I’ve read two articles today about the ways in which the entertainment industry is interacting with computing and the internet – and unsurprisingly both touch on issues of piracy. The first article (Fox Exec wants help ending piracy) is about Peter Chernin’s upcoming speech at Comdex. He’s expected to argue that restricting the reproduction of copyrighted materials to end piracy would also reinvigorate the tech economy. The other article (Online casting calls snub Apple) is from c|net and is about the way in which media and entertainment companies are passing the Mac platform by in favour of the wider distribution of Windows-based technology. And here’s a quote from Apple themselves:
Apple’s Schiller said the company is not concerned about losing out on the next generation of digital media services, noting that current industry-approved offerings are barely out of the gate while others are on thin ice legally. “We don’t want to evangelize products that encourage illegal behavior,” he said.
If you don’t mind me saying so (and I hope you’ll forgive me for being so harsh) both of these people – Schiller and Chernin alike – are talking absolute and total bollocks. In fact it’s never been clearer that in terms of conventional models, the entertainment industry and the computing industry are working directly at loggerheads here. Piracy in its current form is both the result of, and increases to be promoted by, rapid technological take-up and change. The desire to download a movie or a selection of MP3s is one of the things that lies directly behind the popularisation and take-up of broadband technologies, and everyone knows it. Similarly burning music, storing music, playing good quality entertainment products – all require decent hardware, and moreover encourage the purchasing of more or higher quality hardware by bringing the computer in to an ever more central entertainment role in the home. Who do they think they’re kidding?
Meanwhile Apple claim to be avoiding encouraging illegal behaviour? Then why have they made an entire operating system and way of interacting with media products that has made illegal behaviour – or to put it another way, behaviour that is not copyright-centred – easier than ever before? It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever…