Why Is The Federal Government Running Ads Secretly Created & Owned By NBC Universal?

from the so-that's-how-it-works... dept

We certainly suspected this when New York City first announced that it was running a series of silly and misleading videos as part of a media campaign to "Stop Piracy in NYC," but now it's been confirmed that these videos were not, in fact, New York City's, but are purely NBC Universal's. At the time, NYC had "thanked" NBC Universal (among others), but had not admitted that NBC Universal "owned" and had created the videos themselves. However, in response to one of the Freedom of Information requests that I filed with New York City, the city noted that the videos are property of NBC Universal. I had asked for any licensing info between NYC and Homeland Security/ICE because ICE was using the same videos. Since NYC had clearly suggested that those videos were the creation of the NYC government, I assumed that ICE must have licensed the videos from NYC. However, NYC responded to my request by saying that there was no such info to hand over, because it did not license the videos to Homeland Security. And the reason was that NYC did not own the videos:
The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment has no records responsive to your request. Please note that NBC Universal owns the material, not the City of New York.
That's fascinating information. Of course, I had also filed a separate FOI request for any info on the licensing agreement between NYC and NBC Universal. As of this writing there has been no response from NYC, in violation of New York State's Freedom of Information Law, which requires a response within 5 business days (we're way beyond that).

Still, at least give NYC credit for making it clear that NBC Universal had a hand in the creation of the videos, even if it left out the rather pertinent information that it created and owned the videos. While I find it immensely troubling that a municipal government would run PSAs created by corporate interests (without making that clear), I'm extremely troubled by the news that the federal government would run those same videos with absolutely no mention of the fact that the videos were created and owned by a private corporation with a tremendous stake in the issue.

Could you imagine how the press would react if, say, the FDA ran PSAs that were created and owned by McDonald's without making that clear to the public? How about if the Treasury Department ran a PSA created and owned by Goldman Sachs? So, shouldn't we be asking serious questions about why Homeland Security and ICE are running a one-sided, misleading corporate propaganda video, created and owned by a private company, without mentioning the rather pertinent information of who made it?

Does Homeland Security work for the US public... or for NBC Universal?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    rw (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Obviously for NBC Universal.

     

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  2.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Mike, you should know the answer to this by now: because they're clearly complicit in the New World Order, of course.

    Well, that's what I like to think when I'm bored, anyway.

     

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    AJ, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    State breaking the law...

    "no response from NYC, in violation of New York State's Freedom of Information Law, which requires a response within 5 business days (we're way beyond that). "

    I'm a bit caught up on the above statement.... If i break the law, I get fined or go to jail.. what happens when the people that are supposed to be upholding the law start breaking it.... does that mean I'm off the hook? Or is this a do as I say not as I do situation?

     

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    rubberpants (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    I think the answer is that the media gets special treatment because they determine, in a large measure, what citizens passively get to know about the government. Politicians treat the media industry well and good things get reported about them. In turn, the media treats the politicians well and then they get special laws and treaties passed for them.

     

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    Donnicton, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    Re: State breaking the law...

    The latter. Just look at the IRS.

     

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    anonymous, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    as do the rest of the security forces, the police, the politicians and the government in general. not just for NBC, however, but for other industries as well, including the rest of the copyright industries and entertainment industries. in fact, any that will go along with crapping on the public, put money into party funds and line individuals pockets!

     

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    Brent Ashley (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Follow the money

    "How about if the Treasury Department ran a PSA created and owned by Goldman Sachs?"

    Hard to see how that's a problem since the Treasury Department is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:04am

    I think the problem is that nobody is surprised by that.

    Remember when Jason Blair was found to have made up all sorts of stories when he worked for the New York Times? He would do things like make up quotes from interviews he didn't do, and so on.

    I remember reading an opinion piece by one of their editors that wondered why it went on for so long without any of the people being misquoted raising a stink about it. The reason, which the editor didn't understand, is that everybody KNOWS that papers can't be trusted. They KNOW that quotes are wrong, and that the reporters will get a substantial amount of the facts incorrect. When the people saw themselves misquoted by Blair, they mostly just shrugged and assumed that's business as usual for the media.

