i'm from the government and i'm here to ZOMG RED POINTY DOT

Kevin Drum on Netflix:

What I wonder is what happens when Netflix eventually drops the disc-by-mail service that gave it its start. That’s inevitable, isn’t it? And when it happens, it will mean there’s really no place left to find a large selection of older movies to watch. The old brick-and-mortar stores will be gone, driven out of business by Netflix, and thanks to licensing wars, no streaming service will be available with a broad selection. People like me will actually be worse off than we were a decade ago.

First of all, I’m not certain this is true. Just because a movie’s not on Netflix doesn’t mean it’s not available for streaming. I challenge Kevin to find a movie that he could not instantly summon using canistream.it – which, BTW, may be the finest internet site of all time. He will find some, I’m sure. Just not many! And most of the ones he couldn’t find would be flicks he’d’ve been hard-pressed to find at any brick-and-mortar store ten years ago, that’s for sure.

Secondly, you could download things illegally. Just saying.

But lastly, for those of you who both want lots of movies digitally on-demand but don’t want to be lawless swashbuckling pirates, there is an obvious policy option – eminent domain! Just have the government take possession of every single American film made before, say, 1960, and then license them for a fee sufficient to fund their upkeep. It will be a one-time payment of a couple billion dollars, sure, but it will ensure that America’s cultural treasures are preserved and widely accessible. If you want to save the money you could even, say, revise America’s insane copyright laws.