Friday, January 12, 2007

Who Will Decide the Outcome of the Format War? The Porn Industry, That's Who

Tisk tisk Sony. Letting your morals get in the way of your success... again. Word has it that Sony has shut out the pornography industry from releasing their plot-driven, riveting titles on the Blu-Ray format discs. Does this sound familiar?

During the last major format war, Sony took the same stance when they decided that pornography did not uphold the integrity that the Betamax stood for. However, those backing the VHS saw the business opportunity and went for it, allowing smut mavens worldwide to spread the love via VHS.

We saw the results, as up until the DVD came along and put the format to bed, most of you were perfectly happy watching classics like Home Alone, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins on your VHS. Many of you still have your VHS collections stored away, in the event of a rainy day. And yet most of you never realized that a big part of the reason your VHS beat the Betamax was thanks to the porn industry's penetration of mainstream culture via the VHS.

Odds are, just like with the Betamax, this decision is going to weight heavily on which format ultimately comes out on top. For me, this example raises a few interesting question.

First, does this decision really make Sony any more ethical than the HD DVD's backers?

Second, is business ethics just a misnomer?

Third, does allowing or not allowing a format to carry a certain type of material make it more ethical than others? Is glossy paper unethical because most nudey mags are printed on it? Are computers unethical because the provide a forum for pornography to be viewed? Are MPEGs and P2P networks the devil because the provide quick and easy access to free smut?

One thing is for certain: Sony's position on pornography is not going to bring the industry to its knees, and it definitely won't be the cause of it's demise. However, their stance may just be that to the Blu-Ray.

So in closing, congratulations to Sony for taking a moral and ethical stance on the content that will be available via the Blu-Ray.

My question is, will it really be worth it?

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