Apple Praised for Space-Shifting Initiative
Consumer rights activists praised Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday for his stance on space-shifting – the ability to transfer a movie from a DVD to a computer or iPod – calling it “a heroic idea sure to benefit consumers worldwide”.
“Against all odds, Apple has done something great,” said Martin Hyslop of the American Freedoms Association, “Rather than forcing consumers to download freeware to access their legally-acquired films on whatever device they choose, this new initiative will provide a new, copy-protected version for Apple products, for a nominal fee. Nominal compared to the cost of the computer. Or at least Macs.”
The Apple plan, which would see a new class of DVD discs sold in stores across the country, would include a second copy of the movie specifically designed to be copied to the hard drive of any iTunes-enabled device. The new “enhanced” discs would be sold for an extra $4, and would eventually become the “standard” delivery method for Hollywood movies, not counting BitTorrent sites.
“It’s a big savings for the consumer,” said Hodgwin Pile of analyst firm Holt and McGregor, “It would seem like ripping a movie yourself for free would be cheaper, but if you consider that it takes at least 90 minutes to convert a DVD… I don’t know about you, but my time is worth $250/hour, so that’s a $371 savings doing it Apple’s way. Even more if you factor in the legal fees of fighting a DMCA case for bypassing the copy protection. Apple’s finally given us a legal alternative to enjoy our fundamental rights as consumers.”
Still, not everyone is happy about the new approach. Sources inside at least two major studios tell PTTBT they will fight Steve Jobs’ proposal to the end, decrying what they see as “corporate piracy of the worst kind”.
“So what, we jack up the price of the discs by $4, and Apple gets $2 of that?” said Universal Pictures executive Jim Rubenstein, “We’re not going down the same road as those music dopes. You want to do this, it’s $15 extra, and you get the same $2, and no more propping up your little iPod scam. We’re not getting screwed, left begging for more. That’s what writers are for.”