Hollywood: It's time to get creative, use the Net

Anything that lets us avoid a trip to the video-rental store, while simultaneously offering more choices of movies, sounds good at first glance. In some ways, it’s the future of home entertainment.

If such a service ever does take shape, however, it’ll likely include severe restrictions on what customers can do with what they’ve rented. The copyright wars ensure that.

The service would further reinforce a business model that reflects the entertainment industry’s narrow view of the world. To Hollywood, we are nothing but “consumers” of “content,” and as digital content takes over we will rent, not purchase, what we consume.

But the Internet is a more expansive place than that. The future of video should be an expansion of choices: into dimensions far beyond the traditional tube.

Hollywood: It’s time to get creative, use the Net (SiliconValley.com)

We just had a spirited classroom discussion regarding file-sharing, as part of a panel called “Current Issues in Cyberspace.” I had to cut the discussion off, but I hope students will continue it on their blogs.

Several students complained that the price of albums is too high, and that they only want one or two singles and don’t want to purchase the whole album. But only one or two had any experience buying single songs from places like iTunes. That’s the very service they say they are being denied, but they’re not using it.

There were a few reluctant smiles when I turned their arguments around and said, “You know, I really like skydiving, but it’s just too expensive for my budget. I think I’m going to steal a plane so that I can practice my God-given right to enjoy skydiving.”

I have no real vested interest in popular music — financial, emotional, or otherwise, but I do enjoy watching the rock-n-roll industry try to teach morals. This is the third generation of young people who have been carefully groomed to respond to the aesthetics of rebellion.