What I mean is that, when I studied copyright law, I had only a bare inkling that copyright is as much about distribution as it is about creation. "Idea/expression; originality; authorship" and the like are fascinating issues, and I have enjoyed dealing with them over the years. Still, while Gutenberg and his printing press were always there out in front, it took me a long time to appreciate how detached these considerations of content frequently are in the absence of an appreciation of the means by which they are distributed to the public. At the risk of overstatement, "contents and distribution" are equal parts of a copyright ecosystem.
"The leading maker of computer games is struggling as people turn to cheaper online alternatives."The article describes how EA has struggled with reinventing its business model from selling its physical disc product (so-called "shinkwrapped product") at $60 or so a piece to competing in the online world, where game products are much less expensive.
The response has been a combination of, inter alia, selling lower-priced online games, making some of their traditional products available for free online (earning revenue from selling virtual goods to the game players), developing multiplayer online games, and reworking the classic Sims game for use on social networking sites. All of this, against a backdrop where even the disc product world has seen migration to the second-hand market, estimated to be one-third of all such sales.
"The company has come up with lower-priced games, but users have continued to flock to cheaper or free alternatives from upstart rivals."If this be true, then it suggests a certain fungibility in the contents of the games that may have been masked in the physical disc world, perhaps with an overlay of the consumer draw of the company's brand to its physical products, but less of a draw to the company's online offferings. Maybe, as well, there is a difference in the user experience, such that the contents created for the physical world don't necessarily translate well in this respect to the online environment.
To the contrary, as described in the article, the game business seems to be witnessing a migration to the online space, where the content requirements may be qualitatively different. Maybe that is not such a surprise. After all, content and distribution are tied together in a way that I only dimly appreciated in my younger days.