    The Times didn't understand that Blair got away with it for so long because the media didn't really have any credibility to begin with.

    Anyway, I feel that's the same case here. Who is surprised that state or federal agencies are simply running promo pieces created by the industry? I would have thought this has been standard practice for decades. Not that it isn't corrupt; but it's the level of corruption we've learned to expect. Now, I'm all for Mike continuing to sound the alarm over this issue, because it IS corrupt. It's just sadly not unexpected.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    That doesn't explain people being misquoted by interviews they never even gave :)

     

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  10.  
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    John Doe, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:15am

    Police or Corporate State?

    You mentioned in a recent article that you don't get caught up in statements that this country has turned into a police state. But the more I read here, I realize we aren't a police state but a corporate state. It seems that corporations have pretty much completely taken over all aspects of the government. From campaign contributions, lobbying and the revolving door between lobbyists and government offices, corporate America has seized quite control over our government.

    There were no armed rebellions, no tear gas or riots, no storming of palaces. Nope, only backdoor wheeling, dealing and payoffs through contributions or cushy jobs. All this while we were blissfully unaware.

     

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    jeff c, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:19am

    The real answer is, for corporations, such as NBC, and the real answer is there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson."

    -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
    (1882-1945), 32nd US President
    November 21, 1933
    Source: in a letter written to Colonel E. Mandell House

     

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  13.  
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    James Hancock, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    The government has entire body deticated to doing exactly what Goldman Sack's tells them to do. It intentionally doesn't tell the people what's going on, and hides all information they can from us to ensure that we don't figure out the con: It's called the FEDERAL RESERVE.

    While this is appalling, this is nothing new. It's been happening since 1913.

     

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  14.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re: Police or Corporate State?

    I realize we aren't a police state but a corporate state

    The two aren't mutually exclusive.

    And the cause is obvious: when the government is allowed the power to pick winners and losers in business, don't be surprised when businesses buy politicians and political favors. If people really want to get out from under the thumb of corporations, they should look at giving the government less power, not more.

     

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    otb (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Not NBC Universal

    What you mean, Mike, is why is the US Government running ads for General Electric, the owners of NBC Universal?

    The only reason I know that is because I've researched heavily into the near media blackout of the Fukushima crisis... GE being the makers and designers of those failed reactors.... and was lead to GE's ownership of NBC Universal.

    What has happened here in the modern era of corporatism is that Vertical Integration has gone well beyond Carnegie's days of raw materials/production/transport/supply...

    Vertical Integration in 2011 means owning every step from creation to consumption AND owning the media that the consumers learn from, reinforcing your brand at every turn and making the bad news related to you simply disappear.

    Downright diabolical.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Re: Not NBC Universal

    What you mean, Mike, is why is the US Government running ads for General Electric, the owners of NBC Universal?


    Um. GE sold NBC Universal to Comcast, remember?

     

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    John Doe, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Police or Corporate State?

    If people really want to get out from under the thumb of corporations, they should look at giving the government less power, not more.

    I am all for that!

     

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  18.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Not the first time

    And unfortunately probably not the last... I don't have citations, but I read somewhere back in the day that DuPont and some nylon companies had the gov't run propaganda videos against hemp and marijuana to have it made illegal... Nylon makers of course because hemp rope is the strongest and possibly longest lasting, and dupont because they made teflon, and were afraid hemp could be used to make a competing product, cheaper. They had to lump it in with Marijuana of course, because hemp by itself can't really do anything bad, but it's related, and marijuana is what had scared people (or the lies like "it made black men think they could talk to white women" that scared them anyway...)

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt


    Maybe we should elect someone named "Roosevelt" in 2012. Just a thought.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Does Homeland Security work for the US public... or for NBC Universal?

    Do you really have to ask?

     

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  21.  
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    Big Mook, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Late to the party

    Glenn Beck reported on this weeks ago on his radio program, but if I remember correctly, everyone said he was just a nutty conspiracy theorist. Funny how so much of what he says turns out to be true, but there's never anyone on the left who'll acknowledge it...

