In the copyright wars, one of the justifications pirates and IP skeptics have used to justify piracy and\or weakening or eliminating copyright has been that the content owners simply weren’t doing a good enough job of making content available. They were\are constantly accused of not innovating new business models to take advantage of the Internet and of digital distribution, and just wanting to hang onto the past.
Of course, this is and always was nuts. Companies do not create products and services to keep them away from customers. Companies want as many of their products and services to be sold as possible. They just don’t want them stolen.
Applying the logic of the IP skeptics to other industries, I suppose they just want gas stations to allow you to pump all the gas you want, for free, and if they lock their pumps or demand payment, they’re hanging onto an old business model and not taking advantage of new business models. After all, they could show you advertisements while you pump all the gas you want for free. Shouldn’t that be good enough?
Of course, all the content companies wanted was to be able to keep their content from being stolen. Assured of that, or at least assured that they could at least act to restrain piracy to some degree, of course they would make their content available in ways convenient to consumers.
Which is exactly what has been happening for several years now, most notably with HBO Go, but also with a variety of on-demand, streaming and subscription services.
Today, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has debuted an incredible resource that makes it very obvious how very available content is digitally, through a variety of means: WheretoWatch.com. I’m pleased from a policy perspective that this new resource makes it so very obvious that the content companies are in fact making their content available through a variety of means. This should put an end to such contention.
But, frankly, it’s consumers who are going to appreciate the new site more than anyone. Instead of scrolling first through Netflix and then through your cable video on demand offerings, WheretoWatch.com is a one-stop shop to see what options are available to you to get to the specific movie or TV show you’re looking for. It’s going to be a great consumer resource, in addition to Exhibit A for us copyright policy combattants.
And it stands in stark contrast to um, another website that was once set up on the other side of this issue (tee hee). Oh, wouldn’t you know it, they’ve taken it down.