As so many other Apple customers, I whooshed through the tubes of the internet to check out the new downloadable movies feature of the iTunes Music Store. The terms-of-use remain opprobriously restrictive for a resolute open-access advocate such as I — you can’t archive your movie on a DVD, evidently, only watch it on your computer and iPod — but the assortment of movies is pretty good, for starters. I expect that as Disney and Miramax begin making money on downloaded movies, the other studios will succumb to Steve Jobs’ blandishments and drink the Kool-Aid. As I was browsing, I wandered over to the music videos section and found that they still have almost none of the videos in which I’d be most interested (OK, “the only videos in which I’d be at all interestes”), that is, the videos from the early phase of the genre, the first few years of MTV. U2’s “Gloria” video? Not there. Talking Heads? Nope. Springsteen, “Rosalita”? Elvis Costello? Buggles? Flash and the Pan? Peter Gabriel?
The silly thing is that rights-owners spent considerable money producing these videos, and now most of them are gathering dust, perhaps deteriorating or getting lost, where they could be making back some of the investment from people of a generation that appreciated them, with disposable income to devote to preserving the relics of their memories.
Good thing the people at the Participatory Culture Foundation have brought Democracy Player (formerly just DTV) to such a fine condition. An open-access culture will be good for artist-creators, if only we can get there. . . .