Digital Copies in the Digital Era

Tell me that I’m romantic, but when I first saw the marking “Digital Copy” on those Blu-ray covers, I thought that the digital era, the one that I was dreaming when I was young, while watching star-trek, was making its first steps.

When someone sane people see this label on disk, it imagines that the box will contain a way to create a digital copy, or will provide a serial number that will allow the buyer, through a sophisticated distribution network, to download the the movie and see it in his computer or any mobile device.

When I first bought one of these, I saw that most of them were bind with the iTunes service. I was thrilled! Loyal customer of the Apple family of products, I imagined the following:

  • The movies will be downloaded with the usage of my iTunes account, and they will be available for download from anywhere. Would be like carrying my personal collection (at least a part of) with me all the time.
  • The service would provide the movie in various resolutions and I will be able to download them freely.

After all, I had already paid for the content, right?

The IPR Problem

The first problem in this situation, was with the IPR. You see I was born and lived in Greece (Hellas), which is not very good in the adoption of the new technologies. So, the “Digital Copy” thing does not exist in their vocabulary or the local Blu-ray disc.

I was buying my stuff from amazon.co.uk, which did not provided a warning that I will not be able to redeem my content, because my iTunes account was in the Greek iTunes store. And how should they know?

So, I had to deal with this irritating situation; I had payed for the content, I had the devices, but I could not redeem it, because I had only a Greek iTunes account.

Asking for Help

I asked Apple customer support for help and indeed they were very helpful and fast. They said that I should open an English iTunes account to redeem my content.

To open it, the system would require a credit card issued by an English bank or a gift card from another account in England. They said, that this could worked.

Luckily, I had a friend in England that agreed to send me a gift card. I registered easily and began to redeem the digital version of the movies.

The Ugly Truth

I started one-by-one redeeming the movies and then I was in front of those sad facts:

  • Most of the movies were not downloaded, but ripped from the DVD (they used iTunes for authentication only). The quality of the video was poor (DVD quality), but remember I had paid for the full thing.
  • The movies where bind with my account, but were not available for digital download from the iTunes store.
  • In some movies, the “Digital Copy” offer was expired, and I could not redeem them. Of course, I have paid for the digital version of the movie. But, it seems that in modern world, it takes only a small inscription in the back of the box to make things right and give the content owner the right to withdraw the digital copy option and never return the extra money of course.

Amateurs

I cannot really understand why the big studios have problem with piracy. Ok, they are stealing, but they are doing the work for them. Maybe they should see how they do it, and try to copy their underlying technologies.

They sure provide the movies with better quality, availability (24/7) and the service is scaling reasonably.

A Glimpse to the Future

I do not support piracy. Actually, I believe that piracy is stealing, but mocking your customer is stealing also. So, next time, when you asking for some people to support your company and buy your products, please RESPECT them.

Do not say that you provide digital copy, and the only thing you have is a DVD-rip quality movie, and for a specific time period.

I know that all these deals are complex, and the delivery networks will be huge, but IT IS YOUR JOB.

Since, you are not doing it properly and charging substantially, you enable the people to download them from pirated sites. So, instead of hunting down the pirates, just get them out of business.

Provide digital copy of the movies for a small price, aim for the planet as your audience, and do the extra mile, give the little extra, the one that will make people to press the button “buy” instead of searching the pirate sites. It is easy, the technology is here, just grab it and use it!

So Long for the Digital Copy …

I was always amazed by the Triple Packs in modern film releases. This included the Blu-Ray version of the film, a DVD version and a digital version, which you can download from iTunes by giving a special code included in the packaging. Of course this comes not for free … you pay something more.

I’m regular customer of amazon.co.uk and I have in my possession several movies in “triple packs”, bought originally from there. I’ll be honest, I bought the pack for the DVD version of the film (useful when you travel and you cannot have the Blu-Ray player with you), but since I could download the digital copy, I thought it would be handy to have it also. After all, its my prerogative … NOT!

Since I bought this from the UK, I should be there to download the copy. And I mean literally there, since the code was invalid outside UK. Doh! Nobody told me that, when I bought the original product … When I go to UK for vacation, I will get all my Blu-Ray disks with me to download my share of the copies (three, one in Full HD, one for computer and one for portable devices).

Oh well, seems like the music and film industry have a lot to learn about the digital world and the new way of doing things. This is why the pirate bay or sites like that exist I think …

Ironman 2 - Triple Play Pack