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MPAA Cheers On Totally Useless Piracy Crackdown

from the pat-yourself-on-the-backs-now dept

The MPAA (or, rather, its international arm, the MPA) is proudly cheering on the "success" of "Operation ZoomOut," a 10-week crackdown of movie piracy in Asia. The group talks about how various retail outlets were shut down, raids on counterfeiting shops seized a bunch of DVD-burners and counterfeit movies -- and that the overall number of counterfeit DVDs coming out of Asia declined. That's great. Except for a few small facts. You can bet that if the demand is out there, plenty of others will jump in and fill the gaps pretty damn quickly and (more importantly) none of this stopped the same movies from being available to download online.

And that, of course, is the number one problem with ridiculous and costly publicity stunts by groups like the MPA. They're useless and have no actual impact on the problem. They're trying to deal with a digital issue by using an analog solution. Once a single digital copy gets online, it really doesn't matter how many DVD-burners you seize. The movie's out there, and copies are being made at an unstoppable rate. These types of raids may make for fun headlines and gives the MPA a chance to go back to the movie studios, show them they're "doing something" and ask for more money. But it hardly does anything to deal with the new digital reality. That would require actually understanding both technology and business models -- both of which seem to be well beyond the MPA (and the MPAA's) skillset.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Sounds Familiar

    Its almost as if your talking about the DEA and drug laws

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Copyright holders have a choice. They can choose to fight their users and fans into perpetuity, spending tons of money on attorney fees in the process, and accomplish nothing.

    Or they can choose to adapt. As we've talked about before, Monty Python chose to adapt. Instead of fighting their fans who upload Monty Python's content onto youtube, the group placed it there themselves and are making much more money in the process.

    Of course, someone without any sense of vision and common sense will exclaim that the MPAA has every right to protect the rights of its members. And that idiot would be correct, but completely wrong.

    I have the right to take a hammer and pound my toes to a pulp. However, merely because I have that right does not mean I should act upon that right.

    We have any number of rights we do not act upon because it makes no financial or moral sense to do so. Every day we choose not to act upon our rights to make our lives better and more enjoyable.

    The copyright industries have lost sight of the choices they are offered and are more concerned with protecting their rights than making money.

    Eventually they'll adapt or will die. It's only a matter of time.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    It is hard to see the merit or lack thereof without having at least a feel for market conditions in countries such as China. Not that piracy will be stopped, but only to note that what may be a viable as a business model in the US may prove to be useless in another country. Now, some will say "pick another one". This in my view is a somewhat simplistic response if truly viable alternate business models are few and far between, perhaps requiring a choice between bad and worse.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    Even so, piracy will still be rampant, so even if the simplistic answer seems too simplistic, it's the only option. You'll pay more to curb the problem than to just deal with it and find more methods of gaining from it.

     

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  5.  
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    Skippy T. Mut, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Um...

    I think at this point they would probably end up saving money by just giving the movies out for free themselves

     

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  6.  
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    Nick, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Surely there is a difference in priority between John Doe downloading a movie and Jackie Chan selling a burnt copy for profit.

    Is this site getting derailed or am I getting saturated by the endless propaganda from here?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    I'm sorry, I didn't realize that the whole situation was a problem. I do understand that the MPA and their "associates" (ie. the movie studios) believe there is a problem, but if they're still making multi million, if not billion, dollar profits, I'd like to know exactly what the "Problem" is.

     

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  8.  
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    Benji, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Sounds Familiar

    Funny, that was exactly my thought as I was reading through it.

     

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  9.  
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    ehrichweiss, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Sounds Familiar

    And to think that if they turn this into a "war on piracy", it'll be equally as successful.

     

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  10.  
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    chris (profile), Feb 18th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    isn't this what they are supposed to be doing?

    i am all for watching an arm of the MAFIAA embarrass itself, but isn't this one of those rare occasions where they got it right?

    bootleg disks sold on the street, or in a retail outlet, is real infringement for profit, isn't what what the *IAA's of the world are supposed to be cracking down on?

    while the counterfeiters may get their copies from P2P services, i think the real crime here is in the sale of the disks for profit rather than the availability of the digital copies.

