Movie Studios Try Charging Users For Diminished Fair Use
from the try-again dept
In the UK, Universal Pictures is rolling out a program that for £19.99 allows a consumer to buy a DVD and two digital files of it, one for both the PC and a mobile device. It's a rough attempt at giving users some flexibility as to how they watch their media, without actually letting them control it. The studio claims the move is meant to broaden their market, though the digital files can't be played on either the iPod Video or the Sony PSP (not to mention any Apple or Linux PCs), two of the most popular handheld devices. Far from liberating users, the offer gets them to pay extra for diminished version of fair use. One positive way to look at the deal is that they're selling the digital download, but offering a DVD as a permanent backup. Given the high price of movies, this may hold some appeal to people, who want the reassurance that they'll have it (especially after they buy a new computer). Universal claims that the offer will "completely revolutionize" watching movies; they might be surprised to find out that people are already copying and sharing them with much more flexibility and function than what they offer.