MPAA Home Theater Regulation Satire Hits Too Close To Home

from the it's-funny-because-it's-true dept

We've had a ton of submissions yesterday and today over BBSpot's article on how the MPAA is lobbying for home theater regulations. According to the article, consumer electronics makers would be required to put technology into their systems that would record what was being watched and details on the "audience," suggesting that having friends over to watch a movie on your home theater system is a violation of copyright. Of course, if you follow tech news closely, you're already aware that BBSpot is the technology equivalent of The Onion. That is, all of its articles are satire. We ignored the early submissions, but they just keep on coming -- and some of the submitters seem genuinely freaked out about it. This morning, Slashdot also posted the story as if it were real (Update: or not -- commenters have pointed out that Slashdot posted it as satire too), at which point we realized why this particular satire works so well: it's totally, 100% believable. Given everything that the MPAA and RIAA have done recently, no one would be surprised if they actually did try to put in place regulations like this. They've certainly tried (and will continue to try) to influence the design of consumer electronics, with things like the broadcast flag, and they continue to freak out at any market shift that doesn't involve them getting paid every time a piece of content is heard or watched. So, while it's not true that the MPAA is looking to punish you for having your friends over, it's so believable that even a well-known satire site is fooling people left and right.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Phil, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 9:01am

    Reminds me of...

    ...story that went around a few years ago that had Metallica sueing some unknown indy metal band for using the 'F' chord in one of their songs. (It's been a few years, so my memory is foggy)

    It was picked by some major news outlets (even MSNBC and MTV) until it was revealed as a hoax. I contend that the only reason it got any attention was because Metallica had previously shown their litigous side before during the original days of Napster. Metallica harvested what they sowed...

     

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      Tony, Dec 1st, 2006 @ 7:20pm

      Re: Reminds me of...

      I'm not impressed that the story fooled MTV. When covering the news, even entertainment news, MTV has always been a little out of its league. Watching MTV news is like observing a long-winded college freshman pretending to grasp everything there is to know about politics.

       

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      paul, Jul 28th, 2008 @ 11:31am

      Re: Reminds me of...

      That story is not too far off, either...

      Metallica has a long history of teamimg up with MPAA and studios to stop downloads, selling used CDs, making backups of personal music, etc.

      And, does anybody remember the story of the author's guild who sued Amazon for selling used books? They claimed that authors should get a royalty every time the book is sold (not just new books), and they also wanted a nickel or something from each library patron, every time a title was checked out.

       

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    Zephyros, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 9:16am

    Slashdot

    Slashdot didn't post it as if it were real. It had the "It's Funny. Laugh." icon on it, and the tags all say "satire," "humor," "dontgivethemideas," etc. Even the first comment said "Oh, it's a satire. :)"

     

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    Rob, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    Fark

    Fark gave the story the "Asinine" tag, which seems to indicate that they missed the joke.

     

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    Koko Loko, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 10:10am

    BBspot = victim of slashdot bandwidth cancer?

    Is anyone else getting "Server Not found" upon trying to view the story? As far as I've seen, BBSpot's servers were pretty resilient to heavy traffic.

     

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    AJ, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 10:13am

    Scary

    I realize its a joke, but I'm not laughing. If they could do it and get away with it, they would. They want to curb illegal downloading? Try making there media available in different formats w/o having to pay multiple times for the same thing. To be honest, the way the've treated us (there customers) like criminals, and the bs they try to tell us to spin reality into what ever suits them, has made me a bit bitter (if you can't tell). So its time to D/L,U/L, rip, burn, copy, convert, and whatever the hell I want to do with the music THAT I PAYED GOOD MONEY FOR BUT CANT SEEM TO PLAY ON ANTHING!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 11:48am

    Lets be honest. Downloading music or movies with no intention of ever paying for it, is stealing. Using it to try out new artists, get a sampling of some bands style, replacing songs from a scratched CD and the like, that's fair use.

