Movie Theaters' Top Lobbyist Resorts To Making Up Facts Concerning SOPA/PIPA

from the oh-please dept

Okay, the lies and ridiculous claims from SOPA/PIPA supporters just keep getting more and more ridiculous. On a panel at Sundance about the whole SOPA/PIPA issue, it appears that John Fithian, president/CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), was able to sound even more tone-deaf and out of touch than the MPAA's Chris Dodd! That's really saying something these days. Let's start with this:
NATO’s Fithian said he had never witnessed such a reversal in momentum considering the legislation’s passage seemed all but assured in October. "This was the most amazing turnaround of public opinion in the 25 years I’ve been a professional lobbyist. We were up there since Day One and took 25 of my [exhibitor] CEOs and met with 50 members of Congress. We asked each member of Congress if there was anything they need to make the legislation clear and nobody said anything. Google read the legislation at the same time and didn’t say a word. But in November the greatest backlash ever occurred."
First of all, Google had been complaining publicly about the bill since it was introduced in the Senate back in May. For Fithian to claim that the company had no complaints in October is simply laughable. As for questions from legislators, the fact that they didn't have any questions isn't a point in your favor, it's a sign of just how corrupt the system is. When Hollywood hands them a bill, they don't bother taking the time to understand it until after the public speaks out on it.
Fithian went on, "The backlash occurred, Google made its point, they’re big and tough and we get it. Hopefully now reasonable minds will prevail. Senator Dodd and his team are quite good at this. We’ll sit down with them and ask what has to be done to make legislation more narrowly tailored...."
And here's the sign that they really just don't get it. They still think that this was all Google. While Google did speak out publicly against the bill early, it had almost nothing to do with the protests that erupted last week, and only jumped on board very late in the game. You wouldn't believe how much complaining there was in various online communities about just how little Google was doing to fight this bill. The idea that this was driven by Google is laughable to anyone who was involved in these events. 14 million people spoke up about this bill. That wasn't Google. That was the wider internet. Pretending that this was Google flexing its muscles shows that this is someone who still isn't paying attention.
"But the reality is we have to stop these rogue websites. They’re stealing jobs from my members. It’s not Senator Dodd’s big wealthy studio executives, it's the 160,000 Americans who earn on average $11 an hour at my cinemas. Those are the jobs at stake.”
Almost nothing in this statement is true. As we discussed recently, employment at theaters has been dropping rapidly over the last decade. It peaked in 2003, but has steadily trended downward since then. Over that same time period, however, box office revenue has continue to rise at a pretty significant clip, setting new records almost every year until 2011, when it finally took a slight dip -- which many people attribute more to the crappy experience at theaters. You know why there might be a crappy experience? Because the theater owners that Fithian represents consolidated, built up giant, impersonal multiplexes, and then completely understaffed them.

Furthermore, $11/hour is hardly a living wage these days, and a large percentage of folks working at movie theaters aren't full time/lifetime employees, but high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money.

Either way, there is simply no evidence -- at all -- that "foreign rogue sites" have had any impact whatsoever on theater employment. As theater revenue continued to go up and up and up, theaters were firing more and more employees in an effort to cost-cut. Even the MPAA folks have repeatedly claimed that infringement has little to do with theater revenue and is almost entirely (in their minds) about in-home revenue (the same revenue stream the MPAA wanted to kill off 30 years ago in the Betamax case).

So it's difficult to see how anyone can take Fithian/NATO seriously. He claims that it was just Google. It was not. He references jobs in theaters, which have nothing to do with any of this. He claims that Google wasn't concerned about the bill. Is he saying anything that is backed up by fact? Well, perhaps the bit about our elected officials being too clueless/unconcerned to actually understand the bill that Hollywood handed them. That part is believable...

Amusingly, in another article about the same panel, it mentions that even Fithian's son was against him on this issue, and agreed with the anti-SOPA/PIPA folks. Also, it shows the real thinking on Fithian's part. It's not "piracy" he's concerned with, it's any form of competition whatsoever. Apparently during a discussion on the best way to compete with infringement, some people suggested the studios supplying "more content in new, affordable avenues to undercut the temptation to" infringe. Not only does that seem reasonable, but it's the only thing that's actually been proven (repeatedly) to work. But Fithian dismisses anything that would compete with theaters -- mocking both Netflix and Redbox as "bad business models." In other words, Fithian is making up anything he can... solely to act as protectionist as possible for a bunch of theater owners who don't want to adapt or compete. Perhaps he should take a lesson from the MPAA: being obstructionist against innovation is not a strategy for success.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Christopher Weigel (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

    Here's the part I find truly despicable:
    Senator Dodd and his team are quite good at this. We’ll sit down with them and ask what has to be done to make legislation more narrowly tailored....

    Not "we'll sit down with the people who complained". Not "we'll sit down with Google or the other tech companies that understand how these things work". Not even "we'll sit down with the congressmembers who we're pretending wrote this."

    This total [self-censored] wants to "sit down" with the same people who created this overly broad piece of crap in the first place and ask them how they want to proceed. And doesn't see any problem with that.

