One of the best ways to deal with online piracy is to make content available legally.
This is common knowledge by now, but copyright holders still believe that exclusivity can earn them more in the long run, even when it hurts legitimate customers.
A good example of this twisted reasoning is Disney’s decision to make certain Christmas videos unavailable on Amazon because they want people to tune in to their TV channel instead. This ban is not limited to new customers and includes those who already purchased the videos.
One of the affected customers of Disney’s restrictive policy is Bill, who informed BoingBoing that the Christmas themed ‘Disney Prep & Landing’ he bought for his kids last year had been pulled from his library.
“Amazon has explained to me that Disney can pull their content at any time and ‘at this time they’ve pulled that show for exclusivity on their own channel.’ In other words, Amazon sold me a Christmas special my kids can’t watch during the run up to Christmas,” Bill notes.
“It’ll be available in July though!” he adds.
Those who go to Disney Prep & Landing’s Amazon listing now get the following notice: “Due to our licensing agreements this video is currently not available for purchase or rental.” And that’s not the only title that has been pulled, the same notice also appears for other Disney Christmas videos such as ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol‘ and ‘Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas.’
Appropriately enough, Disney decided to allow people access to the Ebenezer Scrooge story, as Disney’s a Christmas Carol remains available for now.
No Merry Christmas
Amazon appears to be torn by the situation and Bill says that he received “a very generous credit” to purchase another Christmas movie for his kids.
According to Cory Doctorow, however, Disney is not the only one that deserves blame for this customer-unfriendly practice. He notes that Amazon should have never allowed copyright holders to make purchased content unavailable to begin with.
“Yes, Disney is stupid and evil for doing this. But when Amazon decided that it would offer studios the right to revoke access to purchased videos, they set the stage for this,” Doctorow comments.
“This is what was set in motion in the 1970s, when we started using the term ‘intellectual property’ instead of ‘copyright’ or ‘author’s monopoly.’ If the movie is Disney’s ‘property’ for ever and ever, it follows that it is never your property, no matter that you ‘buy’ it,” Doctorow adds.
Adding to the above, it is questionable whether Disney will win anything with this move.
Aside from annoying customers who can no longer watch their purchases, all the titles Disney pulled from Amazon are widely available through unauthorized channels. As a result, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Disney’s actions cause a bump in piracy for these movies.