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How many times should you pay for the same content?

Vince Cable’s announcement that some format shifting would be allowed, in law, by the end of this session of parliament – finally allows the corporations the chance to operate in an intelligent way. KitGuru believes that the real question is actually, “How many times should you pay for the same content?”. What do you think?

You go to a store and buy a song on CD. Later, through no fault of your own, the disc becomes scratched and the song unplayable. Should you be able to download it again?

You pay to download a song and use it on an MP3 player. Later that day, you are in a car with friends. That car has a docking option for your player and you decide to plug your MP3 into the car and everyone listens to the music. Is that OK ?

At a party, everyone decides the DJ needs to be shot. You step up with an MP3 player that contains a mixture of tracks you have downloaded from a paid music service and CDs that you have purchased. Are you breaking any laws?

You’re a middle aged lady. As a child, you saved up your pocket money to buy an album by Ellen Shipley called ‘Breaking Through the Ice Age’. When you go to play it after many years, you find that the record has accumulated dust and scratches. Your niece shows you how to download a copy from a forum. Are you breaking the law when you listen to the tracks?

There are few issues which create as much grey-areas as music, video and digital rights.

And it’s not going to get any easier.

Right now, if you sit in a cinema with an HD video camera on a tripod, then it seems quite clear that you are doing something improper. Bring the camera home, import to Premiere and output the film ready top upload onto a torrent site – and you’re clearly acting like a criminal.

But we come back to the same arguments. If someone bought a film on DVD and the media perishes, are they justified in downloading a replacement?

You are a Sky customer, with the film package, but the film you really want to watch is not on until tomorrow – are you justified in downloading the film and watching it when you want to?

Complex stuff.

Worst case scenario for media copyright owners?

Augmented humans.

In the future, there’s no doubt that many issues and disabilities will be overcome with the application of technology. If some of that technology helps with vision, and includes storage memory, could a disabled person be sued for watching a film at the cinema?

Even two years ago, this was already heading into new and interesting areas – and science fiction has provided us with a huge number of situations where video (or more) is stored.

The ultimate irony would be if augmented cinema hero Spock was refused entry to the local Odeon

KitGuru says: Thinking back to prohibition, the law gets broken most/the true criminals get richest, when laws don’t make sense. That’s where we are with DRM in 2011. If a person is prepared to pay up to £100 a month for a phone line, broadband connection and all the film/music they can eat – to be watched wherever they are – on whatever device they have with them, then surely that is reasonable and the law should be moved to accommodate that business model?

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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