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The End of Content Ownership 247

adeelarshad82 writes "In recent weeks companies like Amazon, Sony, Google, Verizon, 24symbols and others have started to roll out 'cloud-based' content streaming and on-demand services (or plans) for movies, music and even books. Video on demand is nothing new, nor is streaming. The difference now, though, is that companies like Amazon want you to stream your own content. This article sheds some light on how the cloud, along with subscription and on-demand services, will transform our perception of content access and ownership."
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The End of Content Ownership

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  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:31PM (#35784896)

    Don't get me wrong, I love my streaming media, but ISPs seem to really hate it.

    Don't worry, your ISP will start loving it once again when it's "forced" to pay the rightsholder $0.25/GB - while charging you $1/GB - for overages. Don't want MTV^WThe Music Streaming Service or ESPN^WThe Sports Streaming Service with your cable TV^WInternet? Fine, you can have throttled-to-dialup-speeds^WBasic Cable!

    From TFA: "The parent whose child wants to watch "Dora the Explorer: Big Sister Dora" over and over and over again doesn't have to own the DVD or even the digital file. Cloud-based ownership and access means that their child can see Dora play big sister at home, on the iPad, in the car, and on mommy's smartphone. They own the movie or, more likely, have an all-you-can eat subscription service, so each viewing costs nothing except the price of Internet access."

    Indeed, your ISP is counting on it. Cloud-based ownership and access means that their child can be charged for each viewing, tracked for each viewing, and have customized banner ads sent to each device.

    From TFA: "For the majority of consumers, however, they will come to fully trust the cloud and believe in subscription pricing for everything. Ownership will become an anathema as consumers realize they don't want to risk losing content as they switch services, and they tire of finding requisite space on their own local storage for all those digital files. "

    The Right To Read [gnu.org] is also relevant here. Unless the bits are stored on a device that you control, the content provider can flush them down the memory hole and there isn't going to be a damn thing you can do about it.

    (Seriously? "Tire of finding requisite space on their own local storage for all those digital files?" A 1TB drive costs less than $100 today, never mind in 10-15 years. Or is the business model going to be that since everything is "streamed" to dickless workstations, that 640GB oughta be enough for everybody?)

  • by AcidPenguin9873 ( 911493 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:43PM (#35785012)

    When IP can be reproduced and distributed at zero cost, ownership and property rights have little to no meaning. People who use the term "imaginary property" have been saying this for at least 10 years, especially on Slashdot.

    Well, this is now content creators agreeing with them. "Imaginary property" advocates have been saying for years that IP rights holders are free to exercise their exclusive rights to that IP by not selling it to anyone, thus maintaining their exclusive copy of the IP. (Implied there is that no one will get to actually experience the IP, making it useless as a source of income). Well, this is them doing half of that. Because copyright (i.e. exclusive distribution rights) is impossible to enforce, they are simply going to stop distributing the IP in "here's a copy of it, please don't copy it again and give it away" form, which basically stopped working over 10 years ago. They are instead providing access to their IP behind these cloud-based services which, in addition to providing the content itself, provide added value in ways such as organizing the content and allowing access from many devices/places/times. For most people, the content plus the additional value offered by these services is enough to get them to subscribe (i.e. pay). This allows the IP creators to continue making money from their IP. By the way, this goes for software too: think Steam.

    This is in opposition to the "imaginary property" advocates that maintain that all content should be free-as-in-beer because it doesn't cost any money to duplicate, damned be the (sometimes significant) creation costs. Most of them use free-as-in-freedom arguments like "I own this, I should be able to do what I want with it", or arguments such as "I hate the RIAA/MPAA so I'm screwing them." Personally, I hate the RIAA/MPAA as much as the next guy, but what I hate even more is justifying pirated content by saying "well I'm just screwing the RIAA/MPAA". Guess what? You're also screwing the content creator, whose work you apparently want enough to pirate.

  • by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:37PM (#35785648) Homepage

    I don't WANT to own every book, CD, or DVD in the world, but I'd sure like to be able to access them all (well maybe not ALL, but I'll pick and choose LATER). I would consider the cloud to be a library (perhaps a library for hire, at least for some of the titles). I do own my favorite books, CD's and DVD's and you can try to pry them from my cold dead hands (and NOT till then!), and I also borrow books, CD's and DVD's from the public library. I can see extending this to some provider in the cloud as well. But I'll still want physical copies of some things......

The optimum committee has no members. -- Norman Augustine