by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 7th 2012 7:20pm
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 3rd 2012 6:34pm
Paramount Wants To Talk To Students About How They're All Thieves & Then Ask For Ideas On What To Do
from the still-not-getting-it dept
"an overnight fedex letter from Paramount expressing the extent to which they are ‘humbled’ and ‘surprised’ by the extent of the public reaction to SOPA/PIPA and asking to come to campus to talk to faculty and students about “content theft, its challenges, and possible ways to address it."Paramount specifically asks to give a "formal presentation followed by an open discussion period or to participate in a class session." First of all, actually having open discussions would be a good first step, because that's been lacking in this whole debate. But, I'm not sure starting off that conversation by referring to copyright infringement as "content theft" is the best way to kick things off. I know that the industry has chosen "content theft" as its moral panic phrase of the year, after they realized that the people they'd unfairly branded as "pirates" had taken back that phrase and turned it to their own advantage.
Why not hold a truly open discussion in which everyone can participate and talk about ideas as to the true nature of the problem? That discussion is happening every day out there on the "wild west" of the internet, if only the folk at the studios actually wanted to join in. Perhaps if they did so, they wouldn't be so terrified of the internet.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 16th 2011 8:48am
Harlan Ellison Sues Again; Because No One Could Have Possibly Came Up With The Same SciFi Ideas As He Did
from the how-much-does-he-get-paid-to-piss dept
In a video from a few years back that has made the rounds time and time again, and which we've posted before, Ellison discusses how "I don't take a piss without getting paid" and bitches about all those damn amateurs undercutting his rates by giving stuff away for free.
It ain't about the 'principle,' friend, its (sic) about the MONEY! Pay Me! Am I doing this for other writers, for Mom (still dead), and apple pie? Hell no! I'm doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!So it's not surprising that he's suing again. This time, he's suing 20th Century Fox and trying to stop the release of a new sci-fi movie, In Time, which he claims is a pure copy of one of his most famous works, "Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman" Of course, as we've discussed plenty of times, copyright is only supposed to cover specific expressions, and not ideas... and the "similarities" he lists certainly sound like ideas, not expressions:
Both works are said to take place in a "dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live." In both works, government authorities known as a "Timekeeper" track the precise amount of time each citizen has left.Of course, as Julian Sanchez points out, there are lots of sci-fi stories that have a very similar storyline (perhaps even more similar), including Logan's Run and The Quantum Thief. Maybe Ellison will sue over those too.
The complaint goes on to list similarities in the features of the universe as well as the plot surfaces -- the manipulation of time an individual can live, the type of death experienced by those whose time runs out, rebellion by story protagonists, and so forth.
Unfortunately, these days, courts have really blurred the line between what's an expression and what's an idea, so perhaps something comes of this. But, once again, this really is just about money... and competition. It turns out that Ellison recently sold the rights to "Repent Harlequin" and another movie is being made. So, Ellison would like to censor this competition. But, really, it's pretty ridiculous for Ellison to think that no one else could have possibly come up with similar ideas on their own. And even if they were built off that bit of an idea from his work, is it really such a problem that people created a different version of it? Does Ellison really believe that none of his work was built off ideas influenced by others?
I jumped over to Ellison's website to see if he'd put up any more colorful statements about the lawsuit (not that he'd want me to use them without paying him), but instead I find a splash page that just says:
"Why do people keep insisting that I join the 21st Century? I *LIVE* in the 21st Century! I just don't want to be bothered by the shitheads on the internet!"Seems like such a sweet guy.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 30th 2011 12:30pm
from the freedom-to-build dept
However, Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of Viacom, has taken this even further. The studio apparently sent a cease-and-desist to Todd Blatt, a mechanical engineer, who has been making 3D printable models of various movie props, sending them off to the popular 3D printing service Shapeways, and offering up the products. In this case, Paramount freaked out that he was offering a 3D printed version of the weird cube-like figure in the movie Super 8.
Obviously, the creator of such a product might run into trouble depending on how the technology is packaged. "Bring home a character from Transformers" might imply a false endorsement. "Look like Angelina Jolie" might constitute a violation of the actress' publicity rights. But copyright? Is a physical re-creation of an object on-screen a derivative?It definitely seems like a stretch, but if the entertainment industry is good at anything these days, it's stretching the meaning of copyright laws. While nothing more is likely to happen in this case, you can rest assured that this issue isn't going away, and there will almost certainly be court cases in the near future.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 28th 2011 10:26am
from the do-they-not-think? dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 14th 2011 1:23pm
from the duh dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 28th 2010 12:04pm
from the who's-copyright? dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 25th 2010 6:14pm
from the keep-whac-whac-whacing dept
- Napster was a Silicon Valley, venture capital-funded startup that tried to bend over backwards to figure out a way for the industry to embrace it and work with it legitimately. The entertainment industry had every opportunity to work out a reasonable deal, and instead took a hardline position, suing the company effectively out of business (though the brand later lived on).
