Movie Industry's Latest Brain Washing Strategy: Push Polls!

from the how-not-to-succeed-in-the-movie-business dept

The entertainment industry really likes to trot out its explanation for suing people and treating fans like criminals, always claiming that it just wants to "educate" people on copyright issues. Of course, that education is usually incredibly one-sided, presenting a very biased case that refuses to recognize things like fair use. For years and years, plenty of people have been trying to point out to the movie industry that their problem is not the threat of file sharing or other intellectual property issues, but the fact that they've made the theater-going experience just awful. Despite some claims to the contrary, the movie theater isn't "going away". It just needs to learn to adjust. Unfortunately, it appears they're still not moving in that direction. The MPAA recently decided to put up its own online survey, which they claimed was a way for consumer to give them feedback and communicate with the industry on things that were important. That sounds like a good idea -- considering just how many comments we seem to get whenever we discuss the poor theater experience. However, just as with their "education" campaign, it seems that these polls to "hear from the audience" have turned out to be something quite different. They're push polls that clearly are not about hearing your opinion, but influencing your opinion on the issue of copyrights. It has the standard set of questions you'd expect, with the wording designed not to solicit you're real opinion, but to make you say that protecting intellectual property is oh so important. If you'd like to share your own opinion with the MPAA (remember, they want to hear from you!) you can do so at the My Movie Muse site.


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  1.  
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    zaphod, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 3:10am

    hmm

    there's nothing that keeps random people from suppling them with completely false information. that could potentially mess up/discredit the results of the survey.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 17th, 2006 @ 3:13am

    Re: hmm

    there's nothing that keeps random people from suppling them with completely false information. that could potentially mess up/discredit the results of the survey.

    Yeah, but the point isn't that they care about the results of the survey. If you look at how the questions are worded, it's obvious that the point is to influence the person answering the questions. So it's part of their outbound education campaign -- not any attempt to actually hear what people have to say.

     

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    Mikey, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 5:10am

    wtf

    There is a simple solution to all of this.
    Make it more convenient to buy the content then to steal it.

    www.allofmp3.com offers an album at 320kbps for like $2.39 it's more convenient to buy music now then it is to steal it and end up with 128k and screwed up track numbers. If they did the same with the rest of the entertainment industry people would stop stealing shit. I would pay 4 bucks to download a DVD in a loss-less format.

     

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  4.  
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    ibeetle, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 5:23am

    Push polling is here to stay.

    Politicians have really perfected push polling.

    Would you be more likely or less-likely to vote for X candidate if you knew he ran a gay Lebanese prostitution ring?

    Well of course you would be less likely. It does not say that X candidate actually did run a gay Lebanese prostitution ring; it just put the idea into your head how terrible that person would be as a elected official.

    I kissed a boy once.


    It was fun.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 5:38am

    I guess I am not good enough for the panel, since I am Canadian.

     

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    Another Canadian, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    Its not that we're not good enough (as canadians), it's the fact that we're too good!

    alan.

     

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  7.  
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    Brian Brigg, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    Open letter to the MPAA

    I just tried the site that you provided the link to but as I don't live in the USA they don't care about me. I got to where they ask about which state I live in and when I chose "Another Country" I get the message that I must live in the US to participate. Of course this was at the end of the survey.

    I had been hoping to get to a part of the survey where I could leave some comments for them but that didn't happen. So I will leave my comments here.

    An open letter to the MPAA

    Thanks for nothing.

    I don’t buy many DVD’s for one simple reason. It’s called RCE or regional coding enhancement. I come from Australia, live in Indonesia and am currently in Egypt. Last month I was in India and next month I may be in Argentina or Vietnam. Why do you think I would want to buy a DVD in any of the places where I don’t live if I can’t watch them on my laptop?

    I can buy latest release DVD’s in Indonesia for less than $1 and watch them on any DVD player because they remove the RCE. This means that legally released movies in Indonesia are about as common as well loved lawyers. I would buy a lot more genuine DVD’s if you would just get rid of RCE on them. Who is going to pay for something they can’t use?

    I do not buy the pirate DVD’s because I was brought up to respect the law. Why does your organisation insist on making it difficult for me to buy movies? I would dearly love to be able to order from Amazon.com and then be able to watch the movie on my home player. You make this impossible. I can order their books. What is the difference?

    Don’t try to tell me it is about piracy, the pirates can get the movies from anywhere and remove the RCE. The only people who you are annoying with this are the law abiding citizens like me.

    Just once I want to hear a good reason for RCE. Books are released worldwide at the same time. Internet content is accessible from anywhere at the same time. Music is released anywhere at the same time. What is it that you think makes the movie industry so special?

