This is an issue I continually struggle with. From a personal/consumer's perspective, I desperately want open devices and open formats. But from a business perspective, I understand the need to protect the content. So I try to intellectually figure out a good balance, and there doesn't seem to be any. In the end, and this may very well be a gross generalization, I think it's just another product of what has happened to our global financial system, which rules every other common issue in today's urban world.
It's one thing to ask your customers to pay for your products, and an entirely different thing to ask them to repeatedly pay for the same product, and to cripple the product from the outset so that its use is limited.
The software licensing model works. And it's fair. (Brainfart: Fairware? Sounds kind of interesting...)
I think you're 100% right about balance -- there isn't any right now. But that's the fault of the industry -- they are the ones that have dropped the ball. They've not come up with anything that is reasonable and makes sense for people. God forbid they have to be innovative or creative in devising a decent system.
Yeah... I'm still pissed as I have been having troubles again with some DVDs... Macrovision... Regions... Sheesh...
What would be nifty is a system that let YOU play stuff YOU bought on all YOUR devices, but also let you lend it to a friend, who could pay a token amount, e.g. $0.50 or $1.00, to unlock it and play it for something like 48 or 72 or 168 hours just like a rental. In effect, you could turn your customers into store fronts. A buck? Who cares? Just as long as it's EASY to use. With broadband being ubiquitous (just about), and always-on connections, it shouldn't be that hard to figure out something that would work.
It would certainly be nice if they'd drop the proprietary formats and adopt an open specification that isn't encumbered by patents. That would make the burden of encoding and playback almost nothing, and they could then focus on the product delivery system more. Right now there are too many obstacles.
I tried buying things through iTunes (and spent quite a bit there), but it's just second rate at best. It's better to buy physical DVDs as they are more portable and the same price or often less. Buying digitally has no advantage other than being accessible at any time.
<shakes head />
Back to reality...