     

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  11.  
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    Dave, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    RIAA & iTunes

    @Ima Fish, you're exactly right.

    The RIAA worked tirelessly to sue 14 year old kids who traded MP3s on P2P networks, and people just worked harder to find ways to get their music for free.

    Then online music stores like iTunes come along and provide a legal profitable alternative and the problem gets fixed.

    The MPAA needs to learn that lesson, but sadly they'll probably go the same route until some third party solution really catches on.

     

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  12.  
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    Valkor, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: isn't this what they are supposed to be doing?

    Agreed.
    This isn't infinite-good / wouldn't have bought it anyway / try before you buy piracy. This is people actually spending *money* to buy entertainment on plastic discs. That is actual money being diverted from movie studios and entertainment conglomerates, not hypothetical sales lost to downloads.

    This is where enforcement should focus, not on downloads.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    I feel like taking all my CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes, Recording them and giving them out (via bag on doorknobs) throughout my entire neighborhood and DARE them to track that. I am so sick of the MPAA and the RIAA with their BULLSHIT!

    Not 1 cent to them or anyone whom supports them.

     

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  14.  
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    interval, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 11:34am

    And the MPAA want's the Obama administration to make pirating as important an issue as the economy and Afghanistan. Holy Monkeys Mr. Attorney!

     

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  15.  
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    DS, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    There's a difference between piracy, and forgery. If you're buying faked goods, you ARE putting a dollar value on the product. You are saying that yes, it's worth buying. So a sale is lost. Now on the other hand, if you pirate something, that's not dependent on your willingness to part with your money for the product. That, and when you buy a forgery, someone who had nothing to do with the creation or legitimate sale of the product is getting the profit. If you pirate something, nobody profits.

     

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  16.  
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    Rick, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, pirating has been shown to lead to increased sales. The more people who sample a product results in more people talking about and recommending the product. That in turn translates into more sales, that may not have happened without the inherent marketing effects of piracy. The original pirate may also see value in buying a physical copy, if the product is up to their standards of collecting. If not, nobody loses - the pirate wouldn't have bought it anyway, but at least he's marketing it for free by spreading his opinion of the product.

    So the studios can profit, from those piracy marketed sales.

    Forgery on the other hand does cut into sales and has very little marketing effect on legitimate sales.

     

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  17.  
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    Ima Fish, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually, pirating has been shown to lead to increased sales."

    Case in point, the most pirated movie last year was the Dark Knight. The most successful movie of last year was... the Dark Knight.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: isn't this what they are supposed to be doing?

    That is actual money being diverted from movie studios and entertainment conglomerates, not hypothetical sales lost to downloads

    Sorry, that's just not true. Just because someone in China is willing to spend £0.10 on a counterfeit DVD it does not equate to them willing to spend £10 on a legitimate DVD if the counterfeit were not available. The chances are if the counterfeit copy were unavailable they would simply do without.

     

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  19.  
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    Valkor, Feb 19th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: isn't this what they are supposed to be doing?

    True, ten cent counterfeits in China or Tiawain probably don't have much impact on the United States market, but $7 copies that someone is selling out of his trunk at a swap meet may. I'm not saying that a *lot* of people I know actually pay money for cam rips, but I've met a few who have.

     

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  20.  
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    Getupstandup, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Isn't there other things going on in the world?

    There is so much other shit going on in the world and this is the biggest problem? And what are they worried about anyway? It's not like movie companies are lossing money. Actually movies sales are up from other years. So what are they worried about? Don't these fuckin guys have enough money. Maybe if they didn't charge 12 bucks to see a movie more people would go. In case they didn't know we are in a ressession, sueing everyone for downloading is just raping the county and it's people. Let's face it the rich are stealing from the poor.

     

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