    By your staggered release system you are increasing piracy. People in many places will have the option to buy the pirate DVD long before the movie is released at local cinemas. This has had a really bad effect on the cinemas and ensures that even if you do release the genuine DVD months later it will not generate the sales that it would if it were released in a timely manner.

    Brian Brigg

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 6:50am

    Here's the way I look at it.

    I'm not allowed to make backup copies of the movie I 'buy'.

    I'm not allowed to even attempt to 'circumvent' anything in order to make backup copies.

    So....

    Rather than waste $20.00 + on a DVD movie that I 'buy' - yet, they tell me what I can and cannot do with it - I'll keep my money in my own pocket.

    When I can BUY a DVD and do with my DVD what I want to (novel idea, since you SOLD it to me), then I'll actually start buying again.

    They don't realize how much this DRM effects their sales. Before all this BS, I would buy LOTS of movies. Simply put, I love to collect the originals. Years ago, we had a Beta player and then on to VHS - I had FAR more 'homemade' copies of movies than I do on DVD - actually, I don't even have ONE SINGLE illegal DVD. My friend buys 'bootlegs' and another friend downloads and burns... Neither of these two friends have ever really went out and bought new movies anyway, so no loss there.

    But see - I really like collecting the originals, I simply do not like cheap copies. Internet downloads, bootlegs - blah, cheap looking and they don't mix on my nice entertainment center well.

    But... there's a few movies - not all, that I want to really keep in good condition. I'd much rather play a copy and keep the original in good shape. But I can't do that. So I said the hell with it - I haven't bought a DVD in about a year...

    To put that in perspective, I already own about 300 or so - *originals* I bought before the MPAA started suing consumers.

    So yeah - I'm a 'crusader' type - I stongly believe when I buy a product I should be allowed to use modern technology to protect the purchase I made (AKA making 'play' copies of cerrtain movies, so the originals stay in good shape). But I'm also a collector too - I like the originals, and have no problem paying for them - errr, actually I do have one problem - the MPAA's attitude and attempt to 'dictate' to me what I can do with the movie I BOUGHT!

    So until that changes, I'll continue to not buy movies. I won't download them or copy them either, I'll just watch Starz on demand - sure maybe they get some royalties from this, but it's a far shot from how much cash I used to spend on movies.

    I figure the DVD will end up scratched and unusable anyway, so I may as well just watch on-demand. What advantage does a DVD offer me now?

     

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  9.  
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    Kendro, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 7:49am

    Your right. It is a statement and not a poll.

    They are mostly statements and not questions.
    It's just slightly insulting.

     

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  10.  
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    Robbie, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 8:03am

    Looking at the "question"

    After reading the "question" on the mymoviemuse website, the answer has to be no. If you buy a sofa and decide you want two chairs, you can take a chainsaw to the sofa and not have the furniture company send you a letter that you have no right to modify the sofa. I agree that the question tries to lead people to answer, but all it takes is a tiny, little atom of thought to overcome the IQ level of the RIAA.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 8:16am

    Did they change it?

    I just went through it, found nothing but generic survey questions.

    So either they took down the nasty bits, or their subliminal branwashing worked perfectly!

     

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  12.  
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    Wizard Prang, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 8:33am

    The answer...

    "Just once I want to hear a good reason for RCE"

    Money.

    They don't want "rich" Americans buying their DVDs (look Ma - no apostrophe!) from countries like China... which, paradoxically, is where most of the "American" DVDs are manufactured in the first place.

    They CANNOT stop us from buying region-free DVD players (or hacking the players that we have), since regioning is not, and has never been about copy protection. All they can do is make it very difficult, bu "encouraging" the manufacturers not to sell them.

     

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  13.  
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    Thommie, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 8:39am

    Replacements

    When the entertainment industry is willing to provide the DVD I bought in different formats for my different systems and replace them when they wear, free of charge of course, then I will be wholeheartedly onboard with DRM and such.

     

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  14.  
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    Jeff LK, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 9:30am

    Re: Open letter to the MPAA

    Amen, brother!
    I am Canadian and had to go through the whole thing BEFORE being told I was unwelcome due to the fact that I happen to live in another country (where the MPAA has a huge contingent of litigators, by the way). They'll never learn, they'll just fade away eventually, so no point in getting to angry.

     

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  15.  
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    Lance, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 9:34am

    No 12 Year Olds?

    Not only does the poll ignore Canadians, it also ignores all 12 year olds. (NOTE: some people don't fall into any of the four listed age categories :)

    Aside from ignoring the existence of my son, the main problem is that the poll is too general. Yeah, I buy DVDs - but they're usually older titles selling for less than $10. New releases? Back when video rental stores had little or no DVD stock I did. But now I find that the aggravation of being forced to sit through trailers for movies I don't want to watch (and which will be laughably out-of-date the next time I watch the movie) coupled with the inability to put the movies on my computer significantly reduce their value to me.

