High Prices, Lack Of Availability Driving Lots Of Infringement

from the well,-duh dept

As we've seen before, if you make authorized content available in a convenient and useful manner, it can really help minimize infringement. Of course, if you don't make it available, or if you price it wrong, it just makes the problem worse. A new report out of the UK took a look at the availability and price online of some top films and found that the movie industry isn't doing a very good job, likely leading to much greater infringement.
DVDs are available for just shy of 100% of the films. But a wealth of British cultural history is simply not available through legal providers. Only 43% of the top 50 British films can be bought or rented online. Similarly, only 58% of the BAFTA Best Film award winners since 1960 have been made available.

The situation looks worse if iTunes is discounted. Excluding iTunes, only 27% of the BAFTA award winners are available, with 29% of the best British films. Only 6% of the best 50 British films are on Film4 OD or Virgin Media, with 14% available through a LoveFilm subscription and 4% through pay per view on LoveFilm.
The industry wants so badly to blame infringement for many of its structural problems. But, perhaps if it just focused on making the content available in a convenient fashion at a reasonable price, they'd realize that it really was just a business model issue all along and had nothing to do with "piracy."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    rw (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    But it's so much easier to blame "piracy."

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      Yes, thanks to the fact that movies and music are so widely available in the US, there is no piracy in the US.

      oh wait...

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        thanks to the fact that movies and music are so widely available in the US

        You're ignoring the entire point of the article, as usual.

        Is that availability both convenient and reasonably priced?

        No, it is not.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think he was playing off the joke... Dunno, it's hard to tell sometimes.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Jeff Rife, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Bingo.

          As an example, I was wanting to buy the just-released very good movie "Jurassic Park" on Blu-Ray. It turns out that in order to do that, I also have to buy the OK sequel "Lost World", and the somewhat crappy "Jurassic Park III".

          So, to acquire the one movie I want to own, I would have to shell out $80 (the MSRP price that Universal thinks should be on the 3-movie Blu-Ray set), or about $50 at various online retailers.

          Even if the movies were available separately, the $27/each MSRP (assuming the set were split evenly) is still way too much for a movie, even to own. Even the pro-rated online price of $17 is at the upper limit. This is especially true for movies that have already been released to DVD (and the JP DVD was very good quality).

          But, since I can't get just the first movie, Universal won't get any money at all from me for these movies.

          I think that we could easily have the Techdirt post with the most comments if the comments were nothing but "I want to pay ___ money for ___, but they have chosen to make nothing from me because of their attempt to decide for me how I want to consume their content".

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Jeff, if you don't like the terms, don't buy it.

            However, remember that just not liking the terms doesn't give you the right to just take a copy. If you can't find justification for paying the market price, then just don't watch the movie. Just move along.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Jeff, if you don't like the terms, don't buy it.


              Uhhh... that's exactly what he said he was doing. I don't see where he said that he was pirating.

               

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

            •  
              icon
              JMT (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's a stupid and self-defeating suggestion.

              There are really only three options:

              1. Your suggestion; don't buy, don't watch. Customer loses, studio (and all other financial beneficiaries of a sale) loses.

              2. Pirate film. Customer wins, studio, etc loses.

              3. Provide the film the way the customer wants and is prepared to pay for. Customer wins, studio, etc also wins.

              If option 2 is so abhorrent to you, and you suggest option 1 instead of option 3, you're an idiot.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Provide the film the way the customer wants and is prepared to pay for. Customer wins, studio, etc also wins."

                You mean that the studio should somehow be bound to sell the content at a loss, at a price the consumer likes? Wow, there is a plan. I am going to tell Ruth Chris that I only want to pay $3 for dinner, and I will see how that works out.

                Option 3 is great for consumers, horrible for content providers, and most people will still take option 2, regardless.

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "You mean that the studio should somehow be bound to sell the content at a loss, at a price the consumer likes?"

                  he said nothing about price, just how. Give me a legal streaming option and don't cripple your product with restrictions that only effect and diminish the experience for paying customers.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:53pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "the way the consumer wants" includes price. Much is made here of $30 DVDs being too expensive, things along those lines. What consumers want is everything, and they want it at the lowest price possible, and preferable lower. With the "option 2" of piracy hanging over the discussion, the retail price (sale, rental, or other) is very relevant in what the consumer wants.

                    I have to ask you... where do you think pirates get their original source material to rip? Does it come to them magically, or are they in fact consumers?

                     

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      sometimes its stolen and/or leaked

                      sometimes is bought

                      Certainly they are consumers, according to some studies they are the industry that attacks them best consumers. Whats your point?

                       

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      Prisoner 201, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I dont see how anything you said changes anything.

                      Provide the product in the manner the customer wants, at a price that the customer is willing to pay -- or the customer will not buy the product.

                      From the sellers point of view, it really does not matter if the consumer buys a competing product, gets a pirate version or buys a sack of bagles instead -- either way they are not spending money on the seller's product.

                      If all piracy sites were suddenly and permanently wiped from the world at this instance, I would still not pay $30 for a DVD crammed full with unskippable crap, region coding, DRM etc.

                      That money can be far more fun-efficiently be spent on other stuff (and thats probably a bigger problem than piracy - I get far more fun per dollar buying a book, computer/phone/tab game, board game or a new lure for my fishing rod than a DVD).

                      So yeah, drop the prices to a competetive level or go out of business (like the ice cutters, weavers, monks and other professions erased by technology shifts).

                       

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

                      •  
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:11am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "From the sellers point of view, it really does not matter if the consumer buys a competing product, gets a pirate version or buys a sack of bagles instead -- either way they are not spending money on the seller's product."

                        In the movie world, there really isn't a "competing product", because either you want this movie or you don't. There isn't 10 Avatars from 10 studios, there is 1. Buy it or don't, end of discussion. If they buy another movie, it wasn't for price related competitive issues, it was desire and want.

                        If they pirate the movie, that is an issue. That is reducing the overall market (because instead of spending money on movies, they chose to break the law instead). That isn't a positive outcome for anyone, and hurts double so because not only was a sale lost (because they didn't buy), but also a potential sale tomorrow was lost (because they have pirated the movie and seen it, diminishing the "desire" to buy it).

                        "So yeah, drop the prices to a competetive level or go out of business (like the ice cutters, weavers, monks and other professions erased by technology shifts)."

                        It would be a good comparison if you ignore the fact that the people still want the product. Ice cutters went out of business because the modern refrigerator eliminated the need for their product. Weavers have a very small market because industrializations allows for cloth to be produced at a much lower price. But for movies, the end result is the same. The movie that cost 100 million to make before still costs 100 million to make today. The public still wants the product. They have just found a way to steal the ice and to try to force the weavers to work for free. That isn't exactly something that anyone should base their pricing decisions off of.

                         

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

                        •  
                          identicon
                          Prisoner 201, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 10:26am

                          Re:

                          "In the movie world, there really isn't a "competing product", because either you want this movie or you don't. There isn't 10 Avatars from 10 studios, there is 1. Buy it or don't, end of discussion. If they buy another movie, it wasn't for price related competitive issues, it was desire and want."

                          If we take your argument to its extreme, you are saying that people who thinks Avatar sounds like an interesting movie would pay anything to see it?

                          Of course competitive pricing is important. If I go into the store looking for something to watch tonight, and see Avatar for $250 and some other interesting movie for $30, do you honestly think the price will not affect my desicion?

                          "But for movies, the end result is the same. The movie that cost 100 million to make before still costs 100 million to make today. The public still wants the product. They have just found a way to steal the ice and to try to force the weavers to work for free. That isn't exactly something that anyone should base their pricing decisions off of."

                          You dont seem to understand. The public does not want a plastic disc with unskippable crap and DRM. They want Avatar that they can watch in any region, on any device, at any time and make a backup of when they bring it on their vacation.

                          If the movie companies refuse to provide that product, then the public will not buy Avatar -- with or without piracy. Money is spent on other stuff.

                          If they see avatar pirated or not doesnt really matter - their money would never have gone to the movie company anyway.

                          So, if your business is making money, I suggest you provide a product that people want to pay for. If you are in the business of shaking your fist at the sky and crying about infringement, go ahead and do that. But dont expect to have a company for very long.

                           

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

                        •  
                          icon
                          PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "If they buy another movie, it wasn't for price related competitive issues"

                          Again with the blind assumptions. If I go into a store and buy 3 older movies in a 3 for $20 offer instead of Avatar for the same price, that's competing on price. If Transformers 7 is playing at the big multiplex but a film I want to see more is playing at a cheaper independent, that's partly due to price. If I'd rather wait for the DVD and rent a different movie than spend the best part of $100 driving to the cinema and buying tickets and snacks for the whole family, that's due to price.

                          "If they pirate the movie"

                          IF.

                          The problem with the pro-IP side is that they tend to assume that losses have to be due to piracy. They don't see the other numerous factors involved. If Tower Heist fails, it might be because the trailers look shit, or because the target audience is too busy playing Arkham Asylum or Battlefield 3 or Skyrim. If your new horror movie fails, maybe it's because your marketing department released in August so that it didn't have to compete with the new Paranormal Activity and lost their audience. If Shrek 16 fails, maybe people just don't want to watch it...

