May 10, 2004
EZ-D: Ready For Expiring Content?

What's the latest way to access expression in the film world? EZ-D, a DVD "purchase" with a timeclock that allows you to watch the movie as many times as you want for 48 hours, then poof! -- the work disappears.

Question is, how happy are we about moving to a model where we buy things for two days at a time? Should we let the line between ownership and not be so E-Zly blurred? Are imploding expressive goods a good idea?

Before EZ-D was a gleam in anyone's eye, UC-Berkeley brilliants Deirdre Mulligan, John Han, and Aaron Burstein suggested that such digital rights management deployments may seriously damage consumer expectations for private use and fair use. You might start out thinking of EZ-D as a rental you don't have to return and end up teaching your kids that inquiry, exploration, and artistic experience happen on some corporation's clock. Not to mention that metal discs make good landfill.

In more ways than one, that return trip to the rental place is good exercise.

Posted by Elizabeth Miles at May 10, 2004 10:16 PM | TrackBack

I don't see how this really solves anything for the distributors... they can rest easy knowing that that $2 DVD they're selling will not be usable for eternity... but one only needs a few hours to burn and rip the bastard to have it in a more stable form. (Plus, as others have commented, why the hell do we want to fill landfills with these things!?!?)

Posted by: joe on May 12, 2004 06:43 AM

First, if you view the EZ-D site you'll immediately see a Recycling menu linking to Greendisk, so programs are in effect to minimize waste (to about the same amount caused by NetFlix).

Second, in practice the EZ-D's have a long way to go: the selection is poor and the price-point is too high ($6). For a couple bucks more you can own a pre-viewed-DVD for keeps.

Third, every point proffered here could be applied to rentals as they now stand: they can be copied, they 'expire' (are due for return) in a few days, and the medium itself (DVD) is the cause for lowered consumer expectations on fair-use and consumer-usability fronts. CSS disallows digital fair-use (backed by DMCA); the DVD as a medium allows for less functionality than VHS when it comes to fair-use (plus, skipping previews has become just as if not more cumbersome).

Last, the report you cite describes unregulated uses, "purchasers may listen to the recording in their car, at their home, in their office, or in their friend's car" (emphasis added, Sec 2.1). EZ-D embraces the first-sale doctrine (as opposed to Blockbuster rentals) and allows portability (as opposed to "Trusted Computing" DRM solutions).

Though I can't see myself buying one, EZ-D's beat many alternatives.

Posted by: AdamThomas on May 14, 2004 09:56 AM

How do these differ from the failed DivX DVDs of years past?

Posted by: doogie on May 25, 2004 07:00 AM

They differ because EZ-Ds play in all DVD players. Divx required special disks and special players. That's one of the biggest differences.

Posted by: rocko on August 2, 2004 12:01 PM

Card game

Posted by: card game on October 25, 2005 12:28 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?