Who Owns The Media You Just “Bought”?

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.

Teaching on the Big Screen

This week on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review show (on an obscure cable channel called Current TV), the hosts offered their choices for the top 5 movie teachers of all time.

5. Dave Jennings (portrayed by Donald Sutherland) – Animal House
4. Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) – Stand and Deliver
3. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
2. Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) – Mr. Holland’s Opus
1. John Keating (Robin Williams) – Deat Poets Society

So, are these the teachers who best represent the profession on the silver screen?

Maybe they should have included Ditto from the 1984 mess of a film called Teachers.

You’ll need to suffer through the movie to understand that reference. :-)

Cinematic Teachers

A writer at the London Times has assembled a list of the 15 worst teachers in the movies.

I’m not enough of a film buff to argue intelligently about her choices, although technically speaking Mr. Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was the principal, not a teacher.

Maybe we could substitute Ben Stein’s incredibly boring social studies teacher from the same movie instead.

His recent advocacy for teaching “intelligent” design in science classes certainly qualifies him for the worst teacher list in real life.

But it’s nice she offered a mention to my favorite bad teacher: Ditto from the 1984 mess simply titled Teachers.

On the other end of things, the same writer also put together her 15 most inspirational teachers in films.

Again, not enough background for any serious criticism… but Yoda and Arnold Schwarzenneger??

[Thanks to Carol at Bellringers for the link.]

Deja Vu Again

This BBC headline just seems so very familiar.

Skynet military launch postponed

I wonder if the person responsible for naming British military projects has ever seen any of the Terminator films.

Or maybe they’re trying to tell us something (“communications network”? sure it is!)

Paranoid? Not me. :-)