MPAA Calls MPAA Intellectually Dishonest For Claiming That Infringement Is Inevitable

from the talking-points dept

We've been having some fun with the MPAA's extraordinary cluelessness lately. It started with MPAA communications person Alex Swartsel bizarrely and unfairly attacking GigaOm's Janko Roettger for daring to point out that an economic downturn (combined with dumb moves by the movie industry) might lead to greater file sharing. Swartsel, a spokesperson for the MPAA, went ballistic, claiming that such a statement was intellectually dishonest and somehow condoned the practice as socially acceptable. Here's the key paragraph from Swartsel and the MPAA:
We doubt many people will subscribe to the kind of intellectual dishonesty that suggests that it’s fine – or really, that it’s inevitable – to steal as a way of saving. But it’s troubling that by suggesting that stolen content available on rogue sites and elsewhere is just another substitute good, Roettgers is tacitly arguing that content theft is legitimate and socially acceptable. Truth is, it’s neither.
And what, specifically, did Roettger say? Here's the exact quote:
The U.S. credit ratings downgrade, tumbling stocks and international instability have made not just financial analysts nervous this week. Consumers are also starting to wonder whether we’re about to enter another recession. Whenever that happens, people start to tighten their belts and cut unnecessary expenses — like paying for movies and TV shows. Add in the Netflix price hike as well as new authentication plans from broadcasters like Fox, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm for piracy.
I don't see how that's condoning anything, really. But if Roettger is being intellectually dishonest and saying that it's fine, well, then that means that the MPAA is also intellectually dishonest and condones piracy. That's because, as TorrentFreak points out, just a couple years ago, former MPAA boss Dan Glickman said almost the exact same thing that Roettger said:
"This is a high priority issue," said Motion Picture Association of America head Dan Glickman, who expressed concern that the dire financial situation would make pirated movies more popular on the streets and online.

"If you look at the situation, the current economic crisis makes this problem much more serious than before," he told a forum.
So, if I'm reading all of this correctly -- and I pretty sure that I am -- according to the MPAA, the MPAA is being intellectually dishonest in suggesting that "it's fine -- or really, that it's inevitable -- to steal as a way of saving." Got it.

In the meantime, we're still waiting for the MPAA and Ms. Swartsel to issue an apology to Roettger, an excellent and fair reporter, who certainly doesn't deserve the MPAA's bizarre "blame the messenger and accuse him of supporting piracy" treatment.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Oh what a tangled web we weave

    If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember who you told it to.

    John Doe's Law - Eventually, all dishonest people will paint themselves into a corner in which they cannot get themselves out of.

     

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  2.  
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    big al, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    apology???

    ve DO NOT MAKE apology.....who do you tank ve are??? ve ARE YOUR FUTURE RULERS!!! now bow down before our might!!!
    you have friends on the internet??? ve are watching you!!

    sig.... ops later for that

     

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  3.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave

    ... unless they don't care about walking on paint or knocking down one of the walls which form the corner.

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave

    "John Doe's Law - Eventually, all dishonest people will paint themselves into a corner in which they cannot get themselves out of."

    The first thing I thought was ... I this day and age, where the internet never forgets, it must be really tough to be a liar and scumbag.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    Heheh. This is why I love the internet.

    To the callers of bullshit - das vidaniyah!

     

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  6.  
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    The Logician (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    The truth always makes itself known, one way or another. Prolonged dishonesty involves stacking lies upon lies to support the deception as a whole, but like a house of cards, it is fragile. The right touch at the right time can and will bring it all down.

     

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  7.  
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    MrWilson, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    There is only one logical conclusion to this cognitive dissonance: Glickman never said that and he has never worked for the MPAA.

    In other news, the chocolate ration will be increased to 20 grammes a week.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Mark H., Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    I don't see the connection

    I don't see the connection between "cut unnecessary expenses — like paying for movies and TV shows." and "to steal as a way of saving."

    I took the Roettger quote as saying people cut back on paying to go out to the movies or paying to watch TV (cable/sat). Does the MPAA really think people can't live without seeing a movie and must therefore pirate said movie?

     

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  9.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    the MPAA's bizarre "blame the messenger [...]" treatment.

