Dear MPAA: DRM Is Not A Requirement For Releasing Movies

from the nice-try,-but...-no. dept

We've written about the request from the MPAA to the FCC to grant a waiver that would allow the MPAA to use "selectable output control" (SOC) in order to block DVRs from recording their movies. As we noted, the movie studios basically would like to add in another movie release window, letting movies appear on television before they're released on DVD. Of course, there's absolutely nothing stopping them from doing so today. However, they claim that it's impossible for them to do so unless they get to implement DRM via SOC to stop people from recording these movies. The MPAA's own defense of this plan was exceptionally weak, but now some others are actually coming forward to defend the MPAA's position.

Ryan Radia, over at the Tech Liberation Front, has a long and thoughtful article where he tries to paint the MPAA's position as being pro-market and anti-regulation: "Consumers are willing to pay to watch new movies at home, and content producers are willing to transmit them, but government is standing in the way." It's a neat twist, but it's 100% wrong. The government is not standing in the way. If consumers are willing to pay, the movie industry can absolutely offer up the movies and let them pay.

Radia's claim is based on the entirely false premise that the MPAA needs this special kind of gov't approved DRM in order to release its movies. Radia plays a neat trick in spinning this the other way, claiming: "But content owners aren't required to ensure that all movies can be easily timeshifted and archived." Yes, indeed, nor are movie studies required to use DRM.

There is absolutely nothing stopping the movie industry from making use of this "new business model" other than its own unsubstantiated fear of non-DRM'd content. It's not a government regulation. It's not some weird FCC rule. It's the MPAA itself.

Mark Cuban gets it right when he points out what a huge mistake the MPAA is making in even bringing this issue up in the first place:
For all the money the RIAA wasted on trying to stop digital piracy, about all they accomplished was explaining to everyone exactly where and how to steal music. Please do not make the same mistake. Right now its a hassle to unitlize the analog hole to copy movies. Most people have no idea how to do it, particularly for HD delivered movies. Please do not go through a big process of teaching people exactly what the analog hole is in hopes of getting companies to prevent its use. All you are going to do is turn on the lightbulb for many who would otherwise not have a clue.

The theatrical exhibition industry just experienced a phenomenal several weeks with The Dark Knight setting record after record. People by the 10s of millions went to the theater, many multiple time to enjoy the unique experience of going to a movie. Could you please, please, please use the money you are going to spend fighting the unfightable and instead spend it on promoting the fun of going to the movies ? More people going to the movies is more people getting excited about movies. More people getting excited about movies means more people watching movies on TV, which is good for revenues, and more people buying DVDs or legal downloads of the movies. Again, good for revenues.
Piracy is not, and has never been, a real threat to the movie industry. The movie industry is doing incredibly well by releasing good movies that people want to see. Even if they're available for unauthorized download, movie watching is a social experience, and the better the industry makes that social experience, the better it will do. Wasting time demanding unnecessary DRM isn't necessary. It's not blocking any business model. Wasting money fighting for this "analog hole" to be patched won't stop piracy at all. If anything, it will attract more attention to that analog hole, while pissing off more viewers and making it that much harder to get movie fans to want to pay money to see movies. Even if the MPAA prevails, it won't put a dent into unauthorized file sharing. People will figure out how to get around the SOC protection, and once a single copy is out there, it's everywhere. Focusing on stopping file sharing is a lose-lose proposition.

So, please, movie industry, stop pretending you need DRM for your business models. You don't. You never have. And the more you pretend you do, the more trouble you're causing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    John Duncan Yoyo, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    The problem with the RIAA fools is that these are the uncreative people who can do nothing better than complain about every penny they never could have gotten from pirates in the first place.

    The beauty of television and radio was that it was free advertising for their wares. The problem is that they started to view this advertising channel as a profit center. Profit centers are seen to be exploited to the last cent and damn all the sales that they don't get from the people who never hear the product.

     

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    Jim, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    Pirates do not need an analog hole

    Closing the "analog hole" only annoys potential customers who do not own the compatible equipment or who want to time shift the content. The pirates will hack High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) if they have not hacked it already.

     

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    Beavis, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:08am

    It is with increasing frequency that the MPAA wants to plug the consumer's analog hole. Heh heh, heh.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:12am

    Will they ever get it?

    The only people that all of this DRM affects is the people that pay for it all the time. Willingly. DRM just makes those people mad. The rest of the world will always find a way to get around any DRM. Period, end of story. DRM will never work.

     

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    Scorpiaux, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Yeah, yeah.

    "Piracy is not, ..., a real threat to the movie industry" - Mike

    And robbery is not a real threat to the banking business either. I wonder why.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Yeah, yeah.

    two separate issues. stealing money or a sandwich prevents someone else from having it. copying a whole bunch of 1s and 0s that form something doesn't do anything to the original, both people get to enjoy the sandwich.

    also it has been shown that people copying movies and series has helped those make money, Firefly (and serenity), Heroes, and many movies have received huge boosts in sales because people copy the show and then tell their friends.

    I would never have seen firefly without downloading, but now that I have, I not only bought the series and movie for myself, I've bought and encouraged others to buy the series. the same is true for heroes, if I wasn't able to download the first few episodes so I knew what was going on, I probably never would have enjoyed the series because I hate not having the full story, now I own Season 1, we watched it marathon style with friends and now we can't wait for the rest to come out on DVD and look forward to the series starting on TV again.

    it cost the studio nothing for me to download the show and in fact gained them lots of money due to all of the people I've introduced to it.

     

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    deadzone (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Re: Yeah, yeah.

    Except once again you choose to IGNORE the FACT that an actual robbery at a bank is not the same thing as Piracy since no physical goods are stolen and no physical people are directly involved.

    You are not a very strong shill for the MPAA/RIAA are you? A pile of dog poop has better talking points than you do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Re: Yeah, yeah.

    I'm sorry, but in your attempt to make a clever point by drawing a parallel between movie downloading, and bank robbery, you've overlooked a very crucial detail:

    When it comes to downloading, the content being "stolen" is purely digital which means the supply is essentially infinite. Downloading a movie is not comparable to physically taking money from a bank, because there is a finite amount of money.

    When you are downloading, the industry you are supposedly "stealing" from, does not directly lose anything. The only thing they may stand to lose is the PROBABILITY that you would've bought the movie in question, had you not been able to download it.

    But as there is no solid evidence that the downloader would've even considered buying the movie legally to begin with, there is effectively no loss in profit whatsoever.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:43am

    You're wrong, Mike:

    They DO need DRM if they live in branded communities.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Let them spend their money on it. Only people who don't know how to get around their blocks are worried. As a long-time online pirate, I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that as soon as you put something up, people will clamor to be the first to pull it down, and then publicize it as much as possible to get the credit for it. I never, ever, ever worry about anti-piracy checks. It's worth 2 hours surfing the net for the crack to be able to download unlimited titles for free forever.

     

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    Ryan Radia, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:09am

    DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    Mike, I agree with your point that MPAA's war on piracy with escalating DRM is ultimately futile. But for whatever reason, content owners are uncomfortable releasing "high-value" content on analog outputs.

    The real question is, is banning DRM something we want government to be doing?

    Imagine if iTunes' FairPlay DRM were prohibited. Some major record labels would invariably stop selling their songs online, forcing consumers to go out and rip CDs the old-fashioned way. The labels could just release DRM-free tracks, but for whatever reason, some of them "just won't."

    Or what if the FCC had blocked AACS? Blu-Ray might never have been developed and we might still be watching plain old DVDs. If allowing DRM is necessary to give content owners the "comfort level" to develop new business models, it's beside the point to argue that they could simply release that content without copy protection.

    I'm not saying that content owners' fears are rational--in many cases, they're downright baseless--but if a company is willing to sell a product with DRM attached, and a consumer is willing to pay for that product, what justification is there for government to block that transaction?

    Government doesn't stifle DRM technology when implemented in movies, music, or video games. And--in spite of this-- consumers have hardly suffered (aside from anti-circumvention laws). The FCC has interpreted a 1996 statute as giving it the authority to block DRM in this case, creating an exception to government's usual role in DRM skirmishes.

    We shouldn't let our hatred for DRM blind us to the fact that government should not be in the business of deciding whether a DRM model should be allowed to exist. If you don't like DRM'd content, don't buy it. At the end of the day, consumer demand is what will shape the future of multimedia content. Take the recent emergence and growing ubiquity of DRM-free songs.

    Let the MPAA try its hand at selling us new movies that only work on HDCP-enabled outputs. Perhaps consumers won't bite, and MPAA's plan will crash and burn. Or maybe, just maybe, people will decide that avoiding the hassle and cost of the movie theater is worth dealing with some silly DRM requirements.

    Of course, this whole debate is mucked up by the horrible anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. Repeal Section 1201 of the Copyright Act, and perhaps "Big Content" will finally give up on DRM for good. But maybe they'll keep trying, and that's their right.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:10am

    Re: Yeah, yeah.

    And robbery is not a real threat to the banking business either. I wonder why.

    Bank robbery represents a real loss.

    There is no bank that takes a robbery and turns it into a positive.

    Yet there are tons of content providers who have turned "piracy" to their own advantage.

    Thus, it's quite clear that it's a business model issue, not a threat.

     

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    limaxray, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    I'm going to have to agree with Ryan's article on this one. The fact is, DRM isn't something that should be banned or required by the FCC. If the MPAA only wants to transmit their content using DRM, then that should be their right.

    Granted, I think their desire to cling on to DRM is a horribly stupid business move, but a move they should have the right to make. Let them invest the money in developing and implementing these futile technologies. We'll all still get our DRM-free pirated copies with far less hassle than if we paid for the legit version. The more difficult they make it for the average Joe to enjoy legitimate content, the more average Joes will resort to piracy. God knows why they can't figure this out.

    I, for example, have no problem paying for content, but since I'm a 100% Linux user I just don't have that option because of DRM. Whatever, their loss.

    Basically, let them shoot themselves in the foot, the FCC should have no power, or obligation, to stop them. The RIAA and MPAA are a sinking ship in the tides of technology and are clinging on for dear life. I personally find it rather amusing.

     

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    anonymous, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:30am

    How the RIAA would stop bank robberies..

    by making everyone come in to the bank naked...

    bank robberies have a minimal impact on the earnings and insurance rates of banks.

     

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    James, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Idiotic problem

    They want this sort of bs in place so they can get you to (hopefully) pay multiple times, once to see it on some sort of pay-per-view at home, and then later when the dvd comes out later on.

    Fat chance. Grow up MPAA .., grow some balls and stop trying to hide behind artificial blocks to prop up what you think is a cool way to squeeze more money out of people for the SAME THING.

     

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    Greg, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    I've also been a long-time pirate (early/mid 80's on the ol' C64) Couldn't agree more.

     

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    hegemon13, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    The government does not have jurisdiction over many of the other examples you provided. The FCC does have jurisdiction over broadcasts, however, and they set the standards for those broadcasts. Part of that standard is that they are not going to allow DRM. It's one of the few things that the government has gotten right in the IP realm.

     

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    another mike, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    no, please do

    I want the MPAA to introduce more DRM to the movies I try to enjoy. That quarter-hour my computer spends shredding and ripping through the pointless encryption is very productive. It gives me time to fine tune the picture and sound in my 144" projection, 1000W 8.1 channel surround sound home theater and make sure I'll have enough drinks and popcorn available for the whole movie. So please, decrease compatibility, constrict your fan base, lower profits, and make it as troublesome as possible to enjoy movies. All the people willing to line up around the block, several times, and pay through the nose for every version, cut, edition, and release of a movie really appreciate everything you do for them.
    In spite of the MPAA's pointless exercises I seek out good movies to enjoy such as Dark Knight and the upcoming remake of Death Race. Oh yes, it is a remake but I like the original so much, I will see the new version.

