Brendan Dawes
The Aesthetics of Form and Code

How do we "lend" our digital stuff?

Over the last year or so I've been gradually getting rid of my
physical DVD collection and one-by-one ripping each film to disc. When
I rent a film to watch these days it's either usually through iTunes /
Apple TV or FilmFlex. I haven't put a DVD into my player for over a
year. I thought I might miss not having a physical wall of films but I
honestly don't; the advantages of shelf space, less clutter and not to
mention greater flexibility in where I watch films far out weigh any
sentimentality for the old days.

But there's a problem. How do I lend my friends a great film I've watched?

We all did it. Technically it was illegal, but nobody thought about it
like that. We were just lending our mates a movie because it was so
good. But now, because there's nothing physical to give anyone it's
become very difficult to lend people any of our digital possesions.

So when I mentioned this on Twitter the other day @someofmywork
pointed me to Air Video, a service that does allow you to give people
a code so they can stream movies from your computer to their iPhone or
iPad. Whilst I think this is a nice idea I'm not really that keen on
having my mates stream diectly from my Mac, sucking all my bandwidth.

What I think would be needed is a completely new model. A kind of
Spotify for movies. A place where I could build a collection of
movies, for a monthly fee, and have the ability to share those films
to other subscribers, just like sharing a playlist on Spotify. The
thing is I'm not too bothered about owning stuff, but I do want to
build a collection of my fave films, and lend them when I needed to.

So give it twenty years and we might find a way for the movie studios
to get together and make this happen. But don't hold your breath.