Copyright: Doctor Who 2005
Well, thanks to the internet, I got to see the first episode of the new Doctor Who back when it came out, even before it premiered in England. I thought it was pretty good, balancing the traditions of the series with the need to convert it to a more modern serial format. I asked a friend to help me track down the rest of the series, and some months ago, he loaned me the first 10 episodes.
Over the past week or so, I finally got around to watching them. They're all good, and some are great. I'll give a rolicking good adventure nod to the two-parter of episode 9: The Empty Child and episode 10: The Doctor Dances. And a very poignant (and somewhat teary) nod to episode 8: Father's day.
It looks like there's more, I'm going to have to track them down, and therein lies the rub. There doesn't seem to be a legitimate way for me to acquire these in useful form. I could proabably order them from Amazon UK, but they'll be in region 2, unplayable on US DVD players or computers, and encoded in the european PAL standard to boot. I have the technology to get around this, but it's more than a little painful to pay £44 for something that won't work without quasi-legal measures. In addition, because DVDs are encrypted, it will be hard to convert them into other formats for viewing on portable devices.
It represents the ultimate failure of the DRM (digital rights management) model that the entertainment and consumer electronics industries are trying to cram down all our throats. I have the desire to purchase these items (well, to have them purchased for me for xmas or something), they presumably want the money. (And if I'm going to pay a hundred bucks, I want to be able to watch it on my PSP, my office's video iPod, my computer and my DVD player, whichever is convenient at the time.) All of this represents a problem that we've solved from a technology standpoint. There are at least a dozen ways for me to give the BBC money across the sea, and at least a dozen ways for them to deliver what I want back across it to me.
But the insistance on controlling every aspect of what I do with my purchase destroys the paradigm. They won't sell it on terms that allow for reasonable fair use. I won't buy it on terms that don't. I'm going to presume for a minute here. You wouldn't buy a chicken that you're not allowed to cook the way you want, you wouldn't buy a book you're not allowed to loan to a friend, you probably wouldn't buy a car that would only let you drive to certain places, or at certain times, but somehow we're all expected to pay money to buy (at full prices) heavily use-restricted videos from businesses that are actively trying to remove our rights? Fuck that.
I guess I'll need to talk to my friend again and see if he can loan me some more episodes.