     

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    Scorpiaux, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re:

    "I've also been a long-time pirate (early/mid 80's on the ol' C64)" - Greg

    Greg, why not show your convictions by publishing your real name and address and listing the name of all those copied works you have pirated? You will have lots of defenders in court later on as they will be other like-minded posters here by openly testify on your behalf and swearing that you have made those from whom you have pirated copyrighted richer, not poorer. Good luck, Greg. I am looking forward to following your court case.

     

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  20.  
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    Mick, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    Ryan, did u read the same article as me? Who said anything about gov'ment banning DRM? Get yer head out of your branded community..

     

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    Mick, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What a tool

     

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    Ryan Radia, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    FCC rules stemming from the 1996 Telecommunications Act prohibit activation of Selectable Output Control unless a waiver is granted. So, yes, the government is banning DRM, as federal regulation prohibits MPAA from copy-protecting new release movies by closing the analog hole.

     

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    mobiGeek, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    He won't get my support. Though I happily support the idea of digital content being made freely available, I do not support the idea of violating the actual terms made available for any particular digital content. If a copyright holder wants to tightly hold the reins of their content, then all the power to them. I won't support others violating those tight terms, but I likely won't support that copyright holder's business model either.


    I strongly suspect that others in this forum feel the same way. A few have posted such in past threads.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    The real question is, is banning DRM something we want government to be doing?

    I don't see it that way at all. To me, it looks more like the MPAA is asking the FCC to regulate that they can degrade a consumer electronics device by disallowing it from doing stuff that consumers bought it to do.

     

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    claire rand, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    let em

    let em switch it on, it will hurt sales of DVRs somewhat, more people will stick with other analogue stuff, or capture cards.

    HDCP? let em push that, once one reasonably popular device is cracked they can disable it, and kill sales of the hardware and be sued, or leave it alone and realise how pointless it was

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    FROM STORY:As we noted, the movie studios basically would like to add in another movie release window, letting movies appear on television before they're released on DVD. Of course, there's absolutely nothing stopping them from doing so today. However, they claim that it's impossible for them to do so unless they get to implement DRM via SOC to stop people from recording these movies.

    Most everyone had a VCR in the early 80's. At that time there was never this issue. You could record just about what ever you wanted. If you broke the law (Pirating, bootlegs, etc) you could pay fines or whatever..

    But now 28 years later the FCC is being asked to block your hardware from recording? Bah, Sounds like to me this just an attempt to first get you go to see the movie, then rent it on tv, then rent it in the video store, then eventually buy the movie. Why should the government be used so these industries can maximize profits. Seems a little unfair to me.

    I am sure the MPAA would like to force people to pay for a movie every time you watch it. But it seems a little unrealistic to me. Imagine if you had to pay a fee everytime you wanted to use software. How much money do they want to see a simple movie. Geez...

     

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    Baloney Joe, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 2:10pm

    Cubans full of shit!

    Every time I try to DVR any of his "Sneak Preview" movies that he runs on HDNet before they are released in theaters, nothing show up on my DVR...Somehow my DVR just "forgets" to record it, it has happened twice now.

     

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    hegemon13, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    The problem with that stance is that their demands mean that they get to regulate technology and cripple innovative new products. They get to tell the device manufacturers how to build the devices that I purchase, and that gives them way too much control over the market for said devices.

    DRM needs to go. It is harmful to the industry, and it is even more harmful to the public. If the government can actually understand that and take what steps they can to stop it in the markets they can control, then I think they should. I am not for big government or government interference. However, this is a case where an industry is trying to write its own laws and stifle the innovation of a nation. They need to be put in their place, and I applaud the FCC for doing it.

     

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    Jake, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 4:40pm

    I don't think the 'social experience' argument really holds water. If you're going to sit in silence for ninety minutes watching a film, you might as well do it at home as in the cinema; social interaction is kind of hard when social taboos or sheer background noise make it hard to actually speak.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2008 @ 4:48pm

    Re:

    you clearly never went to a movie with a date just to sit in the back and have fun or make out.

    I suggest you try it sometime.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 4:56pm

    Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    The real question is, is banning DRM something we want government to be doing?

    Well, then, ACTUALLY, shouldn't the real question be why consumer electronics companies need to obey SOC in the first place?

     

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  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    In the early 80s, the movie industry was petrified of the VCR. They were convinced that people would not bother going to the theater to watch a movie when they could have it at home. So, they not only refused to release major movies on video, they also tried to block VCRs from being made, by suing Sony.

    That lawsuit failed. Eventually, large numbers of pirated copies of new movies (such as E.T.) forced their hand. They dipped into releasing movies on video. You know what? It worked. People were happy to rent and buy movies on video *in addition to* seeing the movie at the theater. By the end of the 80s, movies that had either been flops (Twins) or moderate successes (Dirty Dancing) at the box office were making over $100m on video. In the DVD age, it's estimated that pretty much any movie will make a profit eventually, even if it was a massive flop.

    Sadly, these fools have neither learned from their own experiences nor from those of the RIAA members within the same corporations. DRM will not work - as noted above, it only affects honest, paying customers and not the pirates. It's like those horrendous anti-piracy ads you see on DVDs. Pirates will never see them, paying customers have to sit through this unskippable, condescending advert on a disk they paid good money for. Eventually, they may decide to simply never buy the movie.

    Ultimately, something will force the MPAA's hand, as has happened with the music industry. They'll experiment with different release structures and realise that there's separate markets for movies. The person going to the theater is not necessarily the same person who will be happy watching the movie on their TV. Some people are happy to watch movies on the big screen that they're already seen at home, because it's a totally different experience. They'll realise this and eventually come up with a business model that capitalises on this fact.

    On the other hand, they might manage to convince the government to allow this kind of idiocy, in which case those new business methods are ignored and the studios lose money not only to "pirates" but to people who give up because they can't get the damn TV to play the movie they want...

     

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    Another Planet, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 2:56am

    Re: Re: Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    Most legitimately manufactured videotapes of commercial movies had an analog version of "DRM" included in the form of a "Macrovision" signal mixed in with the video.

     

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  34.  
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    Another Planet, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 2:56am

    Re: Re: Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    Most legitimately manufactured videotapes of commercial movies had an analog version of "DRM" included in the form of a "Macrovision" signal mixed in with the video.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Aug 7th, 2008 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    Yeah, but that didn't really work (I managed to bypass it most of the time as a kid). The most important part of the Macrovision signal was that it only attempted to stop copying, not playback - today's media tries to dictate which playback devices can be used. That's why it's failing - analog Macrovision didn't affect normal, paying users. Digital DRM does.

     

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    SomeGuy, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree.

     

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    CinemaScope, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 5:39am

    All part of the same business model...

    It is incredible that lots of people here insist that some laws should only apply to this and not that. That just because money or sandwiches are things and digital data is infinite THEN one cannot be stolen and the other can.

    There is NO difference between a house, a car, a sandwich, money (on notes and coins OR on an internet bank), a DVD, a film or a computer file. All these things were made by someone OR belong to someone OR can be accessed through someone OR has its access controlled by someone.

    It just happens that somethings are easier to do than others. It may be virtually impossible to prevent someone to photocopy a book and give it to someone else. OR to build all cars with a top speed that never go beyond the local speed limit. That does not prevent the car manufacturers of spending millions in security devices a) you'll never need if you drive carefully (but paid for it anyway) and b) may be useless or not if you hit a tree at 200mph.

    That's why the insurance of a Ferrari does not cost the same as Honda Civic. It costs 10 times more.

    Should a ticket for THE DARK KNIGHT cost 10x the ticket for that French film nobody cares to see?

    Of course, not. We would hate that. Most films cost the same ticket price (and even DVD prices have standards). And in the free market, anyone can make a film and sell it as the best film ever. The audience will always feel disappointed sometimes. That's how it is: like in restaurants... you eat, you pay - regardless of you liked the food or not.

    DRM may not be the best thing on Earth. But it is the future. Get used to it and learn to live with it because it is here to stay. Of course there will be always those who circumvent it. But it's going to be so hard, very few people will get it done right.

    I produce films and I got lots of people on my payroll. Yes, I want all the money I can get from my work... and work of those on my payroll - because I have to pay them.

    The movie industry is not evil. Stop treating an industry that gives you pleasure as evil. Stop treating pirates as heroes who steal from the rich in order to give to the poor. That's childish. The industry KNOWS the difference between content circulation that generates revenue (which is good) AND content circulation that hurts sales.

    What most of you do not see is that a film is as important to its industry as a certain formula is to the pharmaceutical industry. We give away trailers and clips just as Pfizer gives samples. Why should we allow someone to consume our products for free at the time revenues are most critical?

    I agree with the MPAA about the need for DRM if they believe there's a market for (paid) TV screening of the film BEFORE the DVD release. It is obvious to me that DRM is needed in that case otherwise the DVD sales performance will be compromised (and home video sales are a VERY important form of revenue).

    If there's no DRM for that matter, there will be simply no move in that direction (the advanced TV screening, that is) because the movie industry is not dumb.

    Some people here are saying DRM is horrible and it is worthless. No it isn't. I cannot see one single industry who does not care about security and access of the goods they produce.

    Yes, there were movies before DRM and the industry was raking on money 70 years ago too... but that was before digital, game consoles, internet, P2P, home video and cheap pirate DVD copies sold for a dollar or two at the street.

    DRM is here to stay. Embrace it.
    Anyone care to comment?

     

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    SomeGuy, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    Re: All part of the same business model...

    Commenting on TechDirt isn't my day job, so I'll just make a few brief points.

    There is NO difference between a house ... or a computer file.

    Besides the obvious difference that you can't live in a computer file... Digital goods are infinite because giving it to someone doesn't diminish your own possession of it. If I give someone my car, I don't have a car. If I give someone an mp3, I still have my mp3 (until I decide to delete it). It costs approximately the same to make 1 billion mp3s as it does to make one, but making 1 billion sandwiches costs 1 billion times the resources. Do you begin to see where your argument fails?


    Should a ticket for THE DARK KNIGHT cost 10x the ticket for that French film nobody cares to see?

    Should it? Yeah, in a sense, it should. There's a lot more demand for it, after all. But if you raise the price, you'll stifle demand and turn people off. In a sense, a movie is a movie, and people will pay only so much before they decide it's not worth it. Theatres don't change their prices because they're better off charging a flat rate regardless off the content. It would be too much effort for too little gain otherwise.


    That's how it is: like in restaurants... you eat, you pay - regardless of you liked the food or not.

    Not true. If I order a steak and it's prepared wrong, I send it back. When I get the check, I only pay for one steak. If the meal is utterly horrible I speak to the manager, express my displeasure, and I leave; I don't care if I choked down half a baked potato, I'm not paying for that trash.


    DRM may not be the best thing on Earth. But it is the future.

    No it's not, precicely becauase it punishes paying customers. DRM doesn't hurt pirates; at best it slows them down. And you will always be competing with pirates -- the right move is not to make your product less useful than theirs. It's been shown that people will pay for good content even when it's available for free, but they WON'T pay if you make it too difficult for them. At best they won't consume your content at all; at worst you've created a new pirate.


    The industry KNOWS the difference between content circulation that generates revenue (which is good) AND content circulation that hurts sales.

    The industry THINKS they know, but they don't. They watch the first transaction and ignore all the ripple effects that come afterward. I know people who watched pirated Dark Knight and then went out to the theatres two or three times, with groups of friends, because it was that good. With movie prices being what they are, a lot of people are unwilling to buy sight-unseen.


    I agree with the MPAA about the need for DRM

    The is no need. There is a strong desire on their part, but it is not impossible to deliver content without DRM. They fear what might happen if they don't hold tight to their content, that's all. Even if I could record the Dark Knight to my DVR, there are LOTS of reasons to want the DVD, not the least being special features and additional commentary.