     

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  2.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    Here's the part that made me laugh:
    Fithian went on, "The backlash occurred, Google made its point, they’re big and tough and we get it. Hopefully now reasonable minds will prevail. [. . .]

    Now that unreasonable Google made it's silly point about freedom and censorship, hopefully reasonable MPAA/RIAA dollars will prevail.

     

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  3.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

    Good Entertainment

    I'd get a bag of popcorn to watch this but at $7.00 for an ounce I'm better of growing my own and downloading the show when I'm ready.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

    'Perhaps he should take a lesson from the MPAA: being obstructionist against innovation is not a strategy for success.'

    seems to me it's too late for that lesson. he's obviously already took it!

     

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  5.  
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    MRK, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    So when can we start treating Wikipedia articles about how Dodd is a serial child molester as fact? After all, if the MPAA gets to make up whatever facts they want, so can we.

     

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  6.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:52pm

    OMG

    Oh no! In addition to being a piracy apologist, Mike's also an apologist for underage drinking.
    high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money
    That's how I know everything you've ever written is a lie.

     

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  7.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Furthermore, $11/hour is hardly a living wage these days, and a large percentage of folks working at movie theaters aren't full time/lifetime employees, but high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money.

    The high school kids are looking to earn extra money to buy mp3's legally. Back in 2000 there were no legal mp3's because of the obstructionist dinosaurs.

    The college kids, over 21, of drinking age, are looking to earn extra beer money, or money for legal mp3's.

    Of course, they're all saving extra money for the day when Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and others will have the streamable tv/movie content they want.

    The kids are patient, and won't pirate content, because they know that the obstructionist dinosaurs will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, and they are content to just wait until that day.

     

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  8.  
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    Another AC, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Employment at movie theaters?

    He really thinks that a decline in theater attendance and the need to staff them is about Piracy? has he really not seen the quality of television technology lately? Who the hell wants to go sit in a sticky chair with sticky floors to watch a big dirty screen and pay a ridiculous amount of money for soda and popcorn while some kicks your chair, talks on a cell phone and feels the need to narrate the entire movie or repeately say how fake something is. Ill stay at home and have beer and pizza in my quiet comfortable living room, thanks.

    Stop trying to pretend like you give a crap about the highschool kid making $11 an hour.

     

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  9.  
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    ken (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    Theaters do not compete with pirated copies of movies because they are completely different products. People who want to see a movie in a threater do so for the full experience. The big screen, the sound, the social aspects etc. People who want to watch a movie in a theater are not going to change their minds because it is available on the Internet or even if it is available on video.

    If the movie industry really cared about theaters they would not be taking up to 95% of the box office receipts. Also if they wanted to help the theaters they would allow the theaters to sell copies of the movie during the showing when movies goers would most likely buy them.

     

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  10.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: OMG

    Well high school kids drinking beer is a fact, you know kind of like piracy. You will never completely get rid of it and when you try all you end up with is a bunch of kids making you look like an ignorant ass.

     

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  11.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: OMG

    >>That's how I know everything you've ever written is a lie.

    Do you actually know any high school students? I mean, really know them and what they do? That is an extremely accurate statement. The only way it could be made more accurate would be to say "extra beer and tree money."

    Note: "Tree" in this context has nothing to do with perennial woody plants.

    Additional note: People with a severe humor impairment should probably refrain from reading Techdirt.

     

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  12.  
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    hothmonster, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    " but high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money."

    Oh, now you support underage drinking too, you really are a scumbag mike.

    #amidoingitright

     

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  13.  
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    Keii (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Good Entertainment

    Don't even think about growing your own popcorn. You'll upset the United Farmers Association of America who will then lobby to make growing your own produce illegal and give them the power to shut down illegal farms.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    I should have read the comments first, looks like a few people beat me to this :(

     

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  15.  
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    Keii (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Good Entertainment

    Who else thinks an $11/h job at the theater is another gross overestimation?

     

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  16.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    I read that as Fithian still believes Dodd is a Senator and is responsible for crafting the language.

    While the reality of today is that likely he (and the MPAA) do a bunch of the language crafting, he is now a private citizen and shouldn't be writing the language.

    The way Fithian phrased it though is nicely telling.

     

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  17.  
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    pixelpusher220 (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    And then the MPAA will claim "See it's counterfeit! [the popcorn!]"

     

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  18.  
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    Christopher Weigel (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Good Entertainment

     

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  19.  
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    khory (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    I disagree. Fithian is succeeding just fine as a professional lobbyist. He is doing what he is paid to do. He doesn't really give a crap about whether the theaters succeed. Once they dry up he'll move on to the next lobbying job

     

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  20.  
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    mike allen (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    I would laugh if there were not so many DAMN LIES.

     

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  21.  
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    Christopher Weigel (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    Those lessons are the property of the MPAA. Any and all attempts to learn from their "example" will be considered theft and dealt with harshly in a court of law.
    Obviously, if you steal a lesson from the MPAA, they no longer have it. And that's just WRONG.
    (not that they're using it, anyways. But that in no way means that their example is part of some mythical "public domain".)

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Hollyweird

    Well, this is typical based on how Hollywood thinks.

