Studio gives Kickstarter Veronica Mars movie backers substandard, DRM-crippled rewards

Is that actually true? I think that when I looked into it, to make my MacBook region free I’d have to flash the firmware, even running VLC. Which was a pisser, given that I had lots of region 2, 3 and 4 DVDs and my Mac is from the US.

Fucking region locks. I just stopped buying DVDs entirely.

2 Likes

Hmmmm.

I would not watch it on a plane.
I would not watch it on a train.

1 Like

Yeah man… stoopid huh. I don’t think I’ve ever put a DVD video in this mac so I’ve not encountered it. These two pages seem to show two workarounds.

One is permanent (involves flashing firmware for the drive):
http://thetechjoiner.com/tech/mac/how-to-make-macbookpro-2012-dvd-drive-region-free/

The other is temporary:

and the VLC forum has this to say on the subject:
Many people try to use VLC to play DVDs from regions their drive is not set to. However, the DVD drives on most new Macs have region lockout on the hardware level, so VLC will not necessarily be able to play discs from multiple regions. You may be able to play the disc by opening it as a Video_TS folder instead of a DVD, or by changing the method used by libdvdccss to decrypt DVDs (go to Preferences->All->Input/Codecs->Access Modules->DVD without menus->Method used by libdvdcss for decryption). If you play a lot of DVDs from different regions your best option is to buy a USB or Firewire external drive that you can set to the region you require.

2 Likes

the most outrageous thing going on here is the popularity of the xvid format. who are these miserable persons?!

1 Like

I’ve never seen a DVD without any form of DRM. And yes, ripping tools are the technological hurdle that these people do not cross. iTunes doesn’t rip DVDs. In order to rip video you need to download specialized software designed to defeat DRM. This isn’t like pressing the “record” button on a tape deck.

I know that. But the fact remains that there isn’t a significant market for these DVDs in the US, which would seem to mean that the DRM (which makes them difficult to actually play in the US) is doing its job.

You said that DRM is the “[w]orst form of price discrimination ever,” and that’s what my statement was directed to.

Feel free to point me to a study you think is particularly good. As I’ve said, I have not been convinced by what I’ve seen so far.

I see. So piracy is actually falling despite the absolutely horrible nature of DRM? It must be really bad if people have stopped pirating in favour of it.

And correlations only exist on the scale you want them to exist? OK.

Tell me about these monopolies. Does Sony have a monopoly on movies? Paramount? Fox? Disney? Universal? Warner Brothers? Can any of them reject DRM?

Because it’s more profitable to use DRM than to not use DRM?

Don’t know about that. I have over 300 CDs and even more DVDs but I haven’t bought a single CD or DVD since about 2006.

If DRM-free is the only approach that will work long term, then you have little to worry about. On the other hand, we’ve seen DRM-esque copy-protection exist and persist for a long time, which suggests you may be wrong.

And I don’t know why you refuse to even acknowledge that the additional profits that DRM-protected media may bring in is actually good for consumers in that it allows for increased profits and the production of future media.

You need to read up on what a market failure actually is. The main market failure involved in media is actually a positive externality market failure: it becomes a [public good][2]. DRM is an attempt to address this positive externality, and bring media back within the market economy, because with public goods it’s difficult for the creator to be compensated for her creation. Copyright law is the main defence of this type of market failure, with DRM being a supplemental mechanism.

Please list some.

[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_goods[quote=“redesigned, post:65, topic:25822”]
For the sake of disclosure I have to ask: Do you work for a company that makes or sells DRM? I’ve never in my life heard a consumer argue for DRM since it is against their own interests, so this conservation has me wondering why you are weighing in on the other side of the argument.
[/quote]
As someone who doesn’t actually pay for media, DRM is nothing but helpful for me. It allows those who are unwilling to pirate (or to learn how to) to subsidize my media consumption. If there was an effective way to compel me to pay for media consumption then my habits and media expenditures would be very different. I am a good example of someone whom DRM would have an effect on, and I understand it does work as a form of price discrimination. Back when the NYT paywall could be defeated by simply turning javascript off, I would read lots of content there. But now that this method doesn’t work and you have to keep launching private browsing sessions every 10 articles (and lose your tabs & history each time you do), I’m much more likely to purchase a subscription: the effectiveness of the DRM has surmounted the cost of avoiding it.