    That's very hypocritical of you Mike. The movie studios are clueless fools who live in never-never-piracy-land. The MPAA is just the messenger. Stop shooting the messenger.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    That's quite understandable given her position and beliefs. You may not agree with those, but she's not screeching inconsistently as Mike tries to portray.

    Mike is just putting out his usual exaggerated propaganda with inter-site trolling, again hoping to be noticed.

    Swartsel actually HEDGES it PRECISELY (emphasis added in upper case): "by SUGGESTING that stolen content available on rogue sites and elsewhere is just another substitute good, Roettgers is TACITLY arguing".

    And having read the WHOLE piece by Roettger's (as I bet most haven't, you just swallow Mike's version), I think that's fair; Roettger's tone strikes me as more gloating than warning.

    Some here don't grasp the nuances of words, you just know who to dislike: it's all ad hom with you. You're just Mike's groupies who respond to his cue -- and get worked up on cue again when someone carps of Mike's hyperbole.

     

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  11.  
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    Donnicton, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Mike is just putting out his usual exaggerated propaganda with inter-site trolling, again hoping to be noticed.

    Kettle...

     

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  12.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    and you are just another little minded Label groupie who can't see the forest through the trees.

     

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  13.  
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    Berenerd (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    ^^

    This...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Mike, the F reading student upset a B student is not perfect

    Mike who comments on foreign language papers he can't read, turns in books reports on books he has not read, complains just because the teacher is not perfect.

    If this is not the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Re: It's merely that out_of_the_blue doesn't care for the prediction.

    That's quite understandable given his position and beliefs. You may not agree with those, but he's not screeching inconsistently as out_of_the_blue tries to portray.

    out_of_the_blue is just putting out his usual exaggerated propaganda with inter-site trolling, again hoping to be noticed.

    Roettger actually HEDGES it PRECISELY (emphasis added in upper case): "Consumers are also STARTING to wonder whether we’re about to enter another recession. Whenever that happens, people START TO TIGHTEN THEIR BELTS and cut unnecessary expenses".

    And having read the WHOLE piece by Swartsel (as I bet most haven't, you just swallow out_of_the_blue's version), I think that's fair; Swartsel's tone strikes me as more gloating than warning.

    Some here don't grasp the nuances of words, you just know who to dislike: it's all ad hom with you. You're just out_of_the_blue's groupies who respond to his cue -- and get worked up on cue again when someone carps of out_of_the_blue's hyperbole.

     

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  16.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave

    By my observations, it pays pretty damned well though.

     

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  17.  
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    Charles (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: I don't see the connection

    I guess its assumed that if someone isn't paying for movies and tv shows, means they are viewing them somewhere else for free.

    Of course, that only makes sense if watching television is necessary for survival, but as you said its not. T.V. is a luxury, and when the cost becomes unreasonable, due to budget or lack of use, we drop it. Even if they stopped piracy, that's not going to bring people back, not in this economy.

    Too bad MPAA and others would rather kill their business then address the real problem.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Did you even read the Roettgers article? Gloating? Really? He states the facts, uses history as his guide, and makes a prediction about what might happen. Then there's this:
    Of course, piracy in 2011 isn’t likeit [sic] used to be...
    He lays out how things might be more in the studios favor. He also goes through how those changes might not mean much.

    This is logic 101.
    * People are worried about money.
    * Many people see nothing wrong with downloading content.
    * Studios are making content more expensive or difficult to obtain.
    Once you've stated those three things, the only possible conclusion that you can make is that piracy might rise. You can say that people should just forgo the content if they aren't willing to pay for it, and you'd have a legal argument in saying such, but that's only talking about what people should do, not about what they might do. What might people do? They might pirate more. What should people do? That's an entirely different question.

     

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  19.  
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    The Incoherent One (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: It's merely that out_of_the_blue doesn't care for the prediction.

    Pass the kool aid pleaes. Grape if we have it.

     

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  20.  
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    khory (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Mike didn't exaggerate anything. Swartsel did. I don't see anyplace in what Roettger said that condones piracy.