    Through the iris of Hollywood: Brad Pitt = mega superstar! Mel Gibson = has been loser who should drop dead.

    The reality is both actors impacted the industry in a major way. Hollyweird just looks at the biggest earners and the most popular people and considers them the most relevant. It’s sort of like a High School popularity contest in Hollyweird.

    Regardless, Google shouldn’t be discounted either. They did make up a big piece of the pie that stopped Washington dead in its tracks. All anti sopa/pipa sites played a role. All are important all are relevant.

    Hollywood’s failure to assess and measure the situation and find a remedy based on innovation and creative thinking is a major piece of the problem. Their lack of ingenuity and failure to hear the voice of reason is more than self evident by words like these from Fithian.

     

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  23.  
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    evan, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    sopa

    I have to agree with this articular the fact the major movie companies don't want to innovate to compete with piracy is just sad. If they have a problem with people downloading movies than offer a better and more legal way don't just bulldozes the internet and when the backlash happens i.e. people have lost their jobs due to stupid greed. Then the music and movie companies will have a come up with bullshit that actually sounds like a good reason why a two trillion dollar industry was broken in half because they couldn't keep up with the times.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    If you lie enough, you actually start to believe your own lies.

     

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  25.  
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    Aaron *Head* Moss (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    I was going to say, $11 for working at a theater? That's not bad money nowadays.....

    I mean it's not great, but that's way more than minimum wage.

     

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  26.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: OMG

    Additional note: People with a severe humor impairment should probably refrain from reading Techdirt.

    ...and from reading Chosen Reject's comments, too ;)

     

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  27.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: OMG

    Also because, in both cases, the perpetrators are willing and eager to do it legally if only someone would let them.

     

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  28.  
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    PlagueSD (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Hmm, National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO)??

    I think the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would like to have a word with you...

     

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  29.  
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    Everyone's hero (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    " but high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money."

    I think Mike is just reporting the facts here. It is NATO's members that are funding this horrible behavior. Won't someone think of the children!?!

     

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  30.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Hollyweird

    Google's involvement was important, of course, but it's absolutely untrue to claim that the backlash was driven by Google.

     

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  31.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: OMG

    Thank you Marcus.

     

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  32.  
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    meddle (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    Saying piracy hurts theatres is like saying giving people rides are hurting car sales. I used to go to the theatre for the experience. I don't go very often any more. If they want me to come back, they need to
    1. Clean the theatre.
    2. Install cell phone jammers or toss people out who use them.
    3. Make the screens bigger again. These multiplexes have gone too far.
    4. Show a cartoon or something, and get rid of half the commercials. Bring back the serials!
    5. In short, bring the experience back.

     

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  33.  
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    ASTROBOI, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    I do! I worked as a projectionist for 20 years. Most of the time I was the highest paid and oldest employee in the theater. When I started managers were young adults, many part-timers, and when I finally retired I was the ONLY adult in the place. Everybody was 18 to 20 years old. Even the manager was a kid and everybody made minimum wage. Except the manager. He was on salary and since they conned him into working loads of unpaid overtime he made LESS than minimum wage. This was a major national circuit, not an independent neighborhood house. Nobody took their job seriously. I'd watch the kids goofing off from the projection room. They'd pretend to be cleaning while relaxing or socializing. They'd give their friends free concession stuff, as well as sneaking them into the show.Sometime they would sneek up to the projection room and tell me what a crappy job they had. The manager would hide in his office and take naps. Why not? Paid peanuts, treated like scum by the home office and the visiting "district manager", it was like the Bowery Boys were running the place. And customers noticed. There were endless complaints about filthy restrooms, noisy people, auditoriums that were too hot or cold, crying babies, on and on and nobody did a thing. The only reward the kids got was free movies for themselves and their friends and that favor was usually revoked as a punishment. And it's worse today. And what do they show the folks now that even the projectionist has been fired? Television! Yeah, customers don't even see a film anymore. They watch a big tv. With a 3D lens reducing the picture brightness because none of the Hitler Youth running the place knows how to remove it without tripping the security sensors on the tv set (I mean quality projector)! I've not been to a theater since I retired and I don't recommend anybody else go to one either.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, it's a good thing Google is a non-profit charity that did it for freedom, puppies and the children.

    /sarc

    Google is a giant vampire squid and the most dangerous corporation in the history of the US.

    They bankrolled this whole thing behind the scenes.

    They want to keep making billions on the backs of others, and they've bought their support via helping content addicts rip off music, movies and TV shows.

    Mass illegal behavior is everywhere they are.

    The wheel is going to turn, and soon.

     

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  35.  
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    meddle (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, try decaf. It's just as good.

     

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  36.  
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    rubberpants, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    3 / 10

    Too obvious. No one could possibly be as wrong as you appear to be.

     

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  37.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re:

    See my problem with -
    "Senator Dodd and his team are quite good at this. We’ll sit down with them and ask what has to be done to make legislation more narrowly tailored...." "

    Is he is no longer a Senator, he should not be crafting bills.
    He is a lobbyist looking to push what he thinks will benefit his industry and who cares about anything else.

     

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  38.  
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    ASTROBOI, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    Here are a few more:

    6. Fix the air conditioning

    7. Get somebody to fix the fancy sound systems so they actually work correctly.

    8. Stop trying to get 10K hours out of a 2K Xenon lamp.

    9. Get a real manager that actually cares how the place is run, even if you have to pay the person.

    10.Give the ushers back their flashlights. Tell them to stop looking for cammers and start keeping order in the auditorium.

    11.Get rid of ALL the commercials. And half the previews. And shitcan the helpful little greeting film that urges customers to clean the theater for free.

    12.Replace the burned out lights in the auditoriums, fix the broken toilets and stall doors, fix the threadbare carpet, take the 100 watt bulbs out of the exit signs and buy the right ones, and about 1000 other things!

     

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  39.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow.

    You must have an advance copy of bob's new book:

    Trolling for Dummies: Big Search is Evil

     

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  40.  
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    Travis, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Re:

    OMG - that makes TOO Much sense!!!

     

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  41.  
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    AzureSky (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    Re:

    you said what i was thinking as I read this....+1 for you.

     

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  42.  
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    Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with my fellow critics above, but still I'll give this trolling an 8/10 simply for the giant vampire squid reference! It's creativity like that that will save the content industry...

    Now I'm off to copyright that phrase and put it on t-shirts. Thanx again!

     

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  43.  
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    Jay (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: OMG

    Do you actually know any high school students? I mean, really know them and what they do?

    They wouldn't drink a free beer...

     

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  44.  
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    Jay (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    It's also not believable in places where the living wage is lower.

    The people that work in the theater in my state make $7.50 an hour and have to work weekends. The theater management complex is also pretty bad. They get written up for the same thing twice, they're gone. You still have the same popcorn and food that is always in every theater.

    And the seats are cushy, but the movies are the same in three different sections of TX. In other words, if you want to see a new movie or documentary, you're SOL if it's not supported by the MPAA.

    Now, I like to travel, and I've seen 3D on at least two movies. Other than the glasses, there's no point to it. There's no reason to travel to another theater because they give you the same experience.

    The only one I have heard glowing reviews for is the only one doing something different. But if you really want to compete, there's a number of ways to do so:

    1) Documentaries for movies on weekdays.

    2) Better food selection

    3) Less reliance on blockbusters and possibly amateur nights

    4) Treat your crew better than over management.

    --------------------------

    Seriously, it's not that hard, but the ones making money make the movie theater business more difficult than it has to be.

     

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  45.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    4. Show a cartoon or something, and get rid of half the commercials. Bring back the serials!

    That one really annoyed me. Pay to see a movie and have to sit through a half hour of commercials. I still remember my first experience with that. I was about 16 or 17 with some friends, the theater goes dark, the screen lit up with a car racing dangerously through some city streets. I thought the movie was starting. Two minutes later the tag line for Ford appears. My reaction was to yell "It's a god damned fucking commercial!" which almost got me thrown out. I have seen only a handful of movies in theaters in the 30 years since.

     

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  46.  
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    rubberpants, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    David Hasselhoff isn't a musician but that hasn't stopped him from writing songs either.

     

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  47.  
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    Why not?, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't see anything wrong with a private citizen creating the language of the law, so long as it is properly gated through the normal judicial process. Sure, numerous lobbying groups have abused the process and most of them also likely wrote or suggested words to be used in laws. However, the fallacy you have made here is actually analogous to the fallacy made by SOPA/PIPA supporters in drafting the bills.

    Free speech includes the right to suggest laws, something that the people of this nation might be better off taking to heart. In fact, I see no reason the internet and its new techniques could not be leveraged for the purpose of creating a democratic lobbying initiative. Steal that non-protected idea from them and then see how little power they have left.

     

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  48.  
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    TwentyTwo (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Re:

    I think they do compete in a lot of ways. I think your point shouldn't be that pirated movies don't compete with the theater experience, but rather, pirated movies are only one (really) small substitute in a large universe of substitutes for movie theaters. These substitutes include arcades, cable TV, live sports, satellite, broadcast TV, and on and on and on.

    What you mention re: the big screen, sound, etc., should be thought of as the competitive advantage of theaters against the possible substitutes.

    What they should be doing is emphasizing the competitive advantages that you rightly point out. Compete better against what are admittedly substitutes.

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Re: People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    "2. Install cell phone jammers or toss people out who use them."

    They can't install jammers -- that's illegal. I'd love to see people get tossed out for using any electronic device that has a lit screen, makes noise, or they talk into, though.

     

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  50.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    Yeah, me too. When they started showing commercials was when I largely stopped going to the big theaters. I'll still go occasionally, for social reasons. However, there are a handful of theaters I go to a lot -- they aren't major ones, they don't show first-run movies, but they also don't show commercials, they provide comfy couches instead of those awful theater seats, they deliver good food and beer right to your seat, and the other patrons treat the experience with a great deal more respect. I've never seen or heard a cell phone in use or seem anyone be disruptive. Those places are a wonderful, fun experience.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    "We’ll sit down with them and ask what has to be done to make legislation more narrowly tailored...." "

    So he admits that the bill wasn't originally narrowly tailored and that there were problems yet he still wishes the bill passed? Now he wants to sit down and ensure the bill is narrowly tailored? After what?