                          The reality is that there are many factor involved and trying to simply blame piracy. You'd not have much argument if the industry considered these other factors instead, but they don't. The complaints I have are *identical* to the complaints I had 10 years ago, especially with regard to the movie industry, yet I just get called a pirate when I complain, even though I've spent that decade buying legal product.

                          " Ice cutters went out of business because the modern refrigerator eliminated the need for their product."

                          People *need* refrigerators for the most part. Nobody needs the crappy sequel to your crappy remake even if the free option disappears. Besides, nobody's stopping the studios from supplying the digital market at reasonable prices. They simply refuse to adopt a model that's workable in a modern global market.

                          "The movie that cost 100 million to make before still costs 100 million to make today."

                          Really? I'd research that claim if I were you.

                           

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Donnicton, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You mean that the studio should somehow be bound to sell the content at a loss, at a price the consumer likes?

                  Wait, what?

                  How is it going to be a loss in the long term when the product, being digital in nature, will always be around, always exist, and will always be up for sale?

                  This is why corporates have to start learning how to start looking past the current fiscal quarter and plan for how they're going to generate in the longer term. Steadier income, higher average income, more availability(meaning more revenue sources), convenient access, happy customers, more customers buy.

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "You mean that the studio should somehow be bound to sell the content at a loss, at a price the consumer likes?"

                  When he's talking about a film that's nearly 20 years old, that's already made hundreds of millions in profit by any reasonable (non-Hollywood accounting) method, then the studio would have to be drooling abject morons to actually make a loss on providing it.

                  But, somehow, you advocate losses (through customers not buying overpriced/substandard product) rather than supplying customer demand? You people really don't know how to formulate an argument.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 6:12am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Paul, you really need to pay attention.

                    The movie doesn't magically appear on DVD after a visit from the digitizing fairy. They don't leave a reel of film under their pillow at night and find a finished DVD master there in the morning. They actually have to (eek!) pay to get it done.

                    Further, because the buying public is picky and will bitch about a poor quality product if they aren't careful, they have to color correct and make sure that the product is high end, and any glitches or marks removed.

                    Package it, print it, box is, ship it, stock it, and so on... all costs.

                    Now, all that costs, versus a super small market of a few pieces a month. It could take years to sell out a single run of DVDs, or they might not sell out at all. So they should take this risk, sell the product at a very low price, and make the consumer happy - without consideration for the bottom line?

                    Previous income or profits doesn't change the business model for a reissue. Are you suggesting they should give back their previous income and make the DVDs at a loss, just to make a small group of consumers happy?

                     

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

                    •  
                      icon
                      PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 6:32am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "They don't leave a reel of film under their pillow at night and find a finished DVD master there in the morning"

                      They don't already have DVD masters for one of their most popular movies that's been released several times before? That doesn't seem like a reason to let them off the hook.

                      Even so, remember nobody's arguing for the film to be given away or sold at a loss. It's just that a re-release naturally involves lower costs than the original run, so why are consumers still being asked for a premium price 20 years later?

                      "Further, because the buying public is picky"

                      As they have every right to be when asked to pay nearly $30 for a 20 year old movie (as per the OP's complaint).

                      Besides, what you tend to forget is that there's different markets. Someone who's that picky will probably be OK with paying a premium for a "perfect" product. Many just want to watch the movie on their bog-standard TV or rip it to their iPhone to watch while travelling, and so find the premium price objectionable. Different standards, different markets - difference prices. Get it?

                      "Package it, print it, box is, ship it, stock it, and so on... all costs"

                      If you were interested in addressing the things people actually say, you'll notice that part of the request is for a decent DIGITAL copy. That is, a file that can be digitised directly and doesn't need any of those things. You morons always seem to forget that there's lower marginal costs for digital - one of the reason I refuse to pay more for an iTunes movie than the DVD would cost (as I'm often asked to).

                      "Previous income or profits doesn't change the business model for a reissue."

                      Yes it does, because there's no outstanding initial costs to recoup. Of course the business model for a film that's already in profit is going to be different than for when it first came out with $300 million in outstanding costs to recoup.

                      Seriously, if you think the business model for a 20 year old re-release should be the same as for a brand new blockbuster, you're definitely missing a huge number of ways to be successful in the marketplace.

                      "Are you suggesting they should give back their previous income and make the DVDs at a loss, just to make a small group of consumers happy?"

                      Not at all, and if you weren't insistent on attacking me at every turn for things I've never done or even suggested, maybe you'd realise that. Try *listening* to what's actually being said instead of beating that strawman you always bring out, when someone with genuine complaints you can't wave away replies.

                       

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

                      •  
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:16am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Paul, most of these movies have not been released on DVD in the past.

                        Those that were released on DVD far in the past might have been released either as letterbox or in "adjusted to fit your screen" versions that would have been appropriate for the squarish TVs of the past. As a result, any new release to modern standards would require a re-digitalizing of the original product.

                        I am sure you would understand this basic concept.

                         

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

                        •  
                          icon
                          PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:44am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          "Paul, most of these movies have not been released on DVD in the past. "

                          Hence the fact that I stated that above.

                          "As a result, any new release to modern standards would require a re-digitalizing of the original product."

                          ...which is significantly cheaper than the outlay required to create the original. In fact (and I'll admit my knowledge is a little spotty here) would it even require re-digitisation or just an alteration in the encoding taken from the original master?

                          Besides, none of this is new. Anamorphic / widescreen releases have been the norm for many years. We're not talking about a movie that's never been released on a digital format before, but one that's already been available in those formats for a long time. Why are the iTunes downloads, for example, so damn expensive in that case? A complete HD remaster might require higher costs, but an mp4 for my iPhone?

                          We're not talking about movies where prints have to be painstakingly restored from archived elements because the VHS master is substandard for release on Blu. Those examples would be acceptable for a premium to be charged.

                          Here, it's less defensible, so I don't buy. Simple.

                          "I am sure you would understand this basic concept."

                          I do. So, any chance you can address my other points instead of your usual trick of cherry-picking one and ignoring the rest?

                           

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

            •  
              icon
              Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 6:50pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Jeff, if you don't like the terms, don't buy it.

              Bingo. If I don't like the terms, I don't have to buy. And I won't. But I'll still get what I want, legally or not.

              However, remember that just not liking the terms doesn't give you the right to just take a copy. If you can't find justification for paying the market price, then just don't watch the movie. Just move along.

              No.

              And you still don't get it. You can throw all the legal arguments at me you want. You can say "rights" until you're blue in the face. I don't need to justify breaking a law which is morally and ethically wrong. A law which is supported by ethically bankrupt corporations. And which those corporations continue to lobby to make even "wronger" and in doing so continue to corrupt our political process.

              And yet, if I were to offer a justification for doing so, here is it is: The fact is that I have neither stolen anything, nor deprived any person in the world of a single penny, by making a copy of something in which I would not have paid for at the price they have offered it legally.

              You mean that the studio should somehow be bound to sell the content at a loss,

              No one said they should sell it at a loss. While there would be some moderate up front investment for setting up a simple, easy, solution to sell high quality, DRM free file downloads or streaming services, it sure is a hell of a lot cheaper than the DRM encrusted broken pieces of shit they keep coming out with.

              People like me would be willing to buy a good quality DRM-free movie download at the time of theater release for $5-$10, and episodes of our favorite TV shows for $1-$2 on the night they originally air. And the studios would be making money hand over fist, because they'd be increasing their customer base 10- or 20-fold. But they're too stupid for that, apparently.

              Also, the studios have exactly zero credibility when when they say they would be selling at a loss, when it appears that nearly every film made in the past few decades still has yet to show a profit on the books.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Bingo. If I don't like the terms, I don't have to buy. And I won't. But I'll still get what I want, legally or not."

                You remind me of my two year old. He will cry and stamp his feet and try to get everything his way, on his terms, no matter what. He doesn't care what anyone else needs, he doesn't care about anything else, just his own wants.

                If you don't like the terms for a product, don't buy it, and don't consume it. If you do consume it (via illegal downloads) then you are part of the problem not part of the solution, a greedy person interested in only satisfying your own wants, regardless of the rights of others.

                Oh, and a basic business concept for you: If you have to cut your price in half to double your market, you haven't netted the same amount of money, you lost (because your marginal costs per unit remain about the same, your net is based on half the income). Taking a movie from a $20 price to a $1 price would require way more than a 20 times increase in market to have anywhere near the return in investement.

                Remember also: market isn't infinite. There is no indication that dropping a price significantly would suddenly create a doubling of the market place. There are always people like you who will find some justification to pirate.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Unlike your two year old, I have all the power here. I can choose to give you my money, or not. Here are the possible futures:

                  1) Offer your products at a price I'm willing to pay. I give you money, you get my money. You win, I win.
                  2) Status quo. You can't stop piracy. You keep offering bad products and charging too much. I keep pirating. I keep my money. I win, you lose.
                  3) The laws you pass destroy the Internet. Our economy ends up looking like Zimbabwe's. Everyone loses, especially you.
                  4) By some incredibly unlikely miracle, you stop piracy with draconian laws without destroying the Internet and the economy. But you still charge too much and offer bad products. I still keep my money, or give it to someone who isn't you. I don't get your content, but you still don't get my money.

                  What other possibility is there?

                  Oh, and a basic business concept for you: If you have to cut your price in half to double your market, you haven't netted the same amount of money, you lost (because your marginal costs per unit remain about the same, your net is based on half the income).

                  Fact you still haven't come to terms with:

                  Marginal cost of a digital item is zero. If you cut your price in half, and double your sales, you make more money.

                  Remember also: market isn't infinite.

                  It doesn't need to be infinite to double, triple, or ten-fold increase your profits. Economic growth comes from expanding your market. Not destroying it by pissing off your customers or potential customers.

                  There is no indication that dropping a price significantly would suddenly create a doubling of the market place.

                  If you can actually say that with a straight face, you are completely delusional. There are a staggering amount of examples that show it. Everything from music, movies, books, games, both with physical products and digital.

                   

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

            •  
              identicon
              Jeff Rife, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 7:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And when I and others don't pay the inflated price (and anyone who thinks that $80 for a movie isn't inflated is not part of the real world), then the studios complain that their profits are down because of piracy, and pay Congress to enact laws that prop up their outdated business model, and the vicious cycle continues.

              On the other hand, since I've already paid for the "own it on home-video" license, downloading a torrent should be just fine. If the studios want to "license" films on plastic disc instead of selling them, then I have no problem with that, but it means they will have to deal with issues like replacing faulty media, guaranteeing compatibility with devices, and not getting paid more than once for the same content.

              And, make no mistake, this is the same content. No work was done for the movie other than encoding it for Blu-Ray. The movie had already been digitized at more than HD quality when it was originally made, and all subsequent digital versions were made from these masters. As I stated elsewhere, this is literally just a few hours of time on a sub-$3000 computer.

               

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

      •  
        icon
        Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

        Re: Re:

        Yes, thanks to pirates movies and music are so widely available in the US, there is no piracy in the US.

        ftfy

         

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

  •  
    icon
    Robert Doyle (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Right price, right effort

    How many people pirate games or movies that cost a buck?

    I just look at all of those 'coffee' apps - the ones you can get for the price of a cup of joe. I can't imagine anyone would take the time to crack them, let alone work to install a cracked version when you can simply, quickly and easily buy the market version for a reasonable price.

    I think it applies to most things.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      DannyB (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:00am

      Re: Right price, right effort

      How many people pirate paperback novels?

      (The author invested significant effort to create it, yet the retail price is low.)

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: Right price, right effort

        yeah damn libraries

         

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

      •  
        icon
        nasch (profile), Oct 30th, 2011 @ 8:08pm

        Re: Re: Right price, right effort

        How many people pirate paperback novels?

        And for comparison, how many pirate books that are available in paperback and also as DRM-free ebook for a low price (say $5 or less)? I'm guessing this would show a lot of the piracy in the book market is not because people don't want to pay for the paperback, but because they don't want a paperback and the ebook is either not legally available, or costs more than the paperback version.

         

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

  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Documentaries

    I noticed one area that really needs some attention: Documentaries.

    Here's the problem. This looks at all sorts of movies and shows the problems of lack of availability. People aren't even seeing the films made about specific situations. They really aren't learning about culture, history, or anything else. What about the recent 50 documentaries to see before you die? How about Capitalism Hits the Fan?, the Remix Manifesto, The world according to Monsanto, or Made in Pakistan?

    What's amazing is that no one recognizes how all of these documentaries have to be tracked down to be watched, with very few people wanting to take the time to track them all down (Note: Netflix is not available to everyone, and it doesn't have all of these titles).

    There really needs to be an innovation in digital distribution, and copyright enforcement can't support it.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:23am

      Re: Documentaries

      The innovation happened; a pair of them actually and both seeded from hackers: DIVX audio/video encoding and the BitTorrent P2P protocol.

      Pair the two together and it's pretty danged easy to stream acceptable quality audio/video to anybody. Plus, the more popular the video is, the faster everybody gets it.

      Lately somebody actually worked out a good client for BitTorrent Streaming Video...

      The "problems" are needless, they've already been solved!. But the idiots in the MAFIAA simply cannot embrace the 1990's apparently, let alone today or even (*gasp*) the future.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

        Re: Re: Documentaries

        I love the logic. It's sort of like saying the screwdriver and the slimjim came along, so car companies should just give up and sell their cars for free, because clearly anyone who wants can steal them.

        Problem already solved!

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

          ???

          If your customers want you to include a screwdriver and slimjim with the car they buy from you, why the hell wouldn't you?

          Better yet, and on topic, why not just sell me a car that I, the owner, can use with the gasoline I can get at a gas station, instead of having to buy the gas that the dealer sells?

          Even better, let's deal with some of the real issues that are being discussed.

          In this magical fairyland you refer to that has cars that can both be stolen, and the owner can still make full use of them, car designers/companies/dealers no longer have the same place in the market. Everyone has a matter replicator in their house. Why should I pay the same price for a set of blueprints as I do for a fully functional car that I can use right now?

          "but, Pirates!"

          No, if I want a guarantee that my car won't blow up and kill my family (viruses), I will buy the official blueprint, if the price is fair. If it's not fair, I will buy a car from a second-hand dealer. If I don't care about the quality of my car, or the safety of my family, nothing you do will EVER convince me to either pay for your blueprints, or buy a car off you lot. That is because I would be an idiot. But that's my problem. You still have a huge market of non-idiots that want to give you their money. Just not as much as you ask.

          Any restrictions you place on your cars effect ONLY your paying customers. Because the pirated copies of the car are identical to the real cars, down to the VIN, and (magical) aura-stamp. And now the guy that bought the car from you directly wants to know why Bob can start his car with a car key, instead of having to connect his car to your network, waiting to get authorization, and hoping the gas downloads correctly this time.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

            As soon as you pull out the star trek replicator references, you pretty much lose my respect. It is pretty hard to have a discussion based on theoretical machines of the future.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

              "It is pretty hard to have a discussion based on theoretical machines of the future."

              Its also pretty hard to have a discussion about infinite virtual goods when people keep talking about finite goods, which for some reason is always cars.

               

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

            •  
              icon
              Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

              The matter replicator I was referring to in my analogy/metaphor is a computer. The car is a movie. Since cars are not infinitely available after a single copy is made, but movies are, I had to refer to the world where Cars=Movies as a magical fairyland.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

                What you fail to understand is that every time someone takes a copy of a movie, the owner (the company that made the movie) still has actually lost something. They lose a potential customer, and they have instead gained someone likely to give that free movie away and take away another potential customer.

                Something is lost. It's hard to quantify on an individual case basis, but you only have to look at the nosedive in recorded music sales since the Napster era to understand the effects.

                Piracy isn't a victimless crime. You just don't get much blood on your hands doing it.

                The car example is still relevant, because consider: What if someone steals you car at night, drives it around all night, gases it back up, and drops it in front of your house next morning before you leave for work. Did you really lose anything? Was anything really stolen? You weren't using it, were you?

                Finally, movies are only "infinitely available" due to piracy. That isn't a legal act. As soon as you remove the illegal act from the discussion, Movies are as limited in distribution as cars are.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

                  What you fail to understand is that every time someone takes a copy of a movie, the owner (the company that made the movie) still has actually lost something. They lose a potential customer, and they have instead gained someone likely to give that free movie away and take away another potential customer.

                  They haven't lost a customer. They haven't chosen to make money from that customer. If the only functional copies of a movie are only available through unofficial means, that's not the problem of your paying customers.

                  It's hard to quantify on an individual case basis, but you only have to look at the nosedive in recorded music sales since the Napster era to understand the effects.

                  If one person doing it is hard to prove as a crime, why is it suddenly easier when you throw me in a faceless group? Oh, that's right: because being faceless makes it easier to mark me as doing you some great harm. Also, the only nosedive was the size of studio coffers. The music industry is doing very well.

                  Finally, movies are only "infinitely available" due to piracy. That isn't a legal act. As soon as you remove the illegal act from the discussion, Movies are as limited in distribution as cars are.

                  No, as soon as ANYONE makes a digital copy, it is infinitely available. No matter who made the copy, studio, director, or sweaty teenager, it is just as infinitely available. Any availability restrictions are artificial. Artificial restrictions are as morally wrong to me as acknowledging infinity seems to be to you.

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

                  Also:

                  The car example is still relevant, because consider: What if someone steals you car at night, drives it around all night, gases it back up, and drops it in front of your house next morning before you leave for work. Did you really lose anything? Was anything really stolen? You weren't using it, were you?

                  If you make use of my car without my permission, since I am not able to use my car during that period, you have taken away my ability to use it. I woke up in the middle of the night, violently ill, and needed to go to the hospital. My car isn't there. If they copy my car, and make one identical to it, they are welcome to it, as long as my car is still in my driveway.

                   

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

                  " They lose a potential customer, and they have instead gained someone likely to give that free movie away and take away another potential customer.

