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October 25, 2004
The Real Threat: Me2Me
Jason proposes an interesting theory below: he argues that the recording industry's war on P2P may be a distraction from an even more mission-critical battle -- gaining control of "me2me."
It looks like David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix would agree with Jason; in a recent piece on the RIAA's strategies, Bernstein writes:
"[The] labels are missing the fact that store-bought CDs, while probably retaining a place in the consumer's world, cannot provide what today's users want: total portability of their music. If users can connect electronically to every song or album they have ever paid for, wherever they may roam, well, the CD just can't match that."
HBO, for one, is very straightforward in its FAQ
that the goal is to take away your time/space shifting rights in order to sell them back to you. In one section
, HBO says that it has sole discretion to "decide what copying privileges [we] wish to extend to consumers." In another
, it tells you its "On-Demand" service means you no longer need to "time shift" programming. But if you would like to own
the programming you've just paid to watch, you are certainly welcome to pay for it again. "[The] entire series of HBO's Original Programming (such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, etc.)...[is available] in attractive box sets with special features such as out-takes and directors' notes."
So perhaps this battle isn't so much about "competing with free" as it is about competing with our expectation that we can, as we did with analog media, pay once to enjoy our purchase anytime and anywhere.
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