    "As we discussed recently, employment at theaters has been dropping rapidly over the last decade. It peaked in 2003, but has steadily trended downward since then. Over that same time period, however, box office revenue has continue to rise at a pretty significant clip, setting new records almost every year until 2011"

    Perhaps that's partly because now more and more people have gotten better home theater systems. People have bigger televisions, for example, now that bigger televisions with higher resolutions have become more affordable (as you mention later).

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So why don't we (internet folks) get together, craft a bill that protects children from child molesting terrorists (many of the countries terrorists are from still marry 12 year olds!), and add some things about changing the way lobbying works (and maybe repeals a bunch of retarded laws in the process). Call it the "If you don't vote yes, you want our children to be raped!!!!!" Act.

    Then we have a tool we can use. Either they vote no and we run ads that show them supporting the raping of children, or they vote yes and we get what we want.

     

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  53.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > Google is a giant vampire squid and the most
    > dangerous corporation in the history of the US.

    RIAA and MPAA members and others who participate in corruption of the US political system are the most dangerous in the history of the US.


    > They [Google] bankrolled this whole thing behind the scenes.

    Proof? Bankrolled what? Who got paid? Maybe Google's interests (freedom) happen to align with everyone else's interests.

    The MPAA / RIAA bankrolled this whole thing [SOPA/PIPA/ACTA] behind the scenes.


    > They want to keep making billions on the backs of others

    Yep, MPAA / RIAA want to keep making millions on the backs of artists using Hollywood Accounting.


    > Mass illegal behavior is everywhere they [Google] are.

    Corruption of US and foreign government is everywhere the MPAA / RIAA are.


    > The wheel is going to turn, and soon.

    Yeah, I agree.

    The wild west days of bought and paid for legislation to hinder the advance of the 21st century are over.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Mike,

    How many 21 year old high school kids do you know?

    but high school kids looking to earn some extra beer money.

     

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  55.  
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    mrtraver (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:19pm

    Google=Internet

    I really think that many non-tech people equate the two. My mom will say "Let's Google it", then use the default Bing search without seeing any irony. A work associate was compaining that her "Google bill" went up; after asking her what she was paying Google for I finally determined that she meant her ISP. She has never heard of Google+, but regularly uses Facebook. She has Hotmail but not Gmail. And she had no clue that Google owns Youtube. So maybe when Fithian says "Google made its point", he really is saying "the internet made its point."

    But then again "the internet" do not have deep pockets for him to plunder like Google does, so he has to say "Google" even if he knows the difference.

    Sorry for any semantic satiation from reading the word "Google" 10 times in one post.

     

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  56.  
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    MrWilson, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    At the movie theater where I worked in high school, we got paid 45 cents more than minimum wage.

     

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  57.  
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    KingFisher, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:28pm

    Mike I'm calling you.

    Now I've been against SOPA/PIPA since they started, but I think theaters have a real competitive problem with netflix. I understand business models need to be changed but business models for theaters really don't have much of an area for evolving. Not everyone owns a 5 yard monitor/tv screen. You really can't compare the experience of sitting in front of you computer on a small screen and compare it to going to the movie theater. Not everyone is rich and owns there own home theater room. New technology enables us to have theater like sound quality in small room but the experience of seeing it on a really large screen that covers 90% of a wide wall is pretty amazing.

    No, I'm not supporting Hollywood, but I do support theaters The way I'm looking at it is if theaters want to compete they'd have to drop prices of tickets and that would just run them out of business. They already have a websites advertizing the movies so they have a web presence, so what else can movie theaters do? Switch all theaters to have 3D IMax like capabilities? Sure that's a way to do it but it doesn't improve much. As for the over all experience of the theater (other than sitting down and watching the movie) I do admit its the problem of having large complex that is understaffed, I agree. Current design of theaters today aren't...well...large. The room seems vastly smaller than what I remembered before the internet boom. Bad design? Adjusting to audience attendance? Then there is how people dislike theaters because there are other people. Sick people and babies are annoying but ushers are there to guide people out of a theater if they are noisy...oh wait...theaters are understaffed. Lets say the problem of having others disturb the atmosphere. Still have a problem with watching a movie with a group of people, you probably won't do well just being in public in general then. I will agree that current theaters being understaffed and having crappy design doesn't make it enjoyable.

    I'll finish off by saying I can understand why theater owners are upset. Theaters are mostly empty expect on the day/night a new movie premiers. Usually after the first week or two, it empties out dramatically. My one support of theaters is, watching it on an overly large screen is definitely better than on a 50inch screen (largest commercial retail screen I can think off).

     

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  58.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Google=Internet

    I think Google is like the anti-christ to the Mafiaa, Google is basically a shining example of everything the Mafiaa says is impossible to do and thats why they need new special government priviledges. No, it's not possible to make money providing "IP" based services in this day and age of entitlement and theivery and blah blah blah without new laws that we write ourselves... Just ignore the others doing it.

     

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  59.  
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    crade (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Mike I'm calling you.

