Friday, December 3, 2010

French Kissing and region coding

Apologies to my followees and commenters for the last week. Between nanowrimo, work and sheer exhaustion, I've fallen behind on reading your blogs. I'm only up to Monday's blogs right now. Gomen ne. (Japanese for sorry. It's in the original Sailor Moon theme song. :) )

Born today:
Monica Seles
Britney Spears
Charles Ringling
Gianni Versace
Lucy Liu
Nelly Furtado

Stephanie Perkin's ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS comes out today. Like now! Yay! I'm so psyched! Thanks again for hanging out with us last month, Steph.

It got me started thinking about region coding and other regional restrictions (ANNA is not available on Kindle in the US).

Let me just say, I HATE REGION CODING!!!

Let's think DVD's. Supposedly, the reason for region coding is to protect the movie studio. For example, Twilight was released in November in the US. It was released in April in Japan. So theoretically, the DVD might have been out in the US before the theatrical release here. And a region code is supposed to prevent Person A in America from sending a copy to Person B in Japan, or anywhere in the rest of the world.

This argument might make sense if DVD's didn't take a million years to come out.

And if the release dates for pretty much all of Europe and the English speaking Americas weren't generally within a month of one another.

And if 90% of the people in Japan who care about American movies weren't American ex-pats anyhow.

And if non-English speakin countries didn't need their versions to be subtitled.

I am super anti-piracy. I mean I am an artist. I haven't always wanted to be an artist; as a kid I wanted to be a scientist. (I know, right? Me, a scientist? How badly would that end? I probably would find the cure to cancer, and not be able to make it again because I winged it, and didn't record a thing.) But even so, my mother was a singer, and went on to manage a calypso tent (where artists came together to sing their calypsoes once a year) so I've always been surrounded by artists. And piracy is probably the issue I grew up feeling strongest about.

I wouldn't even touch pirated material. When all my friends had home-made mixed-tapes and DVD's, I was buying the real thing.

But, living in Japan, I find myself having to wait half a year for a release. Or, there not being a release at all. If there was a way to buy it here, I would. But as there's not, that movie company just lost out on my $9.99.

Region coding, like other restrictive procedures, only gets in the way of legit people. Because the people who never intended to go to the theatrical release aren't going to go anyway. They'll either find a bootleg online, or get a universal DVD player or a computer program to watch any region.

(PS, I will never understand why Japan is in one region, South Korea is in another, and China is in a third. It's not like they're next to one another or anything.)

Region coding has been around since the VHS/PAL days. You'd think they would have nixed it by now. Yet they incorporate it in every new incarnation of entertainment.

Like the Kindle.

Some Kindle editions are released only in the US. Some in the US and Caribbean regions. Some not in the US, but pretty much every where else.

It's a nuisance. Especially in a time where you have so many online companies, which will mail me the book anyway.

I understand the legal implications. But why is it we can manage 'free trade' and all sorts of other universal things, and not get away from region codes?

Once upon a time, people were born in a country and died in that country. Or immigrated once, at most.

But look at me. I've lived in 3 countries. And I'm 28. I'm not done yet.

Once upon a time I used to think that was abnormal. But there are 5,000 on my program in a similar position. And thousands others on other programs or in different jobs. In Japan alone.

Somebody needs to figure this out and get it together. Because movie companies, book companies/writers, etc may think that they're making money with these restrictions. But there are lots of cases where they lose. And that just might be happening more often than not.

1 comment:

Joanna St. James said...

I've heard a lot about anna and the french kiss and I am with you on piracy. Sometimes I dont know which is worse the fact that u get emails alerting you and u know its happening or the fact that its happening and you dont know.