    And that's really all I have to say about that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    Dear SomeGuy:

    ONE - "Besides the obvious difference..."
    Physics is not the issue here. That house and that computer file (which contains a film) was made by someone and belongs to someone. The file in itself is irrelevant to this discussion because it is a simple vehicle to a work that is worth money (and that, like a house, as you admit, is not infinite). Send a blank computer file to someone and ask him if he wants to buy it. He won't because it contains nothing that is of any worth. Commerce exists because there's value in things. It has nothing to do with the physicality of things. You can buy virtual things with real money. Why? Because these physicless things have a function somewhere - therefore you cannot get them for free. Likewise, the digital movie we talk about may be endlessly reproduceable... but that fact alone does not mean that it does not have a real money value. So my argumentation does not fail. One thing is the file. The other is what that file contains. And what it contains gives you something (the experience of the film) for which you should pay.

    TWO - "Should it? Yeah, in a sense, it should"
    I'm sure you know there was a time when very different theaters had very different prices. I'm sure you also know there was a time when you could see two films for the price of one. These and many other practices are gone today because the evolution of the business meant treating every film the same way... with the thought that for every film there is audience of a certain size. And the more you think about it, the more it makes sense because it is the audience who gets the most out of it. In fact, countless films are made every year that benefit from the fact that they cost as much to be watched as a blockbuster (meaning that no audience is treated differently according to taste). Smaller films may get fewer screens... but give the theater the same price per ticket... otherwise, there would be no theater in the US right now that would NOT be showing THE DARK KNIGHT. I kid you not! Even at $20 per ticket!

    The demand for THE DARK KNIGHT is huge... but the studio is not charging you $2 more for it on its first day. Is it? No.

    THREE - "Not true. If I order a steak and..."
    Please, you are not being reasonable. How many times have you done that? At which restaurants? Don't make me laugh. Tell me at which restaurant you're eating and I'll be there every day eating for free. LOL But you are confusing two things. One thing is a defective product. The other is your own personal taste. Get a projection without sound or some other technical problem and you can ask for your money back... or replace your faulty disc... that's standard procedure in commerce. But complain that you did not like the film and you'll never get your money back. Your steak example is no good because you DID NOT eat it. You tried the first bite and sent it back. You're still hungry, right? If you want to satisfy yourself, PAY in another restaurant or just eat the trash and PAY for it. Try eating the whole steak THEN complaining it's no good.

    THE SAME THING WITH MOVIES... you've seen it, you must pay. It's a one-off purchase. Of course you can be unpleasant, noisy, yell some 10 f-words LOL and maybe the fancy restaurant manager will be better than you and pay you off with your own money. The theater manager will probably call the police. You chose. LOLOLOL

    FOUR - "No it's not, precicely becauase..."
    Well... point me to any study that says that most consumers will NOT buy something because of DRM. Most consumers probably don't even know what DRM is. And even if they do, they STILL want SPIDER MAN 3 or THE DARK KNIGHT. Better yet: how many of those who went running for the theaters the day TDK opened said "I refuse to see the film because I cannot have a quick peep on the internet copy I tried to download last night and could not find". None that we're aware of. On the contrary, by delaying piracy by some 36 hours or so, Warner Brothers managed to put on the theaters even people who hated the film and would never go see it in theaters had they had previous free access to it.

    Want to see it? You should pay. If you like it or not... it's your problem. You want a Ferrari? Pay for it. Got no money and feel not happy with your Honda Civic? Well, there are other cheap cars. Have quick drive on all before you decide (like in movie trailers). But no one will give you a free car. And if someone does... well... good for you!

    And which study has shown that people will pay for what's free? (please don't post links to websites quoting quotations) Which people? Which content? I hope, for your sake that you are not talking about music. As you know the film and the music industry have many, many differences. REM may well put ten songs for free and call it "an album". But we're talking about films here. Not movies.

    FIVE - "The industry THINKS they know..."
    Well... we are certainly not talking about the same industry. And one thing about people who went to to see the film multiple times: the industry loooves that people. Some of them even get freebies. Those people are the least of the industry's worries. LOL

    SIX - "The is no need. There is a strong desire..."
    As you said, YOU will buy the DVD anyway. But we are not talking about you. We are talking about the ones who are not as fabulous as you. That's all.

     

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    SomeGuy, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    One: I never disputed value. You said there was no difference, I proved you wrong. If you woiuld like to QUALIFY what "no difference" means that's another story.

    Two: I don't see how anything you said contradicts the point I made. I think it should cost more, but it doesn't because of various factors. It COULD cost more, and people would still see it; you admitted that yourself. So what's your point?

    Three: You'd have to explain what you mean by "reasonable." I think I have every right to demand quality, and thus far have had no trouble making such demands or being satisfied. Where I eat doesn't matter, the same rules apply; I'm as willing to send back a Whopper as I am a meal at a 4-star restraunt if my standards aren't met.

    Regardless... I may have only eaten one steak, but I 'cost' them two. Or does that not count? The trouble with waiting until you finish a meal to complain about it, though, has more to do with the increased difficulty of arguing that you weren't satisfied. One typically doesn't finish a meal one is dissatisfied with.

    The same with movies, and as a point of fact I have left movies early and demanded my money back and gotten it. And I'm not so crass as to throw myself into an expletive-laden rage about it. You can be stern without stooping to that level. I don't see how demanding quality product is unreasonable.

    Four: My day job also doesn't involve trolling for studies on consumer behavior which may or may not exist, so I'll pass on your challenge, thanks. Perhaps Mike Masnick can satisfy you there? Anyways, it doesn't matter if consumers know what DRM is, they'll notice when they can't play your product on their TV. They'll notice when your product isn't compatible with their new toy. They'll notice whenever they try to do something they feel is reasonable with your product andf DRM stops them. You're right, though, they will still want Spider-Man 3 (Really? You chose that garbage as your horse in this race?). The problem is, yours isn't the only game in town, and they can get DRM-free stuff from the pirates. That hurts you. But the product that they get from the pirates is better for the consumer because it will work on their TV, it will work with their toys, and it won't ever try to stop them from enjoying the content.

    Quote: Warner Brothers managed to put on the theaters even people who hated the film and would never go see it in theaters

    So... your big win in all of this is the ability to sell customers a product they don't want? That's what makes DRM and the entertainment industry so great?

    Quote: But no one will give you a free car. And if someone does... well... good for you!

    You make no sense.

    And why is it that a digital movie is so much different from digital music that the two can't be compared? They're both entertainment, right? They both have value, right? Someone's trying to sell each of them, right? Why is it that the successes of digital music have no impact on digital movies?

    Five: Again, I don't see your point. I argue that the industry ignores ripple effects, and you respond by saying that the industry loves people who see the same movie repeatedly. What's your point?

    Six: I'm no great believer in the natural goodness of human beings, but I do believe there are things that DVDs can and do offer that a DVR recording can't capture. You can't record commentaries if they aren't broadcast. You don't need to trust in human goodness to sell people things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    ONE
    Well... if you wanna get basic on this, ok, then, everything is different from everything. No, I cannot really live in a computer file. My God, how did I not see this...
    Of course I wasn't talking about THAT obvious difference, was I? But if you did not understand the context in which I said that a house and a computer file containing a movie are the same thing... well... I won't insist.

    TWO
    I said that in all fields of business that I know of, companies get more protective the riskier the operation gets. And I gave the example of the insurance company who demands more money to cover a car that costs 10x the price of a regular one. The movie industry opts to protect itself from piracy so that it can keep their prices regardless of the cost of the film (treating all tastes equal). The opposite could be demanding more like insurance companies do. You say it would be too much trouble. I say more than just too much trouble, it would be offensive and it would have consequences nobody would like to see.

    THREE
    Exactly!!! Unreasonable is to tell me that a stake is prepared wrong. You tell me what that means... :P Wrong according to what? Your taste? Your "steak" example is SUBJECTIVE and does not fit in this discussion.

    Now...
    Order the stake that is supposed to be rare... and it comes burned. Is that what you mean by "prepared wrong"? A replacement is the most common practice... and you should not even ask for it twice. The same thing with a faulty disc: it's faulty and it must be replaced. Or the bad projection: get another ticked for free. But do not complain about the film because the film is alright and you should pay to see it. The steak is alright and you should pay to eat it. No difference. You pay to eat a steak as you pay to watch a film (even being the film a string of 0 and 1). No difference. The preparation is like the projection or the pressing of the disc: something bad may happen and you get a replacement...

    ...but the replacement does not depend on your liking. Even return policies tell you that. Amazon, for example, is clear: you cannot return, for example, downloadable software products (because they will be used). Even DVDs and CDs although accepted won't give you full refund (because you've seen them) unless it's defective.

    If "prepared wrong" means defective, of course you should complain. It it means something else, then it has no place here because (with very few exception) nothing has its price based on how you rate the ownership, consumption or experience of it. Try asking the airline for a refund just because the trip was boring.

    FOUR
    Your question: "your big win in all of this is the ability to sell customers a product they don't want?" LOLOLOL Did Warner Brothers dragged anyone to the theaters? No. No employee from WB was pointing a gun at anyone at the theater. If they do not want to see the film, why did they go to see it then?

    Please, tell me. :P

    It was not because of the air conditioning. If they went to the theater I GUESS (it is just a guess) it was because they wanted to see the movie.

    Then pay the price. Those who do not want see the film won't see it. Period. DRM was not made for them.

    Your question: "That's what makes DRM and the entertainment industry so great?" My answer: I think you are misreading everything. The great thing about the film industry is that it gives you great pleasure for a price few industries can match.

    The problem is that some people - no matter how reasonable the price - prefer to steal instead of paying. I haven't seen TDK yet, but of course it can well be a great film. BUT even those who hate it must pay IF they want to see it. Or are you suggesting that only those who like it should pay?

    FIVE
    Your question: "And why is it that a digital movie is so much different from digital music that the two can't be compared? They're both entertainment, right?" I'm sorry, but the explanation for this one is too long. I'd love to explain, but not here. But let me tell you this: how much do you think it costs REM to produce ten songs and put them online for free? And how much do you think a moderate budgeted film cost? There's a huge difference. Why do you think Madonna left Warner? Do films make live concerts? How much does a Madonna ticket cost? how much do you think it cost to put a REM song in a film?

    You don't have to answer any of those. They are there just to signal some of the huge differences there are between the music and movie industry. Opera, theater, books... all are entertainment too... and they are all very different.

    SIX
    Here we fully agree. I'm not a believer on goodness either (otherwise I'd be a priest, not a producer). Yes, TV will not give you what the DVD does. Like you, I feel the same. But others may disagree... they will record the movie and sell them as regular DVDs MAYBE even fooling those who think they are getting the legitimate thing (it's called counterfeiting).

    DRM is there to protect the money YOU spent on the real thing. Why will you allow someone else to have for free the thing you had to pay for?

     

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    SomeGuy, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    One: I can only respond to what you say. You had said "no difference," so I responded to "no difference." Even at that, I dispute your claim that they are the same in any real respect. They may both have value, but they have value for very different reasons, and they have very different natures.

    Two: You said no such thing, but I can understand now how that might have been what you were thinking. Still, I can only respond to what you say. Regardless, I still hold that the defenses the industry are taking against piracy are ill-thoughtout and non- or counter-productive. DRM doesn't stop piracy and it does irritate legitimate customers. DRM makes pirated products more valuable than legitimate copies. You don't win the race by making the other guy's stuff better.

    Three: I walked out of The Hulk and demanded my money back because it was a horrible film. (The first one; I liked Norton's.) I got cash. Not a free ticket, I got my money back. This isn't a unique experience for me nor for many other people I know. Now, you're right that you don't always get cash back, and it depends on the theatre, and definitely it's a different matter if the film is defective... But I still hold that the analogy to a restraunt holds and all my points stand. If you wait until after the movie ends to complain, that's the same as eating the meal and then demanding your money back, with similar difficulties.

