MPAA Helps New York City Down The Path Of Pointless Legislation

from the this-will-help-how? dept

With a strong push from the MPAA, it looks like New York City is following California’s path as a place that will making recording a movie in a theater a criminal, rather than civil, offense. While it is questionable as to whether or not it should really be a criminal offense (especially in cases where it’s just someone with a cameraphone recording a brief snippet), the bigger issue is how pointless this entire law really is. It’s being positioned as a key part of New York’s strategy to support the movie industry by stomping out counterfeiting. Of course, it’s doing so by trying to stomp out the counterfeiting methods of a decade ago — not what’s going on today. The movies you buy on the street, for the most part, aren’t filmed by some guy in a theater, but are downloaded off the internet from a print that leaked out at the pressing plant or an advance screener copy or countless other ways that high quality versions get out there. The announcement also says a new law will be put in place that will make landlords responsible for the activities of their tenants if they “turn a blind eye” to counterfeiting operations. While you can understand the rationale for this law, it does sound pretty broad. How do you classify “turning a blind eye” and how will it be shown that a landlord knew about the activities? If anything, this sounds like an attempt to pressure landlords into spying on their tenants and reporting suspicious behavior. Overall, this sounds like a lot of special effects, but little real substance in the movie industry’s fight to regain control.

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Comments on “MPAA Helps New York City Down The Path Of Pointless Legislation”

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Who? says:

First Post

Video taping a movie in a theatre is pretty much like taping a movie that appears on TV. Selling and distributing such things I can see as being illegal. That would be stealing. But its more annoying to the people in the theatre than a lost of product for the theatre and movie makers.

Nothing can replace the movie going experience in theatres. Even if you have the same setup at your home, it isn’t quite the same as getting in a crowded theatre with a lot of strangers and your friends to watch something you’ve never seen before.

The MPAA needs to stop trying to fortify their outdated business model before things get even more stupid.

Wolf says:

Why do you think going to the theater is so great? I hate going to the theater. It’s the most pointless waste of money – Spend $7-$14 for tickets, $5 for STALE pop-corn, $4 for FLAT soda (and certainly no alcohol), and then if the movie is popular or good, you have to fight to find seats so that your family can all sit together, and then you have to put up with finding parking, idiot hecklers, gang bangers, punks, stuff being spilled on you, people talking on their cell phones, people who have no courtesy or respect for others, crying babies and small children in the R-rated movie showing who have no business being there, and cussing in G-rated movie showings, and a sound system that is either crappy, over-driven, too loud, or any combination of the three!

Screw that. I’d rather wait six months, stay home, pay $3 for my all-day pay perview on DirecTV, pop my own FRESH popcorn for less than $1 (or even have a FULL MEAL), pour my own drink (of ANY variety) for less than $2, sit in my comfortable lounge chair or on my leather sofa, with my family, watch a movie as MANY times as I want, on my dolby 5.1 surround sound in Hi-DEF on my 47″ flat screen LCD, and not have to put up with all the other idiots! Oh, and did I mention, I never have to worry about parking????

Oh, and with Tivo, I can record the movie and watch it again if something has to take me away from it for a while – with the ADDED bonus of NOT having to pay to see it AGAIN!

Theaters are old-tech. Most people don’t even go anymore because of the hassles and the cost! For a night at the theater for one movie, I can watch 5-6 movies at home on my system and have a BETTER experience than I ever could at the theater!

Yes, the MPAA is stupid, and so is RIAA. They are clueless, and trying to force all of us to go back to what is now acient technology!

They will never be able to stop the pirating or the “illegal downloads”. Their best course of action is to recognize this fact, and research better ways to distribute their stuff.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ah, the ad-hominem attack. Can’t think of anything to say, so you attack the character of the speaker. What style.

I’m with him, but not for the same reasons. There are very few movies out there that are worth the expense and hassle for me – mostly sci-fi epics, for which a big screen is a “must”.