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Yes, why didn't the government use the U.S. Dept of Film Making to make the ad...

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Why Is The Federal Government Running Ads From Its Corporate Partners?

    Because that's how partnerships work.

     

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  24.  
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    Dill, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    hmm.

    Do any of you know what CAFR's are? Ok, I will tell you. They are the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports of every government agency in the US and they contain the answer to your question. Just unveil the truth at ANY municipal, county, state OR federal government public website. You are owned.

     

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    PRMan, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    Actually, Andrew Jackson's presidency was the only time when it wasn't the case...

     

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    Dave, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: Late to the party

    Well, to be fair, he is a nutty conspiracy theorist. Being right sometimes won't change that, it just gets drowned out by the rest of his noise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Late to the party

    Because Beck isn't the type do himself any favors, methinks. Any coherent message gets lost in his penchant for histrionics.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    GE owns 49% Comcast 51%. And by the way if you think the government produces all of it's own PSA's and videos you're sadly misinformed.

     

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  29.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    GE only sold 51% of it. They still have a 49% stake.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Egad, stop the presses!!! This is bigger than Watergate!! Let's see, NYC has the second biggest film economy after LA. It perceives piracy as a threat and reaches out to NBC/U who is headquartered in NYC and also sees piracy as a threat; asking them to help with a PSA (since NYC doesn't produce videos). NBC/U hires a production company to shoot a PSA for NYC to use. ICE sees the PSA and asks NBC/U if it can use an edited version to put on websites seized for infringing to message to would-be infringers and/or the curious. NBC/U obliges...

    oh the horror... the corruption!!!!

    Corporations donate goods and services to government all the time. Try to find something newsworthy for a change rather than conjuring up these desperate conspiracy theories to whip up your fellow tin foil hat wearers.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    Try to find something newsworthy for a change rather than conjuring up these desperate conspiracy theories to whip up your fellow tin foil hat wearers.

    So, Mike just conjured this story up, eh? Me thinks your corpocracy colors are showing. Which do yo work for, the gov't or one of it's corporate partners? Never mind answering, it's practically the same either way.

     

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  32.  
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    Judge Knot, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    consider the source of conflict

    The Secretary of Homeland Security earned or purchased her JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law- where O.J. Simpson's 'Dream Team' came up with an airtight alibi. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency earned or purchased his JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law. California Governor Jerry Brown earned or purchased his JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law, where the Jesuits believe Father Knows Best. Organized Crime, Inc. can print money and buy any judge.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    We can stop watching NBC. (I already did a long time ago, but I did for all media that contains commercial messages.)

    And then tell our friends, coworkers, and family why we stopped.

    We can stop buying products advertised on NBC. Because if we really want to impact NBC we impact their bottom line: advertising. And tell our friends, coworkers, and family why we stopped.

    I have a list of ~20 companies I no longer do *any business with. They have either stolen my money, pissed me off, spammed me, or generally did not make a wrong right. They will *never* see a dime of my money ever again.

    I am a technology purchaser/implementer where I work, with an annual budget in the 6 figures. There are large and small companies alike that, over the course of 10 years have lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars due to *just pissing me off once.* Now add that by all the advice I give to friends and family. Add all that cessation of product use for generations.

    People CAN make a difference.

    Surely I can't be alone?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Follow the money

    F U That is along the lines of what I was going to say. I doubt anything gets published without GS giving input to a draft.

    Its the same in the banking industry as it is in the media industry (rubberpants summary above). The government passes favorable legislation and/or goes easy on the regulation and Goldman puts out research that pats the back of the FED a glosses over the their mistakes, the poor economic data (that is actually much worse then when it is originally reported and covered by the MSM because typically, a week or so later, it is revised, often negativley depending on the metric), and of course the fact that we are printing paper faster than the San Fernando Valley is producing porno. So, the Treasury and the FED can pretty much say/do what they want and Goldman will shower them with love as long as the "financial pirates" are free to plunder as they please. America... Fuck Yeah.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Re:

    Egad, stop the presses!!! This is bigger than Watergate!! Let's see, NYC has the second biggest film economy after LA. It perceives piracy as a threat and reaches out to NBC/U who is headquartered in NYC and also sees piracy as a threat; asking them to help with a PSA (since NYC doesn't produce videos). NBC/U hires a production company to shoot a PSA for NYC to use. ICE sees the PSA and asks NBC/U if it can use an edited version to put on websites seized for infringing to message to would-be infringers and/or the curious. NBC/U obliges..

