Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How entertainment skews things

Considering my own admittedly speculative musing about a lot of subjects I think I need to put up something discussing how entertainment has different rules.

For instance, if they can get it, people will often happily "borrow" something entertaining, and then refuse to pay for it in any way. And I used quotes as I feel confident that plenty of people in the entertainment industry see that as stealing, where yeah, I think in a lot of cases for now, until the web evolves a bit, it often is. But you can literally do it, like by checking out a book or something from a library.

For certain things, like movies, it's interesting to speculate on how much it can take away from revenue, though I think that can be overblown, as great films can make money indefinitely. So I think when the web matures, you'll see this issue more focused on people who have to make their money immediately, versus people with an intellectual property that can draw revenue for years and years and years.

Like I have movies to add to my entertainment library, where yup, will purchase them, when they're available and I have the funds. So irritating now in the early days of the web when it's just not possible to purchase a movie for your own personal library of films because entertainment executives simply haven't made it possible.

With photos it's looking like a focus will have to be on some kind of certification for originals, as it's possible to endlessly reproduce them perfectly. So just having a photo is meaningless as to its value, unless somehow it IS completely exclusive. But it can matter like if you're in someone's home and they have a blown up photo hanging on their wall, whether or not it's a taken copy, or they have something certified from the photographer.

It tells you about them. So I'm sure some people will work to figure out a way to distinguish the "real thing" from counterfeits, just for status reasons.

People will pay for things just to show their place in society. And I think that yes, information itself is being commoditized to a large extent, but not completely. And that as people get used to so much information flowing so easily we'll see society adjust as it always has as thousands of years of human history have seen many times where technology has shifted things.

With entertainment, novelty has value. And the monetary value of novelty definitely wears off quickly. However, entertaining works can also have enduring value, which may or may not be monetized.

So when you see certain people howling in rage at the web, I think it's usually about novelty: watching your money float away as curious people check out the hook without paying.

Nothing I do is about novelty. So I find it hard to care about it. But I try to appreciate the issue intellectually, which is the point of this post.

James Harris
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