If you think DRM is so terrible and creates so much unfair profits for these media companies, why not buy stock in them?

You’re still confusing DRM with licenses. Licensing schemes may be supported by DRM, but there’s nothing about DRM that requires licenses, and there are licenses that don’t involve DRM.[quote=“teapot, post:68, topic:25822”]
Case in point: The record, book and film collection that could have been passed down to you is a thing of the past and is strictly disallowed by services like itunes. You’re buying a lifetime licence, not a copy.
[/quote]
On the other hand, I expect digital media will have a longer effective shelf life than super-8, Vinyl, Beta, HD-DVD, VHS, 8-track, cassette tapes, etc.

A percentage of them don’t, even a number of commercial releases. I’m quite familiar with this.

Unprotected dvd’s don’t need to be ripped first. You are confusing re-encoding the video with ripping, they aren’t the same things. Often tools offer both, but the ripping is done automatically and requires no action on the users part. Like i said the technical hurdle for these people is encoding video, not ripping the content, so DRM plays absolutely no role in their lack of ability to reencode the video.

There is, or their would be if it were legal. Right now anyone who wants discs from another region usually has to purchase them directly from that region. There is quite a large group of people doing this, the anime community is just one of many groups that import other region dvd.

fair enough. I was really only meaning to point out the ridiculousness of your previous point, and that any price discrimination that gives paying customers the worst version is horrible.

That is incorrect. Using DRM costs money, and every digital music retailer that has dropped DRM has seen a significant jump is sales.

No, not that long really. DRM was invented in 1983 but wasn’t used in a commercial product until quite a bit later. Might i suggest learning about what you are defending so that you don’t make mistaken arguments: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management

Because this is wrong. It is your personal incorrect assumption with little knowledge of the subject. The opposite has been shown to be true.

fair enough, i will. you need to educate yourself about [DRM][1].
by market failure i meant the complete failure of a capitalist markets ability to self regulate due to a monopolistic stranglehold, heavy handed anti-consumer practices that only hurt and alienate paying customers who don’t have any alternate, and the general failure to meet any of the initial goals of implementation, call it what you will, that was what i was meaning.

Every company that has used DRM and dropped it. Every single one.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/freekvermeulen/2014/01/27/how-removing-copy-protection-increased-record-companies-music-sales/




This would be true if your assumptions about DRM were correct, but they are not.

Because we aren’t those kind of a**holes. We stand for what we believe in, we don’t sell out out morals for quick profit. I know i’m not and i’m pretty sure from @teapot 's posts that they are not either.

No I’m not. That is incorrect. Modern DRM schemes require that media be licensed and the license can be revoked at any point. It is built into how modern DRM schemes work as I clearly explain. Can you name one modern DRM scheme that is not bound to licensed media?

Your fundamental assumptions and arguments about DRM are incorrect.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management

Such as?

So far as I know, even Criterion DVDs include DRM, despite them being some of the least intrusive DVDs available. The only films I can imagine the wouldn’t have DRM would be poor transfers of old, out of copyright films.

Ripping is the process of copying the content to hard drive; I think you’re the one who is confused. Tools that do this and this alone, such as Mac the Ripper, are designed to defeat DRM since virtually all commercial DVDs have DRM. Ripping without defeating DRM would result in unplayable encrypted VOBs, since the key encoded on the DVD’s lead-in track would not be included in the rip. Mainstream software from major publishers, like iTunes, does not allow DVDs to be ripped. All DVDs, regardless of DRM protection, need to be ripped unless you’re playing them from the DVD itself.

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacTheRipper[quote=“redesigned, post:74, topic:25822”]
There is, or their would be if it were legal.
[/quote]
There’s nothing illegal about selling non-R1 DVDs in the US. Grey imports are legal.

Really? Since all major labels dropped DRM by 2009 does that mean there has been a significant jump in sales since 2009?

Please read what I said. I didn’t say DRM, I said “DRM-esque copy-protection.” Macrovision, for example, is not digital, and thus not DRM, but is instead an analog copy-control mechanism in commercial use as early as 1985. This may be what you are referring to above, but I don’t know. Pay-TV and satellite scrambling predates this. The use of proprietary formats is another example (and this appears to be the approach the Keurig is taking with its K2.0 format, which has been widely described as being DRM, even though it’s not clear there’s anything digital or copyrightable about it). There are also copy protection measures available to show when a document has been photocopied, and which are effective on analog photocopiers.