    You see this as fine. I don't. Many others don't. The government does not work for NBC Universal, and the video NBC Universal created is misleading and at times blatantly false. Furthermore, the governments of both NYC and the federal government gave the impression that they had created the video themselves.

    So I ask the same question which you ignored: would you be okay if the FDA ran a PSA created and owned by McDonalds without revealing the source? Would you be okay if the Fed ran a PSA created and owned by Goldman Sachs without revealing the source?

    By the way, who do you work for?

     

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  36.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

    Re: consider the source of conflict

    The Secretary of Homeland Security earned or purchased her JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law- where O.J. Simpson's 'Dream Team' came up with an airtight alibi. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency earned or purchased his JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law. California Governor Jerry Brown earned or purchased his JD from #93 ranked Santa Clara University School of Law, where the Jesuits believe Father Knows Best. Organized Crime, Inc. can print money and buy any judge

    Um. No offense, but that's ridiculous. I'm actually pretty familiar with folks at Santa Clara University School of Law, and it's not, at all, a diploma shop as you imply. There have been a ton of good lawyers that have come out of that program or who teach at that program. Lately, SCU has been hosting a number of excellent seminars and conferences on internet law issues, bringing in some top notch speakers as well.

     

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  37.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: NBC

    > We can stop watching NBC.

    Unless you have a Nielsen box attached to your TV, that won't make a damn bit of difference.

     

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  38.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

    Re:

    > Corporations donate goods and services to
    > government all the time.

    It's the lack of any acknowledgement in the PSAs as to their true source that's the problem. Or do you think it's fine for the government to run industry propaganda without telling the people from whence it came?

     

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    Trails (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Late to the party

    A broken watch is still correct twice a day

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    I agree with you - however, the issue here is that there's no openness about it, it's all tinfoil hat kinds of stuff.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Does Homeland Security work for the US public... or for NBC Universal?

    Well, yes; but that's mostly because I'm still not sure which corporation bought out ICE yet. Is it Disney or Monsanto? NBCUniversal or Sony? It's so hard to keep track of which agency is bought by whom these days.

     

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  42.  
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    otb (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    As others have said, they only sold just enough of it not to be the 'majority owner' on paper... can't be tooooo obvious about your blatant manipulation of the American consumer.

     

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    otb (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    As others have said, they only sold just enough of it not to be the 'majority owner' on paper... can't be tooooo obvious about your blatant manipulation of the American consumer.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Follow the money

    Okay, I am going to summarize your entire statement in one sentence ... Corporations own the politicians in the US, and do their bidding.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: NBC

    Unless you have a Nielsen box attached to your TV, that won't make a damn bit of difference.

    That's starting to change. Advertisers are paying more attention to things like Twitter and Facebook. Start twittering about, e.g., Game of Thrones and you'll strike a tiny blow.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Follow the money

    Kind of... but I think it is more that they are in bed together and enjoy watching eachother, enabling eachother and getting away with the rape of the population and its resources

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Follow the money

    While enjoying a circle jerk of their own...

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re:

    "The hardest part of the internet is that you don't know if the quotes are accurate." -- Abraham Lincoln

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re:

    NYC was pitched concepts by the production company and signed off. That's how these things work. No one jammed it down their throats. ICE asked to use an edited version. Again, no one "made" ICE do anything. The actual company who produced the content was a NY-based commercial producer. Is that relevant? I don't think so. The entities who display the message "own" (as in are responsible for) the message. The city of New York is responsible for it's version of the ad. ICE is similarly responsible for theirs. NBC/U may have paid for it (though from the look of it, not a lot) and it is probably consistent with NBC/U's point of view. But it is a point of view of many companies and workers in the entertainment industry. So what? If you think NBC/U bought off NYC or ICE with a $10k commercial, you are really deluding yourself.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re:

    You don't get it do you? If I give a speech that is written by someone else I own the message. What difference does it make whether it was written by Oprah or Mit Romney? As soon as I put the message out there it's mine.

