Disney has announced with a bit of fanfare that they have a fantastic new technology that will allow you to pay for their films once and then watch them on any of your devices. THR quotes a source named only as “an insider,” whom I assume is either another disposable executive or the sentient computer built from Walt’s undead brain that prays nightly for either death or companionship, “Dad has a Zune, Mom has an iPod, there’s a Mac and a PC at home and a Roku box; right now, those devices don’t talk to one another. We intend to blend those worlds.”
Yeah … actually Disney, those devices can all talk to each other right now. It’s called a network. It’s been around for a while. The thingie doodle that looks like a phone line that your IT slave or teenager plugs into the back of your computer for you and lets you look up photoshopped pictures of your latest starlet mounting a grizzly bear … yeah, does that sound familiar? I can’t imagine how many billions of dollars and tortured geniuses it took to re-invent the fucking shared folder that has been on my computer since 1995.
Look, piracy is illegal for a good reason, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to understand why in a span of a decade it became almost normalized behavior. It’s not (just) because people are freeloading thieves. It’s just market behavior: if there’s demand and no legal supply, then an underground supply will spring up faster than a tasered kitten. Twelve years ago, if you wanted to watch a movie or listen to music online, you couldn’t pay any amount of money to do it because studios were pretending the problem would either go away on its own or they could sue it into oblivion. So alternate supplies developed to meet the demand.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Disney is taking this step, the next natural step after Hulu and other online video. I, for one, cannot wait to simultaneously watch High School Musical 4: In My Pants on my cell phone, iPod, computer, laptop, and internet-enabled bidet. But don’t blow sunshine up our asses about your amazing innovation that predates Hootie and the Blowfish.