    Roettger doesn't need to SUGGEST that infringing content is a substitute good because, to many people, it IS a substitute. Whether he feels this is right or wrong is irrelevant and isn't stated in his article. Downloading movies, etc. on the internet is easy to do and a lot of people don't feel bad about it. If you think otherwise you are fooling yourself. The large number of people sharing illegal files backs this up. If you don't think many people would find this a tempting alternative in an uncertain economy then you are naive.

    Bottom line- Roettger is telling it like it is. Labeling that as intellectual dishonesty is not only disingenuous but its a self-destructive attitude to have. Roettger and others are pointing out exactly why piracy is looking more attractive. Don't you think it would be more profitable to take in some of the well reasoned points being made and take some proactive steps to change some of the things that make consumers consider piracy in the first place?

     

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  21.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Let's compare.

    I've been reading Techdirt since 2004. Threw the years Mike has earned my trust and my respect.

    I've been reading out_of_the_blue's comments for a few months. During that time you have earned my disdain and distrust.

    I've been reading about the MPAA's deeds for years. During that time, I've seen them screw fans, potential fans, artists, and twist laws into unrecognizable shapes. They have earned my belief that they are willing step on anyone to get what they want.

    Who am I going to believe?

     

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  22.  
    icon
    The Incoherent One (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    Re: Mike, the F reading student upset a B student is not perfect

    ROFLMAO!!!!! I like this particular comment as it feels new and fresh. Not the same old regurgitated filth that we usually deal with. **see out_of_the_blue

     

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  23.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    "Swartsel actually HEDGES it PRECISELY (emphasis added in upper case): "by SUGGESTING that stolen content available on rogue sites and elsewhere is just another substitute good, Roettgers is TACITLY arguing"."
    Where in that article did he say "and this is a good thing"? Because that's what Swartsel is saying. I don't know why you think her use of "tacitly" is some kind of “hedging around actually accusing him of piracy-endorsement”... "tacitly arguing” is "saying it without words". So she says he's saying it.


    "And having read the WHOLE piece by Roettger's (as I bet most haven't, you just swallow Mike's version), I think that's fair; Roettger's tone strikes me as more gloating than warning."
    " Not sure what you read, but the full article that I read didn't sound like Roettger was endorsing anything at all. Sounded to me like he was showing you Hollywood's opinion on the death and decline of piracy and giving evidence that Hollywood is wrong about that decline.

    ” Mike is just putting out his usual exaggerated propaganda with inter-site trolling, again hoping to be noticed.”
    Waitwaitwhat?!? Comprehension fail! Maybe the whole thing (since it references past articles and events and has no pictures) is a bit confusing to you, so let me back it up for you… Swartzel says that Roettger’s words = advocacy for piracy. Rotther’s words are almost exactly the same as one of Swartzel’s Boss’s statements. So Mike points out the irony of attacking an opponent on the grounds of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ for saying the same thing your side said earlier.


    "Some here don't grasp the nuances of words, you just know who to dislike: it's all ad hom with you. You're just Mike's groupies who respond to his cue -- and get worked up on cue again when someone carps of Mike's hyperbole."
    Accusing another of doing the same thing one does oneself seems to be contagious.

    Let me translate that for you Blue... "it's all ad hom with you... [inserting ad hom attack against you now]". Blue, this is hypocrisy… hypocrisy, this is Blue. What? Oh, you’ve met.

    Oh, and 'predicting that we'll get worked up when someone 'carps of [sic sic] Mike's hyperbole' doesn't work when you bait it. But if that's what you're aiming for –the very definition of trolling-, well then troll-on sir, troll-on.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    "it's all ad hom with you. You're just Mike's groupies who respond to his cue"

    Self-referential irony perhaps? Somehow I doubt it was intentional. Nothing quite like someone who endlessly trolls with ad hom attacks on anyone and everyone that disagrees with them, article writers, writers of linked articles, other commenters telling everyone else that their 'all ad hom.'

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Danny, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Check this out.

    Times are getting bad in which cops seem unable or unwilling to punish the people who commit crimes. This is leaving citizens feeling like they have no recourse. If things continue like thist it will be a perfect storm for vigilante justice.

    Apparently saying that means I support vigilante justice.