     

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  51.  
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    Aaron M, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    Actually GE still owns a large minority stake in NBC U.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: consider the source of conflict

    I think he's on to something Masnick. After the fact that Zoe Lofgren is a Santa Clara grad pretty much confirms it.

     

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  53.  
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    Eric, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Not NBC Universal

    Actually, what you don't realize is that GE's tentacles reach far deeper into the world. They are deeply ingrained in the U.S. economy powering, running, supplying infrastructure for nuclear power plants, dams, steam/gas turbine based power plants, wind turbines, locomotive engines, oil and gas drilling/platforms/sub-sea, vehicle/fleet services appliances, lighting, HUGE in healthcare devices, backing private label credit cards (think retail and home improvement big box chains), capital and financial services (as big or bigger than the 'Too Big to Fail' financial firms like Goldman Sachs, etc.), massive real estate holdings, owners of fleets of airplanes rented back to the airlines, defense contracts for every branch of the U.S. military, Homeland Security, government agencies, security and surveillance programs for the FBI, research partnerships with almost every major U.S. university, you name it. The scope of GE is so massive the general public truly has no idea how much of the U.S. GE has their hand in.

     

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  54.  
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    Bob, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Not NBC Universal

    @OTB - actually TEPCO staff are the criminals here, not GE. They are GE reactors, but TEPCO's track record of maintenance and upkeep verges on criminal. In fact, GE actually had an inspection team at the Fukushima plant during the quake and tsunami asking WTF about TEPCO's maintenance of the reactors. That's a fact.

    If you bought a new car and drove it for 30 years and performed shabby maintenance (imagine only a few oil changes over 30 years), sub-standard parts, and not doing anything the manufacturer recommended or asked you to do). If the car got in an accident and then didn't start and blew up would you really blame the manufacturer??

     

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    President Hugo Chavez, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    what a maroon

    Its been at least fifty years since the US govenrment began its undeclared war on its citizenry.

    Your habitual insistance that the US govenrment is responsive to, or cares about "the will of the people" makes me wonder just how many times you 'accidently' fell as a child.

    Follow the money, and you will see the truth.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re:

    To answer your question, I'd be fine with either example. Because if the FDA or the Federal Reserve puts out a message THEY OWN IT. It's their message at the point that they take ownership of it. If Gigi Sohn or Ron Wyden ghost writes an article and it appears under your byline Masnick, it's yours. Not theirs. Surely you're not so thick that you can't see that.

     

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  57.  
    icon
    Lauriel (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Who wrote it is still going to affect the context of the message, even if you claim it. A speech on racism and ethnicity written by Nelson Mandela is going to be vastly different to one written by Adolf Hitler, regardless of who's name it is published under.

    You can obfuscate all you want about the ownership of the message, it is the context and intent of the message that is relevant here.

    NBC/U will create a message that suits their corporate strategy and reinforces their commercial and political advantages. Who's name is on the byline is irrelevant to this. Where it is relevant, is where that message is being taken by the third party to represent the good of the people, without acknowledging that it was written for the good of the corporation that wrote the original message.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Decreasing the level of piracy is good for the NYC motion picture and television production economy and is good for NBC/U. Why should the message be dissimilar? Hoteliers often sponsor tourism ads for certain cities use to promote tourism. Why? Increased tourism benefits the entire city economy and the hotels too. I don't hear anyone sniveling about being duped by the evil Hilton empire for backing a "Discover Peoria" ad. What's the difference?

     

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  59.  
    icon
    Lauriel (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Firstly, a tourism ad brings tourists and their money into NYC. That money is spent locally, as you stated, and goes to an assortment of local industry - hospitality, retail, etc. There is a direct benefit to the City and its economy as a whole. The same can't be said of NBC/U. While they may have some business in NYC, and through that assist some other industies, the bulk of their business, and target markets, are outside of NYC and have no direct bearing on the City or its economy.

