How copyright will kill streaming

Written by Kyle Egner

If you log on to Netflix currently, you’ll see movies and shows like “The Office,” Infinity War, Coco, The Clone Wars, and The Fast and The Furious. These are some of the most popular franchises on Netflix, but in just a few months, these shows and movies, along with many others, will be gone.

 Disney+ is the cause of many of these shows leaving, though many fans are excited a the prospect of this new service offering Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic and Fox content in one place. Netflix, like other services, did not offer an extensive variety of Disney content. However, Disney+ exacerbates a problem that has been growing ever since the early days of Netflix: exclusivity.

The primary selling point for every streaming service has been the exclusive shows and movies on the platform, which is why Disney Plus is so problematic. Disney will remove almost all their shows and movies from other services.

 All the aforementioned content featured on Disney+ will become exclusive and taken off other services. Any fans of these properties will have to buy Disney+ to view their shows.

This problem isn’t just being caused by Disney, other media conglomerates have been taking shows their show off of popular streaming services, too.

 As reported in 2018, NBC Universal has been planning to make their own streaming service causing the removal of Netflix’s most popular show, “The Office” so that it can become exclusive to their platform. Although Netflix is not public about its viewer ratings, the Nielsen reporting group’s research found that “The Office” must be Netflix’s highest viewed show, as reported in the Chicago Tribune.

Screenshot of the banner for the later seasons of the office. [Photo Credit: NBC]

These aren’t the only examples, but they expose the problems with exclusivity. As more companies join the streaming market, more movies and shows will become exclusive. The obvious question in concern is what will become of services like Netflix?

 According to Nielsen, in 2013, 90% of Americans maintained their cable subscriptions. Between 2017-18, this number had decreased to 77%–a reflection of the influence of cheaper, quality streaming services. However, with these new changes, users will be obligated to subscribe to additional services increasing prices to the point were streaming is as expensive or more than cable used to be. This problem does have a solution: temporary exclusivity.

[Photo Credit: valiksearch.com]

Companies who have exclusive products own them through copyright.

Copyright was made in order for the maker of an idea to get a head start producing content so competitors cant steal the inventors market share.

 These copyrights were initially made to be temporary so that after a few years others could innovate on the original ideas. These few years slowly grew into lifetimes as time companies like Disney lobbied for copyright extension.

These extensions increased the copyrights for works dramatically.

This chart shows the extension of copywrite over decades [Photo Credit: Techdirt]

The idea of temporary exclusivity is based on reverting copyright laws back to how they were before company influence. This would give the rights to any franchise to every streaming service after a few years meaning that exclusivity wouldn’t be the draw but instead a well-made platform.

While this may be a solution for streaming, the actual chance of this happening is extremely low.

The government wouldn’t want to risk the economic well-being of multi-billion dollar media conglomerates for easier streaming.

All we can do know is hope for a better alternative to streaming almost like how Netflix was a better alternative to cable.

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