Even if you think that the mid-80s marks the rise of “DRM,” 30 years is still a pretty long time for the market to have not reached a conclusion on it. I mean, in the mid 80s the medium of choice for music was cassette tapes and for video it was VHS. Multiple generations of technological advancement and innovation have occurred, yet DRM is more prevalent than ever.

The only part of what you describe that would actually be a market failure would be the monopolistic aspect, and you’ve failed to say what the monopoly is despite being asked several times. Any of the other “failures” are simply the market at work, and if the anti-DRM case is as compelling as you believe then the market will fill the void for DRM-free products. Indeed, according to the links you provide below, this is exactly what happened in the music sector, where an initial DRM-free competitor led to all major labels dropping DRM.

Sure. CSS is still in use, and the BluRay DRM of AACS, BR+, ROM Mark, and HDCP have no bearing on whether you own your BluRay copy and can sell it or not. The same holds true for XBox One and PS4 games on discs, which can be sold freely (even if they are licenses, as the license terms allow for resale). DRM ≠ licensed content, and licenses can allow resale.

Licenses are licenses. They may be backed and enforced by DRM or not, just as copyright can be backed by DRM or not. There is nothing inherent about DRM that requires it to be manifest in the form of licenses.

It’s difficult to know if this means anything. The year before the dropped DRM, they saw a 50% growth in ebook sales. Without knowing how much ebook sales in general rose that year (and the year before), as well as whether they had more ebook titles available, etc., it’s impossible to draw any conclusions. I mean, read the comments to that thread, such as this one:

Cory’s statistical methodology quite clearly demonstrates that ditching DRM was a disaster for the music business: global music sales plummeted by 8% in 2008, thanks to Amazon ditching music DRM, and in 2009 sales crashed a further 12% after Apple followed suit.

The other four links you share all reference the same paper. So you’re really only given two examples, one of which is horrible.

I’ll admit that the paper is much more compelling than most everything I’ve seen on the subject. I haven’t sifted through the actual paper yet, but lets assume that in the music context the paper’s findings are unassailable, as well they might be. Even so, the paper notes that dropping DRM doesn’t increase sales of the most popular music, and that less-pirated genres like Classical are most likely to benefit. Back catologues are also prime beneficiaries. But perhaps more importantly, we should note that after EMI—acting in a most non-monopolistic way—was the first to drop DRM in 2007 all major labels followed suit and dropped music DRM by 2009. This seems curious given your past statements about how these are monopolies that don’t have to bow to consumer demand, and that there is a market failure occurring. That EMI was the first to drop DRM and all labels dropped DRM at different times, I’m not seeing how there is any lack of competition or any lack of responsiveness in the music market.

Indeed, taking these factors together could give a good explanation of why DRM persists in the movie industry. Movie studios are much more reliant on tentpole releases and blockbusters, which according to the paper are unlikely to be affected by the removal of DRM. While it might make sense to remove the DRM on less popular niche films and back-catologues, the paper doesn’t provide a compelling reason to remove them on big releases. In this context it’s possible that the studios are functioning as a proper market even if you believe removing DRM has boosted music sales.

Xvid isn’t really used much anymore - some groups will still release stuff in xvid, because there are people out there with players that can only play that format, but most releases are in x264 nowadays. The big piracy groups all got together and unanimously decided to dump xvid back in 2012.

Hey guys,

some random info by a guy who backed the Projekt.

To the point of greedy Hollywood guys.

Rob Thomas (the creator of VM) issent exactly a success magnet, he did great Shows (Party Down comes to mind) but in the end his stuff only kept on the air because of the cult following before it ultimately bit the dust. - The assumption that this would have been made anyway is very strange, if you look around you can find tons of evidence how he was trying to make this movie happen for years and years but it´s not that easy to find investors for a show that more or less only stayed on the air because of ok dvd sales and it´s cult following makeing positive noise for it. - This issent X-Files the Movie.

As much shit as Warner gets for the Flixter debacle (more on that later) in my eyes they did good stuff for this. They said Thomas he could make the movie if he gets the money to make it, after he got it kickstarted they said he could use all the money for the movie and they would take care of the fulfillment - in my case that means they send me the wrong (and very low qualety) T-Shirt to germany via DHL express, send me a second T-Shirt so i could get the actual design i ordered also useing DHL express and in the end i will still get the DVD send very likely also via DHL express. If you ever send something via express (let alone world wide express) you will be able to realise that by now WB invested more in getting stuff to me than the sum i backed for. - Thats very very unusual, usually kickstarter stuff arrives in Germany several month after everyone in the US already got it. I even had a project were they asked me to pay extra for my replacement of a poster that never arived… So it´s not all „evil movie company with to much money being feed more“, they tried to be great asides from the very thin t-shirt.

On the other hand, i don´t need a T-Shirt i don´t even like as fast as possible. So i do not consider this a debt payed with something else - i want my movie and i want it now because in the end thats the reason i put cash in this.

So on to the DRM crap.

I had two movies registered to flixter already, but never used them because the service rarely ever let me play a movie (and if it did it was terrible stream quality, download never worked) and constantly asked me to connect my flixter account to UltraViolet even though i already did it a million times (wich the side actually knew, since it constantly started telling me i already connected this account…) with the result of me not being able to access my library at all or just being able to see half or non of my movies on the inside.

I actually owned three further UV/Flixter codes that came with a BluRay box i ordered from the UK. Never was allowed to use them since the codes geoblocked me since i am in Germany. Yes, flixter codes actualy geoblock harder than the normal dvd/bluray region locking.

So with that shit in mind i already knew this would be trouble long before they made it „more public“ that they would use flixter (it actualy was on their faq from the beginning of the campaign wich they rightfully pointed out now).

I got my code close after midnight german time, awesome! - I used it, it said i was about to redeem the movie i wanted to redeem but it never arrived in my library… so i tried again and the code was invalide/already used now. - Took flixter a cupple of days to fix that. (i downloaded the movie illegally within ten minutes after it dident work legaly because f them right?) So now it´s in my library! Yay!

But as noted earlier flixter always worked terrible for me, i can´t download anything and if a stream a movie it´s pixelated as hell and buffering all over the place. Let alone that it´s only a SD Version for some reason (even if it´s been upgraded to HD by now!)

Now ultra violet has this great idea of connecting your library to different services, i even read about a few people useing other services to watch it in great qualety so YAY great… i check out what UV suports in germany…. ONLY FLIXTER! Yay!…

So i send an e-mail to the Kickstarter VM Suport. They tell me to just buy the movie and refund me as you stated in your post. Guess what… THE MOVIE IS NOT FOR SALE IN GERMANY. Yes. Thats right. I can only preorder the digital copy. There is no download.

By now i got the movie to download on my PS3 useing VUDO wich connects with my UV library which only worked because i use Unblock-Us to view Hulu and Netflix… so thats only semi legal aswell.

I wonder why there is the need for DRM. As i noted, the second my legal code did not work out i had the movie DRM free on my HDD in about 10 Minutes… so there absolutely is no need to not just put up a DRM free download for the backers in the first place since the DRM gets bypassed within minutes anyway…

2 Likes

Really man? … I’ll just echo what redesigned said. I take their stuff because I disagree with how they do things - DRM is clearly part of it but, like you, I am not affected by it. My primary problem with their business is how they try to bankrupt people for copying a few songs or a movie. This is because the people who are encoding and upping this stuff are not the low-hanging fruit of people who don’t know what they’re doing and just leave it in their seed list for months. That’s fucking evil and if I refuse to give them my money to fill their coffers for such legal action I sure as hell am not going buy stock in their company.

I expect digital media will have a longer effective shelf life than super-8, Vinyl, Beta, HD-DVD, VHS, 8-track, cassette tapes

That’s got nothing to do with what I said. Also very debatable with vinyl which lasts based on numbers of plays. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking a rip then properly storing the original media to then give to someone when you’re done with it. It’s also arguably legal to torrent a copy of a record you own and save having to rip it at all.

In order to rip video you need to download specialized software designed to defeat DRM. This isn’t like pressing the “record” button on a tape deck.

No man, there are push-button solutions that require absolutely no technical knowledge of what is going on. You just follow the prompts and end up with a copy of your original disc (DRM stripped of course) or a file of any sort for any type of player that you just select from a drop-down. The one I’ve used that works a charm is DVDFab. It copies bluray discs as well.

1 Like

Sure, you can get these things if you know where to look and what to search for. But it’s not like it’s on iTunes or comes bundled with Windows, and it’s not like the copying a cassette tape or telling your VHS to record something. It’s for people who are intentionally looking for products that operate in a pretty grey area.[quote=“teapot, post:78, topic:25822”]
That’s got nothing to do with what I said. Also very debatable with vinyl which lasts based on numbers of plays. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking a rip then properly storing the original media to then give to someone when you’re done with it. It’s also arguably legal to torrent a copy of a record you own and save having to rip it at all.
[/quote]
For one, it would be illegal to make a “backup” copy of a a CD or record and then sell or give away the CD or record without destroying the digital copy (and that’s assuming the digital backup itself is legal).

And for two, I’m not so sure that the impermanence of physical formats really is “nothing to do” with what you said. I mean, if the real objection is that digital media is a limit on your ability to own something forever, just like you could own physical media forever, then the practical limitations of the physical media aren’t irrelevant. Sure, the limitations on digital media are artificial, but it’s also true that the impermanence of physical formats were artificial. Corporations push new media formats in order to resell the same work over and over again. Vinyl, cassette, 8-track, minidisc, CD, SACD, and mp3 are all just different ways to get you to buy the same product over and over again, even though most people can’t hear much of a difference between most of the formats.

For the most part the major studios have stopped doing this sort of thing, and mainly for market-related/efficiency reasons.

The real point I was making, however, is that it’s not like studios are super profitable. You may think they’re taking advantage of everyone from artists to consumers, but they’re not making as much money as you think, and certainly not enough to make movie studios or record a great investment (even if Sony as a whole is doing so badly that investors want them to spin off their studios).

Would you, could you, on a boat?
Or does Hollywood’s output get your goat?

Do you yearn for something more?
Miserable cop shows from BBC4?

1 Like

if you know where to look and what to search for

Google > “dvd copying software” > First result’s second recommendation is DVDFab.

Stop being intentionally thick. There’s no default program to unpack .rar files on windows but people somehow figure it out.

For one, it would be illegal to make a “backup” copy of a a CD or record and then sell or give away the CD or record without destroying the digital copy

That’s why I said: “when you’re done with it” because this point was made in the context of gifting or bequeathing your collection.

if the real objection is that digital media is a limit on your ability to own something forever

No, I made clear that my objection is that you don’t even own it. In the case of digital downloads from itunes you’re paying relatively the same price for an item that costs record industry nothing but the itunes store cut for distribution to get yourself a product that you have no ownership over.

practical limitations of the physical media aren’t irrelevant.

They are irrelevant, depending on the format and your committal to archive them. CDs, DVDs and vinyl aren’t particularly hard to store for a long time. I know why these companies constantly shift to the next format and it does nothing to endear me to them.

they’re not making as much money as you think

I know someone who works for a large record company. I am entirely aware of the profits they make (or don’t make). While they continue to make substandard anti-consumer crap, support the RIAA and litigate like motherfuckers, anything above $0 is too much in my opinion.

I’m tired of arguing against the devil’s advocate, especially when you argue so dishonestly.

@bwv812 how many people do you think you’ve convinced with your stubborn position? I didn’t even read your last reply because judging by this thread and most others you’re always right and everyone else should just shut up and listen.

1 Like

I’m the one being thick? In your opinion, what percentage of people actually use rar files, and where are they likely to encounter them? To be honest, I only really encounter rar files when pirating stuff, and possibly when downloading obscure and possibly dubious software.

What percentage of people actually copy DVDs? What percentage of people think that this kind of software is 100% legal, especially when your #1 result touts its ability to defeat encryption? The hurdles may be low, but they’re enough to dissuade a lot of people from using them or from thinking that these products are legit.

Here’s what you said: “The record, book and film collection that could have been passed down to you is a thing of the past and is strictly disallowed by services like itunes. You’re buying a lifetime licence, not a copy.”

