leader
Leader 17

Your’s To Own.

Has anyone noticed the media campaign being waged against us to re-evaluate our relationship with our possessions?

Is that your dog? Is that your gear? Are those your roaches all over my garden? For most of us, if something is hanging around in the company of a fellow human, it’s a safe bet it’s theirs. Animal, vegetable, mineral - or singed cardboard.

So - why the sudden need to ‘own’ a film presented in the medium of a DVD? Did the videos we used to buy not actually belong to us? I thought possession was nine tenths of the law!

OK - so let’s look at this logically. Is there any difference in the owner/inanimate object interface between, for example, a CD & a DVD?

CD – What do we get? Well, depending on format, we’re going to score what we used to refer to as an ‘LP’s’ worth of music (single/double/triple) on a plastic disc (12cm diameter), with accompanying artwork, in a suitable plastic/card presentation pack. We will listen to this music many times. It may provide the soundtrack to our lives.

DVD – What do we get? Well, depending on format, we’re going to score what we used to refer to as a ‘motion picture’ (drama/documentary/arts) on a plastic disc (12cm diameter), with accompanying artwork, in a suitable plastic/card presentation pack. We will watch these images a few times. We will put them on our shelves & get them out every once in a while when sympathetic friends pop round.

So - it’s more than reasonably likely we’re going to play the CD substantially more times than we’re going to play the DVD. Right?

So - on value, usefulness (rock the party, sooth the waters, set the mood, raise the consciousness, move the mind, etc) & sheer excitement alone, the CD, & therefore music, has the higher cultural import.

That established – why are we not offered the opportunity to ‘own’ the latest LP by The Litterbins? Is it because The Litterbins (or their management/record label) own the rights to their music & we merely own a ‘copy’ of the record (ACA - another cultural anomaly: an LP used to contain - on average - 12 songs that would represent around forty-five minutes playing time. Most modern ‘LPs’ struggle to fill the time/length/quality material conundrum of the CD format. Restrictions like these forced on young groups pressured into making ‘LPs’ too early in their ‘career curves’ may well explain the decline in quality LPs from young groups on the ‘market’.)

So – we can ‘own’ “The Last Temptation Of Christ” on DVD - but we can’t ‘own’ the new “Best Of Rabbi Millions” CD? Have the film companies not realised that bootleggers watch these adverts & subsequently honestly think that because they own the ‘master copy’ (which they purchased legally from HMV after seeing an advert to ‘own’ the product on ITV) it’s ok to run off a few copies for mates.

Maybe – if the film industry didn’t spend billions of dollars/pounds (same thing, really, sorry) making totally crap films no one wants to see yet alone ‘own’, we wouldn’t have to trip over gondolas of “Shrek 2” going for a song every time we try to pay for our petrol/diesel.

What happened to all the old videos? Where do they live now everyone’s ‘downsized’ to DVD (& what have they done with all that extra space?)? What they have been recycled into, one can only wonder. No one wants to ‘own’ them anymore.

So – next time you purchase something – no matter what it actually is – make sure you ‘own’ it by the end of the transaction. In these days of marketing executives dreams in action, docu-dramas as social backdrop & reality TV in your own living room (well, you would, wouldn’t you?) – you can never be too sure.

Jean Encoule – tMx 17 – 11/04


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