- After Napster, just as many people warned, the file sharing market began to fragment and shifted to slightly more distributed operations, such as Grokster, Kazaa and Morpheus. These were a bit more difficult to work with, but all still involved company entities that had an interest in working with the entertainment industry. Once again, they were sued out of business.
- After Grokster, again the market fragmented even more, and a lot of the interest shifted to BitTorrent and tracker sites. These sites were often outside of the US, and not particularly interested in working with the entertainment industry to actually set up any kind of business relationship. And, still, the industry sued to get them shut down (a process that is still ongoing), while also seeking to pass specific laws against them.
- So here we are, and the market has fragmented even more and people have been driven even further underground to things like private cyberlocker sites. Hollywood is claiming that many of these sites are run by organized crime groups, though, we've yet to see any evidence to support that.
"Sometimes these sites look better than the legitimate sites," Huntsberry said. "That's the irony."That's not irony, Fred, that's your company and your colleagues failing for over a decade to come up with a way to properly satisfy consumer demand.
All in all, you actually start to wonder if Hollywood has this need to make up some big scary bogeyman to keep pushing its legislative agenda of granting more and more control and taking away more and more user rights. At first it was "file sharing sites." Then those were sued out of existence. So then it was BitTorrent trackers. And now its lockers. In fact, it's amusing that as part of Huntsberry's talk he basically admitted that three strikes laws aren't enough because they don't do anything to stop these file lockers. In other words, "we fought, and are still fighting, for three strikes laws that we know are useless." It's as if the entertainment industry has to just keep pointing out some huge new threat so that the government keeps paying attention to them.
Along those lines, techflaws.org points us to a German publication's coverage of the same Huntsberry talk, and it's interesting that The Hollywood Reporter version of the story appears to have conveniently left out the part where Huntsberry blames Google for all of this (that's a Google translation of the original). In that one, he calls Google the "biggest leech." Of course, the courts recently shot down that claim, but it looks like Viacom and its subsidiaries are sticking to the claim.
What's amazing, of course, is that if the folks at Paramount and other studios and record labels stopped looking for enemies everywhere, they would have realized there were tons of opportunities to adapt and embrace these things a decade ago. But each step of the way they've made things more difficult for themselves. It's a living case study in how not to respond to a disruptive market change.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 16th 2010 8:53am
from the good-for-them dept
"There were two conclusions we came to," said Dennis Maguire, president of Paramount Home Entertainment. "There hasn't been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox, and Redbox was allowing us to expand our business and ultimately make more money" than if the studio held back its DVDs to Redbox for a period of time.Of course, this is exactly what many people said when studios like Warner Bros., Universal and Fox demanded the 28 day release, but it's nice to at least see Paramount actually looking at the data and realizing that Redbox isn't the evil destroyer of Hollywood that some of its competitors have made it out to be.
by Dennis Yang
Fri, May 14th 2010 7:34am
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept
Yes, it appears Paramount promptly filed a DMCA takedown -- which seems like a fantastic way to kill excitement for the movie. According to the takedown, Brown's video "matched third party content," which, of course, is impossible since Transformers 3 has yet to be finished (let alone released) and obviously Brown took the video himself. The filming took place in a public alley, so anyone around is totally free to take pictures or video and share them.
Now, not only is it ridiculous to claim that these videos are covered under Paramount's copyright, it's hard to fathom why Paramount would want to bother quashing these videos at all. After Brown and Krimmel posted their videos, entertainment blogs picked the story up and started to build buzz about the movie. Isn't that a good thing? Personally, I really disliked the last Transformers movie, and this latest round of DMCA shenanigans isn't doing a very good job of convincing me to give the next installment another look.
On top of that, this is Paramount we're talking about -- which is a subsidiary of Viacom. Viacom, of course, is in the middle of a big lawsuit with YouTube, where one of the things Viacom has been claiming is that Google should just know what content is infringing and which is not -- and yet, here, again, Viacom is falsely claiming that videos infringe. This was actually a big problem in the lawsuit, where Viacom had to withdraw clips from the lawsuit, after it was determined that Viacom had uploaded them on purpose. Also, after being sued for bogus takedowns earlier, Viacom came to an agreement with the EFF that it would carefully review content before issuing takedowns. So, with all of that combined, you would think that Viacom would be a bit more careful than to take down videos taken by others of something happening in public.
In the meantime, to make things even more confusing, while Paramount issued a takedown on Brown's video, it apparently left Krimmel's up... for now, despite being basically the same thing. You can see that one (while it lasts) here: