Destroying The MPAA's Claims On The Canadian Camcording Epidemic

from the let's-try-that-again dept

Over the last few weeks, we've noted that the MPAA is on a new publicity campaign to make Canadian laws stricter when it comes to people caught videotaping movies in the theater with camcorders. This is silly for a few reasons, including the fact that camcorder movies make up a tiny portion of counterfeit copies out there -- which are dominated by better quality cuts leaked from the movie studios themselves. Michael Geist has now done a fantastic job destroying each and every bogus claim from the MPAA about the situation in Canada and what needs to be done about it:
  • On the studies claiming that a huge percentage of camcorded films come from Canada, Geist notes that the MPAA keeps changing the number they use and give no support for it, and refuse any independent auditing of the number. An independent study doesn't seem to find the threat of Canadian camcorded videos to be particularly high.
  • On the claims of the economic impact of camcorded versions to undercut the market for DVDs, he again points to the fact that camcorded versions have a very short shelf-life. They're almost always quickly replaced by much higher quality leaks from the studio -- or, once the actual DVD is out, copies from the DVD. In other words, any impact directly from the camcorder version is fleeting, at best.
  • As for the claim that Canada's current laws can't deal with the problem, Geist points out that there are already severe penalties associated with camcording films and even the MPAA's own website highlights how Canada's laws are stringent in cracking down on camcorder usage. He also points to numerous reports of arrests for camcording found on the site of the Canadian cousin of the MPAA.
  • And, finally, on the bizarre claim last week that such legislation eliminated the threat of camcording in the US, apparently no one actually asked the theater owners. The president of the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners was quoted just a few months ago saying that camcording films has expanded across the US over the past few years. That seems quite different than "pretty well eliminated piracy in the US."
Unfortunately, though, most of the press reports still rely on the bogus stats and the bogus story line planted by the MPAA to convince people that the law needs to be changed even further in their favor.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Frink, Feb 5th, 2007 @ 10:59pm

    just like US

    If the MPAA can get the Canadian government to pass stricter laws then maybe Canada will also have the best government money can buy - just like US. There are no limits or borders when it comes to power and greed. I hope our friends up north will put up a good fight and Michael Geist seems to be out front with that. Good luck to them all.

     

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    ScruffyDan, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 12:14am

    you forget this gem

    From Michael Geist
    "As of August 2006, the MPAA documented 179 camcorded movies as the source for infringing DVDs since 2004. During that time, its members released approximately 1400 movies, suggesting that approximately one in every ten movies is camcorded and sold as infringing DVDs. According to this data, Canadian sources are therefore responsible for camcorded DVD versions of about three percent of all MPAA member movies." http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1656/159/

     

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    ScytheNoire, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 1:43am

    As a Canadian...

    As a Canadian, I hope they look at it and challenge the claims much like they have about music downloading. It would be a real shame if societies rights are infringed upon for a monopoly business coallition, as it is in the USA. I hope the judges and law-makers are smart enough to say things like "prove it" and do independent studies along with listening to those who would disagree with their info.

    I personally never watc CAM releases because they are so crappy. It wouldn't be worth watching. Instead I just buy the DVD, which I own hundreds of, or I might preview a movie by downloading it, which is a preferred method that no stuido wants to support right now. Or they want to use DRM, which is not something I want to support. Instead those downloads I have seen are from DVD and DVD Screeners that COME FROM THE MOVIE STUDIO'S.

    So the biggest threat from the movie industry is from themselves. They release their own Screeners, which get leaked. They allow pre-release of DVD's to get ripped, from their manufacturing contractors. They place DRM to prevent their products from being used properly, discouraging purchase of said products. And they don't provide any valid download distribution method.

    So the only thing hurting the movie industry right now is the movie industry itself. It they changed things, give the customer what they want, how they want it, they will purchase it. Hell, I own hundreds of DVD's, because I love movies, but I'm not going to buy crappy movies, I'm not going to crowded over-priced theatres, and I'm not going to buy overly-DRMed products like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

     

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    Anyonymous jerk, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 5:17am

    The MPAA?

    The MPAA is clearly being run by a bunch of 4 year olds. They seem to think that The public is stupid, and won't demand to see cold hard evidence, and they don't learn from their mistakes (eg, providing false data, refusing to let anyone run their own survey to check that data, then doing the same thing again next week).

    This country is going to h**l, and d**n quick.

     

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    Bill, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 5:38am

    Do you really think this is about the camcording?

    The MPAA is doing this for the publicity. Nobody cares about that poor schmuck caught camcording - whether they go to jail for the rest of their pathetic lives or have to pay a fine. The MPAA wants people to think the pirated movies on line are camcorded by lowlifes and rotters and the people who download these are participants in it all. The MPAA wants people to associate pirated movies with the seamy underbelly of criminal behavior. I totally agree the MPAA is dishonest about it and they may not be successful in getting a law passed but they will be successful in their primary aim - the publicity.