    Secondly, you are conflating the industry economy with a singular entity's finances. One company's rise or fall may have some impact on the industry's, or NYC's, overall economy, but more likely someone else would rise to fill the void. Supporting one company at the expense of others does little to assist NYC's economy.

    I'll freely admit that economics is not my forte, but I'm sure others here can go into more detail, or correct me if I'm wrong.

    Finally, you are basing that entire comment on the assumption that piracy has a negative net effect on the industry (as opposed to NBC/U). That is an issue that is highly debatable, and has been furiously debated with compelling arguments on both sides. There is no debate as to whether tourism is advantageous for any city, NYC or elsewhere. There is considerably more questions as to the effect that piracy has, and I find it difficult to believe that it would dramatically affect NYC's overall economy. It does, however, affect NBC/U's finances.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:55pm

    "Firstly, a tourism ad brings tourists and their money into NYC. That money is spent locally, as you stated, and goes to an assortment of local industry - hospitality, retail, etc. There is a direct benefit to the City and its economy as a whole. The same can't be said of NBC/U. While they may have some business in NYC, and through that assist some other industies, the bulk of their business, and target markets, are outside of NYC and have no direct bearing on the City or its economy."

    "Secondly, you are conflating the industry economy with a singular entity's finances. One company's rise or fall may have some impact on the industry's, or NYC's, overall economy, but more likely someone else would rise to fill the void. Supporting one company at the expense of others does little to assist NYC's economy."

    I don't really understand this. The spot targets infringing generally, not just NBC/U material. Did I miss something?

    A motion picture brings buckets of money to a city. They rent hotel rooms, hire caterers, rent sound stages, rent vehicles, buy lumber for sets, rent and buy wardrobe and props, hire hundreds of people, subcontract out work to hundreds more. NBC/U produces in NYC as do all of the other studios. NYC is the major media market and messaging there has a potential for wider impact.


    "Finally, you are basing that entire comment on the assumption that piracy has a negative net effect on the industry (as opposed to NBC/U). That is an issue that is highly debatable, and has been furiously debated with compelling arguments on both sides. There is no debate as to whether tourism is advantageous for any city, NYC or elsewhere. There is considerably more questions as to the effect that piracy has, and I find it difficult to believe that it would dramatically affect NYC's overall economy. It does, however, affect NBC/U's finances."

    While there may be debate, there is no debate that both NYC and NBC/U believe that piracy harms their respective economic interests. So right or wrong, they view themselves in lockstep on the issue of piracy.

     

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

  61.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:14pm

    Re:

    Thanks to sheeple like you this can go on for a long while. Kudos.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Decreasing the level of piracy is good for the NYC motion picture and television production economy and is good for NBC/U.

    Because the pirates will suddenly start buying the stuff? Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

     

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  63.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:18pm

    Does Homeland Security work for the US public... or for NBC Universal?

    Well, ICE works for Disney so there's that.

     

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  64.  
    icon
    Joshua Bardwell (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Mike,

    Your outrage is justified, but I hope you're not actually surprised. The government may not run PSA's written by McDonalds, but who do you think writes the FDA and USDA guidelines and regulations? The food industry, in large part. It's true in every industry, from banking, to health-care, to food, to, yes, entertainment and copyright.

     

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

  65.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're missing the point. Certainly the responsibility for the message lies with whoever pushes it. I don't think anyone is saying that ICE or NYC should be let off any hooks for putting out misleading or incorrect propaganda.

    The point, though, is that this bespeaks an inappropriate "coziness" between regulator and regulated when the dealing should be arms length.

    Further, the failure to disclose the relationship is even more so concerning. The gov't should be considering actual law, instead of enforcing RIAA requested takedowns, and promoting extremely biased propaganda produced by a stakeholder.

     

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

  66.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Police or Corporate State?

    The only people who riot in the streets are the people who can't afford any other way to be heard.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    h, Jun 10th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    hsa doesn't work for us or nbc. it works for the almighty dollar.

     

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

  68.  
    icon
    Jeremy (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's a problem to use NBC's message because the government is supposed to use an objective view.

