I read an interesting article in BBC History Magazine about the emergence of shadow markets in face of unneeded regulation (I feel like I should totally say I’m kidding, but hang in here for a second) and the perception that said crimes were victimless, because of the unneeded regulation or taxation level. Dude was preaching to the DRM choir. Except not. Because, you know, BBC History.
I am not on the piracy bandwagon. (Pirates bad, paying for things good, e-book pricing different conversation.) I’ve never been an advocate of DRM and moving into e-reading has made my beliefs gospel. I read on my Sony 505, on Ozy (My iPad likes to be called Ozy right now. It’s a thing we’ve got going.) an iPod touch of indeterminate ownership, and occasionally a Kindle. (But not often. We don’t really speak.) I listen to music in my house, in my car, on my 3 iPods and Ozy. I watch movies on … you follow. Media Anonymous keeps tucking brochures in my door and I ignore them. My end of year cash flow statements make stern judgy faces about the entertainment column and I scoff at it. I’m a dirty girl, I’m not going to change now.
That’s the thing about me, when I want my fix, I want it. I don’t want to wait for an appropriate time, an approved place, the good underwear. I just want to get it on with my media of choice. I’ll pay for it, I’ll treat it like a lady, but it better show me a good time or I’m on to the next thing. That said, if I bought the dvd/cd/epub/mobi I’m not interested in buying every format. I will rip the cd, recode the dvd, strip the epub, I like my files ready to go where I want to take them. (I’m not into sharing, it’s just about me and my stash.) So I get pretty annoyed when the DRM justifications start up. To me, it’s a hurdle that encourages piracy. To them, it’s protection against piracy.
Tomato. You know the rest.
Since Ozy came into my life I’ve been reading almost exclusively on it at home. When I go out in the world, it’s the Sony or the iPod and I want to take the book (or film, or song) with me. I’m not going to buy it three ways. I experimented with several reading apps that preserved the DRM but they weren’t seamless. I don’t want to remember my passwords, check my settings, or otherwise screw around with making sure other people won’t rip off people charging me $8 for a $5 mass market. (Oops, almost got into pricing. My bad.) I know margins are tight, I know the music industry has problems, I know theater ticket sales are tanking. I didn’t do any of that. I buy my stuff, and a lot of the time I buy it retail. So while I don’t support a shadow economy or black market (pirates!) I do consider taking it all off to be a legit endeavor for the consumer (moi) who wants to get her media on. (I’ll throw out some numbers. I spent upwards of five hundred bucks on various media items last month. When I start to go blind, I’ll stop. I promise. The budget is just grateful it isn’t concert season. Alright, I may or may not have just spent $600 on a new DVR setup so I don’t miss General Hospital.)
One of my favorite sayings, because I’m pretentious like that, is that water seeks it’s level. The easiest path is the path it follows. The easiest thing to do in this new world of media is to steal things. The hardest thing to do is abide by all the DRM restrictions and keep someone else’s ducks in a line on your dime. I’ll be hanging out here in the middle of the road, where I will undoubtedly get mown over by a Mack truck. Y’all do what y’all do, as long as you remember that everyone has to put food on the table.