The thing people don't consider is that the CD and DVD departments of movie studios and recording companies are run by people with experience in retail. They only think in terms of manufacturing, distribution and retail selling. They don't understand the Internet or how to make money from streaming. And they're also trying to protect their turf, because if a studio goes all streaming, then it won't need factories, trucks, warehouses OR THEM! I think that's what this really is about. A streaming model hands all the power over to high-tech guys with a different skill set. A lot of people will lose their high-paying jobs and their power within the business. That leads to a lot of screaming about falling DVD and CD sales and how the sky is falling.
If the studios and record companies could clear themselves of the retailers in their organizations, they could figure out another business model to bring in money. We've seen this before. When VHS was introduced, the executives in the theatrical rental department were the ones screaming against home video, and the MPAA sued instead of jumping on that new platform. It took the porn market to show the movie industry that tons of money could be made through home video.
The secret to success for the movie industry might be to put out blockbuster films steadily through the year and allow people to stream from day one instead of ganging up blockbusters in the summer and holiday seasons. Most of a film's money is made in the first couple of weeks of release. Let everyone who wants to see a film see it any way they want, either in a movie theater (maybe in 3D), at home, or on their iPads. By the time the revenue from that movie runs out in four weeks, then release the next blockbuster. Each studio then needs to put out 12 blockbusters a month and then fill in with some little films like teen horror flicks, romantic comedies, and so forth. If the studios did it right, they could have $100 million or more flow into their coffers every month and not have to worry about piracy!
Some people have commented about the low price GameStop will pay for used games and then mark them up 100% and sell them. But 100% mark up is the standard mark up for retail organizations. You have to think of the costs involved in running a store. Rent alone can cost between 5%-20% of gross sales. (Mall rent is towards the higher end.) Likewise employees can cost between 5%-20%. There's also utilities, taxes, accounting costs, technology costs. Additionally, for the company, there's the cost of opening new stores and the cost of closing down non-performing stores or subsidizing unprofitable stores. So 100% markup is fairly reasonable especially for a store where the average purchase is probably around $60.
Most of the commenters above are correct, however, it is an opinion piece, and it's a time-honored tradition of opinion pieces to inspire rebuttals and letters to the editors saying that the writer didn't know what he was talking about. Opinion pieces have never been held to the same standard as news articles, although I would have thought the editor should have done some research and rejected the piece if the fact were too far afield.
The issue of free news versus paid news is more of a newspaper cultural thing. Paid newspapers have always looked down their noses at free "advertisers" as traditional newspapers would call them. But the free newspapers is actually the only segment of the news market that's growing. They can be hyper local with their stories and their ads. But the paid newspapers are still fighting the notion of giving away their product for free and it could be their downfall.
Also, I know many journalism graduates who couldn't get work at traditional newspapers and are writing online instead. Does that make them any less journalists? You can be a journalist without working for a newspaper.
jupiterkansas had a good comment about Hollywood buying up anything on the Internet that becomes successful. We're seeing that in the publishing business. Publishing companies are buying up successful e-books like 50 Shades of Gray to keep readers from looking for them online. And publishers don't want more writers like JK Rawling selling their books themselves online.
As has been pointed out here before, a recording artist can make as much money selling two iTunes songs than they could for an entire album's worth of material from the record companies. So the recording companies give huge contracts to the Lady Gagas of the world to keep them from selling directly to consumers. But the genie may already be out of the bottle!
Both Pandora and Spotify are basically working for the record companies. Both companies are giving over 60% of their revenue just for royalties and both companies are still losing money because the royalty model is unsustainable. Britain had pirate radio stations because stations couldn't make money while also paying the music performance royalties. How long can Pandora and Spotify hold out under the current fee schedule?
Let Taplin keep putting his foot in his mouth! He'll wind up like the global warming people who put out so much misinformation (New York City should be under water by now) that people stopped taking them seriously. Taplin's with the recording companies not the artists!
Actually Tracphone has a problem like this. Tracphone sells the phones for less than what they cost to make and then makes its money on customers putting minutes on them. A lot of foreigners scoop up the phones and ship them home and sell them at a profit.