                  Something is lost. It's hard to quantify on an individual case basis, but you only have to look at the nosedive in recorded music sales since the Napster era to understand the effects."

                  It is true that since the birth of piracy some people are just never going to buy because its available for free. Laws and propaganda wont stop them, so stop trying, give it up they are a lost cause they are not a potential customer because they will not buy anything. Most of them will grow out of it.

                  Now take all that money you spend trying to stop the unstoppable and use it to offer the rest of the current pirates what they want. Good digital streaming services, prices for digital goods that reflect marginal costs, DRM free hard goods, and useful, intuitive services. If you give up on the pirates for life and start addressing the needs of your undeserved customers you will get a lot of new profits.

                  Treating paying customers like shit does nobody any good. DRM does not effect pirates. Also not effecting pirates - release windows, region locking, restrictive playback, unfulfilled market demand, and limited features. You start removing some of these problems from paying customers and your customer base will grow.

                  Studios can have so many advantages over pirates. Guaranteed good quality, not illegal, ease of access, and guaranteed virus free for a quick example, they refuse to take advantage of these things and would rather make their product worse instead of make it better.

                  " nosedive in recorded music sales since the Napster era to understand the effects."

                  yes the effects the distribution system opening for millions of people outside the labels, people no longer having to buy an entire shitty album to get the one song the radio/mtv has jammed into their subconsciousness, but most importantly by a long margin the effects of the industry refusing to offer a similar service while spending millions trying to roll back time.

                   

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

                •  
                  icon
                  PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Documentaries

                  "you only have to look at the nosedive in recorded music sales since the Napster era to understand the effects"

                  You only need to look at a comment like that to realise that the person making it has jumped to a preconceived conclusion, equates correlation with causation and has refused to consider other factors ranging from increased competition with other media to the effect of unbundling on total revenue.

                  In other words, you don't have a clue what you're talking about and refuse to even look at evidence that doesn't point toward your chosen scapegoat.

                   

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

    •  
      icon
      Planespotter (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:34am

      Re: Documentaries

      *cough* MVGroup.org *cough*

      *bittorrent client required*

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    There is the crux of the problem

    at a reasonable price

    This is the crux of the problem. The old guard wants to keep prices artificially high. They see an opportunity to keep the savings on all the manufacturing and distribution costs to themselves. The market dictates the price and they don't like the price it is dictating.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      ahow628 (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:03pm

      Re: There is the crux of the problem

      I would actually disagree with you. The ONLY stuff that I will even think about getting is stuff that simply isn't available. If it is available somewhere, I will access it that way, even if I have to pay.

      If I think it is too expensive, I'll just skip it completely.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 7:42am

      Re: There is the crux of the problem

      "at a reasonable price"

      This is the crux of the problem. The old guard wants to keep prices artificially high. They see an opportunity to keep the savings on all the manufacturing and distribution costs to themselves. The market dictates the price and they don't like the price it is dictating.

      Artificially high? How about you just don't buy it, if you think the price is too high? When did that become justification for stealing it?

       

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

      •  
        icon
        PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:02am

        Re: Re: There is the crux of the problem

        Why do you insist that everybody who complains about the price is "stealing it"? Why are you people so ignorant?

        To return to the Jurassic Park analogy above, I agree that I'd like the original JP on Blu, but there's no way in hell I'm paying full price for the trilogy (2nd one was crap, 3rd was OK but I already have the DVD).

        I'm allowing myself 2 options: wait for the price to come down significantly, or just don't bother. So far, "don't bother" is winning, but you never know. Note that nowhere am I "stealing" anything. In fact, I'm actually tempted to buy the tie-in product (the Telltale game), but that's also overprice for my tastes from what I've seen.

        So, by trying to gouge me, Universal have made $0 instead of $whatever below their preferred price. That's fine, and that's how the free market works. Just don't try the bullshit line that I'm "stealing" anything, because that's an outright lie. Oh, some people do, of course, but their motivation is the same as my motivation for spending $0. Fix my problem, and many the "pirates" are taken care of at the same time...

         

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

  •  
    identicon
    kenichi tanaka, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:24am

    How is it that even Techdirt manages to get its facts wrong.

    There are nowhere near 100% of all films available on DVD. I can name thousands of classic and modern movies that are not available on DVD simply because the movie studios only release their blockbuster and best performing movies to DVD. More often than not, a lot of the movies available on DVD have also been taken out of print by the very same studios.

    I can name, for instance, John Wayne movies, classic horror movies, Godzilla movies, and a lot of films from the 60's, 70's and 80's that have been been released.

    I just wish that techdirt would actually do its research, instead of relying on reported facts from the movie studios.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      That was a quote from the linked article. Mike didn't claim anything.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      I would not discount the fact that older movies (in fact, even most new ones) are recorded on film (typically 35mm), and that converting them to digital format is a time consuming task that is hardly an inexpensive effort.

      Rather than railing at the movie studios that they are denying "culture" to the public, why not simply work with them and see what might be doable to digitize and distribute such classics? Anything less and one is simply complaining without offering any solutions.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

         

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
           
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Jay, do you really need to lick Mike's butt that much?

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            awww gosh he has supporting evidence, better just insult him

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The supporting evidence was just point to Mike's opinion. The concept of facts seems a little slippery here.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I certainly notice the absence of both facts and logic when it comes to your posts.
                While he linked to posts by Mike, the posts are not pure opinion from Mike they contain facts, which you simply chose to ignore and certainly have made no attempt to rebut.

                 

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

          •  
            icon
            Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            *sigh*

            Pay attention to this. Every time you have any evidence that copyright is doing more harm than any good, some paid shill is going to come around to knock you down.

            No corroborating evidence of how copyright is actually doing well, merely anecdotal evidence that says someone is being hurt by infringement. Then when you show how infringement in the realm of music leads to new music, refuting their claims, they attack you.

            Oh look, Gog.com takes away IP checks, so people in Australia have a choice in a price less than $100 AUSD. WOW! Valve doesn't care about piracy, and makes more money per employee than Apple or Facebook.

            And yet, here we go with the old codger of piracy killing the US market, when it's been proven that the younger artists and directors have found their own methods to success.

            No, I'm inundated with mentions of how piracy is illegal, when the law enforcement agents that follow the law have to make massive stretches to do what they do. I'm told that my argument is invalid because proof of actual harm in the copyright wars is hard to come by.

            When you have the NFL, ICE, and Monster going after their competitors instead of offering better products or actually following the Fifth Amendment.

            Mark well what this AC does. He shoots the messenger because his argument otherwise has no validity. He can't prove the harm of piracy, which I believe to be just a lack of legal channels. He can't prove that all of this legal wrangling isn't just regulatory capture. Finally, the AC can't dispute the article above. He takes the fact that I link to Mike's older articles as a sign that I can't prove the same stuff with the power of Google.

            Well, I just did. Do you actually have an argument, or should I take your poor choice in debate tactics as a sign of weakness on your part?

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              opinion + opinion + opinion = opinion.

              Congrats. Your argument is that people have opinions.

               

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

              •  
                icon
                Jeff (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Its a blog jackass... If you're going to come in here spouting "WHARS TEH FACTZ!!" then expect to get the fickle finger of fate. If you would've spent more than two seconds instead of shouting "NEENER NEENER", you might've read the actual articles Jay referenced, wherein each of his points are thoroughly discussed. Finer points are made with honey rather than flinging shit... which are you doing?

                 

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

              •  
                icon
                Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Congrats. Your argument is that people have opinions."

                Glad to know that your poor choice in debate tactics is a weakness on your part.

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Jay, what can I debate? Mike's opinion? I don't agree with his opinion. If you want to debate facts, bring some. But pointing to a bunch of blogs and opinion pieces, and trying to create facts out of thin air just isn't going to cut it.

                  Pretty much you fail all down the line, because you haven't figured out the basic difference between facts and opinions.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    how about some facts to support your claim that its way to expensive to digitize old movies with the small market that is available?

                     

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      http://seekingalpha.com/article/127488-warner-brothers-fights-dvd-decline-with-old-movies-and-new-di stribution-model

                      Here is a good example - Warner does this with 150 movies, but they can only do it if they don't have to actually duplicate the movies in bulk, make commercial packaging, handle inventory, distribution, or cut anyone else in.

                      While the writer does add some opinion, the facts are there.

                       

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

                      •  
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Warner does this with 150 movies, but they can only do it if they don't have to actually duplicate the movies in bulk, make commercial packaging, handle inventory, distribution, or cut anyone else in."

                        You mean all the suggestions I made below?

                        "duplicate the movies in bulk" you mean print in bulk im sure? Of course that would be a bad idea why do you want a huge inventory for a small market, digital or individual prints.


                        "Needless to say it isn't a huge market, but it's zero risk and could provide nearly pure profits"
                        From your article ^

                        Nothing in this article supports your claims that its too expensive to convert them. It may be too expensive to sell them with the traditional model, but no one ever asked for that.

                         

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

                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:26am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          The costs to digitize for a small market or a large market are the same, the work has to be done.

