There’s a good story on BitTorrents over at Wired at the moment by from Clive Thomson based on an interview with Bram Cohen, BitTorrent’s creator. Thomson writes a few entertaining anecdotes about the entertainment industry’s lack of understanding of the area and makes a similar point to my previous post about Apple and the idea of iTorrent:
“The music industry watched songs get stolen for years, yet as soon as it gave people what they wanted – a reasonably cheap and easy way to pay for individual tracks – customers swarmed to the legal option: the iTunes Music Store. What if the movie industry pursued a similar model?”
Okay, so we don’t even have iTunes Music Store in Australia (because the copyright laws are so antiquated here), but the idea holds firm. I had an interesting experience with The Bourne Supremecy. I missed it in the cinemas, went into a DVD shop and nearly bought it but decided I might rent it instead. Then, on a spur of the moment impulse, I went into a Blockbuster last night that I was passing with the intention of buying it. They’d sold out. Lost sale. Can’t be bothered. Might rent it sometime instead.
Now, if it had been legally available online I would have bought it, no question about it. Paid my, say $5, downloaded it and all would be good. But the mechanics of the physical product being on the shelf (or not) lost the sale. It’s really not a question of if this will happen, but when, and the movie industry need to get their skates on.