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The Mouse

 


Disney, the behemoth that owns Marvel, Lucas film, Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista and more, is trying to kill physical media.  They will no longer release any of their films on Blu-ray, 4k HDR, or DVD in Australia. This is likely a test run to see if they can get away with ditching disks worldwide.  People with long memories won’t be surprised by this. In the early days of DVD (a format agreed upon by film distributors and electronics companies in order to avoid the sort of mess created by the VHS vs Betamax wars of the 80s) Disney went all in on a competing format, DivX.

                DivX was designed to take ownership of media from the consumer. The player had to be hooked to an active phone line to function. The consumer would buy a disk (Cinderella, for instance). The disk would play the first time it was inserted in the machine. Then each additional time it was played, your credit or debit card would be charged a rental fee. You could also try to play your copy of Cinderella, only to find that the title had been disabled by the rights owner.

                There was a large and understandable level of protest against this, and DivX went the way of the Dodo.

                The mindset behind it, however, has lingered. We all know the stories of people “buying” a digital copy of a film, only to find it missing from their library. Now streamers remove titles from their services without offering the rights to other services or distributors so the show or film is simply unavailable.  

                For the film lover, this is a disaster.  If Disney’s move here looks profitable, others will follow the mouse down this path. The viewer will have access to only the films and shows that the big corporations want them to have. We will go from a golden age of film, into the dark ages.

                There are companies out there doing the work to keep physical media alive, and they deserve your support.  I suggest checking out:

 

Vinegar Syndrome

Severin

Blue Underground

Synapse

Second Sight

Dark Forces

Roninflix

Shout Factory

Criterion

And many, many others!

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