Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I Am Not Big on Digital Copies

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Flickr Credit: Fredrik Rubensson
I’ve talked about eBooks before—namely, that we should not care whether other people prefer eBooks over paper copies or vice versa. I still hold to that: it doesn’t matter. I still enjoy my Kindle because it is convenient, fun, and enjoyable.

In the grander scheme of things though… I’m wary of digital copies. I am a reader of books and water of movies. I am familiar with things like Kindle, UltraViolet, and Netflix, who provide a cheaper way to experience the media on a screen . It is convenient. It works. I know this.

But they still make me nervous sometimes.

Subscription services like Netflix and Hulu frighten me foremost. These are the ones where you pay a certain dollar amount on a regular basis and in return, they give you access to television and movies. That bothers me because someone else could remove my access to things I like whenever they wanted. If Netflix loses its contract with Company XYZ, BOOM, my favorite movie is gone to me. If Hulu were to go out of business, that TV show I was watching is lost to me, too. I paid my money, but I didn’t necessarily get a say in that.

Maybe I don’t like it because it isn’t the same as owning things. If I own a physical DVD, nobody can stop me from watching it. It is mine, it is in my hands, and if I want to watch Firefly, Joss Whedon himself would have no right to come in my house and take it away from me. I have all the power in that relationship.

Of course, there is the option of owning digital copies of media forms. They are better, but still make me wary. I know that Amazon guarantees the transfer the books I’ve bought to a new device should my Kindle die, but what if something bigger were to happen? I know that of all the disasters about to befall planet Earth, this isn’t high on the list, but I’ve heard it’s a thing. At some point we may turn to a kind of Internet warfare where information and websites are devoured by malicious viruses and unable to be recovered. Maybe the Internet will die all together. Then everything on my Kindle or UltraViolet will be gone forever.

Paper books and DVDs should outlast that part of the apocalypse, anyway.

And I realize that in the event of the world ending I should probably prioritize many things higher than my ability to watch Finian’s Rainbow whenever I want, but even as the world ends I think I should be able to have some comforts in life.

In the end, digital copies bother me because they remove a degree of control from me and the thing that I own. Or am paying for. When I have a DVD, I can hold that sucker in my hands and it is my responsibility to keep it in good condition for its next use. Even if I check a book out from the library, I can still touch that thing with my fingers and see that it is there. The library cannot come to my house and take it away from me. I’m the one responsible for bringing it back.

Our world is becoming increasingly digital. That in itself is neither good nor bad; it just is. The impact it has on our property, though, is certainly a relevant question, even if I have no answers. Am I being selfish or wasteful having these fears? Am I clinging to the past?

I don’t know. Do you?


What are your opinions on digital ownership?


12 comments :

  1. Interesting post. I can see why you want to own a physical copy of something. I typically reserve my Kindle for "untried" authors or things I can get for dirt cheap. There's just something nice about knowing that a book is sitting on my shelf and it's mine (my precious?).

    Ack, Firefly. I just started watching it. I can't quite bring myself to finish the series. The whole one season thing is cruel.

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    1. Yes, I agree that the dirt-cheapness of certain works does have its own individual charm. Especially if it is an author untried, or even a library book! And yeah, seeing it on a shelf has its own kind of magic. :)

      :( I knowwww. But it is still good. And you can watch Serenity afterwards!

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  2. This is so interesting, because I was discussing this in my media studies class a little while ago. For example, on an iPhone (a physical object) if you do certain things like try to copy the software, they could take the device away. I mean, in a way you're just 'renting' ones and zeros-- but who owns those? I too love my e reader *huggles* but digital stuff is complicated and ownership is everywhere-- who has a right to the content. I don't know either, but I loved this discussion and I'm glad other people are thinking about it too.

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    1. Indeed, our new digital age has really put a new spin on what ownership means in our world. Copyrights and patents extend to new things, and it can be hard to keep up with... It's something to keep our eyes on as the technology develops, anyway.

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  3. Digital copies make me nervous, too. I prefer print books and buying DVDs, though I do like Netflix. Somehow knowing I have a hard copy of something makes me feel more secure.

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    1. Right? Although I'll admit that the convenience of Netflix is nice, too. XD

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  4. I'm just glad that physical copies of books aren't becoming extinct...

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    1. Of course not. I believe it is as Sir Stephen Fry said-ish, books are no more threatened by e-Readers than stairs are by the invention of the escalator.

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  5. I love how your version of the apocalyse is that you lose all your digital media :) I don't know, I guess that I'm just a really trusting person? I just assume that because I've bought a movie off iTunes that if something goes wrong then Apple will take care of it. (That might mean that I'll burned one day :/ )

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    1. I dunnoooooooo I mean if there's an apocalypse then Apple isn't going to be there and then where will you be? And yeah, I think that companies try to help you keep your content, but I still have my concerns.

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  6. This is an extremely relevant issue to discuss. I totally get where you're coming from with Netflix and other streaming services. If I really love something I want a physical copy of it. I don't really own ebooks, usually I just borrow them from the library, so that's not high on my priority list, but digital photographs are.

    If anything ever happened to my computer, what would I do? All those memories gone. So I try to print out the very best of the best every once and awhile, just in case.

    This is such a great topic, I might have to write a blog response and explore it further. Thanks for bringing it up:)

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    1. Yeah, same. I do have to admit that borrowing eBooks from the library is incredibly nice because you don't have to go anywhere. You could be in your underwear and nobody would know. That is something beautiful.

      And yes, I definitely get that. There have been times when we almost lost all our photos because we hadn't backed up our materials (this was years back) but yes. Memories can disappear quite fast in this age, too.

      Go ahead! I'd love to see your spin on the topic. :D

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