Books Aren’t the Only Medium Being Windowed

“What might at first seem an arcane matter — precisely when to put a movie for sale on cable systems and at what price — has been the subject of ferocious debate in a film industry that so far has stopped just short of embracing the digital revolution.”

Does that sound familiar to you? Denizens of the publishing industry will recognize the answer instantly: It’s about “windowing” movies.

While the book industry debates the timing of e-book releases of print books, movie companies are trying to figure out the best timing for cable release of theatrical motion pictures. A big difference between the two industries, however, is that the movie business now has US government “permission to activate technology to protect new releases from being copied if they were sold through video-on-demand systems before being issued on DVD.” This according to Michael Cieply of the New York Times.

Cieply writes that the Federal Communications Commission okayed technology called ‘selectable output control’ that “can reach into a customer’s home video player and turn off its video outputs while a pay-per-view program is being watched, to prevent the program from being copied.”

The technology reflects the ire of movie theater owners “who have been fiercely protective of the exclusive period during which they have customarily served up the major studio pictures,” the Times article explains.

You can easily replace the players in this story with “Publishers”, “Authors”, ” E-Books” and “E-book Retailers.  The difference is, the book industry doesn’t have “selectable output control” to regulate windowing – bookbiz-ese for withholding – release of e-books, either legitimate ones or the pirated version.

Read details in Filmmakers Tread Softly on Early Release to Cable



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