    Yes the music industry is involved deeply in price fixing, so is the movie industry. But being fair to them, they made the content, they deserve SOMETHING or it. Perhaps though, it will take a bunch of "thieves" to remind them of the true value of their content and eventually they will lower prices to a reasonable level.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      "Using it to try out new artists, get a sampling of some bands style, replacing songs from a scratched CD and the like, that's fair use."

      Technically, that isn't fair use. Only because fair use is a legal term with a defined meaning, that really is unconnected to the dictionary definition of the word 'fair'. ;P

      I agree that that is definitely ethically ok, however.

      I also think that, current copyright law notwithstanding, it SHOULD be fair use to take media you have ALREADY PAID FOR, and recode it into whatever format you want for your personal use, and make as many copies as you want, for YOUR personal use.

      That doesn't mean giving your 3,000 closest friends at your college dorm a copy, that just means it should be ok to keep a copy on each of your computers, on your ipod, the physical copy you purchased, and stream it over the internet from one device you own to another device you own. Sure it's technically 'copying', but back when 'copyright' law was written, noone would want to bother to copy a book except to give it to someone else(Or rather, to copy someone else's so they didn't have to pay for it.) The law is behind the times. We now have completely ethically sound reasons to make copies of media without the author's(Or copyright owner's) consent. Wake up. We need a REAL digital millennium copyright act, not the 18th century copyright act that was passed 9 years ago.

       

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      trinsic, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 6:51pm

      Re:

      >Lets be honest. Downloading music or movies with no >intention of ever paying for it, is stealing. Using it to try >out new artists, get a sampling of some bands style, >replacing songs from a scratched CD and the like, that's >fair use.

      Stealing is a legal term for when you remove someones property from the holders possession. Since you are making a copy of a copy of something, technically, its not stealing is copyright infringement. There is a big difference so please get it right, its not the same thing, you havent taking anything away from the original holder.

       

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        david, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:49pm

        Re: Re:

        exactly. Copying a song is stealing like taking someones picture is stealing. When you steal from someone, there personal worth goes down, and yours goes up. Copying sometihg, without removing the original, is not in any way stealing.

        When an art student copies a masterpiece to hang in their living room, is the art studio or museum missing a painting? Or is the orignal still there, available for sale?

        Tecnically, by the logic of copying stealing, wouldn't every time we listen to a song we have to pay for it, as we have had the experience again?

         

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        Fruition, Dec 5th, 2006 @ 9:10pm

        Re: Re:

        "Stealing is a legal term for when you remove someones property from the holders possession. Since you are making a copy of a copy of something, technically, its not stealing is copyright infringement."

        Copyright infringement is a way of describing the act of stealing something abstract like rights. The copyright holders have rights to charge for content, and if you download it you are in essence stealing that right from them. You might not be stealing the content, but you are still stealing.

         

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          Wizard Prang, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 9:09am

          Copyright Infringement != stealing

          None of the people sued by the RIAA have been charged with theft.

          There are separate laws on the books for both cases, but copyright, like fraud, is not theft.

          Part of the problem is that the copyright laws are out of date. Instead of concentrating on copying, they should be about commercial exploitation.

           

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    PhysicsGuy, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    I believe the preferred nomenclature is "pirate" :P

     

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    icon
    Justin (profile), Nov 28th, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    Intellectual Property

    When will the world finally realize that the term "Intellectual Property" is a blatant fucking oxymoron?

    There is a reason that we have come to describe the work of artists as "content". That reason is because it was the contents of a given medium that made the medium worth paying for (and thus selling).

    I'm not going to apologize for the fact that the rise of personal computing and broadband connection to the Internet has invalidated this business model (which is only what... half a century old?*), but it has. Deal with it.