                          Warner has tried the "produce on demand" with 150 movies, but they still had to make the investment to digitize and prepare for DVD those 150 movies. That isn't an insignificant investment, especially in what can be a very, very small market.

                          If you are only selling a few pieces a year, it is incredibly hard to justify even the most basic of expenses.

                           

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

                          •  
                            icon
                            PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:57am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Just as a matter of interest, do you have any links to what it costs Warner to create those DVDs? I'm genuinely interested, but I'm not entirely sure how much investment some of those movies would really require. Especially once you factor in that even a Blu might be better than the original prints looked (so they're effectively as future proof as possible), and they have no limits on how many times it can be replicated once digitised.

                            There's also the small matter that half their production costs would probably disappear if they didn't insist on ignoring the digital market. If they're willing to burn a DVD that I could then rip on to my iPhone, why not cut the price and cut out the physical step?

                            I'm wouldn't pay $15 + shipping for the DVD of The Green Slime (a movie I remember freaking me out when I was about 4 years old but look very silly now) - although they won't let me buy it anyway. But, if they did then $5 for an iTunes download? Maybe...

                             

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

                            •  
                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:16am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              I couldn't find anything easily accessible that would show how much it cost to create them. However, I sort of looked at the business model (no retail packaging, no distribution, no "middleman" or markups, and they still are looking at $14.95 a disc...

                              Even if you are looking at only a couple of thousand dollars per movie to digitize it, they still have to sell a fair number of pieces to get their money back, even if the $15 price is 100% retained. 150+ sales of an out of date movie without retail distribution is pretty good, I think.

                              I would say that the automated burning of a single disc probably isn't the big end of the expenses, a very small marginal cost really. Making it available for download (and controlling access to the download) probably would work out about the same in the end, at least at today's prices.

                              I think that 10 - 20 years from now, you may be right. But it's taking time, which some people here just don't appear to want to tolerate.

                               

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

                              •  
                                icon
                                PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                So, we agree then. There's no hard figures, just assumption on both my side and yours at to what the costs vs. benefit really are. I'll simply maintain that if the pirates can supply a reasonable product for free, it shouldn't be beyond the studios to offer a legit download for a reasonable price. The higher prices simply put less adventurous customers off.

                                "Making it available for download (and controlling access to the download) "

                                I think you've inadvertently hit a major point here. It's not enough to offer the product, they have to *control* it too. This is a major issue. Studios want to put regional, format, device, time and other issues into digital files to try and stop piracy. It always fails, and all they do is make the product less attractive.

                                If they stop trying to control product that's almost always out there already for free anyway, and offer it at a reasonable price, they might get somewhere. Instead, we're stuck with this current situation where the pirates off movies to anybody in the world in an unrestricted format, and the studios charge a premium for files that might not work at all the next time you upgrade your phone or PC. Guess why people don't like paying the premium?

                                 

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

                  •  
                    icon
                    Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:47pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    All (well, most, probably) of those opinion pieces are based on studies, and are scrutinizing the information that is available. I can't help that most of the factual information that is available from YOUR side is direct observation of punishing the legit customers.

                     

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

                  •  
                    icon
                    Jay (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "But pointing to a bunch of blogs and opinion pieces, and trying to create facts out of thin air just isn't going to cut it."

                    Obviously, you missed the data from Michael D Smith's commentary. But it's only an hour long and it's quite informative. I'll wait while you educate yourself.

                     

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:18am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Which one of your endless parade of links is that? You might want to consider rather than trying to throw 100 pounds of shit at a wall looking for something to stick that you instead filter it out and offer up the one kernel of corn in the mix that actually has any meaning. You are sort of being self defeating at this point.

                      As a side note, "data from a commentary" is pretty much what i get on Techdirt. It's called opinion, because not all of the data is there, typically only the data that supports the commentary makes it into the piece.

                       

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

                      •  
                        icon
                        PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "It's called opinion"

                        Ooh... is AC going to have one of those moments of clarity again, where he realises he's on an opinion blog and not a primary news source?

                         

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

                      •  
                        icon
                        Jay (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:24pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Which one of your endless parade of links is that? "

                        It's called "click and find out" for yourself since it should be obvious.

                        "As a side note, "data from a commentary" is pretty much what i get on Techdirt."

                        Those are actual observations into the DVD market before and after legal channels are taken away, corresponding with the recent Envisional data that gave me my viewpoint of actually giving more legal channels (hint hint!) instead of more enforcement. Obviously, ignorance in these debates is your strong suit. You get an A+ for that.

                         

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Jay, do you really need to lick Mike's butt that much?

            Of course he does, that what Masnick's groupies live for. And Jay's the President of Mike's fan club.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Jay (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hmmm... Thought Marcus was before, but now it's up to me to keep the side alive. Funny. You do the same thing with no argument and obvious stupidity. Pity.

               

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

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 2:57am

      Re:

      "How is it that even Techdirt manages to get its facts wrong."

      Read the article again, genius:

      1. Techdirt didn't make the claim, it was clearly a quote from the linked article, and marked as such.

      2. The claim wasn't made about ALL movies. It was made of the list of films being referred to in the report in the linked article.

      3. The fact quoted wasn't from movie studios, it was from the Open Rights Group who wrote the quoted article.

      "I just wish that techdirt would actually do its research"

      I wish people would bother to read the articles rather than jumping to conclusions and attacking people for things they didn't write and for things they didn't claim. You managed to get both the author of the claim and the scope of the claim completely wrong.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    If you still think it's about "piracy" you need to crawl out of that hole you've been living in. If they don't blame piracy, they have no reason to push for new draconian laws to help them out. Piracy is *ALWAYS* the answer:

    - Overpriced your film? but but but.. I had to.. too many pirates so I need to make a profit
    - Shit movie not selling? But it's because all those freetards downloaded it!!1one
    - Daughter got run over by a car? He was racing home to download my new movie!
    - Ghaddafi is dead? Damn pirates!! All of them!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Hmmm, 43% of 50 is 21.5. Which film is half-available online?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Jack A, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: 100%

    The 100% figure in the article is actually quoting the Open Rights Group's research; ORG are most definitely not movie studios and are campaigning against the draconian measures being thrust upon us by the movie studios.

    Secondly, the 100% figure is actually referencing their sample of movies:
    The top 50 films from Time Out London magazine’s 100 Best British Films
    BAFTA Best Film award winners (1960-2011)
    Amazon.co.uk’s 20 best-selling DVDs as of 1 July 2011
    Amazon.co.uk's 40 best-selling DVDs for August 2011

    and as you can see there's a definite British bias, because ORG are a British organisation.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    Start with the much needed citations. Also, it's about the UK, not Hollywood as it seems you are referring to when you say studios. And Mike is using data from another place (citations included).

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    kenichi tanaka, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:41am

    Wherever he's culling his facts from, they are not accurate. There are simply nowhere near 100% of movies, let alone actual content, available on DVD. Shoot, barely 10% of all television shows are anywhere near available on DVD. I can name quite a number of television shows that are not available on DVD and that will never be available on DVD.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    It is really easy to blame piracy on the industry, because that doesn't require anyone to look at themselves. It actually also requires people to consider business models and look at what it would take to get these movies to market.

    Let's start with the obvious: There are costs involved in taking a film from actual film and digitizing it. It generally isn't a straight forward process, because you need to color correct and color enhance the existing film stock, as with age, some of the colors do wash out and fade. A simple knocking out of a digital copy of a 40 year old reel of film would look horrible.

    Second, you have to format it for DVD / Blu Ray, including setting chapter points, etc. Not a huge deal, but still some work. Not to forget of course that you have to create the cover for the dvd box, and so on.

    Finally, you have to send them film off to be banged off onto shiny discs or file converted into a format usable by download / streaming services. DVDs tend to have minimum runs, and if you want to stock each of the online sellers, you are still looking at probably running 200-500 pieces to really have enough inventory to bother. Oh yeah, you have to ship that inventory, and someone has to store it.

    Now, what would the sales be for the 1973 winner of the BAFTA award, Day For Night? Well, in the US, the reseller Amazon is pushing is selling it for $34.95.

    Most people, faced with paying $34.95 or pirating it for free will just pirate the damn thing and be done with it.

    See, the problem is simple: For the small and narrow market for these movies, people are not willing to pay the costs to make it happen. We aren't even talking about the movie makers turning a real profit, we are just talking about recouping the costs to get it to market.

    Now, going forward, things are a little different. Almost every "modern" movie is digital from the word go, and the costs to put it into a format that allow retail sales (DVD, download, vod, etc) are already baked in and paid for up front. It is a little dishonest to look back on old material that wasn't intended for digital consumption and complain about a lack of availability, while the market itself is proving unwilling to pay to get the job done.

    Demand isn't there enough to justify supply, certainly not at the price required.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      "Most people, faced with paying $34.95 or pirating it for free will just pirate the damn thing and be done with it."

      So should they lower the price for a 50 year old movie they already profited on or just not convert it because it won't sell at the same price as a brand new movie?

