Chris Dodd Says MPAA Is On The Wrong Track; We Agree

from the well,-let's-see-some-leadership dept

Over at the Cannes Film Festival, MPAA boss Chris Dodd apparently told Variety that the MPAA is "on the wrong track" when it calls infringement "theft."
"We're in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that's going to need content... We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented.... We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery."
Now, I thought that was kind of interesting, because it appears that the folks who work for Dodd haven't received the memo. The MPAA website is chock full of his minions calling it "theft" every chance they get. There's an entire page supposedly dedicated to "types of content theft." There's a page on "rogue websites," that calls them "havens for theft." There's a link in the footer to a website called FightFilmTheft.org. There's also a link in the footer to the ICE website (you know, the government agency illegally seizing and censoring websites based on no evidence) saying to click the logo "to report IP theft." Then there's the MPAA's "blog," which as of this writing has the word "theft" on the front page a mere fifteen times (and "steal" or "stealing" another three times). So, er, Dodd might want to have a chat with his staffers.

Because, according to Chris Dodd, the MPAA is on the wrong track.

And, for once, I think we actually agree with Chris Dodd. Of course, some of us have been saying this since Dodd's first speech on the job -- which (of course) focused on saying how infringement was "no different" than theft.

There's also some history here. For a while, the industry focused on the word "piracy" to describe infringement. But about three years ago, a movie studio exec made the claim that the industry had "made a mistake" using the word "piracy," because it "glamorized" the practice (of course, Hollywood helped out with the glamorization thanks to some big blockbuster movies starring Johnny Depp...). Practically overnight, the use of "piracy" changed in the industry to "content theft." So, perhaps this is the start of a new phase...

Either way, it certainly doesn't seem like Dodd has really figured out just how disastrous things are going under his "leadership." Much of the story still has him blaming tech companies for stopping SOPA and PIPA. Until he realizes that it was the public the spoke up (and actually helped drag along those tech companies), he's never going to understand what happened, and never going to be able to lead appropriately. Hell, you can even see his dangerous framing in the short statement above. Notice he said they need to be more "subtle." He hasn't realized that their entire policy focus is wrong. He just thinks they're being too brazen about it.

We've asked Dodd (repeatedly, now) to actually come out and talk to the public. I'm sure the folks at Reddit would be happy to set up an AMA. We'd be happy to have him come and chat with our community as well. Yet, he refuses to do so. Instead, he continues to only lobby behind the scenes and blame the wrong parties in public. Things are never going to improve if he keeps on that path. He doesn't need to be "more subtle." He needs to actually understand what that public tried to tell him back in January. Instead, he seems to be sticking his fingers in his ears and taking random guesses.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 8:40am

    I'd be happy to see the MPAA and RIAA attempt to work with newer technologies and progress.

    To me that would be them acknowledging that you can make money, innovate and not alienate your consumer base. IT would also be a subtle nod to the awful way they've handled things since then.

     

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  2.  
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    Peter Brett, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:45am

    Is it April first?

     

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  4.  
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    Dr. Evil, May 21st, 2012 @ 8:55am

    a stopped clock is right twice a day

    except the MPAA is a digital clock.

     

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  5.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 8:56am

    LOL

    The MPAA doesn't create anything. They simply receive money to further the profit of the movie industry. When your sole purpose is to lobby for the protection of an antiquated business model, you will do whatever you can to accomplish your goal, regardless of what the public thinks.

    The problem Chris Dodd faces is that the distribution network and the communication platform are the same (the interwebs), effectively making it almost impossible to pass any enforcement legislation that would not trample the 1st and 4th Amendments. No matter how much money is thrown at the problem (lobbying); if legislation were to pass, it would eventually find its way to the Supreme Court.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:02am

    America was finished the day George W Bush took office.

    Stick a fork in it - it's done.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:05am

    The MPAA is so slow, they celebrate April Fools in late May.

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    Umm... even a random number generator is right x times out of (interval)...?

     

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  9.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Re:

    Yep, we all just had about six weeks between March 31st and April 1st

     

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  10.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re:

    Nah, the decline began much further back....around 1970, when the Evangelical Right began to rise.

