My cable company regularly sends me offers to buy movies. Amazon does the same, and for television shows as well. iTunes tells me they have thousands of video programs I can purchase.
Except they’re all lying.
They either claim, as in the cable ads, that I’ll “own them forever”, or imply that’s the case. But what happens if (more likely, when) Verizon’s contract with the owner of your movie ends and it’s no longer available from that particular store. Or if your cable company merges with another and the new accountants decide that season pass you “bought” was priced too low. Or Amazon goes out of business (it will happen someday).
When it comes to music, there are a half dozen or more streaming services, places where you can listen to all the tracks in the known universe. Build collections, assemble albums, play them on any device. At least you can until you stop paying the monthly charge, after which your music collection disappears.
Then there are digital books from Amazon and Apple, and audiobooks from Audible (which is owned by Amazon). They download to your device and you can read them when you’re not online, so it looks like you own them, but not really. Those files come with digital rights management (DRM), code that prevents you from doing what people have always done with paper-based books: give to family or friends when you are done, or allowing others to borrow them from your library. Except, it’s not “your” library.
The bottom line to all this ranting is simply that everyone needs to realize that when you pay for media and are not allowed to control the file, you don’t own it; you’re renting. And that’s the plan of the big copyright owners. They want to get us used to this kind of media marketplace, since it’s only a few steps from there to all music, video, and books being pay-per-view.
Just something to think about as you go about your holiday shopping this year.