NBC/Universal's general counsel Rick Cotton must just be trying to push his anti-piracy comments to absurd levels to see just how much he can get away with. We'd already written about his completely unsupportable statements on how law enforcement needs to spend less on traditional crime
and focus more on piracy and counterfeiting. We also covered the highly problematic suggestion he made to the FCC that it force ISPs to monitor their traffic
for any unauthorized material (complete with more bogus stats). However, as more people dig through that FCC filing there are some amazing quotes that really suggest that Cotton and NBC/Universal have no connection to reality with these pleas. Public Knowledge picks up on NBC's showy concern for the American farmer
"In the absence of movie piracy, video retailers would sell and rent more titles. Movie theatres would sell more tickets and popcorn. Corn growers would earn greater profits and buy more farm equipment."
There are all
sorts of problems with this statement. As Public Knowledge points out, first off, movie theaters are doing great this year, suggesting the big "threat" of piracy had a lot less to do with its troubles than the fact that it just didn't have that many compelling movies the past few years. Also, corn farmers are doing quite well (and people still eat popcorn at home while watching pirated movies). Of course, that doesn't really matter. What's key here is that if Cotton and NBC actually believe this logic, then they don't deserve to be in business. By the very same reasoning, I could say "If all movies were pirated, then everyone would have that additional money they didn't spend on movies to spend on things like fancy dinners. Restaurants would be more crowded. Farmers would make more money by being able to sell more profitable food at higher prices." See how easy it is? It's also completely bogus, but it's just as accurate as Cotton's statement on the corn farmers. To suggest that the ripple effects don't ripple in other directions isn't just misleading, it's dangerously wrong. Of course, knowing how the entertainment industry works, next thing you know, they'll be demanding a cut of the profits corn farmers make, since, after all they're "profiting off the backs of the movie industry" without paying the industry for the benefit.