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:29am

        Re: Re:

        I understand your point that it costs money to convert the film and the have to recoup that but certainly the costs don't justify putting it at the same price point as a brand new movie. Also as you say the demand is low, how many people are really looking forward to the 1955 bafta winner? not many surely. So you can price it high and hope that the few people who really want it will be willing to pay that stupid price, or you can sell it cheap and get people with mild interest in it that would be willing to pay 5-10$ to check it out.

        Also you can skip that whole putting it on shiny plastic discs and shipping it around the world part of your equation. Its a small market no need to hope the person who wants it will stumble into a best buy that happens to stock it, just sell digital.

        Not to mention studios don't even have to do this work. If they were willing to license the product and allow a 3rd party to do the work its a win win. Surely people would be more than willing to do the work and find a price point and delivery method that works but the studios refuse to not control everything or want an exorbitant amount of profits from the people who are willing to do the work, so much so that even a company that found a buyers market would be run out of business by the very studio they are making money for.

        Its all failure to adapt, innovate, grow and change.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I am sorry, but while I understand your point, I just think you are wrong.

          The studios aren't looking to make "exorbitant amount of profits" on old movies. They just aren't stupid enough to spend money for nothing. The costs to put an old movie into the digital realm in a quality that people will find acceptable, and so on isn't cheap. They do have to recoup it, and honestly, they need to recoup it in a reasonable amount of time.

          One of the things we learned from the "long tail" effect is that after an initial burst, the sales of most things trail off, and become oneseys and twoseys, not enough volume to merit the effort. Without some sort of promotion to get the initial surge to happen, you are stuck with basically only the tail end of a market.

          Let's also be clear here; Many of these movies are licensed to different distributors in different countries. There is no single global market on old movies, it wasn't something that was considered 40 or 50 years ago. The costs to undo that situation, or the costs to get movie distributors in various contries to agree to distribution isn't free either.

          So you have a situation where, because of assumptions made in the past, it is hard to, in the current circumstance, make things happen at a cost that is reasonable to consumers. Worse yet, doing it at a high cost to consumers only drives them into the piracy marketplace, where the expensive processing is given away for free, and pretty much kills any future revenues for the movie. Perhaps the only saving grace is there may not be enough peers to keep these movies in P2P distribution.

          All of this to say that nobody here is putting up a valid business model that really works out for all sides. I am seeing plenty of consumer friendly ideas, but none of them seem to really be based on the costs of getting that small amnount of business.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You make a good point about the red tape around licensing other than that I still don't see it. I don't buy that this is really that expensive of a process, but lets keep that debate down below.

            "All of this to say that nobody here is putting up a valid business model that really works out for all sides. I am seeing plenty of consumer friendly ideas, but none of them seem to really be based on the costs of getting that small amnount of business."

            In 5 minutes off the top of my head:
            1) license the movies to smaller firms willing to take the risk. Surely this is a nitch market and while it may not be worth the money for big studios to invest in this a small company could certainly make a comfortable living off of it.

            2) Set up a website that allows people to vote on what movies they would like remade. If its gets enough of a following digitize it, you could even do a kickstarter type thing - someone proposes a movie people put up money for a pre-order if they get enough pre-orders to cover cost in a time period it gets made otherwise people get their money back.

            3) You also mentioned doing production runs, there is no reason in this day and age you cant burn to order. Start with movies will a larger following and use profits from those to digitize more.

            4) Partner with film schools. Allow a group of professors to pick out some movies that they will use in their classes and arrange a realistic pricing structure (the studios biggest problem) to provide copies to their students.

            5) Partner with film critics. Let them pick the movies they feel should be remade in exchange for some free press. They get high quality copies of movies they love and they feel should be preserved. You can them ranting to their followers about how great this movie is and how its worth the 10-20$ you are selling it for.

            Of course in all of these options these movies have to be priced lower than a new movie. Nothing drives sales like word of mouth and cheap prices. You should research what Valve has to say about your "long tail" they have data that shows games well past their initial burst will have a 4000x increase in revenue (revenue, not sales) if you cut the price by 75% and that spike in revenue doesn't die when the sale ends all those people who bought it cheap talking about it will continue the boost in sales well after the sale finishes.

            I don't think its really an issue of studios losing money its just not profitable enough. If they break even or come out slightly ahead its a waste of time to them.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Or if there's no profit in owning the film, how about relinquishing the copyright to the public domain so those with an interest in the film can do what they want with it. But we'll never see copyrights expire on these films in our lifetimes. They're rather keep the film locked away than give up copyright.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 6:23am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Let me answer both of you at the same shot:

                jupiterkansas: There is no profit for this particular sort of venture with the film. That doesn't mean that there isn't profit in the ownership of the film, just not in doing this particular sort of project. There is no reason to drop copyright as a result of this narrow issue.

                Hothmaster:

                1) You still have to deal with the licensing issue. Even if you look at a single DVD region code, example, you are still looking at many countries and many rights holders, at least at a distribution level.

                2) The only way it would work is if people were voting with money. You have to pre-pay an amount, you vote, and if your chosen movie is re-issued within 12 months, you get a copy, otherwise your funds are returned. Money on the table is the only way to make it viable and make sure the consumer is committed.

                3) Warner did burn to order, but still limited it to movies they have digitized. The catalog of digitized works continues to grow, and given enough time, this may be the best way to go. But because there isn't much money in it right now, the studios aren't spending the big money to digitize without first having a market to serve.

                4)See 3. You still have to pay to get the work done.

                5)See 3. You still have to pay to get the work done.

                Perhaps the best way to explain it is this: Digitizing is something that studios are doing right now as a pet project more than anything, because there is no identified marketplace. Worse yet, I suspect many of them think that making a movie digital is the first step towards giving it away for free (piracy), which might diminish the money they are currently making when the movie runs at the local art house or classic film festivals. Over time, I am sure all movies will be digitized. It's just not something that seems economically viable today (although better than it was 10 or 20 years ago).

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  So if there's no profit to digitizing a film and making it available, where is the financial incentive for maintaining the copyright? If you're going to license it for broadcast, you'll most likely still need to digitize it.

                  There is no way to make money on most copyrighted material, yet that material is kept out of public hands by copyright law.

                  I'm not talking about obscure but known classics, but long forgotten films like "Ants in Your Pants of 1939" which are forever locked in the copyright vault.

                  Or perhaps the only art that should exist is art that can turn a profit?

                   

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        Hoth, didn't you read? It isn't about making a profit on the movie, at that point they are only trying to recoup the costs of getting the movie to market (again).

        There just isn't anywhere near the demand for these things, so the costs to actually get them off film and into the digital realm has to be borne by the few who want to buy it.

        It's not the studios' fault that the market is small for out of date movies.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So... anti-supply and demand?

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          yeah read my follow up

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          also it appears it is a lot less expensive then you think it is

          http://www.moviestuff.tv/transfers.html

          http://www.posthouse.com/pricing/flat-rate

          and does not seem that hard to do yourself with home equipment, albiet surely not of equal quality with what you can get by investing more in the process :
          http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1618829,00.asp#fbid=--PGchl6L2A

          So you spend an initial investment to buy the equipment and software and train some people. Which they apparently already have since some of these older movies are digitized so really its just the salary of a few technicians and a little on supplies. Please support your the exorbitant costs you think it requires.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Straight transfers are good for your home movies. They are not good for commercial releases. Sorry.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Seems like it would be the same process with a an extra step where you run the conversion through some software with an artist watching over to make color or other aesthetic adjustments. I don't see how its really that much different anyway. Sure you will want a higher quality but even if its 10 times more expensive that is still a couple grand per movie, these studios spend that much money making a phone call.

              35mm is 35mm super 8 is super 8 you add an extra quality control step which is still just some sunk equipment costs and salary for a technician for a couple days per movie.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                There is much more beyond that. You have frame by frame verifications (to eliminate dust spots, scratches, and any other issues that might exist from the source material). Color correction is often on a scene by scene or camera angle by camera angle basis, as things do change in shots.

                But hey, let's go with your "couple grand per movie" example. Let's call it $2000 to play with a round number. How many pieces do they have to sell to make it worthwhile? Well, if the net income (before costs) is $10 a piece, they would have to move 200 pieces to make it worthwhile. That would seem like a small amount, but could actually be a hard number to reach for a bunch of reasons.

                We also have to accept that the digitizing may not be good forever. Formats change, quality changes, etc. What has digitized in the past for the DVD market place, as letter box or "fit your screen" version is no longer valid today. Those all have to be re-done to meet modern standards. So it isn't "do it once and forget it", they cannot count on profits 10 years from now to pay for their current actions. The number of units to pay for the cost of doing these things has to be sold in a reasonable time frame.

                 

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

      •  
        identicon
        out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:53am

        Re: Re: @"hothmonster": Point was, digitizing a film costs /today/.

        "So should they lower the price for a 50 year old movie they already profited on or just not convert it because it won't sell at the same price as a brand new movie?"

        AC outlined what it takes /just/ to get a film digitized to DVDs / file. AC picked a movie with very low interest so as to re-inforce the point that the profits will be slim indeed in that case. You seem to think the film industry should digitize ALL films regardless whether there's demand to justify it. I suggest you volunteer to be the one running the projector / convertor and other grind work, and front the money to do just a minimum production run. Probably the only way you could grasp the actual costs.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          heyidiot (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

          Only way to grasp actual costs.

