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Posted by Mark Hine at 1:00PM   |  Add a comment
Thumb Drive

Perhaps you have been following the latest legal tale of the MPAA versus the world. Or in this case,  versus RealNetwork's latest product- RealDVD. RealDVD is a DVD archive tool designed to copy the contents of a DVD to a user's hard drive. The MPAA claims that the RealDVD product violates the DMCA by cirucumventing encryption. RealNetworks counter claims that no copy protection is breached and that consumers have the right to create a back-up of legally purchased DVDs. These are surface issues however. The real issue at stake is control.

In my opinion, the point of contention is not the DVD or the file download or the media file itself. It is the content. The value of a DVD is what is on it, not how it is delivered. It makes much more sense to provide a mechanism of delivery that is device agnostic and with it - a license agreement that is also device agnostic. It's about the control of the content not how or where it is played back. But a DVD is a mechanism of control. Encryptable.

I propose that the industry create a new, universal standard for content distribution. One that actually makes sense to consumers and the industry. Imagine a piece of content, a summer blockbuster movie for example. The content itself is licensed to the consumer. How they choose to view it, on DVD, iPod, Zune, their computer, etc is up to the consumer - not the movie studios or distributors. Apple has finally turned the corner with music, stripping DRM from iTunes store audio content. It's time for a new paradigm. One that keeps pace with technology, now and in the future. License the content in such a way that the consumer can decide when,where and how.

The answer: digital delivery of a device agnostic media file. Perhaps a static RAM drive. Couple it with software that works with a TV directly, a stand alone media player, a computer and portable devices. At last glance, an 8GB thumb drive cost $15.00 - the cost of the average DVD. Selling versions in this method for multiple delivery platforms would, in theory, give consumers options and movie studios access to multiple layers of playback options thus increasing sales. Imagine inserting the thumb drive into your computer and being prompted, "How would you like to view your movie?". Now that's choice.

 


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