What the media companies giveth, they can taketh away

In just two days, I’ve seen a pair of reminders of the power media providers have when it comes to providing access to content. These providers are Amazon and Comcast.

On a national scale, some people have been crying foul about Amazon reaching out and deleting copies of books on their Kindle e-book reader. Many have noted the irony that the books being deleted in this Orwellian fashion are those by George Orwell, he of “Animal Farm” and “1984” fame.

As Ars Technica notes, it appears that a third-party publisher may have not had the rights to sell Orwell’s books. I can appreciate Amazon’s desire to try to correct a situation a third party has put the company into, but I also hope that Amazon sticks to its word and doesn’t automatically delete purchased books in the future.

On the personal level, I received a letter from Comcast regarding their On Demand service. In its letter, Comcast wanted to tell me that my wide access to use On Demand to watch shows and movies from most channels at any time was a mistake. Comcast stated they were limiting most of my access unless, of course, I chose to upgrade to a more-expensive package.

I downgraded to local channels to save money. While On Demand is a nice perk for a handful of shows I don’t have access to anymore, it’s simply not worth the additional $40 per month to return to Standard Cable with Digital.

I don’t quite understand it — Comcast should be encouraging use of On Demand because it offers a lot of the advantages of watching shows on the Internet, but from the comfort and convenience of your living-room television. Instead Comcast is helping me opt for the cheaper solution with more available programming on the Internet.

At least Comcast is giving me a heads up about the change. It’s pretty easy for media companies to simply flip a switch and take away stuff that we take for granted.