    Theaters have room to evolve / move still. My wife and I recently went to some place called "Gold Class Cinemas" in Redmond a while ago, and you can really see that there is uptapped potential there. It's an adult only place, you need a membership, it's kept clean, you get big comfortable seats, the chairs have a button to call for service and they serve you real (cooked) food and drinks right to your seat, which has a little table on it, there are way less people in the theater, for hardly more money than the regular crappy theaters are.. I think it was 20$ each or something similar for the tickets, but of course they make extra if you order food and such...

    Anyway, there's room.. You don't have to sit inside the predefined "this is a theater" box if you don't want to.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Apples and Oranges

     

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  61.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, but the giant vampire quid exists.

     

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  62.  
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    meddle (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: People giving people rides are hurting car sales?

    Maybe jammers are illegal but it's pretty easy to design a building in which cell phones don't work. There us also a paint that blocks signals. http://www.mobileguerilla.com/articles/2006/07/23/paint-kill-cell-phone-signal.php

     

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  63.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Good Entertainment

    Monsanto will sue or every home grown corncrop, unless you use their killer cornseeds.

     

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  64.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Proof? Bankrolled what? Who got paid? Maybe Google's interests (freedom) happen to align with everyone else's interests.

    I think he is referring to the Bankroll Google is paying all of us critics of SOPA/PIPA that he keeps saying in all his deluded posts. Have you received your check yet? I am still waiting for mine.

     

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  65.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    David Hasselhoff isn't a musician but that hasn't stopped him from writing songs either.

    If he writes songs, by definition he is a song writer. Unless he plays an instrument or sings, he can't be a musician or singer, accordingly. However, by definition, he is still an artist.

    The definition does not say that they have to be professional or even good -- most song writers, musicians, singers aren't paid and may not be particularly good at what they do -- we call those people amateurs.

    (I am an amateur musician.)

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    Re:

    Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it isn't a fact of life.

    NEWSFLASH: Speeding is illegal too but plenty of high school kids do it. Smoking pot is illegal too, but plenty of high school kids do it. Need I go on?

     

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  67.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Mike I'm calling you.

    Not everyone is rich and owns there own home theater room. New technology enables us to have theater like sound quality in small room but the experience of seeing it on a really large screen that covers 90% of a wide wall is pretty amazing.

    A decent LCD projector is about the same cost as a LCD TV now. I bought an HD projector a couple months ago for ~$600, and with a 121" white-washed wall, it works perfectly fine. The bulbs are getting pretty good; my old projector lasted about 3K hours before the image was noticeably darker and would usually go 4K hours before the image was dark enough to be drowned out by ambient light, and it cost $130 to replace the bulb. I probably watched 3K hours worth of movies/TV in 2 years. It can take the video from my PC and display it on the wall with 1920x1080 glory. I am by no means rich, partly because I rent movies on Netflix and don't pay $20 a movie to watch them in a theater with all the distractions that entails.

     

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  68.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re:

    Mike what country do you live in, that lets high school kids buy beer?

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Re: Hollyweird

    The backlash was driven by lies.

    Who wrote that script, hmmm? Who wrote the talking points?

    After the manager's amendment was drafted, the tech/pirate lobby tried to pretend it didn't exist and went around telling people things like Facebook could be shut down.

    People were stupid and fell for it.

    Won't be allowed to happen again, trust me.

     

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  70.  
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    Loki, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They want to keep making billions on the backs of others,

    No that would be the content industries who can only exist by locking up/locking out any and all competition so they can force actual content creators to relinquish copyrights which they can then leverage into massive profits.

    The content industry is nothing, NOTHING, without control over other people's copyrights.

    Mass illegal behavior is everywhere they are.

    Let's see, Hollywood only exists because they were able to infringe the IP of other people. By their claims infringment is theft.

    The content industry thrives by locking up distribution channels then forcing content creators to give up their rights (an analogy that just came to mind would be like if I owned all the highways and most of the secondary roads, and not only set up massive tollbooths, but made you give me the title to your car to use my roads). To me this blackmail and/or extortion.

    Then their is the content industries mass lawsuits based on little to no evidence, followed by "settlement" letters to avoid lengthy and costly litigation (even in cases where the content industry knew they were clearly wrong - unless their victims were able to drum up enough bad press to mae the industry back off). That would be extortion.

    Dodd and the MPAA have essentially admitted to bribery of Congress (but then most of us already know that most lobbying this days is really bribery in all but name).

    While some of the anti-SOPA/PIPA people did not have all their facts straight (and I made a fair amount of effort to correct them when I came across them) I saw a great many statements from the content industry that were blatantly misleading, if not outright lies.

    What was that about illegal behavior again?

    Google is a giant vampire squid and the most dangerous corporation in the history of the US.

    Seriously? I'm going to guess you're a mid level flunky of the RIAA or MPAA. Because even leaving aside the companies those two represent, it's not Walmart? Not Exxon-Mobil or BP? Not Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Bear Sterns? Not even Microsoft? It's GOOGLE!!!! And you wonder why people don't take staunch copyright maximalists seriously.

    They bankrolled this whole thing behind the scenes.

