even posted here?!

    Second, the movie industry makes a lot of money with its gated approach to releasing movies. First, to theaters. Then to premium TV channels and pay-per-view. Then to DVD/Blue-ray. Than the normal TV. If the studios started releasing new movies as soon as they were released in they theaters, or even soon after, the money from the premium TV/pay-per-view/DVD/Blu-ray releases would drastically decrease. It's all about making the Benjamins, not about making it convenient for the viewer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iYk6 (1425255)

      First, the vast majority of people will not pay a hefty monthly fee for immediate access to recent movies and TV shows. So there really is not market for it. You cannot compete with free by putting a "hefty" fee on it. God, that's fricken ludicrous. Why is this completely asinine idea even posted here?!

      Presumably, if the writer would be willing to pay a hefty fee, he would also be willing to pay a reasonable fee.

      • But would that "reasonable" fee for immediately access make up for the money lost on pay-per-view/premium TV/DVD/Blu-ray? (I'm talking about movies here, I have no idea why anyone would pay anything to watch TV!)

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @09:20AM (#27635891) Journal

          I pay around $20/month (approximately, at the current exchange rate) to be able to rent almost as many DVDs as I can watch, and have them shipped to me. This is the only way I watch any TV shows now, by renting them after they are aired. I would be more than happy to pay the same amount to be given access to a library of DRM-free downloads to watch, saving the shipping costs of transporting the DVDs to and from me. I would not pay for DRM'd media, because that would almost certainly prevent me from watching it on some of the devices I may wish to use for playback.

          The movie industry needs to realise that the rental and sales models are doomed. Few people watch the same movie over and over again (small children excepted), and so the benefit in owning a copy of a film is small. Rental simply can not work for soft copies, because rental requires a scarcity that is not applicable. What they can offer, which has great value, is timely access to new material and large archives of older films. If you can download any film or TV show you want for a fixed monthly fee, in high quality with a good download speed, the incentive to pirate them disappears. Some people will download everything they can and archive it to massive hard disks, but most people won't. Why would they? If they want to watch something again they can just download it again and not have to worry about paying for the local storage and backups.

    • by Mishotaki (957104)

      The answer is twofold. First, the vast majority of people will not pay a hefty monthly fee for immediate access to recent movies and TV shows.

      Unless that includes every single show on earth as soon as it airs...

    • Millions and millions of households are quite willing to pay a monthly fee for cable or satellite television, even when free OTA signals are available. Why would another method of delivery be different? All it has to do is A) not suck technology-wise, and B) be fair in price.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by c (8461)

      > First, the vast majority of people will not pay a hefty monthly fee for
      > immediate access to recent movies and TV shows. So there really is not market
      > for it. You cannot compete with free by putting a "hefty" fee on it.

      A significant chunk of the population already pays a hefty monthly fee for whatever crap their cable/satellite providers choose to send them. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that people might be willing to transfer that hefty bit of change to something they actually want

  • by Marrow (195242) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @08:47AM (#27635723)

    They even have their own download client. Search on Video on Demand.

  • Same here, where can I sign on for a service that I can watch what I want whenever I want and pay a fare price for it. Without hunting up stuff on iPlayer, Hulu, iPlayer, itvPlayer etc. One payment to the ISP and a pay-as-you-go service with micro-payments.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @10:44AM (#27636473) Homepage

    Read something like Terry Ramsaye's "A Million and One Nights," about the early history of the movies--up to the early twenties--(Ramsaye doesn't believe the talkies have much of a future)--and, to a technical guy like me, it's incredibly boring.

    It's all about complicated business maneuvers based on artificial restrictions. (The phrase "B movie" dates back to the days when distributors wouldn't rent a good movie to a theatre unless they agreed to rent a lousy movie too). The various Laemmles and Selznicks and Zukors are doing nothing but finding clever ways to restrict product flow, cutting complex deals to outdo each other.

    The movies themselves are sort of a byproduct of the real industry, which is business deals. The movies are sort of a necessary evil, like the chips that are needed at a casino. Who cares who designed the chips, or whether the artwork on the chips is great or mediocre?

    Patents, too. Patents and patent pools and trusts and cartels, the whole nine yards.

    Why is the movie industry associated with Hollywood rather than New Jersey? No, it's not because of reliable daylight. Anyone old enough to be familiar with the little loop of film in a camera or projector that buffers between the intermittent motion at the film gate and the smooth motion of the reels, so the claw doesn't need to pull against the inertia of the reels and tear the film? You need that if you want to put the film on reels and run continuously for more than a couple of minutes.

    Well, that's the famous patented Latham Loop, and the people that held the patent refused to sell cameras, only rent them at exorbitant costs. So a bunch of people decided to make movies with pirated, illegal cameras... and they did it in California to make it harder for the process servers to find them.

    Printing has always been about making books cheap and available... starting with the Bible. Movies have always been about restricting product. It's in their DNA.

  • Car Salesmen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weedhopper (168515) on Sunday April 19, 2009 @01:00PM (#27637349)

    There's a certain point in my consumption of media where things just became absurd. And then I became a pirate.

    It's similar each time I go to buy a car. I'm there at the lot because I want to buy something but first, I have to deal with the first enemy, the salesman. I usually know exactly what I want but almost but not quite invariably, he tries to sell me something else first. Then he tries to sell me a couple things I don't want before I can manage to leave. I looked up your inventory and the inventory of your competitors before I came, don't try to BS me. I have Edmunds and AutoTrader right here on my phone, why make me distrust you by lying to me? This is changing, but not fast enough for my tastes.

    The movie/TV industry is the same way. They're either trying to sell me what I want in a way that I don't want them or don't sell what I want at all.

    First, let's get this notion of having to sit down at a certain time to watch a TV show out of the way. It's an obsolete mode of thinking. We started with primitive VHS, but now we have DVRs and even those will eventually be replaced by streaming.

    I find it remarkable that the torrent of a popular show is usually up within minutes of the show airing. Lately, even the HD versions are up lickety split.

    Yet, despite the pirates offering a mostly superior product (commercial free, 720/1080p), I have yet to torrent a single episode that I can watch on Hulu instead. But then again, once Hulu's not allowed to stream an episode that I "missed," guess where I am? You got it, TPB. There's a months long gap between "legit" online availability and the DVDs being released where I physically can't access the content.

    That's if it's even online in the first place. Show me where I can watch The Big Bang Theory online. I can't. Thus, I will download it.

    And man, I would pay for this if I could. In fact, I did. Then I gave up. I rented video on iTunes for a while until I realized what a sham it was. It's not that I didn't want to pay, (though the prices are way too high for TV episodes), its that once I pay, I don't want to be told when, where, and how I can watch or otherwise be forced to pay for the same content again. This is why Blockbuster is gasping its last breath and NetFlix is standing over its dying body.

    I could potentially be the best consumer the movie/TV industry has, but instead, I became the enemy for no other reason than the industry treated me as such.

    This stuff about complex contract systems and embargoed air dates is a product of a system that's no longer appropriate for the technology of today, much less the near future. And you know what, this is THEIR problem, not ours (the consumers). They're paid the big bucks to solve the problem before it gets to us, instead of just passing the problem along to us. I really couldn't give a shit about the contract between Warner Bros and HBO. That's really not my problem and by making it my problem, you, the content provider are my problem. Thus, I will torrent.

    I want to pay. But you have to give me what I want, not what you think I want.

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