Two separate articles today, one about the movie industry and another about the recording industry, show that the traditional entertainment industry is still going down the wrong path blindly. It's a path that's going to cost them a lot of money and hurt their business. For all the talk of how file sharing and "piracy" are hurting their business, the truth is increasingly clear: the companies that make up Big Content, and their inability to recognize what consumers want is causing them to lose a lot more money than any file sharing system ever will. On the movie side, we have a Washington Post story about how the big studios ridiculous requirements are guaranteeing that the various movie download stores fail
. This was clear as soon as Amazon launched their terrible
attempt in the space, and quietly admitted
that a large part of the blame had to be placed on the studios for the restrictions they set up. Meanwhile, on the side of the recording industry, record label execs are talking up the importance of "flexibility" and "interoperability," while ignoring MP3s and talking up the importance of copy protection
. MP3s give them the flexibility and interoperability they crave at much lower costs while making consumers much happier. The success of sites like eMusic and Allofmp3.com show that people have no problem paying for MP3s -- and, in fact, they value the flexibility the format (and the lack of copy protection) gives them.
What's getting silly is that the execs don't even seem to realize their arguments in favor of copy protection don't make any logical sense
. Copy protection has never stopped a single piece of content from reaching a file sharing network in unauthorized form. Not one. And once that content is there, it's available all over the world, and the entire point of having the copy protection system in the first place goes away. Instead, the only thing the copy protection does is get in the way of people who want more flexibility (such as buying the songs they bought in one place on a different machine or on a different device). Giving customers what they want, at a reasonable price, would get a lot more people comfortable with buying the content and not worrying about compatibility or limitations. It increases the value of the content and greatly increases the market. Instead, the company wastes its time with expensive technology solutions that hurt their own customers, makes their content less usable and makes it all less valuable. It's a huge strategic disaster that is killing their business more than any file sharing system.