    Really? Wouldn't it have been more practical to simply double Dodd's/MPAA's bribe (errr campaign contributions). Obviously, if the MPAA isn't afraid to all but admit it bribes Congress, and Google can clearly "buy off" soooo many people, wouldn't it just by easier for them to have a bidding war in Congress over whether or not to pass the bill (clearly if Google can buy so much opposition we'd have no objection to them outbidding your side).

    Also I'm wondering where the checks are. I don't know a single person who was influenced (much less paid) by Google to oppose these bills. Bribery and extortion may be a fact of life in whatever world you live in, but the rest of the world does things for other reasons that don't involve money.

    Going to turn? It is already turning and that is why you are so scared. Because you guys no longer get to dominate the top of the hill anymore.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 7:15pm

    "NATO’s Fithian said he had never witnessed such a reversal in momentum considering the legislation’s passage seemed all but assured in October. "This was the most amazing turnaround of public opinion in the 25 years I’ve been a professional lobbyist. We were up there since Day One and took 25 of my [exhibitor] CEOs and met with 50 members of Congress. "

    Translation: I put a ton of effort and resources and time into lobbying for and contributing to this law! It was hard, I spent a LONG time trying to get these sorts of laws passed. and in the click of a mouse you destroyed all my work!!!

    (almost implicit in his statement is the idea that the passage of a law should be based on how much work, time, and resources he poured into getting it passed and how long he's spent trying to get these sorts of laws passed and not based on the merits of the law itself. Opponents of the law and the general public didn't spend nearly as much effort, time, and resources into stopping the law as he spent trying to get it passed, why should opponents get their way? He earned the passage of this law through his 25 years of hard lobbying work, opponents didn't earn the stoppage of the law because they didn't contribute nearly the work he did. The merits of the law should be ignored).

     

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    Violated (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 7:18pm

    The 1%

    There is the 1% and then there is the 99%

    Clearly no person on the copyright side even acknowledges that the 99% actually exist. They instead only see the 1% which is why Google is the closest they will ever get to reality.

    There should be a word for that situation but it is too late here to apply my usual immense brain power.

    The sad part of all this is that they are also blissfully unaware of a little word called "Democracy". Members of Congress may be more in-tune there simply because getting it wrong can cost them their job.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Employment at movie theaters?

    You haven't been at the big screen in a while right?
    I can tell because somebody kicking the back of your seat is still better than having someone search your pockets or purse waving metal detection devices and having creepy people watching your every move with nighvision goggles, heck I saw people patting down kids searching for contraband(i.e. candy and cameras)

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why make a law only for children, grow ups to get raped you know.

     

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  75.  
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    Loki, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's creativity like that that will save the content industry...

    Wrangling the giant vampire squid

    Aooarently the term has already been taken to describe Goldman Sachs (pity I didn't Google - Oh the irony - the term earlier when I was rebutting his claims).

    Even better, by content industry standards the term is already copyrighted and therefore the above poster is guilty of infringement. Which makes him a thief. A thief I say!!!

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2012 @ 9:08pm

    Re: Mike I'm calling you.

    As an example as to how home theaters have gotten so much better and cheaper to put together... I built one with 120in screen, 1080p, surround sound for under 2k. The quality is not quite as good as theater equipment but being able to enjoy it in the comfort of my own home more than makes up for it. And, you can pause the movie anytime you want.

     

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  77.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jan 24th, 2012 @ 9:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

    People weren't as stupid as you seem to think. Even with the amendments the bills sucked.

    That and the fact that there was and is no need for them.

    As I recall, you're the one who said that the fix was in for SOPA and PIPA and that no amount of protest would derail them.

    Well, guess what. It has.

    And if the backlash was driven by lies they were certainly of more of the white lie variety than the MPAA or RIAA were pushing.

    As for "Won't be allowed to happen again, trust me" I think I'll wait. After all. You did say nothing but nothing would stop these now dead bills.

     

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  78.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

    "After the manager's amendment was drafted, the tech/pirate lobby tried to pretend it didn't exist and went around telling people things like Facebook could be shut down."

    "We rewrote the bill so that your vicious and repeated anal rape would be done with lube instead of barbed wire! Why aren't you supporting us!!!"

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

     

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  80.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

    So? What was the MPAA's budget? The RIAA's? Facebook's? Yahoo's? What's your point?

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

    We know you will try to censor the internet, but lets face it, people don't like you.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They DID??? Dude, where's my check!

     

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  83.  
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    MAJikMARCer (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Hollyweird

    I think you all are missing the point on the whole Anti-Google thing. I really suspect that some of these ignoramuses believe that Google IS the Internet, like how many people thought being on AOL was being on the Internet.

    They are simply assuming that any backlash from the Internet = Google. They are using Google like Kleenex for tissues.

     

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  84.  
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    Lowestofthekeys, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 7:43am

    I'm the goddamn Batman

    Geeze, the MPAA and NATO are in some kind of abusive co-dependent relationship.

