High School Non-Fiction - Third Place
Mr. Smith loves all things electronic. He loves his music, his Xbox, and his movies. After buying his sixty-four gigabyte iPod, Mr. Smith does what is easiest for him: he gets onto iTunes and downloads 500 songs at ninety-nine cents per song. Mr. Smith also loves his Xbox 360. He cherishes every touchdown attained in his newly bought Madden NFL download from the Playstation Network. Mr. Smith also adores his Hollywood blockbusters, but sadly, since the Blockbuster just down the street went out of business, he has been forced to stream digital movies on Hulu. Mr. Smith can’t imagine buying his media any other way. The digital media industry creates ease-of-access, but traditional hard copies of music, video games and movies create economic growth in more ways than that of digital products.
True, DLC, or downloadable content, is highly praised for the ease-of-access that it provides. Whether the medium of purchase for Mr. Smith is Amazon’s music store, iTunes (the App Store included), Google Play or Gamestop Now, DLC can be reached from anywhere there is an internet connection. With a high internet connection speed, DLC can be attained within mere seconds of pressing “download.” Another high praise of DLC is the exalted “cloud.” The Cloud is becoming ever present, as many businesses are creating their own version of this (traditional) atmospheric occurrence, it is computerized to let the user simply “dump” his or her music, files and game data onto a server out in California. If Mr. Smith is like most humans, though, he craves tangibility. This is where DLC fails to please. Mr. Smith can recall as a teen fingering his music disks and old Nintendo 64 game cartridges. Humans have always been accustomed to valuing tangible items, be they trinkets, clay pots, or music disks. As testimony to tangibility, Mr. Smith will be glad to tell anyone he sold his vintage Bon Jovi music collection for $200.
What would happen if the “cloud” disappeared? What if Mr. Smith’s data was on that failed server? The convenience of being able to pop a USB drive into a computer is a priceless object that can seldom overcome the beauty of the “cloud” when there is not an internet connection. Having his music disks within his grasp, video games on his shelf and old Blu-Ray disks in his exquisite video carousel makes Mr. Smith a little bit more relaxed.
Many hard-copy media outlets employ similar precautions to that of DLC. Examples include Microsoft’s Word that can be purchased in the form of a disk and can be installed on a single computer. Additionally, their software requires a long serial number. DLC is certainly nice, but hard-copy media works just as well.
Many good things come from hard-copy materials. Most items can be resold at music stores, game shops, or other buy-and-sell retailers. Politicians should examine the good behind hard-copy materials before trying to enact online privacy bills. For instance, Gamestop has a large business of buying games back and then selling them at a reduced price. In addition to that, Gamestop buys used electronics, such as iPads from consumers and refurbishes them. Obnoxious legislation, made to protect the product of the manufacturer, which prevents yard-sales and the resale of merchandise, is very over exaggerated and unneeded. Hard-copy materials create a very large industry that has shadowed the millennium-old concept of bartering.