     

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  69.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    Re: Roosevelt quote

    FDR came from a family of extreme multi-generational riches himself, so he presumably knew how the system worked.

    Is it really believable that a man with the courage and skills to lead wars against enemies on both sides of the continent, from a wheelchair, had the fatalistic unwillingness to take on the big money who caused the Great Depression that your quote suggests?

    Wow.

    Life is a puzzlement.

    xanthian.

     

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

  70.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:04pm

    Re: State breaking the law...

    You are more than invited to use the FBI's crime reporting web page if some entity of government is breaking the law. The FBI may or may not do anything about the matter that satisfies you, but a case file will be opened and additional similar violations of law by the same parties will most likely be noted in that case file.

    You'd be amazed how receptive the FBI is to well documented reports of email offers of child pornography, for example.

    xanthian.

     

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

  71.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Police or Corporate State?

    Voting is immensely inexpensive.

    xanthian, three time election poll site volunteer.

     

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

  72.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Re:

    You know of media with no advertising support?

    Astonishing.

    xanthian, mated to an NBC Nightly News addict.

     

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

  73.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

    Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    Last I read, GE was a loose conglomerate of something like 600 companies it acquired at one time or another or gained in mergers. Your list could be expanded to a few thousand tentacles into the US scene without implying anything very sinister. All those companies have to be doing _something_ with their time.

    xanthian.

     

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

  74.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Late to the party

    So did Nostradamus. If you blather on meaninglessly with vague commentaries about everything under the sun, sooner or later you'll produce something someone, somewhere, is gullible enough to accept as an insightful message.

    Don't count the negligible whitecaps of hits, count the underlying oceans of lies from Glenn Beck.

    xanthian.

     

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

  75.  
    icon
    Kent Paul Dolan (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: what a maroon

    Strangely enough, the government has no choice but to be responsive to the will of the people when it is expressed at the ballot box.

    If you don't like the current breed of crooks in government, run a campaign to become one of them yourself.

    xanthian.

     

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

  76.  
    identicon
    BriskFrisk, Jun 11th, 2011 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not NBC Universal

    ... Depends on how you define "broken". Certainly a stopped (though not necessarily broken) watch is still correct twice a day (if you know when to look). However a broken watch that is only slow at the rate of one second per day is not correct again until over 236 years have passed.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Elliott Prasse-Freeman, Aug 17th, 2011 @ 9:57pm

    good propaganda, bad economics

    Heard this silly and disingenuous "PSA" at Brooklyn's screening of Wayne's World tonight and it had me yelling at the screen (apologies to anyone who had to listen to that...), and has me still quite annoyed now. Anyway, I only skimmed the comments above, and hence may have missed some comments on the economics, but wanted to add a couple of points. In general, the "PSA" is probably bad economics. The following is probably obvious, trite, and dull.

    1) Who is affected by file sharing? Mostly Hollywood studios (hence NBC making this video). So they will be our object of analysis. Profits for the owners of the Hollywood studios might be cut into by piracy, but even that is ambiguous: ignore the # of downloads - and totally reject any calculation made by industry about their 'losses' - and look instead at the marginal effect of piracy on demand for Hollywood stuff: if the down-loader is unlikely to go to a movie anyway, then *no* revenue is lost... And lets also keep in mind here that the big entertainment industry has already been found guilty of collusion on the price of CDs (http://www.stereophile.com/news/10744/), and then been accused of doing the same on digital content too (http://www.stereophile.com/news/10744/), so it's not like these guys are victims. Actually, the consumer has been the victim here (that same mic boom operator is also a consumer of entertainment products, after all...)

    2) Either way, clawing away at those profits likely will have no effect on the boom mic operator so manipulatively presented in the add; she is likely getting paid her marginal product (or so says classical economic theory), so even if the executives take home more or less money, she's basically the same...