          Of course the industry doesn't allow anyone to digitize a 50-year-old movie; they reserve the right to (not) do that themselves. If you volunteered you'd get laughed out of the building, or more likey, be arrested.

          If they did allow it, I'm sure they'd have (you'll excuse the expression) many takers...

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: @"hothmonster": Point was, digitizing a film costs /today/.

          If they dont want to they should allow others to. I would love the chance but you know and I both know there is no way they would allow me the right to do it or if they did they would want 99% of any profit i did turn.

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Jeff Rife, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

      Re:

      There are costs involved in taking a film from actual film and digitizing it. It generally isn't a straight forward process, because you need to color correct and color enhance the existing film stock, as with age, some of the colors do wash out and fade.
      The reality is that this has already been done for many, many movies. Almost anything with a somewhat recent DVD release (the last 6-7 years or so) or a new OAR transfer for movie channels will have been done at least at 2K.

      After that, the conversion to another digital format (DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) is pretty trivial (less than a day on hardware that costs less than $3,000). Adding in things like chapter points, menus, etc., is pretty technically undemanding.

      No movie will be released to DVD or Blu-Ray without at least 5K order, and with that bulk, you can get a pressed DVD for about $1/disc, including silk-screen on the disc. Useless, easily defeatable DRM adds about $0.50/disc, so only idiots will pay it, but that guarantees it will be there because these discs are being made by companies that belong to the MPAA.

      So, at $34.95, you assume that Amazon is making an insanely good 20% profit, which makes their wholesale price $29.13. If the studio is also making that same insane 20% profit, then their cost is $24.27. Subtract the known cost of $1.50 for actual disk production, and that leaves 500K * $22.77 = $11 million dollars to telecine, color correct, compress, author, prepare box art, etc. That's more than the original budget for making the film.

      So, we see that the real issue here is either the studio far overpays for all that work (which is typical of Hollywood accounting) or they want to make a hell of a lot more than an insane profit.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Jeff Rife, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

        Oops

        No movie will be released to DVD or Blu-Ray without at least 5K order,
        Should be "500K order".

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Jeff, you are right, times are a-changing. It's why looking at 40 or 50 year old movies, and attempting to say "piracy exists because studios aren't meeting demand" is a somewhat less than honest argument from the get go.

        Current movies are all digital or digitalized on the way by. We are looking at good quality products, and the costs to make them digital has already been sunk and taken care of. The same applies for modern TV shows - making a compilation DVD these days is the proverbial piece of cake, and is priced accordingly (about $20 - $25 retail for a full season of a sit com, example).

        Some of your numbers in the middle are sort of crappy and the comments somewhat snide, but that is your opinion and that is okay. It's safe to say that no business, content or other, is going to spend the money to put a product on the market without some reasonable expectation of a return on investment. You can play with the numbers all you like, but in the end, if there is no money to be made, they are just not going to do it.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          A lot of these movies are still shot in 35mm or on super8. Wouldnt they go through the same process as an old movie shot on 33mm or super8 with just an extra step to restore quality lost to degradation?

           

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

    •  
      icon
      John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      Interesting. I did this whole exact process myself (from film I had shot many years ago). The end result included all of the features you list. It took me a weekend of solid work, about 20 hours. Not an effort I consider insignificant.

      What if I wanted to sell these things? Let's say, also, I wanted to make $50/hr for my effort. At $34.95, I'd have to sell 29 copies.Let's round that up to 50 to (generously) allow for low-volume manufacturing and shipping costs.

      I rather think that I could remaster the worst movie ever made and manage to sell 50 copies of them without placing them in a major retail outlet.

      I don't think the remastering costs are the problem. Or, if they are, then there's a lot of people who are getting egregiously overpaid.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

        Re: Re:

        I knew someone would come up with this... the "I can do it cheaper". Well, call Hollywood, they would love to hire you. But I think you are going to find that the type of color correction they are looking for (including frame by frame retouching in many cases) isn't going to work out over a weekend.

        The costs to do it right, and to present a product that is worth paying more is slightly higher than your weekend of effort, but thanks for trying.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          hothmonster, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          it seems to be your opinion that this is a super expensive process, how about some of those facts you love so much?

          "But I think you are going to find that the type of color correction they are looking for (including frame by frame retouching in many cases) isn't going to work out over a weekend."

          Wet-gate Transfer appears to eliminate a lot of the problems caused by age. Some computer can run through and check colors then an artist/technician goes through and checks for mistakes and makes adjustments to the software's work.

          So sounds like a about a weekends worth of man hours.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I am not suggesting "super expensive". rather that it has some costs, and when put up against selling to what appears to be a very, very small market, it seems unthinkable.

            Even using the example of a couple of thousand dollars, you still have to move a large enough number of pieces at $10-$20 to break even in a reasonable time frame for investment.

            Expensive is relative to the market you would serve. How many pieces do you think a 30 year old movie will sell? How many pieces do you have to produce to touch a reasonable retail market? Distribution?

            Try to think the whole thing through, without being dismissive. It's hard when you really start trying to look at an actual business model, rather than just sticking on the "technology is cheap" refrain.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 10:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I am not suggesting "super expensive". rather that it has some costs, and when put up against selling to what appears to be a very, very small market, it seems unthinkable.


              Of course it has some costs, but unthinkable? That's simply a lack of imagination. What most businesses would do is scale the costs to the market. My anecdote illustrates that. It's totally possible to address very small markets. If I can produce a marketable product so cheaply, why can't the pros?

              Try to think the whole thing through, without being dismissive

              That's exactly what I would suggest to you as well. You're dismissive of my personal effort, even though you haven't seen the results and have no idea of the quality, you simply assume. My results, by the way are easily on par with most professional remasterings that I have seen. Not all, certainly. With greater experience and more time, a better product would certainly result.

              However, that isn't necessary. You speak of things like frame-by-frame retouching (which I actually did some of, but that's beside the point), but why is that necessarily included? Wouldn't it be better to produce a mediocre, but acceptable, remaster of a film for a tiny audience than to let the film languish unseen and that market untapped?

              The movie industry has this weird idea that everything has to be of the best possible technical quality (even though, oddly, they don't think the same way about the substance of the films) when that's not always desirable. Look at Blu-ray. Sure, it's better, but most people don't care and don't notice. That's a big part of the slow adoption rate.

              The smart businessman tailors the product to the market. An important part of the market is what people are willing to pay. The movie industry has this odd idea that they get to dictate that, when they don't. Consumers do. What the industry should do is to find out what the price is for any given market and scale their production so that it can be priced there. Which is entirely doable.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 8:55pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                How about setting up a non-profit to take donations for film restoration? They restore the films, and then stream them from their website. If a studio can't make a profit on older titles, the non-profit could at least do the work and make them available for no profit. The could still offer DVDs which the studios could collect royalties on, and the studios could still retain copyright. A great way for studios to empty their vaults of dusty film prints.

                And I do expect a certain level of quality if I'm paying for a film. I bought a digital film that was only available through Amazon, and the quality was poor enough to make me not buy any more - on par with VHS. Of course, in the good old DVD days this was a problem too. I just watched MGM's Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the DVD transfer was atrocious. Luckily I didn't pay for that one (thank you public library).

                 

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

            •  
              icon
              PaulT (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "How many pieces do you think a 30 year old movie will sell?"

              The Thing was recently re-released with a new cover for the umpteenth time. 6 of the last 10 movies I bought were made in the 80s. Maniac Cop's just got Blu Ray released by 2 different companies on both sides of the pond - you think that didn't need work to get a release on Blu?

              Looks like some companies don't share your pessimism. Oooh... look at that. Most of those releases are being made by companies that put some effort into their releases and offer much more than just a copy of the movie. Yet, they're in business and seem to making a decent profit. Imagine that. I doubt they're millionaires, but that's not the only measure of success.

              "How many pieces do you have to produce to touch a reasonable retail market?"

              If the product is digital, a lot less than you'd think. If it was released in a reasonable way at a reasonable price, of course.

              "It's hard when you really start trying to look at an actual business model, rather than just sticking on the "technology is cheap" refrain."

              You mean, it's hard to adjust to the real world when you're making false assumptions about a market and completely failing to adequately meet the demands of a large part of it...

               

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

    •  
      identicon
      Prisoner 201, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

      Re:

      I stopped reading when you wanted to put the movie on pices of plastic.

      Do the color correction, do the chapter points, do the converstion. Then stop! Hammertime!

      Now mass produce and distribute at near-zero cost. Price it at a cup of coffe or two, and get it exposure with "if you liked this movie, we suggest..." links from more recent movies, imdb, etc.

      Break even for the color correction etc might take some time, maybe even a year or so. After that, every sold copy is pure profit.

      It wont be any "BANG! Big bonus this quarter!" type of profits, but if you are not in it for the long term what the hell is up with lifetime plus 70 years copyright?!