Last one I watched was Narnia, past year. Other people weren’t a problem, but they weren’t necessary either.

The theater experience has lost a lot of its glitz and the experience is now horribly overpriced. Add the rise of home-based entertainment into the mix and it’s clear why numbers are dropping. The metroplex is fast going the same way as the drive-in.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Re: Behold! the ad-hominem attack...

Can’t think of anything to say, so you attack the character of the speaker. What style.

I’m with him, but not for the same reasons. There are very few movies out there that are worth the expense and hassle for me – mostly sci-fi epics, for which a big screen is a “must”.

Last one I watched was Narnia, past year. Other people weren’t a problem, but they weren’t necessary either.

The theater experience has lost a lot of its glitz and the experience is now horribly overpriced. Add the rise of home-based entertainment into the mix and it’s clear why numbers are dropping. The metroplex is fast going the same way as the drive-in.

Aaron Friel says:


Your theatre must suck.

Because I work at one, doing mostly Projection nowadays.

Let’s enumerate your ailments, and counter them:
1. Ticket prices too high.
2. Concessions prices too high.
3. Concessions are stale (or flat, in the case of carbonated beverages.)
4. No alcohol.
5. Lack of good seating.
6. “Idiot hecklers, gang bangers,” people without courtesy or respect, &c.
7. People buying tickets to R-Rated movies who shouldn’t.
8. Swearing in G-rated movies.
9. Crappy sound system (over-driven, too loud, etc.)

To make the following easier to understand:
Movie company: Company that produces the movie, such as MGM.
Film company: Company that manufactures the prints of the film after receiving the final cut from the movie company.
Theatre company: Most theatres in the US are owned by parent companies, but they are not so cheap to build so as to be franchisable.

Here’s where you’re wrong on most counts in most theatres that try to please the customer:
1. Ticket prices are high because the film costs a lot. Every print of film costs ~$600 per reel, with each reel being about 18 minutes of footage. That means you sitting your whiny arse down in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest means the movie company needs to recoup the cost of every print they make. For Pirates, that’s 9 reels, averaging $600 a reel, so… $5400 Most of the ticket price goes to the movie company. That’s not counting the price of the movie, which is measured in tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
2. Concession prices are high because the company gets virtually no money from opening weekend sales. Without concessions, the theater would very nearly collapse, with opening weekend sales mostly going to movie companies.
3. My theatre, at least, requires that popcorn be sold the same day that it is made, and we continually pop popcorn all night on Fridays and Saturdays, because of the necessity (if we stop, we run out.) Ask your theatre’s manager about their policies, or inform them that it’s stale if it is. As for carbonated beverages being flat… who are you trying to fool here, Dorpus? The CO2 tanks last months upon months. You are more likely to have a beverage that did not have enough syrup in it (syrup being out) than for it to be flat from lack of carbonation.
4. First, they’d have to get a liquor license. Second, they don’t want to get a liquor license. Too many college kids to have to ID, slowing down lines, too much hastle with older people buying younger people drinks. Oh, and then the behaviour in the theatre would rapidly deteriorate as a function of alcohol consumed.
5. Buy matinee tickets, buy tickets on weekdays, or actually show up 10-15 minutes before the show starts, or more. Or even call ahead and ask how many seats remain in your theatre. There are numerous ways to ensure adequate seating, but it sounds like you don’t even go to movies.
6. Complain about them. We don’t want them in our theatre, and you don’t want them in our theatre. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to have eyes and ears in every theatre. And most people quiet down as soon as they see someone looking like an employee. That makes it hard for us to tell who is doing something wrong. Your complaints expedite the matter, but don’t take it out on us.
7. We have strict policies on R-Rated films, and frequently check tickets at the door. However, there’s nothing illegal about parents buying tickets for their children, and that’s something you’ll have to accept. Again, if somebody is being bothersome, complain.
8. Again, complain. I’ve never heard of somebody using vulgar language in a G-Rated movie, and at this point, hell, earlier, I think you’re just making up things that have never happened to you.
9. Talk to the manager, they’re most likely a projectionist. Ask them if they use analog, SDDS, Dolby Digital, or DTS. Ask them which auditoriums have the best sound system (it can sometimes differ.) Keep in mind, trailers are frequently much louder than the feature, and there is very little that the projectionist can do about it. If the sound system is overtaxed, you can always inform the manager.