    Here's a thought: Why doesn't the "Recording Industry" shut the fuck up and do what it's name implies? Namely record things for people. Last I checked charging for professional studio time and the expertise of professional sound engineers, producers, etc. was still a viable and valid business model. High quality recordings are still valuable if for reasons other than hawking pieces of plastic.

    Is there less money to be made? Probably, but somehow I doubt that this is necessarily and undeniably a "bad thing".

     

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      FItzyroo, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Intellectual Property

      Yeah, there's less money, but it's not from piracy.

      It's from people not buying shitty music, like "K-Fed", or Paris Hilton, or...well, all these people who aren't artists and they simply use their name to sell records.

      Quality sells; and there is a HUGE lacking of quality in the music industry all together. Rappers just talking, singers just being digitized, country singers from Canada (country isn't even country anymore; it's rock and roll with a steel guitar) fat guys winning a live TV show about singing and suddenly we're supposed ot care and buy into the ocncept that it's the real thing. All crap.

      I haven't even downloaded much music lately, let alone went to a tore looking for an album, in a long time.

      ps. Why not turn around the distribution of music like soda; have vending machines. Have little kiosks to DL and forget all about stores for just CDs.Get rid of Cds. Think of the money saved from not having to package and produce them anymore.

      Real men of genuis....Mr. Still buy CDs from Best Buy...

      you sir...believe in physical evidence of your music.

      why trust a file, when a CD is perfectly fine
      (who cares about screatches!)
      Binder full of Cds, 6 changer, sunshield holder. you got all your music in the palm of your car!
      (way to big for jogging...)

      so here's to you:

      Mr. Still buying Cds from Best Buyyyyy.

       

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    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 7:31pm

    Eitehr the businesses should get to sell the song to you, which you can tehn copy/reuse on otehr devices/backup as you like, aas you could with analouge copies, and if you were stupid enough to loose or damage your origianl, then you had to buy it again; or they should get the idea that you have the song, and so long as you don't give a copy to someone else (otehr than the original), thats fine.

     

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    zeroJJ, Nov 28th, 2006 @ 10:37pm

    I can't believe they are trying to take away my home theater... I'm calling Al Sharpton this instant!

     

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    identicon
    Cyberian, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:03am

    Adapt or Die

    Their problem is that they are trying to hold tight to a model that they know its exhausted, and they hold like a drowning man to a piece of drifting wood, no matter how much the hold, their model is done for.

    Look at kodak... made billions making and selling photo films, they had it all...digital photos come up...and did they start winning about it? nope...they adapted and they are still up (No i dont work for kodak).

    Why must the user pay for THEIR marketing expenses? the RIAA, the MPAA pay billons in marketing, famous actors, billboards, TV ads, magazines, Tons of things... why should WE pay for those? cause we are paying for those now, they add them to their expenses and say...look a CD costs as THIS much (Holing my hands REALLY apart) when the real cost is WAAAAAAAY less, the marketing is their investment to sell more, so it should come from THEIR earnings, are their earnings not enough? then cut out costs you D%$M F$%#S.

    They whine... they say...the artists are the ones that are loosing money! the music will cease to exist....Music IS, WAS and will be, nothing can stop that, the only one loosing money here are them, and they translate that loss to the artists...

    The truth is, that right now, with digital music the only thing that they provide is marketing, there are NO distribution or logistic costs in Inet distribution, Tons of Indy Bands are doing that, the only thing they are missing are billboards, reach...and im sure someone will provide that soon enough...

    DRM? any kind of it...is DOOMED to fail, just like zones in DVDs, just like any kind of security imposition, the fight between the sword and the shield is ALLWAYS won by the sword eventually.

    They only have one game left to play...