    The airliner quip doesn't fit, though. A movie, and in many respects a meal out at a restraunt, has value because of the enjoyment of the experience. A plane trip has value because it moves you from point A to point B. You can complain about an unpleasant meal just as you could complain if your plane landed at point C rather than point B: the quality of the product is lacking in such a way as to diminish the VALUE of the product.

    Four: Your quote indicated that Warner was able to get money from people "who hated the film and would never go see it in theaters." Now you claim that if they went there it's because they wanted to see the movie. But surely you must concede that they had no way to know if they wanted to see the movie before they had paid. (Previews and trailers are very often misleading, look at anything M. Shyamalan has done.) So you're proud that you're taking money from people who don't like your product without giving them a fair chance to determine that.

    Five: Perhaps you have a point, I can't really say. Still, ticket sales, DVD sales, TV broadcasts are not the only way movies make money. Nor do those go away if DRM is not enforced. Nor is it fact that movies must cost as much as they do to produce. So if I may be lacking a bit of an insider's eye on the issue, I would propose that you're starting from faulty premises anyways.

    Six: It's no skin off my nose if someone enjoys something for free. If I paid for it then I felt it was worth the price, and finding it cheaper (even free) elsewhere doesn't bother me. It only bothers me if I felt it WASN'T worth the price I paid, and even then I'm mad at the producer, not other consumers. DRM is made to protect the producer from having to put extra effort into making their product worth the price they want it listed at. If you're the only show in town you can charge what you want. With Pirates around, you AREN'T the only show, and DRM is a misguided attempt to fight the competition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    SIX
    Here we fully agree. I'm not a believer on goodness either (otherwise I'd be a priest, not a producer). Yes, TV will not give you what the DVD does. Like you, I feel the same. But others may disagree... they will record the movie and sell them as regular DVDs MAYBE even fooling those who think they are getting the legitimate thing (it's called counterfeiting).

    DRM is there to protect the money YOU spent on the real thing. Why will you allow someone else to have for free the thing you had to pay for?


    here is where your argument falls apart. it has been shown time and time again that DRM does not stop piracy. I challenge you to mention a DRM process that hasn't been beaten. heck try naming one that lasted a few months without being cracked, most don't last a week.

    all DRM does is make it harder for the average user to use what they legally paid for the way they want. if someone buys a DVD and wants to convert it onto their portable video device, they should be able to, it harms no one. the industry just wants people to pay for the same thing multiple times. there is no reason joe blow down the street should have to buy the DVD for his DVD players and then download the DRM-loaded version onto his computer and then buy a third version for his portable video player just to use something he paid for the way he wants.

    we have laws in place that can target pirates, drm does nothing to stop or slow pirates, and using pirates as a reason you *need* drm just shows you aren't nearly as in touch as you think you are.


    btw (and this is not related to the above whatsoever), lots of people do give away stuff they make, from bands, to independent film makers, to people like me, software developers. I give away most of the programs I write because I wrote them thinking that people would find them useful. some donate money, some don't, but I've been contacted many times by people who saw my free software and wanted to pay me to make something specific. that sort of thing happens in all the fields, if the stuff you do is good, people notice and will pay money .

     

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    George W. Bush, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Greg, why not show your convictions by publishing your real name and address...

    By the way Scorpiaux, what's your's?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    The real question is, is banning DRM something we want government to be doing?
    No, the real question is, is enforcing DRM something we want government to be doing? (DMCA, etc.)

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 7th, 2008 @ 1:11pm

    Re: All part of the same business model...

    It is incredible that lots of people here insist that some laws should only apply to this and not that. That just because money or sandwiches are things and digital data is infinite THEN one cannot be stolen and the other can.

    No. No one is saying that something can be stolen. They're saying that if a product is *infinite* then the supply curve suggests there are other business models that embrace that infinite nature in a way that is helpful.

    There is NO difference between a house, a car, a sandwich, money (on notes and coins OR on an internet bank), a DVD, a film or a computer file. All these things were made by someone OR belong to someone OR can be accessed through someone OR has its access controlled by someone.


    There is a HUGE difference, which is that the supply of the first group is scarce. The supply of the second group is not.

    And, as your basic economics should have taught you, supply is a big part of determining price.

    Should a ticket for THE DARK KNIGHT cost 10x the ticket for that French film nobody cares to see?

    You seem to be under the wrong impression that the supplier sets the price, rather than the market. That might explain why you don't seem to understand supply and demand either.

    DRM may not be the best thing on Earth. But it is the future. Get used to it and learn to live with it because it is here to stay. Of course there will be always those who circumvent it. But it's going to be so hard, very few people will get it done right.

    The history of any sort of artificial protectionist system says that you are 100% wrong. Not a single one has ever stuck around for very long -- because others eventually learn how to embrace the non-artificially-restrained market to their advantage.

    And then, those of you relying on artificial scarcity see your business models disintegrate.

    Have you note noticed that both the software industry and (finally!) the music industry are moving away from DRM?

    I produce films and I got lots of people on my payroll. Yes, I want all the money I can get from my work... and work of those on my payroll - because I have to pay them.

    Which part of the business model did you not understand? You are falsely assuming that DRM is necessary to make money. It's not.

    The movie industry is not evil. Stop treating an industry that gives you pleasure as evil.

    No one said they're evil. Short-sighted? Yes. Clueless about economics? Yes. Self-destructive? Yes. Evil? No.

    Stop treating pirates as heroes who steal from the rich in order to give to the poor.

    We're not doing that either. Don't make silly assumptions. We're pointing out that those of you in your industry can actually EMBRACE these trends to DO BETTER and MAKE MORE MONEY by NOT treating your biggest fans as criminals.

    The industry KNOWS the difference between content circulation that generates revenue (which is good) AND content circulation that hurts sales.

    It's become quite clear that many in the industry do NOT know that difference. Study after study after study has shown that your industry has gotten it wrong repeatedly.

    What most of you do not see is that a film is as important to its industry as a certain formula is to the pharmaceutical industry. We give away trailers and clips just as Pfizer gives samples. Why should we allow someone to consume our products for free at the time revenues are most critical?

    Because if allowing those people to consume for free INCREASES demand for a different aspect of your business model, you come out ahead.

    I agree with the MPAA about the need for DRM if they believe there's a market for (paid) TV screening of the film BEFORE the DVD release. It is obvious to me that DRM is needed in that case otherwise the DVD sales performance will be compromised (and home video sales are a VERY important form of revenue).

    Hilarious. This is from the industry that once insisted that the home video market was "the boston strangler" of the movie industry. But it "knows" when something helps and when something hurts, right?

    Yeah... ok...

    If there's no DRM for that matter, there will be simply no move in that direction (the advanced TV screening, that is) because the movie industry is not dumb.


    Until some more thoughtful and future-looking studio decides to embrace a better business model, does the earlier screenings, and the rest of you look lost. That'll be fun.

    Some people here are saying DRM is horrible and it is worthless. No it isn't. I cannot see one single industry who does not care about security and access of the goods they produce.

    Then you don't look very hard.

    Yes, there were movies before DRM and the industry was raking on money 70 years ago too... but that was before digital, game consoles, internet, P2P, home video and cheap pirate DVD copies sold for a dollar or two at the street.

    And yet you expect that it's consumers who need to change rather than the industry? Sorry, that's not how marketplaces work.

    DRM is here to stay. Embrace it.

    Infinite goods are hear to stay. Embrace it, or perish.

     

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    David, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    Sure, the FCC prohibits DRM, but the DMCA prohibits DRM-circumvention. Removing the former prohibition would amount to asking for DRM to be mandated. So, you asking for the government not to interfere is really nothing more than a charade. Yes, I agree, the government should not be blocking your idiotic and futile desire for DRM—as long as it doesn’t also block the market from competing healthily in the area of Selectable-Output-Control–circumvention. Get the DMCA repealed and then come back to us, Ryan.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember the days of VHS & Beta?

    Also to add on to want PaulT said. In this case the government is being asked to intervene and force its agenda on everyone. In the case of the manufactured videotapes they are completely within their rights to do this. The manufacture can put whatever they want on their product. If you dont like it, you dont have to buy the product.

     

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    Ryan Radia, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM may be futile, but government should not block it.

    I'll do my best, David!

     

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    Jon, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Regarding the bank robbing comparison

    A lil late in the game, I know, but comparing robbing a bank, a CRIMINAL action where lives are perhaps put in danger, to copying a file, a potential CIVIL infraction is probably the oldest and most ignorant pro-DRM arguement out there.

    Like I said, I might be late in the thread here, but you are most certainly late in the discussion... by about 15 years.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    ONE
    The context under which we are all discussing is the MPAA's desire to have DRM put on films they want to show on TV before they hit home video. And some people are against DRM while I understand and agree with the need for some DRM.

    Having said this, I think it is clear that when I say that a house, a car, a doll, a T-shirt, a DVD and a digital file of the movie are the same thing, I'm not talking about the obvious differences (as you point, I cannot live in a file) nor I am saying the REALLY are the same thing in EVERY respect.

    But regardless of that, you and I disagree. For me, it is irrelevant if in other contexts (nature, function, reason, etc) all things may be different. In this particular context (the producer's concern with the protection of his market), for me, there's no difference between them: they are all subjects of commerce, they all have a value and all must be protected from illegal or unauthorized use in some way. You may disagree. It's fine.

    TWO
    You're right. I did not say that. I thought my idea, although implicit, was clear enough. I'm sorry. But if you understood it, good. Now... about the defenses, again we disagree: I think DRM is not the most friendly thing, but today it is a sad necessity. For three main reasons: a) digital copying is too easy and cheap b) the natural evolution of the film industry (lead by consumers and competition) demands more control over distribution and c) the films in themselves must be protected from utilizations that will harm the author's rights (intellectual AND financial).

    You are mistaken if you believe the goal of DRM is to stop piracy. That's as unachievable as preventing all car crashes from causing deaths. But all automakers keep the goal and car security keeps evolving. The real objective of DRM is a) to make it so hard to do an unauthorized copy that only a few will try it (at a forbidding cost) and b) the end experience will be so compromised that few people will care to actually endure such unauthorized utilization.

    Now... yes, it has a price for the legitimate consumer. But I also believe such price is relatively low. I would love to be able to copy a CD to use in my car (where it will only last a few months until it's all scratched then i'll have to burn a new copy again)... but it is also true that some people also use that privilege to sell or give away copies of that CD - compromising the sales performance of the real legit CD.

    Now... if a CD or a file cannot be copied, it is true I'm losing my privilege. But the pirate is losing it too. I STILL have alternatives. The pirate does not. I can copy a CD (and soon a film too) into my Ipod and use it in my car. Some Bly-ray discs come with a digital copy for my computer. that's another option.

    I agree that with DRM, there will be some things I'll lose... like doing some funny re-editing on a STAR WARS film and placing it on YouTube. But I also believe the more DRM advances and evolves, the more rights we'll get in return. The film industry KNOWS that movies are not like software. There's a lot more to its enjoyment that just watch it. Although some people disagree with me, as a producer, I have nothing against YouTube (just as an example). The problem is that nobody has yet perfected DRM to a point where it will tell the difference (with accuracy) between an honest consumer and a pirate.

    But, as I said, we're still at the infancy of DRM. So it's not perfect and it clashes with many things we do... but it's here to stay and film producers everywhere need consumer's input on how to make it better.

    THREE
    Well... you walked away from The Hulk? OK... you got your money back? Fine! That only means that the theater manager believes you and feels that you should get your money back. That's great and that's between you and him. But that's not the common practice. Maybe you left in the middle of the film... and you would have a different response if you had waited until the end. Should everybody who hated GIGLI ask their money back, theater managers would not be able to say yes... because there's a huge line of people to get paid at the end of the week.