     

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      Mikester, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 10:52pm

      Re: Do you really think this is about the camcordi

      The MPAA wants people to think the pirated movies on line are camcorded by lowlifes and rotters and the people who download these are participants in it all.

      You forgot to add that they support the terrorists too!

       

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    Geoff, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 5:47am

    I downloaded a CAM movie once

    This all brings to light a funny story, one that my kids love to tell. I had never downloaded a CAM version of a movie in my life - having seen the screenshots and samples, I always realized that my taste ran a little high for this crap. I saw a copy of a movie that I had taken my kids to on the weekend (spent in excess of $70.00 in doing so I might add) on the net and the comments said it was as good as gold, so I downloaded it. Watching it I was dumbfounded, and actually thought for a minute it was a DVD copy. Until that part in the movie when the theatre PA chimed in with "Would the parents of Billy Bob Johnson please report to the candy bar, you child is waiting" in a tone that sounded like a Nascar driver than a hockey player!

    I have since stayed away from CAM's - but firmly believe that the MPAA should start looking at things more pressing than what country has the most lenient CAM laws. Perhaps they should look into finding Bill Bob's parents first!

     

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    ATHF, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    1/31/07....Never Forget

    if the mpaa can change canadian law, can i get other countries to change their law to make me king and pay me lots of money?

    but i'll be a good dictator and run the aa's into the ground

     

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    billy, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 6:28am

    Who was it?

    Who was it that I was talking about getting an organization started with, to stop the MAFIAA from treating us like criminals when we actually increase the buying of goods by doing what we do?

     

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    really. is that so., Feb 6th, 2007 @ 7:02am

    but what about "the consequences"?

    What I find funny about this story is what the MPAA threatened to do if Canadian theatre owners if they didn't comply... they threatened to delay Canadian theatre releases by months as "punishment" but also so that no Canadian cams could be leaked before the Americans spent their money on seeing the movie in theatres.

    Honestly, if they did do such a thing do you know where Canadians would get their movies? From the internet. Where they would be uploaded quickly and efficiently by our American brethern... I still wouldn't download a cammed version though... I'd hold out for the pristine studio leaked version... which is usually available before the movie hits theatres anyway.

    So I guess if you can't stem the tide of "cammed" movies from up here, then your best move is to delay movie releases and push the public right into the open arms of piracy. Nice logic, eh?

     

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    Dam, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 7:38am

    Anyone Who Watches.......

    movies captured by camcorder, must have tin ears and no eyesight. I've seen a few moments of such films, and they are about as enjoyable as a day old Big Mac left on the counter in the McDonald's men's room.

    Not that I've ever eaten such a thing, just trying to draw a strong visual here.

     

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    JJ, Feb 6th, 2007 @ 2:16pm

    CamCorder Movies

    In response to some of the silly comments above.

    Anyone who gets caught recording a movie in a theater with a camcorder should be punished. It is the person's intent to not only break the law, but to profit off of his crimes.

    I think a fair punishment would be a $100,000 fine and a jail sentence comparable to grand theft.

    It is very fair for the MPAA to make such threats to a country who does not punish people accordingly. The MPAA should have influence on the country's laws (to a point) when it comes to the distribution of it's products.

    That being said, I do disagree with a lot of the MPAA and our governments actions to protect the MPAA. I do think that many of the rules and laws were bought illegally by the MPAA.

     

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    Random IT guy, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 6:38am

    I think it funny how greed turns people stupid. You have to remember that these days what people want is cheap instant gratification. You want to slow down piracy? Heres an idea, release the DVD along with the theater release and lower DVD prices, also release the movie once its done, dont make fans wait. The only pirated movies i have seen are those that had not come out on dvd just yet but pirated versions were available and others that could be downloaded before the theater release. I know plenty of people who love movies but hate movie theaters. Why make them wait? So movie theaters can make money? Screw that. Piracy is a reaction to force, being forced to go to a theater to see a film, forced to pay unfair amounts for a dvd. I say screw em, let them rot in their greed. i feel no pity for a multimillion dollar industry that claims to be losing millions due to people copying their films.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      I think it funny how greed turns people stupid. You have to remember that these days what people want is cheap instant gratification. You want to slow down piracy? Heres an idea, release the DVD along with the theater release and lower DVD prices, also release the movie once its done, dont make fans wait. The only pirated movies i have seen are those that had not come out on dvd just yet but pirated versions were available and others that could be downloaded before the theater release. I know plenty of people who love movies but hate movie theaters. Why make them wait? So movie theaters can make money? Screw that. Piracy is a reaction to force, being forced to go to a theater to see a film, forced to pay unfair amounts for a dvd. I say screw em, let them rot in their greed. i feel no pity for a multimillion dollar industry that claims to be losing millions due to people copying their films.