    ADAPT OR DIE

     

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      identicon
      Matthew, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 7:29am

      Re: Adapt or Die

      First Off... Kodak (when digital imaging first started) just bought polaroid, and was hit HARD by the digital revolution. they had put a lot of effort into making money on instant pictures, and nearly had the market on it. now any company with the tech could sell a digital camera, and Kodak was up a creek. They have recovered, but are nowhere near the industry leader they were a decade ago.

      also, every comsumer pays for marketing costs on products? why do a base model sony DVD player cost $20 bucks more than a generic one? marketing costs mostly, i'd hazzard a guess that they are nearly identical on the inside.

      the distribution costs of web is actually astounding. advertising to find oen site on this HUGE interweb, the bandwidth to allow for a truly popular band to be downloaded by millions simultaneously. Ask any web admin how much a server crash costs a company who relies on their website as a digital storefront. we're talking $1,000 per minute of downtime. Everyone can find their local Best Buy. These an easy sell from a distribution standpoint.

      while I agree with the rolling sentiment that there needs to be a change in practice with copyright and digital IP, these things take time. it may only take a few years for a company with a few thousand workers to change, but a country with millions in population has a lot to think about when they are enacting new governing rules. small steps people. and reguardless of the "copyright law", are any of you currently involved in "piracy" going to change your behavior?

      Didn't think so.

       

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    identicon
    Stovaa, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    Music

    Bands can make good money from touring and live shows, so music won't die. The only things that'll die is the massive salaries given to people who work for record labels who don't earn a penny of what they get.

     

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    identicon
    Doug Kavendek, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 2:00pm

    get rid of CDs?

    "Have little kiosks to DL and forget all about stores for just CDs.Get rid of Cds."

    I sincerely hope that CDs are not entirely phased out, or that if they are, they are replaced with another, similar, medium. There is a thrill in getting a new CD; the case, the liner notes, the layout and photos inside, the label on the CD itself -- these are all things that I find necessary to feel like I've actually gotten something worthwhile. I've got a separate directory full of entire albums I've downloaded, loved, but will not listen to again, because I haven't been able to acquire the physical CD yet. And it's not out of some moral obligation to not be pirating this music, but rather that I just do not find it as satisfying or enjoyable that way.

    Of course, it is entirely possible to imagine a system where music is distributed physically and digitally -- in fact, that's how things seem to be transitioning now. Depending on your taste, you can pick up the CD, or you can join some online music subscription. I think that is the best direction -- to move towards simply diversifying the market to cater towards the different folks' desires of how they want their music.

    Changes in medium can not be expected to be adopted by everyone. People still buy tapes and vinyl. Better to just allow more options.

     

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    identicon
    Flipside, Dec 4th, 2006 @ 9:00pm

    Follow the leader

    It's not really following the leader, but following the money. How much does an artist make off of a cd when it sells at retail? Not much. Most of their money will come out of endorsements and live performances. The major amount goes to the label. Now, they do have a lot of people that work for them that depend on getting their small piece of that cd sale for making it possible to buy it.
    Then the definition of piracy needs to be reworked. Moving a piece of media from one type to another should be perfectly allowed. There should be no problem with downloading a cd that you have purchased a hard copy of that got scratched and made unusable.
    What is fun, is that eventually this type of action will result in a fall of this industry. Hopefully, the only people left standing will be the true artists that would play music no matter what, and they will be justly rewarded for it.

     

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    Mauselous, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 9:53am

    I think another point to note about the efficacy of this satire is the perceived ineptitude and wastefulness in their practice of enforcement. Not only was it believable because of their record of outlandish behavior, but also because of the belief they would continue to do so in such an obtuse manner.

    It is a shame that they must act as such a dead weight to forward innovation. This peice and its reaction points to the motivation behind the consumer retreat from industry music. If the industry does not come forth to embrace the consumer, their usefulness will continue to be subverted by technological innovation. Not only their usefulness to the music consumer, but also to the musicians.

    Nicely done BBSpot.

     

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    identicon
    OneTimePoster, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 6:48pm

    The article notwithstanding...

    You all talk big, like you're actually informing the RIAA et al that they're going down, and that DRM of any kind will fail, and proposing your ideal scenarios of what should be legal or illegal. But deep down...