    FOUR
    Well... let me put it this way: no studio has ever spent more money in marketing than they do today. Go to IMDB, yahoo, or google or any of 2000 movie sites online today and you'll see a HUGE array of clues about the film's characteristics (in relation to your taste): 1, 2, 3 or more teasers, trailers, clips, interviews, screenshots galore, dedicated websites... well... if that does not enlighten you, then there must be something wrong with you. Did you had that 20 years ago? NEVER!

    And studios do that NOT to mislead you because they KNOW that as bad as no audience is the wrong audience. They do that so they make it clear to their target audience that the film is made for them.

    That's business.

    If that's what you are suggesting, I do NOT agree that you should be able to watch the film before deciding to pay for it. The risk of disappointment exists in equal share to both parties: producers and consumers. Prince Caspian cost 200 million to produce + 150 to market (=350 million) and so far made some disappointing 140 million JUST because Disney made the wrong decision of opening it squeezed between Iron Man and Indiana Jones. That's their mistake. Warner Bros thought Speed Racer, which I loved (120 million to produce + 80 to market) would be a smash for some strange reason. It's a huge flop. That's their mistake. Not yours. They pay the bill.

    You saw the poster of Boogeyman and thought it was a great horror film. That's your risk. The distributor did the best to show you the best things the film has to offer. You believed. You pay the bill.

    If after all the money spent on marketing trying to get teenagers into the theaters to watch American Pie or Superbad, a 70yo Mormon still thinks he wants to see the film... well... there's something wrong (and in that case, I'd be the first to urge the manager to give him his money back!!!)

    This is business. You don't use the car for a year and only THEN decide if you want it or not. The best they can do is to let you drive it for 30 minutes. Is that fair? But strange enough, most people do a lot of research before buying a car (it's expensive, hm?). Why not do the same for movies?

    What, for you, is a fair chance to evaluate a film?

    FIVE
    Let me quote you: "Perhaps you have a point, I can't really say. Still, ticket sales, DVD sales, TV broadcasts are not the only way movies make money."
    Well... films are not all alike. Some make lots of money on these outlets and others. Other films (with smaller audiences) can barely breathe. Parts of the success and failure comes from quality, distribution, some luck, good or bad marketing and (of course) an audience who pays.

    "Nor is it fact that movies must cost as much as they do to produce".
    Well... certain films cost what they cost because the audience demands a certain degree of some quality that is expensive to produce. A spectacle like Titanic cost $300 million because the audience expected such spectacle. And it cost JUST $300 million because every Dollar was well used. If not, it would have cost $600m (and probably would have never been greenlit).

    Movies cost what they cost because there's enough demand. Cheap films have to cost what they cost because... well... there's only such demand.

    SIX
    I disagree. I think it is offensive that someone has for free something that I do not. It is unfair that you have to pay for something while someone gets it through illegal or unethical means. It's okay to buy it cheaper at WalMart (I'd buy there too) or get a discount on a coupon. Or pay premium if you want it delivered at your door by a Playboy bunny. but these are all choices. Even if you get it for free as a freebie (and I do not), it's okay with me. But unauthorized copying of a disc for free (or whatever in the line) is offensive to those who paid a fair price. Apple agrees with me when lots of customers got angry knowing that a week after buying an iPod Touch (or was it the iPhone?) the price dropped $100 or more... and issued coupons with that amount of money to anyone who felt offended.

    Again I disagree: DRM is NOT made to protect the producer from having to put extra effort into making their product worth the price they want it listed at. That's a myth. The films that get most pirated are EXACTLY the ones everybody wants to see. Quality is not really a factor because it is very subjective. Ingmar Bergman's last film or an Antonioni film from the 60's is not something that you find easily (it does not mean they do not need protection as well) because the audience is so small pirates do not waste time with them like they do with Iron Man or The Dark Knight... so quality is a very subjective thing. Go to a street vendor and ask for a film by Manoel de Oliveira and look at his face.

    "With Pirates around, you AREN'T the only show, and DRM is a misguided attempt to fight the competition."
    So you think there's not enough competition? there is enough competition at the legal market (DRM and all) to make your hair raise. Look at my Prince Caspian example: a great film with a sure-fire audience... flopping just because of a date or release. If on top of that, you still want to put pirates, don't blame Disney for being a DRM hard liner.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm still waiting for an example of DRM that hasn't been compromised. I don't think any survived a month of being released into the public.

    show me some cases of DRM that actually slows down pirates, I dare you. I'm been following the gaming industry since before CDs were out and I can almost guarantee you that anything they came up with to slow the pirate was cracked within two weeks of being released, the majority happens within 24 hours

     

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  53.  
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    Michael Long, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    "There is a HUGE difference, which is that the supply of the first group is scarce. The supply of the second group is not."

    Not scarce? Cool! Please send me a copy of the NEXT installment of Batman, The Dark Knight. I'd also like a copy of David Weber's next book.

    Of course, you can't do that, can you? They have yet to be produced.

    The supply of Batman films is scare and finite, as are the number of David's books. Both are going to take time and money (in the case of the film, LOTS of money) to produce.

    Money is a scarce commodity. TIme is a scarce commodity. True creativity is a scarce commodity. Telling a great story is an EXCEEDINGLY scarce commodity. And if the end result is worth watching, reading, or listening to, then that scarcity deserves to be repaid.

     

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  54.  
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    Michael Long, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re:

    "Now... yes, it has a price for the legitimate consumer. But I also believe such price is relatively low."

    Tell that to the people who lost their music when Yahoo decided to go out of the online music buisness.

    From my perspective, the movie business was drug, kicking and screaming, into content sales. And then, to their surprise, they found out it was profitable. And now they're trying, desperately, to protect those profits.

    But it's entirely possible that selling the same thing twice, first in the theater, and second as a recorded disc for the home, was simply an anomaly.

    And that the movie industry needs to go back to planting seats into the seats of their local theater.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    I hope i get the tags right! LOL

    They're saying that if a product is *infinite* then the supply curve suggests there are other business models that embrace that infinite nature in a way that is helpful.

    Sorry, but there's more to real life than meets the eye. Theoretically everything is possible. But we haven't seen that one yet.

    And just as we write, movie execs at Warner are happy they successfully delayed a pirated copy of The Dark Knight for almost 40 hours after the film opened (contrary to what happened in other films like the mega flop Speed Racer and other non-flops). They are happy everybody who wanted to see the film first hand had to go and pay for it. And bingo: a record box-office. In other words, they take measures nobody ever did and successfully delay pirates. And the film in case has a first day opening no one ever saw.

    ...In fact, as you know, for the first time in ten years there is a serious contender to the Titanic crown. Ten years ago, movie piracy was a fraction of what it is today. Coincidentally, in these last ten years, movie sales have dropped (with slight exceptions) and if you look at things, studios are just starting to get good results from the fight against piracy. There's still a lot to be done. DRM is just part of it. Just you wait, Mr. Higgins.

    There is a HUGE difference, which is that the supply of the first group is scarce. The supply of the second group is not. And, as your basic economics should have taught you, supply is a big part of determining price.

    What you say is good for apples and oranges. Not movies and other things where supply and demand are thoroughly manipulated. Films cost according to what they're expected to make (that one is true). But each viewing means one pay. The infiniteness of files containing movies has nothing do with their price... Otherwise no software company would sell you multiple licenses of the same software. What you pay for is the right of experiencing it, owning it. May be a DVD or a file. An Ipod does not cost $200 because demand is much higher than supply. There can be enough supply in order to feed enough demand that will make the Ipod price drop to $30. But then, Apple would not have a great profit out of it. So they play with demand and supply, keeping prices within certain margins, while diversifying their line of products. You know very little about Economics and even less about marketing.

    The history of any sort of artificial protectionist system says that you are 100% wrong. Not a single one has ever stuck around for very long -- because others eventually learn how to embrace the non-artificially-restrained market to their advantage. And then, those of you relying on artificial scarcity see your business models disintegrate.

    Really? Either you know very little about History or very little about Protectionism. DRM has nothing to do with protectionism. As the name says, it has to do with rights: commercial rights, copyrights and intellectual rights. No studio is preventing anyone of selling better films or cheaper films or both. Nobody is protecting itself from competition.

    They are enforcing rights. That's all and it's very different. What DRM does is to ENFORCE the respect for the existing rights. You can be as misinformed as you want and call it protectionism. It's your problem, really. Do you call it protectionism to protect your child from diseases? Is it protectionism to lock your doors or put burglar alarms in your house? It's called prevention and protection. Protectionism is something else.

    We are not the French Government who protect their Camembert cheese makers giving them subsidies (otherwise, it will cost you 10x more). Nor we are the American Government burning money on gas to keep the gallon at $4 while Europeans (who produce none of it and subsidize it less) pay $8 a gallon... or $10.

    You can spin it anyway you want. You know very little about theses things.

    You seem to be under the wrong impression that the supplier sets the price, rather than the market. That might explain why you don't seem to understand supply and demand either.

    I'm talking about the film industry... and you keep bringing the most basic high school Economics: demand and supply. Is that all? Would you like to know who sets the price of movies? I'd love to know who do you think sets prices for movies.

    Have you note noticed that both the software industry and (finally!) the music industry are moving away from DRM?

    Well... I cannot speak about the software industry. I can't even get theses tags right :P But... no, I'm not seeing the music industry moving away from DRM. On the contrary, both the music and the film industry are more active in the development of DRM tools than ever! Don't believe for a second that just because you see some places selling DRM-less music it means they are abandoning DRM. As I said, DRM is at its infancy and you are more naive than you think. But it's ok.

    Which part of the business model did you not understand? You are falsely assuming that DRM is necessary to make money. It's not.

    No... SELLING is necessary to make money. PROMOTION is necessary to make money. CUSTOMERS are necessary to make money. UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMERS is necessary to make money. ENSURING THE BEST EXPERIENCE is necessary to make money. Lots of others things are necessary too. DRM is not necessary at all UNLESS a percentage of people try to meddle with any of the above - which will affect making money. Tiffany's & Co. (who sell well, promote well, understand their customers and gives them a great experience - and everything else) does not need security in order to make money UNLESS they feel there are people who prefer not to pay for it. Louis Vuitton (who also do their homework) do not need to fight Chinese counterfeited bags to make money - or do they? Of course they do. Otherwise their brand will be so common they would never make money.

    But nor Tiffany's nor LV can use DRM. Movies and music can. Broadway does not need DRM because they are a live performance. But still they forbid taping of the show. Movies do that too. And Madonna left Warner because she thinks the real money is in live performances (where you can charge $60 a-cheap-ticket. But how many Madonnas are out there? 300? You bet. How many musicians? A lot more than 300. Millions!

    No one said they're evil. Short-sighted? Yes. Clueless about economics? Yes. Self-destructive? Yes. Evil? No.

    The Dark Knight is on its way to 600 million dollars and you say the film industry knows nothing about Economics? Come on! Self-destructive? Please! The European film industry used to say the same thing about its American cousin. Look what's left of them. Again: you know too little of it. All you say is cliché and myth.

    LOL... To be completely honest with you, the American film industry really does not have to know pretzels about Economics... just as long as they keep giving us all films we will die to see like Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, 300, I Am Legend, Sex and the City, Batman This, Batman That.

    Honestly, that's the best Economics knowledge any producer needs.

    Yes, they know a lot about Economics! If you believe this or not is up to you.

    Because if allowing those people to consume for free INCREASES demand for a different aspect of your business model, you come out ahead.

    Now you have to explain this one to me because I cannot understand your thought.

    We're pointing out that those of you in your industry can actually EMBRACE these trends to DO BETTER and MAKE MORE MONEY by NOT treating your biggest fans as criminals.