The story should mention an ABC memo where the network asked its producers why they were licensing foreign shows when they could just steal the ideas and develop their own shows based on the concept. Look at CBS with its version of a Sherlock Homes series next fall that was obviously inspired by Stephen Moffitt's new take on Holmes for the BBC.
This is what happens when the government gets involved. Rather than actually looking over someone's qualifications, it just demands a certification whether that certification means anything or not. A lot of these regulations were also pushed for by teacher unions to try to keep the number of applicants down. It's been so effective that many large cities actually can't fill the number of teacher openings they have.
In Massachusetts the requirements have been increased to the point that someone who may already be teaching would have to take full-time courses for a year to obtain certification. Many people don't have that luxury.
For a lot of people, the only option is private schools where they prize knowledge and experience over how many education courses someone has taken. Discipline is also much better at private schools since the schools can actually kick out disruptive students, so working at a private school can be easier although the pay is usually less.
Also, like a lot of commenters, I don't see how Mike's wife was hired by the Chicago Schools without all the necessary paperwork. In fact, I don't see how she could have even applied without submitting all the forms I'm sure they required her to submit.
All lawyers file these kind of motions. Every defense lawyer will file a motion to dismiss every charge against his client, the prosecution will counter with every argument they can make. It's all just typical stuff.
However, if you make too many ridiculous arguments, a judge will get angry at you and it could taint your whole case. So I say to the US attorneys, keep it up! Get the judge angry at you and he might toss the whole case!
I once walked by an art gallery and saw some poorly painted canvases of Marvel and DC superheroes in the window. The artist was definitely NOT a comic book artist. But I wondered how the gallery had the right to sell something like that. I know that real comic book artists who do artwork for fans always feel they have to keep their heads down for fear Marvel and DC might stop them from doing fan artwork. Now, at least, there's a court case that legitimizes it.
This is a typical tactic that media companies have been using for decades. When they don't get what they want, they just keep hammering away trying to find a loophole or keep lobbying Congress to change the laws. A copyright expert has pointed out there's been something like 22 changes to copyright law over the past 40 years and the media industries still say they need more protection. It should also be pointed out that as a whole, media is raking more money than ever. Any losses individual companies experience are usually due to mismanagement and bad decisions.
It reminds me of the story about Will Wheaton visiting Congress when it was trying to pass SOPA and PIPA. Congressmen told him he was the first person they met who was against the laws. Apparently, Congress does nothing but meet with lobbyists all day, every day and it's not even aware that someone might be against the laws it passes.
Number of books printed has increased each decade...
For the people trying to come up with a conspiracy theory about why there's a dip in books in print post-1923, the number of titles printed has risen each decade, so that makes the dip even more pronounced.
As a general comment, probably 95% of everything ever published never gets reprinted until it enters the public domain. It's crazy that the US keeps extending the copyright period just to keep a handful of works out of the public domain.
I keep remembering what Randy Jackson pointed out some time ago -- that when the record labels began merging and consolidating in the early 2000s, they cut the number of artists under contract from 32,000 to 12,000 and then expected CD sale numbers to be the same. If those 20,000 artists sold a measly 10,000 CDs each, the industry itself cut sales by 200 million CDs or more in pursuit of profits. Dropping an Elvis Costello doesn't necessarily mean those fans are going to buy a Bruno Mars CD instead. In all likelihood, you've lost a customer forever, and that's what happened. The industry did the wrong thing at the wrong time and did it to itself.
I've been thinking of this for some time, but I would love to see a "collaborators" section in the copyright law that would allow people to alter a work, clearly label it as a mash-up or some such term so it would not be confused with the original, and then have something like 90% of any income derived from it go to the original copyright holders and 10% go to the remixer. Maybe you could license it through the Copyright Clearance Center. The 10% would be just enough of a financial incentive to get people working on such projects and it would allow these projects to be legally exhibited. As Brent pointed out, a re-edit of a work might drive people to buy the original, resulting in even more revenue for everyone involved. The whole point of public domain was to enable people to do this after a reasonable amount of time. But where the US felt that 20 years was a long enough time in the 1800s, and 56 years in the 1900s, now we have 95-150 year time periods in the 2000s, which is not a reasonable amount of time. This kind of addition to the copyright law might bring the spirit of public domain back to the law, but at the same time assuring that copyright holders would still make money for 95+ years!