    There is also the feast-or-famine nature of the quality of the movies themselves. Some years there are just about no good movies (2005 was a good example), while other years are rich with different genres. This is subject to so many factors that it can't really be helped. But within the year most of the movies I go to are November thru January, because, frankly, that's when the good movies are released. Nine months of drought makes me lose interest. There's lots going on in my life - movies cease to be a habit, and often when the good ones come out I'm simply too interested in other activities to bother.

    The thing that bugs me most about all this intellectual property crap is that it makes me feel like a criminal. I have purchased hundreds of CDs and hundreds of DVDs. But most of them were bought at least two years ago, and I don't see increasing purchases in the future. The quality of downloads sucks - instead of becoming higher quality the music and video are degraded. So what's the point?

    So I'll just watch the movies I already have over and over again. I don't own a VCR, and all those tapes now go unwatched. When the DVD player stops working I probably won't replace it - so either the industry will have made it so I can put it on other devices of my choosing (like my computer), or I simply won't watch the movies anymore. I'll get out of the habit. I won't go to movie theaters. Look, I'm not Sparticus. But I love to watch movies and they're losing me.

    Major League Baseball lost me, too.

    Movies used to provide a sort of social glue. Did you see that movie? Oh, yeah, it was great! Aw, it sucked! Water cooler stuff. Not true anymore. The movie industry is marginalizing itself. Pretty soon the only people who watch movies will be those who don't have anything better to do. And are they really the ones who have the big bucks the movie industry wants to tap into? Maybe. I dunno.

    All of this makes me kind of sad. Like watching a friend who doesn't understand that substance abuse has taken them over the edge. It's just sad to watch self-destructive behavior.

     

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  16.  
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    bshock, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 9:53am

    Yet another

    I stopped going to films this year.

    I used to be an avid movie-goer. I used to enjoy the experience. I used to make a point of watching a broad selection of films, from Summer blockbusters to thought-provoking indie films.

    And then you unfortunate individuals went a bit too far.

    You continued jacking up your already outrageous ticket prices. I was treated like a criminal every time I walked into a movie theater, with ushers and security guards constantly watching me for filming equipment (which I don't even own). If I dared to attend a sneak preview or test screening, you scanned me like I was a terrorist trying to get on a plane. You started suing my friends who downloaded low-quality versions of your films just to check if they were worth seeing. You told me I was a criminal -- a thief, actually -- if I backed up my DVDs, even though I'd paid for them with my own money. You even started showing me little ads before films, telling me what a horrible person I was just because there was a possibility I was "pirating" movies; then of course you went on to show me further commercials, even though I'd already paid for my ticket (apparently you never considered that if I wanted to watch commercials, I would've stayed home with the tv).

    But I think the finishing touch was that your films finally became so stupid, so predictable, so poorly written that they seemed like an insult. The last time I left a movie theater, I wondered if the film had been produced by studio executives who sat around chuckling about how the mindless public would pay to see anything.

    So I'm done with you now. I won't go to see your lazily, cynically, shoddily made products. I won't rent your videos. I won't watch your recycled crap on tv.

    I will, however, encourage everyone I know to follow my example. There are plenty of alternatives to your nonsense. For example, I find the Internet endlessly fascinating.

     

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  17.  
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    John Kantor, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 10:08am

    Content should be free

    This is exactly the same argument as for making music videos free: it would only help the industry overall (though not all the overpaid executives). In the Information Age, Content should be free, while we pay a fair price for the distribution (which could also be free if subsidized by advertising).

     

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  18.  
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    Ultra-Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 10:40am

    Browsers. Pheh.

    They lost me at:

    "Please use Internet Explorer to complete all studies"

    Because of course, everyone knows that all Firefox users are pirates. ;)

     

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  19.  
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    ulle53, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 1:12pm

    guess us opera users are pirates too :-)

     

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  20.  
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    steph wills, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 2:27pm

    Arrrr ....

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2006 @ 11:12pm

    ahh...

    so that's, presumably, why i don't have any studies shown... they just want to jump on some IE exploits, gain access to people's computer, and erase all the pirated movies they have... :o

     

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  22.  
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    Michael Armstrong, Aug 18th, 2006 @ 6:36am

    The Front End Survey

    ...isn't really the survey at all. It's a bunch of profile questions to gather statistics and see if you fit the profile of someone who's opinion they "value."

    At the end of the profile questions, you submit a user name and password, then they say they'll contact you later to participate in other surveys.

    I didn't find the profile survey to have leading questions at all. Perhaps some strange wording, but not leading. It didn't even kick me out when I said my overall impression of the movie industry was "Very Negative" and that theater ticket prices in my area were a "Poor value."

     

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  23.  
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    jessica, Sep 2nd, 2006 @ 9:51pm

    kool coments

    awesome coments people eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

     

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