Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I Don't Buy Strictly Digital Content

If you go into our basement, one of the first things you’ll see is our media wall. One good hunk of a fairly good-sized wall covered with DVDs. In a chest in the corner, our ancient stash of VHS tapes. And in the study, well, I tore out the shelves in a rather large closet and put up bookshelves, which even now spill out into the room, threatening us with an overload of slowly-decaying wood pulp.

We also have a mountain of CDs, and in random drawers and boxes, some old audio cassettes, though those are going to go away as soon as I can get them transferred to my computer.

We have iPods and Kindles, and listen to a lot of digital music and watch a lot of movies on them. I’m also getting into ebooks, and hope to publish one of my own before the year is out.

But we’re not going out of our way to buy solely digital content.

Here’s why.

I keep seeing stories like this, where a consumer makes a digital-only purchase and then, later down the line, is denied use of the item purchased. Because they have no physical or backup copy of the item, they’re out the item and the money they used to buy it.

Until that stops, I’m not investing a lot of money in solely digital content.

I know stories like this are the exception. That most people enjoy their solely digital content, whether backed up at home or residing in the cloud somewhere. But cumbersome as our collections are, I know that day or night, come what may with the provider of said content, what I’ve got in my house is mine, unless they want to come take it from me. Then they’d have to get past the weenie dog, and I think she’s a pretty good deterrent.

Yes, the argument is made that if we suffer a fire, a flood, or have some mishap (such as the aforementioned weenie dog scratching a DVD or CD to the point it’s unplayable) that we lose that content as well. That is true. However, there is a big difference in my mind between an accident or an act of God and a random act of a copyright holder limiting my access to the content I’ve purchased.

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