It’s not clear to me whether your objection is based on the theoretical grounds that you have a non-alienable license, or on the practical grounds that you’re unable to pass your collection on. If your objection is purely theoretical, then sure, you have a point, and maybe you should have bought your 8-track and cassette and complete CD version of the album instead of the specific 99¢ iTunes track you wanted. But if your objection is actually a practical one, then your 8-track and cassette versions are useless, the complete CD is quite possibly more than you wanted, and you actually save money by paying your 99¢ for your track and then buying the same track for 99¢ to give to your friend.

It’s entirely possible to be “done with” the physical container without being done with the music itself, and to me it seems strange to think that people would actually delete content from their hard drive even if they were “done with” their physical media and giving “it” away. I know plenty of people who have gotten rid of their CD collections after ripping it, either by sale or giving them away. I think that presuming people delete their already-ripped content when they get rid of their physical media is, as you might say, “being intentionally thick.”

That’s a pretty big “depending.” I’d bet serious money that only CDs are regularly ripped by consumers, largely because they are the only physical format supported by popular mainstream programs like iTunes. I’m guessing that Vinyl and DVD ripping is much less common, due not only to the difficulty and specialized software required, but because of the analog appeal of vinyl and the need to circumvent encryption in the case of DVDs.

Honestly, I doubt this makes you aware of the profits they make. It may mean you re aware of some aspects of their profitability and of some things you may or may not interpret as their margin, but I highly doubt it makes you aware of their entire cost and revenue structure. In all honesty, an analyst reading their 10-K forms is  going to have a much better idea of their profitability.[quote=“teapot, post:81, topic:25822”]
In the case of digital downloads from itunes you’re paying relatively the same price for an item that costs record industry nothing but the itunes store cut for distribution to get yourself a product that you have no ownership over.
[/quote]
This is a great example of why you probably are not entirely aware of the profits a label does or doesn’t make, unless you actually think that this is how economics works. Lets pretend that someone has a 100% digital distribution network: do you think that this means that the “label” or artist has no costs other than whatever cut iTunes takes? That studio time, producers, advertising, engineering, etc. are all suddenly costless? That there may be no artist advances to recoup?

Hey, I’m not sure I’m being dishonest, and if you think I am then I’m certainly not the only one. I’m not the one who insists that you can rip DVDs without defeating DRM, or that you can use VLC to defeat all region coding. I’m not the one who keeps insisting that there are music and movie monopolies without ever saying what exactly makes them monopolies. I’m not the one pretending that iTunes delivery means music is suddenly costless, or who apparently believes that $0 record-label profitability would be good for music or consumers.

False equivalence. The barrier to me getting a Thai iced coffee, or better yet the little pork and shrimp spring rolls for under $1 here in the US is a real barrier involving supply-chain, demand, logistics, etc… The barriers to getting any form of digital media, nearly anywhere on Earth are constructed and artificial ones, attempting to impose equivalent barriers that exist for physical, freshness-sensitive products, so that a middleman can take more money. I have no obligation whatsoever to support a middleman who delivers no value to me.

Globalization has introduced some weird price dynamics into our economic reality. Hard drives are built less expensively in Thailand, so the jobs went there, and the product is shipped here to the US. Clothing, trinkets, etc… started to be made and sold overseas, and imported to the US, while middlemen involved in import attempted to keep prices relatively stable. So, people in the US either make less money year over year (in spending power terms, if not also in dollar terms), while corporates and middlemen source what they can elsewhere, using global price differences. But, the US consumer isn’t allowed via law or technical impediment to also source goods and services globally?

Price discrimination is an attempt to establish corporate supremacy over humans, plain and simple. Our government, owned by corporates, offers no protections to our side of this equation, and readily assists, as you’ve seen with book sourcing court cases, etc… in subjugating us to the corporate interest. This is more than an idle complaint that “stuff is cheaper in other countries; not fair!” This is a precise and deliberate attack on humans, economically. The term “grey market” is an obscenity, right along with “region restrictions.” They are artificial and meant to enrich non-humans, while the same entities freely source human labor without such restriction.

1 Like

Coffee was chosen intentionally, as beans are a commodity traded on the international market. Their cost in Thailand, the USA, and China is pretty much the same. On the other hand, the USA enjoys economies of scale not available in Thailand or even China (given relative consumption levels). Localization costs are significantly higher, on a per-unit basis, for smaller markets, which to some extent explains why Canadians pay more for many products than Americans do.

