How can I say this? Let’s have an example from this morning…
I was watching an excellent movie from 1983, Bill Forsythe’s Local Hero — a small budget Scottish flick about an oil exec coming to buy a small coastal town. Another I like of his is Comfort & Joy — another comedy based on the glasgow “ice cream wars” (which weren’t funny and involved drug trafficking…but not in the film.) I can’t get Comfort & Joy in the US, and the DVD I might be able to lay my hands on is the wrong region — thanks to greedy fucking companies that limit distribution between countries. There’s no electronic download of the movie on iTunes, either (to be fair, it’s not on the UK store, either…but trying to buy it, were it, would involve having to have a UK address, credit card, and account.
It’s a fucking electronic format file! Why can’t I buy something from another country online? Because of the distribution and copyright nonsense. I want to buy the movie…not pirate it. But what choice, if I really wanted it, would I have? I could buy the wrong region DVD and cut it to an e-format…but that’s also piracy in some countries (and always in the minds of the MPAA.) It’s ludicrous and purposefully keeps people from purchasing their material. But they’ll pitch a hissy if someone shares an Adele song they might have made a buck and a quarter from.
Similarly, a decade ago, I wanted to buy some albums from The Beautiful South. No one in the US had the band on mp3 and the CDs weren’t available. Once again, I could have bought them from amazon.co.uk — but the shipping alone made it not worth my while. What is a boy (of 33 at the time) to do? You can’t buy the damned things, as much as you want to.
The copyright system in place, and the distribution roadblocks don’t help the consumer, nor the companies that have put these obstructions in place, and they certainly don’t aid the artists in expanding their audience. (And it’s why, no matter how many book sales I might lose to “loaning”, I won’t DRM my stuff.)