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.