    3) ... unless the entire sector shrinks. But even if that is the case (fewer big Hollywood movies getting made) the effects are still ambiguous: filesharing (along with the internet and the digital camera) has democratized the sector, breaking the H monopoly, and this has *positive* effects for that boom mic operator, as a larger but less top-heavy sector may distribute resources more equitably: there are fewer barriers to entry, capital up front is less important therefore rewarded at a lower rate, and people with skills (like boom mic operators) are relatively speaking *better* remunerated. Indeed, as Hollywood makes consistently worse and worse product (partially because it is out of ideas, partially a lame attempt at 'cost recovery' from file sharing - what economists would call the General Equilibrium effect), a gap is being filled by TV stations, freelance folks, etc making quality product(or at least trying). All those people need boom-mic operators.
    (Can we isolate the effect of piracy from the internet and digital camera issues? Not empirically, and so we have to rely on theory. Lets posit that the number of dollars spent on entertainment is generally constant (maybe a big assumption?); there is an exogenous shock (piracy) which hurts H, decreasing its market share as H makes worse products in response; those dollars flow into other sectors (like independent film) which consumers are willing to pay for because (a) they feel like it's art, not mass entertainment, and are willing to pay for it / are guilted into it?; 2) don't feel like this sector is, I dunno, gonna make propaganda and pass it off as PSA in order to capture more rents?; 3) it's harder to download them; 4) or they flow into online content, which is downloadable by definition, and merely embeds the adverts (Hulu model)?

    4) People are consumers of an array of entertainment options; they aren't forced to watch movies. Hence if movies get to the point where they aren't worth the expense, people will migrate to other forms of entertainment. Punitive or aggressive cutting policing of piracy may have General Equilibrium effects that hurt the film industry; counter intuitively, the sector may actually *benefit* from file sharing: what if file-sharing actually *generates* demand for box office viewing, perhaps not for the person downloading, but indirectly through externalities created by the pirate and captured by the general sector: In other words, I download Die Hard IV, talk about what an amazing and silly movie it is on my hypothetical blog, and you read it, and the comments of the 50 other people who think it's a fun analysis (it will be, that much I can promise you), and then as a result of this being conversation worthy, and that you want to be a part of it, you go out and see it.

    5) On a smaller scale, I have smart friends who have hustled their way through film and video production in NYC for the past decade or so, and their biggest desire seems to me to be to generate demand for their art. They have run the boom, and been behind the camera. They are dying for people to steal their stuff. In other words, the boom mic operator as presented in the PSA (as only a boom mic operator) may exist, but for the most part most of the folks involved in this sector are artists rather than wage 'workers' narrowly defined, and if we actually cared about the artists and the art, we would decouple the profit-stream side from it. So what would this look like? Lets imagine that all films were available for download for free, how would this change the structure of the business? First, there probably would be fewer Michael Bay movies. With apologies to the cast of the Rock, this in general is a sacrifice we could probably be willing to make, for the sake of not being subject to the generally shitty art that he and his ilk produce (and his might survive: there would still be demand to see his stuff on a big screen; same with the rom-com: dinner and a movie would acquire a price premium - becoming more expensive relative to what it is now when you could stay home and eat kraft macaroni - but as such it will probably survive). Cost recovery would take the form of advertising embedded in or around content. [This all deserves more discussion and thought than i can give it right now, but I think a better equilibrium would be found...]

    6) So what the hell is city of NYC doing involved with this? Why did our guy have to FOIA them to get the truth? Weirdness. I doubt this is a purely economic argument: they might think that piracy generates revenues that are un-taxable, whereas movie theaters pay taxes? And that Nigerians sell the pirated copies and repatriate their dollars at high rates, rather than putting them back into the economy? Doubtful that this is considered. My only thought is that the city is embarrassed by so much fairly blatant flouting of the law, but it is not worth the resources expended and the opportunity cost to have policemen actually round up those selling DVDs on the street. Better to pursue a top-down 'behavior change' campaign to dampen demand, putting the pirates out of business naturally? I dunno.


    Coda: what perhaps is most telling is that when I told my girlfriend that the "PSA" we watched this evening wasn't made by some benign agency of the government, but was actually owned by NBC, she said "Well, of course"... and her look, full of sweetness and sympathy, was as if to say, "silly boy, you actually think there's a difference? Between the state and corporate interests? Between propaganda and truth?"

     

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