|Flickr Credit: Fredrik Rubensson|
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?