This is false. The prices of just about everything have dropped as a result of globalization. Prices for Chinese-made consumer goods offered at mega US retailers like Wal-mart and Amazon.com are usually cheaper than they are at markets in China.

Not really. It’s an attempt to charge as much as people are willing to pay. A rich person may be willing to pay a lot for something, while a poor person may not be willing to pay as much. A small businessman who quotes a higher price to the rich than to the poor is engaging in price discrimination. More frequently this will be manifest with higher list prices, but with discounts available to the poor, seniors, etc. This is all price discrimination, and has little to do with being corporate. Merit scholarships to universities are a form of price discrimination, as are need-based financial awards: only those who are (thought to be) willing to pay the sticker price are actually charged that much.

[quote=“bwv812, post:84, topic:25822”]
This is false. The prices of just about everything have dropped as a result of globalization. Prices for Chinese-made consumer goods offered at mega US retailers like Wal-mart and Amazon.com are usually cheaper than they are at markets in China.
[/quote]False? I’ve purchased clothing, food, eyeglasses, random consumer goods, and electronics, in person, in China. I paid a lot less than I do in the states for the same things. Prices have dropped as a result of globalization? Have they dropped at a greater rate than the average US citizen’s spending power? At what levels? Electronic “luxury” goods, certainly… food, gasoline, housing, medical, utilities?

Perhaps I’ve used the term poorly. I’m not talking about these forms of price discrimination, which require a know-your-customer approach and are therefore small-time efforts at pricing as the market will bear. What I’m talking about as being truly insidious is the practice of corporate entities colluding and pushing technological standards or purchasing laws against the people at large. What I’m talking about is blanket price fixing at the national level. Where a government of old might enact a tariff to protect the jobs of its people, this activity is the opposite, corporates enact a rule preventing individual humans from finding the best price for a product in the global marketplace, while the corporates are free to use that global marketplace, to the detriment of everyone who has been “outsourced.”

I’m talking about “region restrictions” and “grey market” rules, not supply and demand, not the fact that the groceries cost more in the more “upscale” neighborhoods, not about financial assistance for tuition… those are different issues and don’t represent the same stark immorality that I take issue with.

1 Like

You pay less in China for the exact same products? I have my doubts. Food and clothing for the Chinese market is typically (very) different in design and quality than it is for the US market. Buying international brands in China is typically more expensive in China. Internationally available consumer electronics are more expensive. Internationally-available eyeglass frames are just as expensive in China, though lenses are much cheaper (though also of lower quality… although even in the US it is perfectly possible to by cheap glasses from places like goggles4u.com, etc.).

For the most part food and gasoline are commodities whose prices are fixed by the global market. Your mythical middlemen are not driving up the prices of these goods. US healthcare costs are uniquely high, and at any rate it, like housing and utilities, are really not much affected by globalization.

But it is possible to buy things on the grey market. Yes, it is more difficult, but this is still a form of price discrimination. Those who really want to pay less, can. And those that want to pirate, can pirate. This is why I see DRM as it currently exists as a form of price discrimination: only those who are willing to pay higher prices have to, while those who are willing to go to more effort can pay less or nothing.

I’m not sure why you think there should be uniform global pricing, though. Take one of Cory’s books, for example. I imagine the price of his paperbacks in India are lower than they are in the UK. If he and his publishers had to charge the same price everywhere, I imagine it would make financial sense to simply not publish in India at all, and to only publish in the UK and other rich countries. I don’t think this is a preferable situation to what we currently have, with different prices in different countries, Cory making more money, and more people being able to buy his books. Obviously the story is similar and even more serious when it comes to things like medicine, as it is even more important to ensure that lots of people have access to them, even if it means different prices in different countries.

30% - 65% variation in cities where prices are more consistent, the price variation in rural areas is even greater. The probability that you could sincerely base every point off of a completely incorrect assumption = 0%. Decided to save my breath, this has to be trolling, that is the only rational explanation.

I have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to “cities where prices are more consistent”—let alone the relevance of “rural areas”—or really even what point or argument your chart is in response to, but I assume the variation in CD prices across markets (and tax regimes) is supposed to be instructive.

Prices vary within the industrialized West? How is this possible when media companies are monopolies hell-bent on circumventing market principles and have the ability to set any price they want to extract profits from powerless consumers at will?