Netflix rules, ok?

Netflix Rocks — It’s Hollywood that’s the problem.

I recently heard on my favorite podcast that Netflix is, by bandwidth, the biggest site on the Internet. This is very comforting, as it proves something that I have always believed in my spirit; that the majority of people would rather not pirate movies if they were given a convenient, reasonably-priced alternative. For this reason, Netflix’s $8-per-month video streaming service is one of the best bargains (I refuse to use the word “value”; it just sounds wrong) on the Internet. It even works on my phone!

But it’s not all wine and roses. While there is alot of good stuff out there, there are many movies that do not feature on Netflix’s streaming service. Here are some of them:

  • Avatar (2009)
  • Star Wars (all six movies, 1977-2005)
  • Indiana Jones (All four movies)
  • Back to the Future (Trilogy)
  • Iron Man I and II
  • Spider-Man (all three)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (all three)
  • Fantastic 4 (both)
  • How to Train your Dragon
  • Schindler’s List
  • The Hurt Locker (One movie I will never watch or buy — here’s why)
  • Almost anything from Walt Disney

In most cases, you have to pay more for the DVD-by-mail service. This is understandable for a recent movie like Avatar, but Star Wars (IV) is thirty-four years old!

As with most disputes of this nature, if you go far enough down the rabbit hole, you will find an obstinate publisher (Director/Producer/movie studio/media conglomerate etc.) at the bottom of it. These folks honestly believe, deep down in their souls, that copyright is ownership; they have told themselves and the rest of us that lie long enough that it has become universally accepted as fact.

Copyright is, and always has been, a bargain between creators, publishers and consumers, intended to give those who create a “limited and exclusive right” to make money out of their creations, after which they fall gracefully into the public domain. It is not, and has never been, ownership. Repeat after me: “Loaned, not Owned”. Got it? Great.

These folks have got the “exclusive” right down pat, but the “limited” part seems to elude them: Assuming there are no more retroactive copyright term extensions, Avatar will enter the public Domain on Jan 1 2105 — how “limited” does that sound to you? Why do they need 95 years? Personally I say five is enough, with an option to purchase an extra five years for, say $100,000.

I blame Mickey Mouse; but that’s another story. But Netflix rocks.

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  • By Dear Netflix « Wizard Prang's Blog on January 31, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    […] been recommending your streaming service to friends, showing it on smart-phones and tablets, and generally telling the world how cool it is. I am not one to make threats, but if you think that annoying your customers like this is […]

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