     

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  11.  
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    Glen, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    I'm calling BULLSHIT on this one. Both parties are so corrupt that we are finished and it happened way before Bush. Don't be a partisan lapdog.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Ok, who the hell are you and what did you do with the real Chris Dodd?

     

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  13.  
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    John Doe, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:24am

    It's worse than this

    Instead, he seems to be sticking his fingers in his ears and taking random guesses.

    If this was the case, he would be right once in a while since the law of probability says that random guesses are correct occasionally. Instead, he is taking the position he is being paid to take. Money talks.

     

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  14.  
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    Gwiz (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:25am

    "We're in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that's going to need content..."

    Translation: The world revolves around us and all that tech shit is completely worthless without us.


    "We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented...."

    Translation: We need to keep our backroom deals a more secretive and oriented way out of the line of sight of the consumers.


    "We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery."

    Translation: Those little shits have commandeered another of our derogatory names again. Maybe something like "artist soul snatchers" or "baby music killers" could work.

     

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  15.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Dead link...

    The link to Dodd's quote is dead. Perhaps "they" didn't like him going even that far and scrubbed the post. (Today we're at war with Eastasia, and have always been; Eurasia is our ally, and has always been.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:28am

    'ICE, the government agency illegally seizing and censoring websites based on no evidence, just on the orders (not even the request) of the entertainment industries!'

    'Dodd might want to have a chat with his staffers' to dispel the 'theft' idea.

    i doubt if Dodd will be head of the MPAA for much longer, having come out with this. he must know something the rest of us dont. perhaps the writing is on the wall after all? or could it be that after those in power were reminded of how the US movie industry started in Hollywood? the man himself is a typical bully, though. as stated, he continuously blames the wrong people while lobbying for his organisation but he hasn't got the balls to actually have an open and informed discussion with anyone that disputes his view and then he belittles any evidence and survey results that contradict the made up opinions of Hollywood.

     

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  17.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Dead link...

    Nope. History intact. Here's the link to Dodd's quote: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118054314

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Dead link...

    Must've been Slashdotted...er...Techdirted.

     

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  19.  
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    Jordisaurus Rex, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re:

    Agreed! We were on the road to doom long before Bush, although he wasn't much of a help to be sure. We (The People) are the ones electing the goons, supporting the corporations, and spending our time watching tv and eating tacos in Dorito shells instead of paying attention to the news and thinking critically about important issues. The politicians might not be helping, and they might be easy to insult, but just blaming them isn't solving anything.

     

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  20.  
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    Keroberos (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:31am

    He needs to actually understand what that public tried to tell him back in January. Instead, he seems to be sticking his fingers in his ears and taking random guesses.
    He would have to put aside his 30+ years of experience in backroom dealings and lying to/manipulating the public before that can happen. I don't think that's very likely to happen, and is probably why he was given the job as boss of the MPAA in the first place (leaving aside payment for political favors).

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:32am

    "and consumer-oriented"

    Is he seeking to quit big content and work for big tech? Is this a revelation that big content is going to fail?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    "We're in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that's going to need content..."

    "Translation: The world revolves around us and all that tech shit is completely worthless without us."

    Good point. We already have content, it's just that this content doesn't come from them. It comes from us, we make our own content and distribute it. Their insinuation is that without them, this technology doesn't have content and we need them. No thank you. Without them, we'll all be better off because we'll have technologies, and a legal system, that will better facilitate independent content creators. We won't have Veoh and Megaupload killed for no good reason and independent content creators can use these means to distribute independent content. We won't have IP laws with a one sided penalty structure that prevents many restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers (and children from putting a custom drawing on their birthday cake). We won't have government established broadcasting and cableco monopolies. Content creators will better be able to distribute their content without going through these parasite middlemen that contribute absolutely nothing.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re:

    Seriously, I can't tell the difference between the parties, even with scorecards, a hunting dog, and a good flashlight.

     

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  24.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:48am

    "We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented...."

    BTW Mr. Dodd, I'm an almost-50 self-employed professional with plenty of disposable income; and I "pirated" Inception this weekend because it's not streamable on Amazon (citing "licensing agreements") or Netflix, and not on Cox On-Demand or in the local RedBox (as if I would leave the house to rent a DVD in 2012).