    Despite the fact that the MPAA craps on NATO with stuff like pumping movies directly into video on demand 3 weeks after they're released in the theaters, they still support them and even lie for them.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    So you want to see a movie. Well first you have to get to the theatre, for me that is an hour long drive. Now you get to have the pleasure of standing in line with a group of strangers, there goes another forty-five minutes. Finally time to buy your ticket, thats $8.50, how about some snacks
    popcorn $5.50, A drink to wash it down $4.50, maybe some candy another $3.50, Total $22.00,
    Oh that's right you brought a date for a Grand Total $44.00.

    OK lets find our seats. Where to sit there are isle seats these are great, you just have to contend with people walking back and forth infront of you through the entire movie. There are seats in the center, These are nice once you get to them, all you have to do is crawl over the people in the isle seats. I have my own way of finding the perfect spot to sit. I like to try to find a seat with no soda spilled on it, or one not smeared with chocolate. Be careful with this approach, many times the seat with nothing on it, May have a very interesting smell usually a cross between flatulence, sweat, with a subtle hint of vomit.

    Now we have our seats. Time to enjoy the movie, surely it will start any minute. Oh wait the theatre isn't full enough yet. Let's see who all is here to enjoy this fine film. We have the teen lovers dryhumping in the backrow waiting for the lights to go out so they can fully consummate their love. There is the drunk couple who have been fighting non-stop for three months, they are not talking at the moment, they to eagerly await the darkness to really tell each other how they feel
    about one another. Ah the elderly couple grandma is talking louder and louder telling grandpa to make sure and turn on his hearing aid. He is oblivious to her, as he has already fallen asleep and is snoring away. Who else is here the guy who has chronic emphysema, or maybe tuberculosis what a treat. Who is missing. Oh here she comes the mother of seven who has brought all the kids and their toys, she even brought one year old Jamie who's colic is in full swing now. Let's not forget the cell phone user's and the texters. Now the theatre is full and the movie can start. Everyone is here now HOORAY.

    The lights are out and the trailers start to roll, it won't be long now. Finally the opening credits. Oops drank all the soda waiting for the start, back to the snackbar. Oh look grandma is in front of you asking the clerk to read all of the ingredients of all the candy to her. The poor dear, she has allergies you know. Now it's your turn one large soda please, oh whats that the tanks need refilled on the soda machine. There's another thirty minutes gone. Finally back to your seat, you just have to climb over the sleeping snoring granpa, or you could go aound to the otherside and climb over the drunks who are now in a full blown fist fight. Back in your seat now you find the guy who came in late hitting on your date. So you have to find new seats for you and your date. the movie is half over by this point typically. Luckily there are two seats open first row corner right by the exit.
    Undaunted you start watching the movie looking sideways at the screen. What now your date has to use the restroom, you must accompany her as the late guy has followed you to your new seats and fully intends to talk to her on the way to the rest room. Ok back to your seats just in time to see the ending credits. What a Great night out, only cost $44.00 to miss every good scene in the movie.

    Next time rent a movie $7.50 for five days, box of microwave popcorn $5.00 (also about ten times the amount you get at the theatre), two litres of soda $2.00 (about twice as much as you get at the theatre) candy lets say $5.00.(and you know you will get the kind you want). Total $19.50. That includes a date, and some friends. All in the comfort of your own home. Being able to pause the movie so you can get more soda, and so your date can use the restroom PRICELESS. With the home theatre technology the way it is. You can get the same or in some cases, a better movie experience at home, If you watch a streamed movie you don't have to leave the house to find the film of your choice. It just gets better and better.

    The simple fact is that a rental or streamed video is more viable. Box Office sales are a thing of of a Dead Era, let's move forward, and not linger in the past. Until hollywood embraces new technologies they will continue a downward spiral in sales. In short this is why hollywood is hemoraging money, It uses an outdated buisness model, Best suited to the 1950's.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just got mine with a letter that says

    Dear AC,

    Thanks for taking jobs away from thousands of Americans. Every year billions of Americans lose their job and we at Google love it. The billions of American jobs that are lost due to piracy only helps Google destroy the MPAA and RIAA along with their content delivery system commonly referred to as the internet.

    Love, Google.

     

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  87.  
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    Another AC, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Employment at movie theaters?

    Is the TSA moonlighting at movie theaters now?

     

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  88.  
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    Digitari, Jan 25th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    RE

    When I can go to the Movies and lay naked watching it while having sex with my girl ( and her friends at times ) I will return, till then,I just have be careful of the wet spots

     

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  89.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 25th, 2012 @ 10:35pm

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

    Just got mine with a letter that says

    How much did you get? Just gotta plan ahead -- got bills to pay and all.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

     

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

  91.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 26th, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hollyweird

    I'll ask again: what's your point. Unless you're trying to either pretend that pro-SOPA corporations haven't spent more, or that Google are the only ones fighting SOPA (both stupid ideas beyond reason), then I don't get what you're trying to say.

    Yes, Google has a lobbying budget. Yes, they spent more money than normal to combat a bill that they saw as unnecessary and dangerous.

    The point is...? Try actually stating it instead of linking to irrelevant articles without comment.

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Michael Tritchonis, Jan 26th, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Michael Tritchonis

     

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

  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2012 @ 6:56pm

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

    'billions' of Americans? What dreamland are you living in when there are only 300 Million (that's with an 'M') Americans?

     

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


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