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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Theirs And Ours

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...the above sentence is an obvious fallacy. After all, this is posted online, where anyone with a browser or similar can access it. So it would be stupid to prevent something being seen due to redundant physical geography...


And yet I bet all my readers will have found at least one video on YouTube that they wanted to watch, that they couldn't, because of the patch of dirt their broadband is plugged into is HERE rather than THERE.

I hope I'm not the only one that is vexed by this state of affairs, too.

There's reasons, I'm sure. Copyright reasons. Political reasons. Censorship reasons. I have issues with all of them, that much should be obvious. What it means, though, is that there can be a certain amount of exclusivity - and that word, exclusive, has taken a very odd meaning in the modern era.

It is the opposite of inclusive, and inclusive is a good thing. Inclusive means that you don't get left out. Everyone can access the article in question - whatever it is, anyone on earth can experience what the creator has made.

What exclusivity says is that no, only SOME people can experience and enjoy this.

The medium of the article provides some of that exclusivity. Unless you have a specific kind of synaesthesia or someone very good at description, you can't hear a painting, or grasp an untranslated piece of Russian literature unless you can read Russian. What happens in these circumstances? Well, there are workarounds. That's expected, that's accepted. War And Peace, for example. (Yes it's cliche, yes I've read it.) Nobody bats an eyelid when a piece of literature is translated into another language, thus defeating an exclusivity barrier.

One of the most "pirated" pieces of media in history is Game Of Thrones.

There's a bunch of reasons for this, of course. A lot of them could be seen as issues of exclusivity. If one doesn't have HBO in the US, then - until the simulcast of 12th April this year - one had to wait. And wait. And wait. While all those WITH HBO and a Facebook account spoilered the entire thing for you.

Which is why they probably attempted the simulcast at all, in fairness.

Without getting into the debate as to whether or not the cost of subscribing to HBO/Sky/Whatever or buying DVDs is actually another "exclusivity wall", there's the boundary of location there, again. Any anime/manga fans reading this will probably know what I am talking about. Sometimes actually obtaining or viewing something legally is a Sisyphean task in and of itself.

Want to reduce piracy? Make things available. Bring down the exclusivity barriers. Sure, some people will buy a console or a subscription in order to enjoy that single item (or selection of items) that has been released only on Xbox One or HBO or whatever. Some other people, though? They're going to miss out - and those who create the things we love so much...well, are those creators satisfied with large percentages of the populace being unable to access their work?

As nice as it can feel to be one of the priviledged few who has access to something that others don't, I get far more of a buzz knowing that I've shared the experience with others.

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