I saw the movie Serenity earlier this week. It was awesome, and I immediately ran out and bought the TV series on DVD.I went with Dani, who’d already seen it, as had most of my friends. I’m not bitter, no not at all. ;) It was incredibly awesome and I had to see the series, Firefly, that it was based on. I’d read about it online but hadn’t tracked it down due to the mixed reviews it had received. I suppose I didn’t like the way it was described: A Space Western. I regret not having made up my own mind after checking it out, so I’ll keep that in mind in future.

I managed to find the DVDs box set of the series at JB HiFi for just under $40, which I thought was reasonable. I was going to buy Farscape series 3 as well, but that was listed as nearly $100, and series 4 was $139 or something. That’s just insane, so I didn’t buy it. I picked up series 2 for $45, so I’ll just wait for it to get discounted somewhere. Any media representatives reading should take note of the next section.

As part of the previews for the movie was a pathetic ad against movie ‘piracy’, yet again equating copyright infringement with stealing. Newsflash: copyright infringement isn’t theft, which is why it’s a separate crime. It’s infringement of a limited monopoly right granted to create an artificial scarcity of an otherwise limitless resource. If I copy a movie, using my own resources, by the way, I have not deprived anyone else of the movie. Theft deprives someone else of the thing that is stolen. Pretty fundamental difference. The only way I could ‘steal’ a movie would be to somehow get my hands on all the original material and take it away from the studio who has it.

The theory behind this ‘stealing’ meme is that by copying the movie myself instead of paying for an official copy is that I am depriving the copyright owner of income they would have otherwise received. However, I have also deprived the owner of Farscape income by not buying the DVDs because I thought it was too expensive. Hint: if it was cheaper, I’d buy it. I don’t think it’s worth $100, and I really like the series.

Things are gradually changing as the various media studios wise up to the changing attitudes of consumers. We don’t like region codes, we don’t like arbitrary delays in release times, we don’t like prices that we think are too high. We find ways around them, both legal and illegal. I firmly believe that things will eventually change as the studios start to lose serious cash and realise that trying to hang on to their old way of doing things is actively contributing to that loss of cash. Some are starting to figure out how to make money without treating all their customers like criminals.

I look forward to the time when I can easily pay $1 an episode or something and just download the whole series of something I happen to like that the local stations don’t feel like carrying. Then I can watch what I want to watch, whenever I want to, wherever I want to. I can easily check out something I’ve heard about to see if I like it, and like Serenity, I can quickly and easily grab the whole back catalog, throwing a nice wad of cash someone’s way into the bargain. Oh, and this distribution method costs bugger all to maintain, so the overheads are much lower than they are now. Profit goes up. Everyone wins.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

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