    You. Know.

    You know you'll suck whatever teet they throw at you, and you'll be damn thankful for it. You accept "American Idol" and "Celebrity Duets" - there's proof. They KNEW you were stupid enough to choke that garbage down, believing it was/is music, and they were right.

    They KNOW you'll take what they give you because you have no control of it. They have all the money and power, and you KNOW you're powerless to do anything about it. If not conciously, then subconciously - you'll break down and get that CD of that band that came out because of that one hit they just had. You'll think, "bah, just this once." And bang! You proved them right again.

    Whenever you walk out of that music store, think to yourself, "I'm an idiot."

    Then you'll know what goes on in the RIAA's collective brain cell.


    The DMCA? Please. Does that sound like "for the people, by the people"? It doesn't to me, and I'm not even American. Maybe you have to NOT HAVE SOMETHING in order to know how important it is.

    I think Brian Briggs did us a disservice of giving the RIAA, etc., this idea, but it was funny when I read how many people fell for it in his blog. Maybe he DIDN'T give them this idea... after all, HDCP is here. There's Step 1.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    OneTimePoster, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 6:48pm

    The article notwithstanding...

    You all talk big, like you're actually informing the RIAA et al that they're going down, and that DRM of any kind will fail, and proposing your ideal scenarios of what should be legal or illegal. But deep down...

    You. Know.

    You know you'll suck whatever teet they throw at you, and you'll be damn thankful for it. You accept "American Idol" and "Celebrity Duets" - there's proof. They KNEW you were stupid enough to choke that garbage down, believing it was/is music, and they were right.

    They KNOW you'll take what they give you because you have no control of it. They have all the money and power, and you KNOW you're powerless to do anything about it. If not conciously, then subconciously - you'll break down and get that CD of that band that came out because of that one hit they just had. You'll think, "bah, just this once." And bang! You proved them right again.

    Whenever you walk out of that music store, think to yourself, "I'm an idiot."

    Then you'll know what goes on in the RIAA's collective brain cell.


    The DMCA? Please. Does that sound like "for the people, by the people"? It doesn't to me, and I'm not even American. Maybe you have to NOT HAVE SOMETHING in order to know how important it is.

    I think Brian Briggs did us a disservice of giving the RIAA, etc., this idea, but it was funny when I read how many people fell for it in his blog. Maybe he DIDN'T give them this idea... after all, HDCP is here. There's Step 1.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    OneTimePoster, Dec 6th, 2006 @ 6:48pm

    The article notwithstanding...

    You all talk big, like you're actually informing the RIAA et al that they're going down, and that DRM of any kind will fail, and proposing your ideal scenarios of what should be legal or illegal. But deep down...

    You. Know.

    You know you'll suck whatever teet they throw at you, and you'll be damn thankful for it. You accept "American Idol" and "Celebrity Duets" - there's proof. They KNEW you were stupid enough to choke that garbage down, believing it was/is music, and they were right.

    They KNOW you'll take what they give you because you have no control of it. They have all the money and power, and you KNOW you're powerless to do anything about it. If not conciously, then subconciously - you'll break down and get that CD of that band that came out because of that one hit they just had. You'll think, "bah, just this once." And bang! You proved them right again.

    Whenever you walk out of that music store, think to yourself, "I'm an idiot."

    Then you'll know what goes on in the RIAA's collective brain cell.


    The DMCA? Please. Does that sound like "for the people, by the people"? It doesn't to me, and I'm not even American. Maybe you have to NOT HAVE SOMETHING in order to know how important it is.

    I think Brian Briggs did us a disservice of giving the RIAA, etc., this idea, but it was funny when I read how many people fell for it in his blog. Maybe he DIDN'T give them this idea... after all, HDCP is here. There's Step 1.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 9:12am

    So there you have it...

    ...three identical posts from someone called OneTimePoster.

    For some reason I find this amusing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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