    Oh, and it's a high-quality DVDrip that I can stream off my laptop via a groovy wireless-HDMI dongle to my giant flatscreen and see/hear virtually no difference from the legal version.

    Have a nice day. Please advise where to send my $4.

     

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  25.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    Yeah...Chris Dodd that Big Red Dirty Republican who was appointed to the US Senate by Bush in 2000 when he took office.

    /ignorant partisan rant

     

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  26.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Ratchet up the hyperbole

    ...that the MPAA is "on the wrong track" when it calls infringement "theft."

    Yes, 'theft' is too weak. New term...MURDER!

     

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  27.  
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    rubberpants, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:02am

    I suspect the 'track' he thinks they should be on we would find even more objectionable.

     

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  28.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Having Dodd on Reddit or TechDirt would be like tossing a naked baby into a pit of wolves. Why would he ever agree to that?

    And honestly, his job is to be the bad guy for Hollywood so we hate the MPAA and not the studios. It doesn't matter if the public hates him as long as they still love their movies. After all, we wouldn't want the nerds to boycott The Avengers (not that they ever would anyway.)

     

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  29.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    Oh, Mr. Dodd ... and while I was at Pirate Bay, they were running ads for some super-cool Kickstarter projects, to whom I ultimately pledged a healthy chunk of my cash; and about which the good feelings I obtained overrode my residual guilt from "pirating" a Chris Nolan film, one of my fave directors.

    Have a doubly nice day.

     

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  30.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think the only difference is that one of the partied begins with a "d" and the other with an "r", when it comes to Intellectual Protectionism.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    paying attention to the news and thinking critically about important issues.

    Mostly I'm with you, but that statement (without a qualified 'check many news sources especially those not found on TV') is kind of an oxymoron.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Re: Ratchet up the hyperbole

    I think you may be on to something; it seems they are slowly trying to equate infringement with the much scarier things such as “cybercrime” so they can get laws passed that way. After all, who could possibly be for cybercrime? I mean who really cares about infringement, that just means some kid downloading a couple of songs but if we can convince people that this is serious crime like hacking a nuclear plant we can make all sorts of laws because no one wants a nuke plant to blow up.

     

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  34.  
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    MrWilson, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    Nah, the MPAA is the blinking 00:00 on the VCR, right after it strangled the movie industry to death...

     

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  35.  
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    John Doe, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, because the progressive liberals do so much right.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    No, the MPAA is the sun dial. They're still in the process of updating how they tell time.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    sundial *

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    Instead of mathematical induction, Hollywood invented Hollywood induction.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    Or maybe we can call it theatrical induction.

     

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  40.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    ...a high-quality DVDrip that I can stream...
    An often over-looked aspect of sharing/pirating/infringing/whatever is how participatory and educational the activity is. Comparing rips, commenting, giving and getting advice on program settings and workarounds - I've gotten more practical knowledge on current technology from spending an hour on TBP than any number of weeks in coursework.

    So excuse me, Mr. Dodd, but I'm no longer a 'consumer'. Regardless of the roadblocks thrown in the way, the products your employers distribute will be modded, in much the same way, and for the same reasons, that previous generations tinkered with their cars.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    On the subject of Dodd I personally think this man is a corrupt asshole and typical two faced Politician.I would not trust this schmuck for a second.
    As far as the MAFIAA I will continue on my lifetime Boycott of this Industry.I want nothing to do with them.I will spend what little money I have on INDIE & Kickstarter Content.The sooner I see the MAFIAA die the better.
    And on Washington Politics both Parties are totally corrupted and have been for decades.Every year it just gets worse.Better hope we are not all going to live to see another Civil War as bad times may be coming up real soon.
    Between Money & Politics as well as Religion mixed with Politics they are playing a very dangerous game.

     

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  42.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think there are very stark differences between the parties. It's just that they don't break cleanly into a good vs evil paradigm. Both parties are tainted and to varying levels corrupt, but that doesn't mean they're identical.