      So yeah, non-working business model is non-working. Keep whipping it in the hope that it will get better, or get with the times and make yourselves some green ones.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Threadjack - get rid of that annoying yellow bar at the top please. Button does not work.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Michael Ho (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      Hmm. We'll have to fix that. Sorry! It *was* working before... we swear!

       

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

      •  
        icon
        heyidiot (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

        Looking a gift horse in the mouth...

        Making the button work doesn't make it less annoying.

        Just sayin'...

         

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

      •  
        icon
        heyidiot (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

        From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

        Making the button work doesn't make the bar less annoying.

        Just sayin...

         

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

        •  
          icon
          John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

          Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

          Agreed. I'm hatin' the yellow bar.

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Michael Ho (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

            well, now that the [X] works, you can make it go away..

             

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

            •  
              icon
              bjupton (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

              BTW, it appears to be not working again.

               

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

              •  
                icon
                bjupton (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

                Of course, Muphry's Law states that it would work as soon as I pointed that out....

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:25am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

                  If you are using windows, just add this into your hosts file (in system32/drivers/etc)

                  127.0.0.1 cdn.wibiya.com
                  127.0.0.1 s0.2mdn.net
                  127.0.0.1 bs.serving-sys.com
                  127.0.0.1 api.flattr.com
                  127.0.0.1 api.postrank.com
                  127.0.0.1 www.postrank.com
                  127.0.0.1 www.gravatar.com
                  127.0.0.1 pixel.quantserve.com
                  127.0.0.1 static.fmpub.net
                  127.0.0.1 cdn.wibiya.com
                  127.0.0.1 edge.quantserve.com
                  127.0.0.1 b.scorecardresearch.com
                  127.0.0.1 sb.scorecardresearch.com
                  127.0.0.1 core.videoegg.com
                  127.0.0.1 www.comscore.com

                  That gets rid of much of the crap that populates this (and many other) sites, and gets rid of many of the issues.

                  If you use Chrome, you can also "lock" the cookies for this site, screw with them a bit, and make yourself less trackable.

                   

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

            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 10:57am

              Re: Re: Re: From the 'Looking a gift horse in the mouth' department

              Yes, but it comes back every time I load the page, so that doesn't reduce the annoyance factor.

               

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

  •  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Windowing causes a lot of infringement. I would love to see an independent study of infringement rates as geographic windows for major motion pictures expire around the globe.

    Media windowing is also a problem that drives infringement. One of my favorite authors has a huge fan base among young readers who really prefer ebook formats. Unfortunately his publisher likes to hold ebook release until after the traditional hardbound/paperback release cycle has run its course. It is apparent on the various forums that piracy is rampant until the ebook is formally released. I noticed that during the last book release cycle there was a constant drumbeat of "where can I get a copy in ebook format." This ended entirely once the ebook came out. How many book sales did the publisher miss because they held back the ebook edition for almost two years? I doubt if it came close to balancing the number of physical copies that they forced people to buy.

    Windowing systems were created before the economy was global at the consumer level. Unfortunately the media companies have had the windowing system ingrained into their corporate cultures for so long that they no longer question it.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    oh mikey..

    The only "reasonable" price is free of course. Who cares how much money they invested in the product.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:29am

      Re: oh mikey..

      I don't know about that. I am pretty happy paying $15 a month for all I can watch movies and TV. Netflix has been a great service to me. I just wish there were more recent movies available for it.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      fogbugzd (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:08pm

      Re: oh mikey..

      >>The only "reasonable" price is free of course. Who cares how much money they invested in the product.

      In classical economic theory you are correct! Basic microeconomic theory says that the market will drive the price of a product down to the marginal cost of production. The marginal cost of reproducing an electronic file is about as close to zero as you can get. The amount of money invested in a product is considered a "sunk cost" and is irrelevant in the calculation of marginal cost. Therefore by basic microeconomic theory you are absolutely correct! The reasonable cost is free, and the investment cost is irrelevant just as you say.

      Who says the AC trollers are dumb? They grasp the basic problem with the RIAA and MPAA models in an electronic age. And it scares them to death because they lack the imagination to figure out any other ways to make the kind of easy profits they were making in the era of vinyl records.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      JMT (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

      Re: oh mikey..

      "The only "reasonable" price is free of course."

      Can you point to where anyone has claimed that?

      "Who cares how much money they invested in the product."

      As with pretty much anything brought to market, the customer doesn't care at all how much money they invested in the product. That's not their problem. People will pay what they believe the product is worth to them, not what it cost investors.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Prisoner 201, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: oh mikey..

        This!

        I will buy something if the value I percieve it will add to my life is more than the value I could otherwise expect to achieve with the same money.

         

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

    •  
      icon
      bjupton (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

      Re: oh mikey..

      And Marxist Value Theory strikes again

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    A) limited sample. B) Itunes prices are /higher/ than DVDs.

    "We looked at how many of the recent best-sellers and catalogues of critically acclaimed films, including the top 50 British films, consumers can legally buy or rent online."

    This is reverse cherry picking with a possibly wacky NON-popular -- /snooty/ -- bias. Enough said.

    "Digital prices do not compare favourably to those of DVDs. For the best selling DVDs from August 2011 the average price was £6.80. For iTunes purchases, of the films available through it's service, the average price was £8.88. For blinkbox purchases the price stood at £9.49."

    So, the Itunes option that some tout is actually nearly 30 percent higher! This should rule out all arguments for convenience based on a lower /price/ for "digital goods". Just not the case here.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 11:56am

      Re: A) limited sample. B) Itunes prices are /higher/ than DVDs.

      "This should rule out all arguments for convenience based on a lower /price/ for "digital goods". Just not the case here."

      Wait what? Because Itunes is charging too much for the movie, relative to the DVD price, any argument that digital goods should be cheaper is invalid?

      Digital books also cost more than their paper counter parts a lot of the time. That doesn't mean they shouldn't and can't be cheaper.

      Also wtf is with your new /habit/ of putting /s around words? Did you finally realize that capitilising every 8th word makes you look like an idiot? Well so does this "based on a lower /price/ for" really?

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

      Re: A) limited sample. B) Itunes prices are /higher/ than DVDs.

      Never heard of the iPod? Or the iPhone? Ease of interfacing is an issue, as well as the cost. There's a joke about Apple products and price, remember.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Put the movies on Netflix and piracy will go away. It's that simple. The only movies I've pirated were ones that weren't available in the U.S. in any other way (and there were many more I simply didn't watch because it cost too much or were too difficult to acquire).

    Sales of Beatles recordings financed the recordings of the London Symphony. That's how movies work - the winners pay for the losers - the popular stuff pays for the artsy stuff. That's the one advantage to big studios - they can afford to take risks (if only they would).

    But the unavailability (and unprofitably) of older titles is exactly the reason copyright needs to expire so other interests can come in and make those works available. This study covers award winning classics. There are hundreds more works lock away in vaults that will never see the light of day because the copyright holder will never recover the costs of simply making them available. If a film is in such a state, they should be given to the public and let the public cover that costs.

    At least some studios like Warner Brothers are finally experimenting with online only movies for rare films, but they're still locked up behind the studio's exclusive system.

    What we need are a dozen Netflixes, all of them with complete access to digital libraries, competing not on titles but on ease and cost of service. I doubt the cable companies will let that happen (unless they're the ones offering the service).

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    SimonTek, Oct 26th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Streaming

    I really wanted to watch "The Distinguished Gentleman" the other day, I went to walmart, they didn't have it, neither did Meijer, redbox, Blockbuster, and a few other rental stores around town. Went to amazon, and netflix, no one had it. I ended up having to stream it illegally online. No one had it, I run into that more often than not. I will buy the dvd, but no one has it.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    i WONDER

    the basics of business have been written down and shown to work. These rules have been around since before Christ.

    So, where did these folks learn BUSINESS??

    It took a government Study to prove what was a FACT?

    for those NOT in the know. Digitizing video is cheap and simple, as the years have gone by, its gotten very Easy. There is only 1 difficulty. Fixing AUDIO problems.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Killercool (profile), Oct 26th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

      Re: i WONDER

      Generally, I'd say it's because the original audio sucked... compared to now, anyways. But seriously, from what I know of remastering, the remasters look great! Compared to the original anyways.

      Especially when the original, no matter the condition, was less than optimal by modern standards. Like the re-release of Snow White. It looks great, but... that's not how it looked originally. There may have been some fading over time, but I kinda doubt it was that dramatic. Especially since I've heard a few "original watchers" saying it looked better than (or garish in comparison to) what they remembered.

      My point is, remastering can be good, but it's not what people are asking for. They just want a copy of what the studio has in their vault. Yes, it kinda sucks compared to a 1080p 7.1 surround copy, but I want the original movie, not your "improved" version. I don't want a colorized copy of Casablanca or Metropolis. I just want a copy. I don't care if it's not up to your "standards," as long it's close to the original.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 27th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    Who needs piracy? I have Netflix streaming and the public library. I've got over 300 movies in my streaming queue, and hundreds more available at the library. I've got several years worth of movie watching right there. If a movie I want to see isn't available one of these two ways, I just watch something else. There are hundreds of other choices.

    Hollywood isn't going to get any more than $8 a month from me.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This