    No, we are not treating our fans as criminals. In fact, we are spending more and more money on marketing so we can know them better and let them know more and more about our films so they will get disappointed less and less often. If this is not good, than I do not know what good is. DRM is not perfect. Again, it is on its infancy. And in the future it may even get other names. But its function is to ensure that all rights are correctly enforced. For many years that was not an important issue. Today it is. DRM is not aimed at consumers who legally get our products. As DRM evolves, the constraint on them will be minimal to none.

    It's become quite clear that many in the industry do NOT know that difference. Study after study after study has shown that your industry has gotten it wrong repeatedly.

    Study after study after study? No. That depends on who you ask. The industry is fine. Piracy is serious but it's not cancer. DRM is uncomfortable but very few people will care about it in the future... because the future of DRM is to be invisible.

    Hilarious. This is from the industry that once insisted that the home video market was "the boston strangler" of the movie industry. But it "knows" when something helps and when something hurts, right?

    Yeah... ok...

    Well... that shows how little you know about what you are talking about. You think that just because Hollywood did not go broke because of home video, then that (I admit) laughable phrase was wrong? Well... it was true.

    ...So true that the Hollywood that said that funny phrase changed the focus of their business from production to distribution. They understood that the production business was too risky and left it to the independents (those logos you see at the beginning of every film, Village Roadshow, Wienstein, Revolution Studios and thousands more)

    ...So true that Hollywood and Television started merging into big conglomerates in the next decades so they could optimize all the threats coming from unknown technologies. It is no accident that Universal=NBC, Disney=ABC, Paramount=CBS, Warner=HBO, etc.

    So the analogy that home video is The Boston Strangler while Hollywood is a woman alone was an act of conservativeness. It failed, it is true... BUT Hollywood (call it anything you like) quickly and fully restructured itself and solved the problem before it became a problem.

    A similar thing happened 40 years before when TV was invented. Don't burn Hollywood. It always comes back.

    Now... it can be that Hollywood it conservative about future business models. It's understandable. But one thing is sure:

    Nobody will get anything for free.

    And yet you expect that it's consumers who need to change rather than the industry? Sorry, that's not how marketplaces work.

    Both consumers and the industry will change.

    Infinite goods are hear to stay. Embrace it, or perish.

    The kids are alright.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Regarding the bank robbing comparison

    Tell me what you know about piracy and I'll tell you what I know.

    Deal?

    :-)

     

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  57.  
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    CinemaScope, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm still waiting for an example of DRM that hasn't been compromised. I don't think any survived a month of being released into the public.

    Well... it all depends on how you see the problem. It is true, I do not know of any DRM who has been successfully enforced. But your assumption is a common fallacy: just because we haven't successfully done something right, that means it has to be impossible to do it right.

    But in truth, there's nothing that tells you that just because it hasn't been achieved, it cannot be achieved and will not be achieved. Futurology is not my profession and if you have any ambitions in such field, good luck.

    So it is pointless to analyze past failures because scientific progress is made of 1000 failures before you get the one right. Any one can tell you that and I wonder why you haven't figured that one out by yourself.

    Basically, DRM is useless when applied in just one front. The best DRM (the one we are STILL about to see) will come in every window: exhibition, home video, VOD, etc. There is no successful DRM alone. What can be successful is a full strategy covering all windows of utilization.

    I haven't heard of pirate copies of a SACD. Have you? And I still haven't seen copies of a Blu-ray disc. But if you still think a successful DRM strategy is impossible, look at Sony: they control content (movies and music), hardware (cameras and players) and software (discs and files). They have a huge following (Samsung, Matsushita, Fox, Disney, Sony Pictures)and just recently we felt their muscle when they smashed HD DVD (who had less DRM - no less).

    Again: lessons can be learned. Betamax (Sony) lost to VHS partly because of content. Early this year, Blu-ray (Sony again) won overwhelmingly with a pool of industries working together.

    I have no idea where you got the impression that the industry learns nothing from its failures.

    show me some cases of DRM that actually slows down pirates, I dare you. I'm been following the gaming industry since before CDs were out and I can almost guarantee you that anything they came up with to slow the pirate was cracked within two weeks of being released, the majority happens within 24 hours

    I'm not a gamer so I cannot say anything about it... but... Can you make a copy disc of a PS3 game? If you can, good for you. I know people who would love to... but cannot and subsequently paid for the games. That's success. Also... can you play a PS3 game on a Mac computer? How about on a PC? That's the biggest form of DRM known: incompatibility. You claim you want to use anything anywhere. Can you really play a PS3 game on a Mac computer? Can you access Xbox live content from a PS3? Some you can because they allow you to. Others you cannot.

    When I was a kid, my friends used to copy VHS films. Today SOME of them cannot copy a DVD. Call them dumb... but they say it's too difficult and takes time and trouble. They pay for their DVDs. AND of those who DO copy DVDs some will not go through the P2P nightmare of endless downloads... and the eventual disappointment that sometimes the file does not work... or the the picture is lousy, etc. That's success. That's slowing down piracy. It may be not significant now, but it's a big start.

    You find it ridiculous? Perhaps. But the industry is learning from every failure.

     

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  58.  
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    CinemaScope, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Tell that to the people who lost their music when Yahoo decided to go out of the online music buisness.

    Blame yahoo's problems on competition. Not DRM. Other company had a better offer to consumers and Yahoo could not compete.

    Well... that's the problem when people refuse (or just don't care) to know what they are buying. That's what happens when you do not understand the difference between what a CD offers in contrast with what a company like Yahoo offers when they start selling music in a way other than the CD.

    I'm sorry for those who lost their music. Ask me about how many songs I lost too: zero - because I'd never buy music from such business model. I buy CDs because I prefer to keep those songs. I get iTunes songs for free but I would never buy them. I buy the CD.

    Both iTunes and the CD do NOT offer you the same things. Not by a mile. People should get informed and NEVER skip reading contracts and things alike.

    From my perspective, the movie business was drug, kicking and screaming, into content sales. And then, to their surprise, they found out it was profitable. And now they're trying, desperately, to protect those profits.

    Is there anything wrong with trying to protect your profits? Is anyone here doing Charity? No. Is there any industry, anywhere, who does not care about profits? Buy some stocks and you'll feel quite differently at the end of the year.

     

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  59.  
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    tracyjump, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    DRM media converter

    WoW, I finally got the upgrade of the Daniusoft Media Converter Pro, it's a integrated version of DRM remover and Media Conversion, I can use it convert any DRM files and standard media files now and the new version is also usable for Windows Vista OS. What a super media converter!

     

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  60.  
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    CinemaScope, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    drm does nothing to stop or slow pirates, and using pirates as a reason you *need* drm just shows you aren't nearly as in touch as you think you are.



    I admit the word "pirate" is too vague and lots of different things fall into that category. A pirate is someone who makes a large number of unauthorized copies of a content and distributes them without authorization with or without profit. And they do it because they can, because they want until someone stops them. The buyer knows exactly what they are buying. A "counterfeiter" does the same things as a pirate does... but he makes the product look like the legal one and will try to make it pass AS IF it was legal. The buyer has no idea about what they're buying. You may have paid $19 for a DVD that is not worth $2.



    The profit of the pirate: over 100% (he made the copy for 5 Cents and sells it for $1 or $2. The profit of the counterfeiter: 1000% or more (the products cost $1 and he sold it to you for $16 when Best Buy or Amazon was selling it at $19. Are you sure you don't have such DVDs in your collection?



    All we ask is that you pay [put the theater admission price here] to see The Dark Knight in the place where we guarantee you will have the best enjoyment of the film (instead of watching a third-rate compression on a computer screen).



    Now you tell me what's immoral.



    lots of people do give away stuff they make, from bands, to independent film makers, to people like me, software developers. I give away most of the programs I write because I wrote them thinking that people would find them useful. some donate money, some don't, but I've been contacted many times by people who saw my free software and wanted to pay me to make something specific.



    Whatever works for you, is alright. But do you live from those donations? Does any company survive on donations? Is Iron Man or The Dark Knight possible to produce with donations? Any band can play for pleasure and give away their songs. That's a strategy that has worked and have launched some bands into stardom. But it does not work for everybody. In fact, it works for very few. It's a risk anyone is willing to take when they have nothing to lose. Sooner or later, they all see the money they can make and STOP giving freebies once they're successfully launched.

     

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  61.  
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    CinemaScope, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 9:12pm

    Re: DRM media converter

    Can you make a copy of a SACD? Can you make a copy of a Blu-ray disc?

     

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  62.  
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    qez, Aug 7th, 2008 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: DRM media converter

    I haven't heard that SACD could be copied but if it can't, the only reason is because there is no demand for it.

    Copying Blu-ray disc hasn't been a problem for a long time.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/23/blu-ray_drm_cracked/
    http://www.slysoft.com/en/a nydvdhd.html

    There are lot's of Blu-ray content available for download from these "certain" places.

    By now everyone should realize that there won't be a DRM that can't be cracked/circumvented.

     

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  63.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 7th, 2008 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    Not scarce? Cool! Please send me a copy of the NEXT installment of Batman, The Dark Knight. I'd also like a copy of David Weber's next book.

    Yup, you've got it exactly right. Stuff that has not YET been produced absolutely is scarce. So it makes perfect sense to charge for the creation of that content. After all, it's scarce. I've said that plenty of times before, so I'm not sure why you think you've caught me on something.

    Charging for creating NEW content makes perfect sense.

    Charging to make copies of old content doesn't make much sense.

    The supply of Batman films is scare and finite, as are the number of David's books. Both are going to take time and money (in the case of the film, LOTS of money) to produce.

    Yes, we agree. I'm not sure why you think we disagree.

    Money is a scarce commodity. TIme is a scarce commodity. True creativity is a scarce commodity. Telling a great story is an EXCEEDINGLY scarce commodity. And if the end result is worth watching, reading, or listening to, then that scarcity deserves to be repaid.

    Yes, we absolutely agree. All of those are great examples of scarcities. So charge for the SCARCITY. Not the abundance.

     

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  64.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 8th, 2008 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    I hope i get the tags right! LOL

    Good job. I hope you paid the HTML royalties, since, you know, it's important to make sure the folks who "own" HTML make money. Otherwise, there wouldn't be an internet...

    Oh wait, sometimes freeing stuff up opens up much more opportunity. You might want to look into how that works.

    Sorry, but there's more to real life than meets the eye. Theoretically everything is possible. But we haven't seen that one yet.

    You haven't seen what? How giving away stuff for free can create a bigger market opportunity? Then I'm afraid you haven't looked very hard.

    Trust me, your competitors are figuring it out.

    And just as we write, movie execs at Warner are happy they successfully delayed a pirated copy of The Dark Knight for almost 40 hours after the film opened (contrary to what happened in other films like the mega flop Speed Racer and other non-flops). They are happy everybody who wanted to see the film first hand had to go and pay for it. And bingo: a record box-office. In other words, they take measures nobody ever did and successfully delay pirates. And the film in case has a first day opening no one ever saw.

    You know that Warner lied about that right? The movie was available at the time it opened.

    It wasn't preventing piracy that made people go see it, it was the fact that it was a GOOD MOVIE, and watching a GOOD MOVIE in a theater with your friends with a great sound system (and, with Dark Knight in many cases, with IMAX quality scenes) is an EXPERIENCE worth paying for.

    People are paying for the experience, not the content.

    The fact that the movie is STILL bringing in record numbers of folks paying to see it is because of the experience. It has nothing to do with piracy.

    ...In fact, as you know, for the first time in ten years there is a serious contender to the Titanic crown. Ten years ago, movie piracy was a fraction of what it is today. Coincidentally, in these last ten years, movie sales have dropped (with slight exceptions) and if you look at things, studios are just starting to get good results from the fight against piracy. There's still a lot to be done. DRM is just part of it. Just you wait, Mr. Higgins.

    Last summer was the biggest the box office ever took, despite movie "piracy" being at an all time high.

    You really ought to go back to school to learn a few things.

    Piracy is not the issue. Making good movies and providing a good experience are all that matter.