     

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  43.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Re:

    I've gotten more practical knowledge on current technology from spending an hour on TBP than any number of weeks in coursework

    Very good point. I did indeed use my time at TPB to take it out of the abstract and into the palpable and practical; and I did indeed gain some valuable knowledge.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    If you think that Dodd has any input on policy at the MPAA in the words of Greggory House, "Your A Moron".
    Dodd is a paid mouth piece nothing more, He says what he is told to say.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    anyone else have the urge to report the MPAA and RIAA websites to ICE as "PIRATE HAVENS"

     

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  46.  
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    Yoshord, May 21st, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Isn't groundhog's day something something six weeks?

     

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  47.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Ratchet up the hyperbole

    You wouldn't murder a car, WOULD YOU?

     

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  48.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re:

    You mean because that dirty piracy apologist Chris Dodd hangs out there?

     

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  49.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I never said they did, but the moment politics got into bed with extremists within its own country, the outlook wasn't good. The Evangelical Right was an example, but not the only one.

    What was worse was that the people, for whatever reason, not only allowed this to happen, but encouraged it.

     

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  50.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Ratchet up the hyperbole

    I would, but then I crash parked cars for a living.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Of course

    Calling infringement theft is a bad move because you lose credablity with anyone that has critical thinking skills.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    I still think Chris Dodd should be on trial for attempting to bribe a public official. This doesn't change that.

     

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  53.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    And honestly, his job is to be the bad guy for Hollywood so we hate the MPAA and not the studios.


    This is a really excellent point. I tend to use "MPAA" as shorthand to collectively refer to the handful of megastudios that have effectively declared war against our freedoms and culture. I simply take it as a given that people know that the MPAA is the studios.

    I should stop doing that.

     

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  54.  
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    Bayan Rafeh (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    "We're in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that's going to need content... We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented.... We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery."

    Show don't tell Mr. Dodd.

     

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  55.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Re:

    Having Dodd on Reddit or TechDirt would be like tossing a naked baby into a pit of wolves.

    You mean we'd allow him to suckle and raise him as one of our own?

     

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  56.  
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    Alana (profile), May 21st, 2012 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re:

    I would actually be more inclined to report ICE as a pirate haven, because of all the bullshit seizing they've done, like real pirates. ((Read: Djaz1))

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 7:10pm

    Re:

    I think it's hilarious (but yeah, not particularly surprising) that Dodd thinks that the only reason why anyone has technology is so they can "get free content".

    It's like accusing everyone who buys a car that they're only buying a car to break speed limits.

     

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  58.  
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    Niall (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: a stopped clock is right twice a day

    A sundial on a cloudy day that's missing the metal guide and any markings on the surface and that's been submerged under a 500 metre resevoir...

     

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  59.  
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    Niall (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:21am

    Re: Ratchet up the hyperbole

    So every time some 'pirate' 'steals' the latest Justin Bieber, the artist is 'murdered'? Wouldn't saying that be considered incitement?

    Or maybe they'll be more honest and say that it's their obscene profit margins being 'murdered'.

     

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  60.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re:

    He should be so lucky.

     

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  61.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    Well, a few seconds before reading this article I could bet my balls that I'd see the heavenly fires raining down on Earth in the apocalypse but I wouldn't see Chriss Dodd admitting MPAA is on the wrong track and comparing infringement with theft isn't right.

    Considering my balls are safe (I didn't bet) and I'm not seeing smoking human sculptures of charcoal around me burning in celestial fire and Dodd actually just did that... I will not doubt your phrase.

     

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  62.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 11:01am

    Let us see if it's not another empty line from an empty outfit.

     

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  63.  
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    sorbyl (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:08pm

    Parasites

    When you say

    Content creators will better be able to distribute their content without going through these parasite middlemen that contribute absolutely nothing.

    You sum it up entirely

    The media "industry" is losing it's cocaine fuelled control of what it always regarded as a long term, unassailable future.

    The respectability they try to project in their death throes is also laughable.

    Are we to believe that the "casting couch" is an urban myth?

    That Decca executives were so competent in judging "what the public wants/needs" that they rejected the Beatles?

    I rest my case

     

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  64.  
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    Silver Fang (profile), Sep 1st, 2012 @ 6:17am

    What truly disturbs me is copyright was originally supposed to be a case for the civil courts, but in the past 20 years, it's been taken over by the criminal justice system, which is why ICE is involved. So much for being a nation of laws!

     

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


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