Of course, if MPAA execs feel they are above the law, this is only reinforced when they are continually allowed to accompany law enforcement officials in this capacity. As the alleged victims in cases like this, no one associated with the MPAA (actually no one other than law enforcement) should have been allowed any where near evidence in the first place.
Maybe if a few cases like this get thrown out on those grounds some of this would start to change...
The issue of obviousness is not really about if you yourself could have created it, though you could certainly argue it should be. This is because a lot of patents these days focus on a general concept or at best a vague description of a process, and it is these sort of vague patents that seem to pop up in these circumstances most often.
To use your building materials analogy, a patent for a "mixed slurry that can be poured into a form and allowed to harden in order to form a structure" is very different from a patent that specifically describes the detailed mixture used as well as the specifics of the process. While the latter patent is unlikely to pose a threat to innovation, an unscrupulous patent-holder could use the former example to go after all sort of things - glue, for example.
In my opinion, patents like the first example should not be allowed and should be declared invalid, but these are the types of patents causing issues. When a company can file a patent for a 'capacitive touch screen' years after cell phones with touch screens have become common place, there is a serious problem.
While this argument is logical and lucid, you seem to be making two poor assumptions:
1) You assume that making the movie available online will only make a marginal difference in the size of your market, which may not be true at all. Of course the size of the market is not unlimited, but I suspect it can be expanded significantly.
2) You assume that downloads or PPV would have to be far cheaper than actual movie tickets, which is flat out false. You can easily charge $5-6 for a PPV movie. Plus, while people often complain about the price of movie tickets, many would be fine paying the same (or more) to see a PPV movie at home the day it's released in theaters.
You should also consider the changing home entertainment market in general. The simple fact is that, as prices of large HD TVs and surround sound system make these products more available, a larger portion of the market can get as good a movie experience at home as they could at the theater (if not better).
My wife and I have spent less than $4000 over the past 3 years or so on our TV, receiver and speakers. We used to see a movie in the theater once or twice per week. Then we had kids and it dropped to once or twice per month. Now, even when we have the opportunity we prefer to watch movies at home. The experience is just better.
The only reason we would consider going to the theater is because we want to see a newly released move, but as we don't have the chance it rarely happens. As TasMot mentioned, by the time its available on PPV or disc we've forgotten about it, and you never see our money.
1) Make PPV (and maybe even discs) available opening week, you can charge the same as a movie ticket.
2) Lower DVD/Blu-Ray prices by $2-5 dollars, I'll buy far more Blu-Rays.
Do that, and you will get far more money out of my little portion of the market.
Of course, there may a significant number of content creators who are now unable to retrieve their own data, which I have a serious problem with. If the government wants to move forward smartly, their next step should be to allow users to access Megaupload to download their own files. Just order the site back online for 48 hours, no uploads, no deleting files, no downloading from other users, just access your own stuff.
I agree that Anon may have made a mistake here, but I think the government has to be cautious too. A lot of people have come out against SOPA/PIPA lately, and the government's actions and timing were not well chosen. If the government handles this poorly, we may see larger groups within the mainstream population start viewing Anonymous more sympathetically.
There is no scenario where large numbers of average people even having to think about if they should side with the government or a group of "cyber-terrorists" is a good thing for the government. This needs to be handled intelligence and rational consideration. Unfortunately, the government has not displayed much of either lately.
A good point, but I also think it's important to consider the fundamental difference between a website and a brick-and-mortar business. I somehow doubt that getting a court order to shutdown a physical business with locations in countries around the world would be nearly as easy as getting an order to shut down a site. At a minimum you would typically have to notify and arrest individuals BEFORE closing all the businesses.
This is one of those situations where I think the internet may need to be treated differently. Just providing the accused with an opportunity to respond to the allegations before switching off their business would go a long way.
Good article. It's also worth noting a couple of other issues with the current pricing/distribution model for PC games.
First, developers might see more success in selling PC games if they actually developed games for the PC. These days too many games are simply console ports, with absolutely no UI optimization for the PC and poor graphics. Want me to pay full price for your new game on the PC, then update the UI, include hi-res textures, and at least marginally current graphics features.
Second, while the electronic distribution models do provide a service and convenience, PC gamers are not stupid. They know it does not cost anywhere near the same to release an all-digital game as it does to release and distribute a retail box, particularly when extras are included. It doesn't cost the same to but electronic downloads of a new album as it does to by the CD, and games should operate the same way.
Developers should also consider leveraging the very thing they keep complaining about - the PC gaming community. When you include them in testing and development, you will find they can actually be extremely helpful. Due to many technical issues, it's just not the same with console gamers.