    There's a big difference in saying stating a what/how/why and actually supporting that what/how/why. This this does not meet that condition.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 11:57am

    Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Guys blue is either batshit crazy or a troll

    /ignore

     

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  27.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    change "she" to "he" in my first paragraph. Don't know why I spoke as tho Alex Swartsel was a "she". [shrug]

     

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  28.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's merely that out_of_the_blue doesn't care for the prediction.

    Grape?! BLECH! :(~

     

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  29.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 18th, 2011 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Crap. Super-researching-fail... apparently I was right at first about Swartsel. And when I doubted myself and went and checked, all of my lazy, half-assed research yielded misinformation. Disregard my correction. [sigh]

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Just a misunderstanding?

    It almost seems like Swartsel read the phrase "perfect storm" and thought that Roettger intended it to have positive connotations (due to the word "perfect" I guess, as if "storm" here were just a more colorful substitute for something like "opportunity").

    Fortunately, Swartsel works for the movie industry, and it turns out there's actually a movie that ought to do a reasonable job at explaining to him the connotations of this phrase.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Oh what a tangled web we weave

    The Internet never forgives.
    The Internet never forgets.
    Expect us.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    I condone piracy with all my heart.
    Piracy not done with commercial intent is all good in my book and I don't see it as anything else but people sharing and spreading culture.

    Some people may not want to accept that fact, but I don't really care.

     

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

  33.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 1:51am

    That I have to point this out to you, Mike

    So, if I'm reading all of this correctly -- and I pretty sure that I am -- according to the MPAA, the MPAA is being intellectually dishonest in suggesting that "it's fine -- or really, that it's inevitable -- to steal as a way of saving." Got it.

    It's not stealing. It's infringing.

     

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  34.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: It's merely that Swartsel doesn't care for the prediction.

    Agree, 100%. Unfortunately I've been reading techdirt regularly for like an year now. And commenting regularly for less than 3 months. But I've been reading copyright related stuff for quite a while now from several sources as I'm into file sharing and thus it interests me. So yes, I can agree with you.

    And as an addition:
    "Mike is just putting out his usual exaggerated propaganda with inter-site trolling, again hoping to be noticed."

    He doesn't need to hope, he IS noticed to the point ppl ASK him about tech issues and huge companies (ie: MAFIAA) acknowledge him to the point they RESPOND to articles posted here meaning they READ it too. So, uh, you fail. But you do get noticed for your amusing cluelessness and stand out as one of the most funny clowns of techdirt. Congratulations =D

     

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  35.  
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    crade (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    Re: That I have to point this out to you, Mike

    Not according to the MPAA surely.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    I can certainly understand the motivation underlying the "I want it NOW" customer sentiment, though I happen to believe it is not as prevalent as some might be inclined to believe from reading articles here, but at the same time I wish that just once I would read an analysis of that which motivates content producers beyond the simplistic mantra "It's mine and I will darn well as I please".

    I believe it might be useful and informative to seek out and explain those factors important to the incumbents in the content industry. At least this would provide the other side of the story, and from these contrasting views more informed opinions can be formulated.

     

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

  37.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Aug 19th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    MPAA and Piracy

    I am getting really sick of all this.
    The US government seems be spending an undue amount of money trying to support entertainment (trivia), while spending not nearly enough on making necessities more secure and updated.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2011 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    I love how openly freetarded this blog has become.

    Mission SO accomplished.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2011 @ 7:26am

    Re: MPAA and Piracy

    I'm getting really sick of the US government spending money on enforcing laws that make it illegal for me to repeatedly kick you in the balls.

     

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

  40.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Aug 22nd, 2011 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, because one AC is a representative sample of the rest of us. You know, I saw another AC (maybe it was a registered user) say how shooting someone was the answer to a problem. I guess we're all just violent, gun-totten psychopaths around here too, huh?

    I love how other ACs jump at any opportunity to sling "freetard" around and declare anyone who reads this blog a criminal.

    Mission SO accomplished.

     

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

  41.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 25th, 2011 @ 10:07pm

    Re: I don't see the connection

    If you read to the end of the quote, you can see he said it is "a perfect storm for piracy". Roettger drew the connection, the MPAA didn't make that part up.

     

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


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