I recently picked up an issue of Maximum PC from a newsstand at Penn Station. Every once in a while, I pick up a copy of the magazine just for fun, but this month, the cover seemed to call out to me. The issue was all about freeing content from boundaries. If I had to characterize its tone, I'd say it was along the lines of "screw the man." The articles inside editorialized about the DMCA and how it screws your average, ordinary content consumer more than it screws pirating operations. Given that we've seen instances where major content publishers have been caught installing viruses on people's machines to prevent them from making copies of audio CDs, I'm inclined to agree with that point of view.
Anyway, back to the April issue. The bundled CD includes apps that facilitate copying DVDs, compressing them and getting them on other devices. I was particularly psyched to see utilities that could help me put movies on my Sony PSP and on my 60GB video iPod. This is great because I have an entire collection of DVDs laying around in my basement and I'd really like to make them portable without having to buy yet another hardware device.
I lent my copy (and the CD) to Eric so he can check it out, but I installed much of the CD on my laptop and have been messing with it on the train. Cool stuff - I'd like to get all six Star Wars movies on my iPod, seeing as how I've already paid for them on DVD. (In some cases, I've paid for them twice or three times. For instance, I have a copy of Episode IV on VHS. I also have a copy of the "Special Edition" of Episode IV on VHS. I also have a DVD of it.) I think I've paid for this movie too many times already - I should be able to put it on whatever portable device I fancy at the moment.
Regardless of the DRM schemes entertainment companies manage to push through, people are tired of paying over and over for the same content in different formats. And they're also getting tired of entertainment companies' ambiguity regarding whether users are being licensed content or sold a format. So they're going to do things like download apps that give them freedom to move content between devices. And the entertainment companies will once again be in the position of having to reinvent themselves, or pick up the lawsuits against 12-year-old girls.