      You call others stupid and then make one of the most stupid arguements. If the DVD was released synchronous with the Theatre release, the ticket sales would drop. Studies already have proven that releasing DVD's early hurts theater sales.

      Most of the up front revenue comes from theater sales. I like the fact that theater's make money, as I enjoy visiting the movie theater often.

      You say screw them, but it is THEIR RIGHT to release THEIR PRODUCT when they think it is best.

       

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    Alex March, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 8:07am

    Canadian Theaters Too Cheap Causing Problem

    Ten Years ago the Canadian movie theaters locked out professional projectionists to cut costs. Now they have minimum wage people running film in the cineplexes. The cost effective staff have been adding to their meager wages buy stealing film and helping video pirates. In fact the theaters have to hire security guards to watch the projectionists . So now you have 2 people doing the job of one bonded unionized trained professional. Modern global economics at work.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 3:57pm

      Re: Canadian Theaters Too Cheap Causing Problem

      I for one am glad they got rid of the high paid film projectionists. It is just another unskilled job that deserves low wages. People need to wake up and train for a skilled job and not expect to be paid good money for unskilled or low skilled labour. Surprising that the theatres even care about their projectionists camcording... it shouldn't directly affect their profits.

       

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    tbar, Feb 7th, 2007 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Destroying The MPAA's Claims On The Canadian C

    Isn't the MPAA a US organization? What the hell do they have to do the Canada? Shouldn't Canadians have to deal with their own ignorant organizations? Why should Canada care what a US organization says.

     

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    Sergio, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    i understand the claims from industry. they market a product and they have the right to ask the price they deem fair... and we also have the "right" not to buy that product. so, in spite the fact that i download the occasional mp3 file, i know that i'm stealing and i don't even bother to excuse myself in any way. i also have 450 cd's which i wouldn't buy if i hadn't previously heard some tracks from a download. anyway, ferrari also has an unfair price, but people don't steal ferraris. why? because they go to jail, while you can get away with downloading if you are a bit smart.

    as for the companies they are losing profits because of all the crap they release.
    one member of RIAA said that piracy is boosted by people who don't really like music because otherwise they would like to reward the artists and publishers who provide said music.
    well, most of the high quality music out there are from bands that simply don't sell that much because nowadays few people like music that is not bubble gum.

    to each his own, but check out the us charts for the past years... can you see the monstruous load of crap that tops the charts year after year? do you really think thats real music os just an instant crap that will be forgot in one or two years? and how about the people who buy those singles and records? do you think they buy the latest britney spears or the latest from *some rapper speaking about "poping caps, bitchz, weed, pussy* because of the musical quality? no, they buy them because of the mass marketing strategies that publishers use to sell those products. yes, because boy bands, shakira, spears don't make music... they are just a brand NOT musicians.

    so it's really simple, when the target market is given a choice, they will just download the track or tracks they like instead of buyng a crappy album.

    to finish off, the music industry must learn with the videogames industry where most of the companies already provide their games with an online component adding value to the purchase.

    music industry is not adding value to their products, they just want to boost product sales the simplistic ways: while cutting costs they try to bully everyone who downloads a track in order to instill fear on the world world.

    one example, a mate of mine downoladed and shared lot's of metallica albums on napster and he recieved a letter from one of metallica's lawyers stating he would be sued if he didn't remove his files. we are in portugal!!! does anyone in US (don't mean this as an insult) even knows where portugal is on the map? come on, my country has less inhabitants that new york or la.

    talk about paranoia and witch hunt from the record companies... maybe is cheaper to persecute the individual that downloads a copyrighted file for personal entertainment that actually release better movies or records or the same crap but with some sort of added value that makes the consumer want a legal copy.

    but, i mean, the entertainment industry are so clueless that they can't figure other strategies to market their products so it's easier to lie to the sotck holders that the companies are unable to increase profits due to little sophie downloading the latest piece of crap from shakira... hasn't anybody noticed that the bitch can't sing???

     

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    Revolution of the Internet, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 4:00pm

    Creativity and Freedom

    People want to be entertained and they'll do anything to get their entertainment when and how they want it. Indie artists (like Kate Nash) do it not necessarily for the money but for the fame and respect of their fans... they want people to hear their music they want to spread it far and wide as possible. They do it because they like doing it ... yeah people need to eat so they should get paid for their hard work but millions is excessive and unneeded amounts of money. If I were to ever come into millions of dollars I wouldn't spend it, I'm not greedy and would give it to people who do need money because they have no way to get it themselves.

    Hollywood = greedy bastards who need to be struggling artists once more.

     

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