Brendan Dawes
Analogue + Digital

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.