Cory Doctorow in The Guardian (How do you persuade people to pay?) on the muddled strategies of the entertainment industry:
The seemingly straightforward act of purchasing a good or service is fraught with mystery […] and the complexity is multiplied by purchases in the digital world. In the physical realm, there's real danger in taking a good without paying for it (you might be arrested and sent to jail); in the digital realm, that danger is much lower. So much lower, in fact, that the majority of media that changes hands online does so for free and without authorisation.
This fact has occasioned much hand wringing, hair pulling, and legal manoeuvring, and a great deal of rhetoric about why the public "should" buy stuff they can readily get for free.
This rhetoric is often muddy and confused, and at odds with the strategies deployed by the companies and individuals who employ it. For example, the ads shown before film exhibitions and DVDs warn that pirate DVDs are of poor quality and may not play back reliably. At the same time, the manufacturers of DVDs have been going to ever-greater lengths to degrade the quality of legitimate video purchases – lengthy, unskippable adverts; arbitrary geographic playback limitations; even the mandatory installation of "anti-copying" software that hijacks your PC to stop you making an unrestricted copy of the movie.
[..] I often hear from parents who download unauthorised cartoons for their kids because the DVDs come with long, unskippable (or difficult-to-skip) adverts, the worst of which deploy "pester power" tactics intended to get kids to nag their parents to buy something. As far as these parents are concerned, spending money gets them a product that much worse than the free version.
Well, indeed, and in Hong Kong we often get noisy and irritating propaganda messages that are supposed to persuade us to buy legitimate DVDs. Whereas the illegal download cuts straight to the chase.
I notice that Disney are now marketing something called “Easy DVD”. Could this be a step in the right direction? I don’t know, because it is only available in Chinese – and if I read the label correctly it is only in 4:3 format so it doesn’t look promising,