Digital age rental stores
Rental stores in the past had to occupy a physical location, where the consumer had to visit to browse and select the materials that he wanted to rent. In recent years, however, along with the development of information technology and the internet, online rental stores have proliferated. Most online rental stores simply conduct transactions online; a physical storage medium for the data rented (such as DVDs for movies) still had to be mailed to and collected from customers.
CD rental stores are highly popular In Japan, contributing significantly to the economy; some 3.6 billion yen in 2001.Back to top
To some, renting would make more sense compared to buying due to the significantly lower costs, as well as the fact that digital copyrighted works tend to have a short life cycle. Price is aggressively competed on between various rental companies, allowing consumers access to movies and music, at highly affordable prices. For example, CD WOW! has a DVD rental system in the UK that gives you 6 trial weeks of free DVD rental. VideoEZ, a Singaporean company, occasionally has offers of “rent 3 get 1 free”.
The proliferation of online rental stores has also increased the convenience of renting copyrighted works. As all transactions are done online, without the need for consumers to travel down to the shop to browse and collect their goods.Back to top
Renting, of course, means that materials rented will have to be returned in due course. This means that access to a particular piece of copyrighted work is limited to the duration of the loan period. This means that rental would not appeal to some, for example those who like listening to old music.
Rental stores also usually contain only limited copies of a piece of work; this means that popular pieces of copyrighted material might be totally loaned out.