went to duke today to see jack valenti, ceo and president of the mpaa, give a speech about the moral imperative of not copying digital material.

i on the other hand feel that copying digital material is an absolute moral imperative.

this begs the question: when is copying ok and when is it not (forgetting the ‘law’ for a moment)?

but is any answer to that question even meaningful?

technology has created a situation where there is one communal respository (or library) of digital content, and you can check items out without ever paying a fee, without depriving the ‘library’ of revenue, and without depleting the availability of the content.

In fact, your checking the content out actually means more people can have access to that content. suddenly the moral coin has flipped!

telling me copying a song or a movie is wrong would be like telling me that going to my library and copying a book is morally wrong.

i want to say that the movie industry should plan against revenue from after market DVD sales, but it occurs to me that there is something about a movie that makes me (and presumably others) want to buy and collect them. and a movie in a fancy movie box is a lot nicer than a burned DVD.

then again i probably think this only because of limitations of storage and bandwidth. If I could store 10 or 100 DVD-quality movies on my laptop, (and if i had a much improved battery) perhaps i would think differently about the collection argument and not care so much about fancy cases.

i do think it’s true that if I had limitless access to a gazillion HDTV/DVD-quality movies on-demand for some low monthly flat rate, I probably wouldn’t care so much about downloading it for free or needing to store a copy locally.

judging by the acclaim of HBO lately, I’d wager that their business model(s) are closer to the future. films released for the cinemas that cost $80-100mil to make probably say more about the excesses and cost-inefficiencies of hollywood and the necessity of imposing draconian and anti-consumer copy-protections.

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