Question 143 of 365: What is too easy?

When I jailbroke my ipad, I pretty much had two goals in mind. The
first was to see what multitasking really looked like on an iDevice
and to get the TV Out feature for all applications. Both of these
things will be available in future releases of the OS, so I felt
pretty justified in doing it (plus there is that whole thing about not
really owning your own stuff until you can make it do what you want it
to). Justification or not, I am struck with something of a conundrum.
There are several apps of the jailbroken variety that will never be
made available as a part of the app store or a software update.

The one in question allows anyone who should download it to watch full
length films that are still in theatres. I do not wish to encourage
this practice, so I will not go into the particulars. Suffice it to
say that it as simple as clicking a few buttons and selecting a movie
title. It is a underground netflix of sorts. And it is all too easy.

I can access things that took hundreds of millions of dollars to make.
I can stream them and never have to soil my hard drive with their
illegal contents. I can get for free what costs time and money for
others. The sense of entitlement that it requires to access what has
been created for a true purpose is immense.

And this is why closed systems sometimes are good.

I do not take that statement likely. But while I like open access as
much as the next well informed consumer, I know just how tempting it
is to watch Alice in Wonderland from the comfort of my home via the TV
Out adapter. I would prefer to not know that this is an option. I
would prefer to live in a world where there are legitimate ways of
accessing all ideas and content.

When I say legitimate, I mean both by way of purchase and by way of
license. We should be able to choose the ways in which we receive
content, but in doing so, we should be held to a higher standard for
what we give back. If we can purchase movies while they are in the
theatre, we should recommend that others do the same and build reviews
for their further purchase. If we can download music for nearly
nothing, we must have some other economy of license that causes us to
give back a remix or further exposure for the content itself.

Apple has it at least partially right. Not just anything should be
made available to everyone. Limits cause us to be creative about
solutions.

Free movies cause us to sit down and watch them for as long as they
are available. Content we pay for causes us to ration, to plan, and to
work around the issues at hand.

In many ways I’m glad that the iDevices don’t support flash and the
editing of Wikis and Google Docs. It causes me to find out more about
how the device works and how to make it more mine.

Jailbreaking is about freedom from the single repository of knowledge
in the app store, not about finding the deep underbelly of the
internet and seeing how chained we can become to the amount we can
access. With limits imposed, we get more done. When it is harder to
access, we make more with that access.

I do not think that all things should be hard, but streaming free
copywritten movies to a mobile device should be one of them. If only
for providing an necessary layer of realism to an otherwise “magical”
device.

Posted via email from The Throughput

Leave a Reply