Funny that Dango should bring up Harry Potter in the commments, as I ran across an interesting Potter story today.
Fear of piracy motivated author JK Rowling to forbid any electronic editions of Half Blood Prince.
So what happened?
Less than 24 hours after the title was released into the wild with a neutron blast of cross-corporate promotion,industrious fans had scanned, OCR'ed, proofread and released a pirate e-book.
Where there's demand, people will find a way.
Another way that the media conglomorates miss the boat on the digital frontier is releasing gimped versions of their product. DRM, copy protection, etc etc. Arrogance.
"you can listen/watch this thing you bought, but we still dictate what you do with it beyond passive enjoyment of the original object" doesn't fly in this day and age.
I have a good little animated .gif I'm working on that summs up the futility of this approach in a couple of frames, but like many of my projects it's lazing on the hard drive half done. So I'll just explain the background (and we'll see how many words an animated .gif is worth).
A friend of mine on the boxing forums posted a thread because he was pissed.
He'd just paid full price for the latest Foo Fighters CD, got it home, and discovered that he couldn't copy it to his computer. So he went to The Pirate Bay and grabbed a copy he could do whatever he wanted with, for free.
How does a corporation not see the folly of this?
Here is a fan, a guy who wants to support one of his favorite bands, who spent 17 bucks on a CD.....who was forced to pirate it so he could listen to it in the way he wanted.
The "gimped product" is a popular meme just now.
We got a new printer for the store a while back, one of those all-in-one deals with a scanner. Very nice, prints cleanly, scans well.
Printer manufacturers make their money on ink cartriges, this is well known.
There is a sub-industry of cartrige refillers and no-name manufacturers who take some of the sting off prices. Epson has manipulated this situation by having their printer SHUT DOWN if you run out of any one of the four color ink cartriges, and by making their cartriges refill-proof.
So say you run out of Cyan ink, but have a full cartrige of Black, which is all you need since you're printing text. According to Epson, you're S.O.L. until you blow $20 for a new Cyan, because their printer refuses to work without it.
Short term, I'm sure it's a policy that is serving them well, since people who buy their products are forced to buy ink they don't need.
Long term, they're fucking themselves in the ass, because I can't see ANYONE going along with this kind of policy after dealing with it once. For my part, the next time I need a printer I'm making damn sure it'll keep printing as long as it's got ink, not crap out on me because a reservoir that gets tapped once a month runs dry.
In both these cases, in the long run the consumer is going to win out.
But why can't the corp see past the end of their nose and anticpiate it, instead of making it such a protracted, drawn out fight?
Probably the same answer as everything else in corporate America, $$$$$$$$.