    What you say is good for apples and oranges. Not movies and other things where supply and demand are thoroughly manipulated. Films cost according to what they're expected to make (that one is true). But each viewing means one pay. The infiniteness of files containing movies has nothing do with their price...

    Ah. So movies violate the fundamental laws of economics?

    That's not particularly convincing.

    You're basically saying that protectionist markets make sense when they're protectionist. But, a little economics lesson would teach you that you're wrong.

    Otherwise no software company would sell you multiple licenses of the same software.

    Yes, and that model is going away as well.

    An Ipod does not cost $200 because demand is much higher than supply. There can be enough supply in order to feed enough demand that will make the Ipod price drop to $30. But then, Apple would not have a great profit out of it. So they play with demand and supply, keeping prices within certain margins, while diversifying their line of products.

    You might want to take an economics class. You seem to be confusing quantity demanded and quantity supplied with demand and supply. They are different things. Learn the difference and you'll understand why this statement is wrong.

    You know very little about Economics and even less about marketing.

    So far only you have shown a lack of knowledge on those things. I write and consult on both topics and have for many years. I've built a large and growing business based on helping companies (including your competitors) better understand these factors.

    I hope you enjoy watching them pass you by. :)

    Really? Either you know very little about History or very little about Protectionism

    I know an awful lot about both, so if you'd like to test my knowledge go ahead. But I get the sense that you have a false vision of history.

    DRM has nothing to do with protectionism. As the name says, it has to do with rights: commercial rights, copyrights and intellectual rights. No studio is preventing anyone of selling better films or cheaper films or both. Nobody is protecting itself from competition.

    Then you are totally blind to the competitive market you face. The movie industry is in the distribution and promotion industry -- and both of those are being undermined by new *competition* from file sharing. And DRM is designed to block that competition. It is absolutely protectionism of the same variety as the sugar monopoly of years gone by.

    They are enforcing rights.

    Rights are not something you enforce. DRM is not about enforcing rights, it's about taking away rights from people. It's about restrictions and protectionism from an industry too blind to see what it's real market is.

    You can spin it anyway you want. You know very little about theses things.

    I'm glad your competitors think differently. :)

    I'm talking about the film industry... and you keep bringing the most basic high school Economics: demand and supply. Is that all?

    If you want to get into deeper economics I'm more than willing to. But so far, you've demonstrated that you don't understand those most basic concepts, so I figured we should start there.

    If you don't understand supply and demand (which you have proven you don't) then it's no surprise that your view of the market is as warped as it is. No worries. When the competition drives you out of business, you'll be left wondering what hit you.

    At that point, I'd suggest picking up an econ textbook (or giving us a call).

    Would you like to know who sets the price of movies? I'd love to know who do you think sets prices for movies.

    The market sets the price for movies, just as it does for other goods. Again, an econ textbook would be of tremendous help to you right about now.

    But... no, I'm not seeing the music industry moving away from DRM. On the contrary, both the music and the film industry are more active in the development of DRM tools than ever!

    You keep believing that. And keep writing those checks to those developers and watch them laugh all the way to the bank as piracy increases.

    Then watch as those other companies, who actually understand economics clean your clock in the marketplace.

    And then give us a call. We can help.

    Don't believe for a second that just because you see some places selling DRM-less music it means they are abandoning DRM.

    Oh, I know some of the short-sighted ones are sticking with DRM and even wasting tons of money on it. But it will never matter to the marketplace again.

    No... SELLING is necessary to make money.

    Indeed. Who said anything otherwise. But where you're confused is you don't even know what you're selling.

    PROMOTION is necessary to make money.

    Indeed. So why do you make it so hard for others to promote stuff for you?

    CUSTOMERS are necessary to make money.

    So why do you treat them as criminals? Why do you DECREASE value by making your content less useful and less valuable?

    UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMERS is necessary to make money.

    Yes indeed. But, you obviously don't understand customers if you think that DRM is somehow helping them.

    ENSURING THE BEST EXPERIENCE is necessary to make money

    It is impossible to ensure the best experience when you're working on software to STOP them from experiencing the content.

    If you were to simply focus on improving the experience, you'd be amazed at what would happen. Just look at the Dark Knight. That's all about the experience, not the piracy.

    DRM is not necessary at all UNLESS a percentage of people try to meddle with any of the above - which will affect making money.

    It only impacts making money for those who don't know how to leverage it. Such as folks like yourself, apparently.

    Louis Vuitton (who also do their homework) do not need to fight Chinese counterfeited bags to make money - or do they? Of course they do. Otherwise their brand will be so common they would never make money.

    Actually, there's a ton of research showing the opposite (but, yes, I know, you don't want to learn).

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070405/194853.shtml

    Do some research. Learn a little economics.

    And Madonna left Warner because she thinks the real money is in live performances (where you can charge $60 a-cheap-ticket. But how many Madonnas are out there? 300? You bet. How many musicians? A lot more than 300. Millions!

    Yeah, actually, it was those less well known musicians that embraced making money from live performances long before the big players did. For someone who keeps insisting I don't know what I'm talking about, you seem to be the ignorant one.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080620/1132211463.shtml

    The Dark Knight is on its way to 600 million dollars and you say the film industry knows nothing about Economics?

    The reason it's going to make so much is because it's a worthwhile EXPERIENCE. But the problem is the industry doesn't seem to recognize that. It has nothing to do with piracy. Focus on the experience and you'll make plenty of money. Stop worrying about protectionism and give people a REASON to buy the EXPERIENCE.

    Again: you know too little of it. All you say is cliché and myth.

    Supported by two centuries of economic research and history, but you don't want to know about any of that, apparently.

    You just want the myth that the industry tells itself. That people are buying "content" and that you need gov't granted monopolies to make money. You don't. The sooner you learn that, the faster you'll increase the size of your market.

    LOL... To be completely honest with you, the American film industry really does not have to know pretzels about Economics... just as long as they keep giving us all films we will die to see like Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, 300, I Am Legend, Sex and the City, Batman This, Batman That.

    Yes, focus on the experience.

    What does that have to do with DRM?

    Honestly, that's the best Economics knowledge any producer needs.

    Until the company that makes the next great movie understand economics better than you. He doesn't waste his money on DRM. He encourages file sharing... and then he starts raking in money using new business models where you're left wondering why you lost so much money (just as the bill from your DRM developers shows up).

    Now you have to explain this one to me because I cannot understand your thought.

    The size of a market is determined by the resource inputs. Limiting the resources via DRM shrinks your market. Opening it up increases your market if you know where to put the cash registers.

    No, we are not treating our fans as criminals. In fact, we are spending more and more money on marketing so we can know them better and let them know more and more about our films so they will get disappointed less and less often.

    You're using DRM, you're treating them as criminals. Learning more about your customers is good -- but thinking they want DRM shows you haven't learned much about them.

    DRM is not perfect. Again, it is on its infancy. And in the future it may even get other names. But its function is to ensure that all rights are correctly enforced. For many years that was not an important issue. Today it is. DRM is not aimed at consumers who legally get our products. As DRM evolves, the constraint on them will be minimal to none.

    You don't seem to understand. DRM doesn't do ANYTHING but annoy your legitimate customers. It doesn't stop pirates. It never has and it never will. It's a fundamental impossibility.

    And, all that needs to happen is for a SINGLE COPY to get pirated. Then all the DRM in the world doesn't matter. The horse is out of the barn and you're still talking about how to make the lock function.

    That depends on who you ask. The industry is fine. Piracy is serious but it's not cancer. DRM is uncomfortable but very few people will care about it in the future... because the future of DRM is to be invisible.

    The only way it's invisible is if it doesn't exist.

    Well... that shows how little you know about what you are talking about. You think that just because Hollywood did not go broke because of home video, then that (I admit) laughable phrase was wrong? Well... it was true.

    Are you the ghost of Jack Valenti? I've never spoken to anyone other than Valenti who believed that his statement was true.

    ...So true that the Hollywood that said that funny phrase changed the focus of their business from production to distribution. They understood that the production business was too risky and left it to the independents (those logos you see at the beginning of every film, Village Roadshow, Wienstein, Revolution Studios and thousands more)

    Yes, exactly. So why can't the industry recognize that internet downloading just means they need to change their focus away from distribution and focus on experience?

    So the analogy that home video is The Boston Strangler while Hollywood is a woman alone was an act of conservativeness. It failed, it is true... BUT Hollywood (call it anything you like) quickly and fully restructured itself and solved the problem before it became a problem.

    Just as it will restructure again to embrace file sharing, and do so in a way that will make it a ton more money.

    The only reason to embrace DRM is to try (and fail) to prevent that inevitable change.

    Nobody will get anything for free.

    History says you're wrong about that. And, trust me, some of your competitors do too.

    Both consumers and the industry will change.

    So why are you resisting that change so much?

    The kids are alright.

    But it seems like some of the parents are a little confused.

     

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  65.  
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    cram, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 1:49am

    back again

    Hi Mike

    "Yup, you've got it exactly right. Stuff that has not YET been produced absolutely is scarce. So it makes perfect sense to charge for the creation of that content. After all, it's scarce."

    So, how could the people behind Dark Knight have charged for the creation of the content? Could you please shed some light on this?

     

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  66.  
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    qez, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 3:18am

    Re: back again

    Blender Foundation (http://www.blender.org/) has made two short movies and in both cases there have got part of the funding by selling DVDs before they had started anything.

    Also...
    * Donations of 30 Euro or more: you can get your name mentioned in the movie credits, like for the DVD presale credits. Please tell us which name.
    * Donations of 250 Euro or more: you can get your name mentioned as Main Sponsor in the movie credits.

    Would that kind of arrangement work for Hollywood? At least Blender Foundation has so good reputation that people are willing to fund their projects. I don't know about Hollywood.

    Anyway, that's just one way to do it.

     

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  67.  
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    cram, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 4:05am

    Re: Re: back again

    But obviously not the best way to do it, because if it were, film industries all over the world would have addopted it.

    The fact is film-making is a business and like most businesses, cannot run on donations.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    qez, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: back again

    But obviously not the best way to do it, because if it were, film industries all over the world would have addopted it.

    I'm not saying that it's the best idea or even closed to be the best. But making any kind of conclusion about the quality of the idea based on the fact that movie industry hasn't adopted it is nonsense. The mainstream movie industry still thinks that DRM is a good idea, that tells a lot about their ability to figure out what works and what doesn't.

    But I wouldn't be surprised if we would see more and more that kind of funding for independent projects. Projects where fans have strong connection to it and wants to be part of it. Hollywood will never have that kind of connection to its audience. Not when it's all about money, business and greed without any passion and respect.

     

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  69.  
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    SomeGuy, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re:

    One: While I'm not condoning breakingh existing laws, it's only "illegal" because we've said so. Don't try taking the moral high ground based on an arbitrary determination that just happens to land in your favor.

    Two: You keep doubling back on yourself. You say that DRM isn't about stopping piracy, but the first reason you give for this "sad necessity" is that digital copying is too cheap. What is piracy if not digital copying, and what digital copying are you afraid of that's not piracy? Do you expect Universal to try copying a Warner movie and selling it as their own?

    The problem is that DRM can't be perfected. It's technically impossible. Computers are my day job, so trust that I know something here. DRM (by any name) requires that the same person be allowed from accessing the content and prevented from accessing that content. If there's any legitimate use, all he has to do is make illegitimate use look legitimate. And once he does, once ANYONE does, once ONE PERSON does, you've lost the game. Because that's all it takes in the digital world: one freed copy becomes a billion freed copies before you even know it's there. DRM can't work because, like I said, all it does it make your product worse than illicit products. You are competing with the pirates. But you're doing it badly.

    Three: This is a non-productive line of discussion. I was proving your assertion wrong. I've done so. You offer not further useful avenues of discussion on this point.

