Originally Posted by BobR
Can you imagine what a wonderful thing this would be for the public if movies were freely available after 5yrs! Movie studios would still make lots of bucks, and I'd sure be willing to give up an occassional movie that they decide not to make because of not having that ongoing revenue. The benefit of all that content for free far outweighs the very slightly reduced incentives to produce. If it's all about incentive to produce, why don't we charge everyone on the internet a $100/yr fee that goes to the content producers based on their sales. That would really increase the incentive to produce content, but it wouldn't make sense because consumers lose... just like with the current copyright laws!
--- End of Rant ---
As someone who works occasionally in the Film/Video production business, I know that movie companies don't want to make "lots of money," they want to make "all the money." It's not about saying, "You know, we've made enough money, let's back off now." It's more like, "How can we continually milk this cash cow?" (I'm glad that they finally laid off of that silly campaign to make us stop "pirating" movies by trying to attach a human face to the theft. You know the ones, "I'm a set carpenter and I met my wife on the set of "The Big Chill" and when you pirate movies you take food out of my family's mouths." They're so phony because the crew got paid during the principal photography. After the movie's made, only the studio loses money from pirating. I'm not advocating piracy, but I'm glad that they finally stopped mis-representing the situation.)
So, the main thing to remember is that it makes sense from a greed standpoint to do whatever it takes to raise the bottom line. Regardless of what the company "says" it's main focus is to make as much money as possible. Even if they were to do the "altruistic/politically correct" thing like consider the customers, what they're really doing is considering the customer's pocketbooks.
I'm not into DRM'ed eBooks, but I'd rather convert my own Gutenburg titles for reading on my Z2. That only works for me because I'm a neo-geek and I can do it. People to whom it is too difficult to understand DRM and conversion and the proper gadgetry necessary for this or that are perfectly fine with the tried-and-true method of curling up with a good book in paper form.
I'm not sure what the answer is for the future of eBooks, but I know that it needs to get easier to use and understand (and overall, cheaper including the necessary hardware) and provide a necessary service over and above what paper books provide. Some wonderful selling points are being able to read in the dark with the backlight on while other people are sleeping and the autoscroll feature. Drawbacks include the high cost of the hardware (compared to the relatively low cost of the published book), the need to charge the hardware, the delicateness of the hardware (when was the last time you dropped a book and your heart sank?), the innate "coldness" of the hardware, and the need to completely understand DRM and why you can't just lend "your" "book" to a friend.
Someone enterprising will analyze the challenges and make a ton of money by giving the people what they want in the way they want it.