    Four: You said that Warner got people who hated the movie to pay. That was your claim, and now you're arguing that if they saw it they must have liked it, and if they didn't like it it's their own fault, and it doesn't matter because they consumed the content and thus must pay. This is a business modle problem. Your modle will fail when the game changes, yes, but that doesn't mean there won't be a way to make money off of movies. You say elsewhere that you don't understand what Mike means when he talks about free being used to increase your profits. That lack of vision and unwillingness to understand is your main failing here.

    Five: Does it matter what the audience expects when they must pay sight-unseen? Spend enough to make good previews, then laugh all the way to the bank. What're they going to do, demand their money back?

    Sorry, that was petty and spiteful.

    Six: I've never been a fan of fair. You don't have to pay for anything, though not doing so often means going without it. If you do pay for something, it's because you feel the value matches (or exceeds) the price. Why should the fact that someone else got it elsewhere cheaper, or for free, change your estimation of that value? Nevermind that if one is truely a fan, one will want to support their idol, and encourage the same to produce more; again, why would that desire be muted because someone somewhere is getting a free ride? And why in the world does Wal-Mart not get you as upset as piracy? What makes a freebie less unfair than piracy? Apple's iPod fiasco certainly wasn't "unauthorized," and yet you claim that people were rightly upset because it was "unfair" to those who bought early?

    Quote: The films that get most pirated are EXACTLY the ones everybody wants to see.

    And by, "ones everyone wants to see," you of course mean, "the biggest hits at the box office." Doesn't that tell you something, that the biggest 'victims' of piracy are still making money hand over fist?

    Quote: Quality is not really a factor because it is very subjective.

    You're a fool if you think all quality in art is subjective.

    Quote: So you think there's not enough competition?

    No, that's not my point at all. You're completely missing it. Yes, Warner and Universal, Iron Man and Batman, these all competitors. But you're ignoring the fact that pirates are your competitors, too. What they're doing may be illicit, but you are competing with them, and you're doing it badly. DRM feeds pirates. If not for DRM, pirated products wouldn't have nearly the value they have. By putting on DRM, you reduce the value of your product, and that reduction it only felt by legitimate customers. You're only hurting the people who are giving you money. The ones who aren't paying you are getting a better product. You're completely ignoring this fact.

    Step back for a moment and think. The Internet is a dirty place, with lots of not-so-nice people waiting for you to download their malware so they can hijack your computer and steal your identity. Universal has a better reputation than that (generally). If Universal and The Internet were offering the same product, people would be more inclined to choose Universal because they're safe. If universal charges a reasonable price, SOME people would feel that saving that cost was worth the added risk of The Internet, but most people would still choose Universal because they're safe. If Universal makes it hard to use their product, more people will choose the risk of the Internet because now it's not only cheaper, it's also more useable -- more valuable. The more Universal tries to lock down what can and can't be done with their product (for fear that pirates will take it from them), the less valuable their product is and the more attractive the Pirates become. And DRM will never be perfect. I tell you this as a computer professional. And all it takes is ONE crack and the un-hindered product is avauilable online for anyone who wants it.

    As for Prince Caspian... not sure what "sure-fire" audience you're talking about (it's not as well known as The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, not as overtly-Christian in its themes), and it's hardly readily apparent that it was a "great movie" sight-unseen. Batman are Ironman are BIG names that are well known, and Bale's Batman had thrilled hordes of Batman fans already (helped along a bit by the dismal failures that had come before it; thanks, Clooney). There are many reasons Caspian failed, none of them being piracy. So I don't know what your point is.

     

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  70.  
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    SomeGuy, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: back again

    At least Blender Foundation has so good reputation that people are willing to fund their projects.

    If the movie industry would learn to leverage their reputation, there'd be a huge shift in the balance of power. In the Information age, people know a lot more and can track a lot more. Edward Norton has a reputation for only taking parts of a certain quality. Del Torro has a well-respected reputation as a director. Whoever the joker is that made the first Hulk movie has that albatross tied around his neck. The coward I've been sparring with elsewhere (CinemaScope?) mentioned a few obscure directors and producers and said you'd never find their movies: but that's because they're unknown. Get together a good team of respected talent and people will pay, because they trust those names to produce quality.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 7:09am

    Re: back again

    The Internets are a great way of drumming up support. Batman would have had an EASY time of this.

    "Hey guys, we want to make another movie with Christian Bale as Batman, and we're going to take a new take on the Joker, a darker take playing up the relationship between him and Batman. We want to do this well and so we're bringing in big names X, Y, and Z. It will probably cost about X-million dollars to fund this project." Then throw in something about tiered sponsorship, and what formats the film will be released in, and why doing it this way will benefit the consumers once production's completed (ie, released into the wild without DRM).

     

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  72.  
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    Jake, Aug 8th, 2008 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    Actually, I was just fairly good at finding quiet, reasonably private spots to make out in that didn't charge a fiver a head to get into.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    no worries, it was a joke anyway.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 12:07pm

    The "analog hole" is legally protected anyway - does anyone remember the damned Betamax decision? Sony obviously doesn't...

     

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  75.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well... it all depends on how you see the problem. It is true, I do not know of any DRM who has been successfully enforced. But your assumption is a common fallacy: just because we haven't successfully done something right, that means it has to be impossible to do it right.

    dude, you don't know shit about drm. it is completely impossible to do DRM "right".

    DRM is based on encryption. the content is "scrambled" and only permitted to play on an authorized player (hardware or software) that has the correct keys to decrypt the payload.

    the authorized player has the key to unlock the encrypted content. if you give out the encrypted content, AND the key to unlock it (in the form of an authorized player), the game is over and you've lost. crypto only works when your keys are accessible only to the people that you trust. keys are kept secret only when the two trusted parties (sender and receiver) actually care about keeping the keys a secret.

    DRM is a lock with the key taped to it. it's a locked computer with the password taped to the screen. there is nothing stopping you from extracting the content once it has been unlocked, or just extracting the key and embedding it in an unauthorized player or decryptor.

    with DRM the trusted user and the attacker are THE SAME PERSON. you want them to see your content, but you also want to lock them out. that's ridiculous.

    if you want to "fix" drm, stop handing out the freakin keys, but you can't cuz then nobody can view the content. DRM is a joke and circumvention is the punchline.

    all of the "advances" in DRM have to do with keys that can be "black listed" or revoked, but as you revoke and replace them, those keys will be compromised as well, probably even faster than the first set thanks to all the reverse engineering work that's already been done.

    how do you stop that? brick everyone's blu-ray player and tivo everytime a new 'sploit is released? you going to make everyone buy/download a new player every time a new circumvention tool is made available? what's to stop the cycle from repeating?

    all this does is inconvenience your legitimate users. it doesn't affect the pirates in any way. in fact, if you play too many games with your legitimate users, they will stop being legitimate and start playing for the other team.

    the pirates win because only one copy needs to be compromised and released into the wild. you can revoke all the keys you want, but once an unrestricted copy is out there, it's out there forever.

    if you encrypt something, and sell the key to it, the key will be copied and integrated into unauthorized players, decryptors, and other tools. that's not a theory, that's not a possibility, it's a fact. it happens every day.

    this isn't about breaking the crypto, this is about breaking the key off of it's leash. you can seal up movies in AES256 bit military grade crypto, and as long as the key is embedded in the player you will lose every time, regular as gravity. the lock with the key taped to it is still intact, all the community had to do is break the tape and copy the key.

    controlling access to digital content is impossible, plain and simple. it cannot be done. investing in these technologies is wasting money that could be spent improving your product, improving your relationship with your paying customers, improving your customers' experience with your product, or simply pocketed as profit.

    DRM does not stop piracy. pirated works have either been stripped of their protections prior to their release, or they never had any protections to begin with. the people who download stuff will always download stuff. they are not your customers.

    DRM hurts your legitimate customers. if you buy a DVD and have to strip the DRM off of it to rip it to a portable player, it's easier to just download the rip. if you frustrate the user enough, they will just download the rip and not bother with buying the DVD in the first place.

    The best DRM (the one we are STILL about to see) will come in every window: exhibition, home video, VOD, etc. There is no successful DRM alone. What can be successful is a full strategy covering all windows of utilization.

    as long as those windows require keys to view content, the locks on that content will be circumvented, every time, regular as gravity. reverse engineering is a hell of a drug.

    I haven't heard of pirate copies of a SACD. Have you? And I still haven't seen copies of a Blu-ray disc. But if you still think a successful DRM strategy is impossible, look at Sony: they control content (movies and music), hardware (cameras and players) and software (discs and files). They have a huge following (Samsung, Matsushita, Fox, Disney, Sony Pictures)and just recently we felt their muscle when they smashed HD DVD (who had less DRM - no less).

    owned:
    sacd: http://thepiratebay.org/search/sacd/0/7/100
    bluray: http://thepiratebay.org/search/bluray/0/7/200

    TPB is a public tracker BTW, the best stuff (0dayz) is on the private ones :-)

    those who DO copy DVDs some will not go through the P2P nightmare of endless downloads... and the eventual disappointment that sometimes the file does not work... or the the picture is lousy, etc. That's success. That's slowing down piracy. It may be not significant now, but it's a big start.

    go to any tracker, do a search and sort the results by the number of seeds. piracy is a meritocracy. the good stuff lives and the bad stuff doesn't get seeded. crews that share good stuff are treated like rock stars. read the comments, pirates share information, the comments will tell you about the quality and if the file works.

    Can you make a copy disc of a PS3 game?
    yes:
    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/3893432/Call.of.Duty.4.Modern.Warfare.USA.PS3-PARADOX

    you just need an iso loader (like paradox)

    can you play a PS3 game on a Mac computer? How about on a PC? That's the biggest form of DRM known: incompatibility. You claim you want to use anything anywhere. Can you really play a PS3 game on a Mac computer? Can you access Xbox live content from a PS3? Some you can because they allow you to. Others you cannot.

    the PS3 uses the cell processor, which is a different processor architecture than a mac (the new ones are intel based, the older macs are presumably less powerful than the ps3). so you would need an emulator. emulating a processor architecture in software is totally possible (see qemu, mame, project64, gens/kega) but can be resource intensive depending on how much power the emulator needs for rendering.

    don't despair,the PS3 is a fixed platform. it's not going to change over time. the PC/mac is different. they will rapidly gain in power, just give them time. there are already PS1 and PS2 emulators, my personal favorite is PCSX2. in time there will be others for more recent consoles. in the meantime, use an iso loader or a softmod on your console.

    that's not DRM BTW, it's just difference in platform. you can access live content from a PC and in the future play live games on a PC against console players.

    or you can say "fuck closed networks like live" and use your pc/mac/nintendo/modded xbox/whatever to check out xlink kai. it's free and everything :-)

     

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  76.  
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    7ru7h (profile), Aug 15th, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    "And just as we write, movie execs at Warner are happy they successfully delayed a pirated copy of The Dark Knight for almost 40 hours after the film opened (contrary to what happened in other films like the mega flop Speed Racer and other non-flops). They are happy everybody who wanted to see the film first hand had to go and pay for it. And bingo: a record box-office. In other words, they take measures nobody ever did and successfully delay pirates. And the film in case has a first day opening no one ever saw."

    ...Have you heard of a phrase, its especially true here: correlation does not imply causality

    You know why the dark knight got so much money from ticket sales? IT WAS A GOOD MOVIE "contrary to what happened in other films like the mega flop Speed Racer and other non-flops"

    As Bill Engval would say "Here's your sign"

     

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  77.  
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    Jim Jims, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: All part of the same business model...

    "Because these physicless things have a function somewhere - therefore you cannot get them [data files] for free."

    You can get files for free, just go to the pirate bay.

     

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

  78.  
    icon
    Lisa (profile), Dec 27th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work. Diskon Gila Disdus.com Bisnis Syariah, Rumah Mungil yang Sehat

     

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


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