Frankly, I think you’re making things up. If you think your dinky home theater setup compares to the average quality in a multiplex, you’re very, very wrong. Even HDTV doesn’t compare to 35mm, or even 16mm by most accounts.

MadJo (profile) says:

Re: Wolf

1) fair indeed. The prices in the Dutch cinemas while high aren’t really that bad. 🙂
2) charging more for a small can (33ml) of cola than you need to pay for a large bottle (2l) of cola in a store, is pretty outragious. But I do agree with you, that concession prices are what keep a movie-theater going.
3) I, too, never had any stale drinks or popcorn in my theatres.
4) I think the situation is different in different countries. In The Netherlands some cinemas sell alcoholic beverages, but others don’t.
5) Only at very popular movies (and mostly at opening days) I’ve had the issue of searching for seating.
6) Yeah, throwing popcorn, talking during the movie etc. that’s pretty bad.
7) Indeed, ticket-booths are strict in enforcing the age-ratings. Even in The Netherlands and Belgium. 🙂
8) I think the topic-starter was talking about visitors of the movie that were cursing, and not the movie itself. Not sure if you can do anything about that, except complain indeed.

I have not encountered such things, but I did encounter trailers for R-rated horror movies before a G-rated movie, where children were attending. The projectionist had probably started the wrong reel. Still it was pretty bad.

9) Overtaxed sound happens quite a lot, especially in older theatres. Though I’ve also noticed it in newer ones, too. And that’s during the movie, and not in the trailers (though those are indeed very loud)

Solo says:

It would sound that New York City (but not just New York City, other big cities as well) would have greater problems than the crime of selling bootlegs copies of DVD off the street.

Wow, don’t run after the crack dealer, I need you arrest this dude, he is selling the Grudge2 on the sidewalk here!

Also, $8-$14 for a movie is expensive? Try any major sport event. Or a concert. Or please, don’t try, it’ll kill ya. “Back in my days, gas used to be a nickel a gallon!!!”

The infamous Joe says:

Subject of Comment

Why buy an illegal DvD when you can just download it for free?

I also can’t help but aggree with #9– although illegal, I really think there are more “important” crimes than Illigal DvD’s, though, if I was the MPAA, and saw my business model crumbling around me, I’d probably freak out and start looking for a shortcut to preventing it (as opposed to just taking some time to fix it)

Oh, and Captain Cinema, while I’m sure Theaters everywhere love you, I now know entirely too much about the interworkings of the entire theater system– which only loosely connects to the actual article above. 🙂

Mr. Wolf, typing in caps isn’t yelling, but the fact that you think it is, uh.. pwns me. 😛

Happymellon says:

Movie Experiance

Last time I went to a theater, it was for the Departed. R rated in case you don’t know. Child, couldn’t have been over 4 months old cried the whole way through. We went to go get management to get them to shut up, management did nothing. Child screams for another half hour. Several other people go complain to management. I tell them to please keep the kid quiet, after no one does anything about it. They scream at me that I’m interrupting their movie experience and call the f**king on me for disturbing the peace??? Not even management back us up when the cop asks if anyone complained about the kid. The same guy I saw lass than an hour before. I refuse to go to see movies if thats how I’m treated.

cb says:


Way to go Aaron. Nice Comments Madjo. Happymellon, come to my theatre. Kids get on chance and we refund the parent their money. We are not over priced, $ 6.00 for an Adult, the popcorn is as fresh as you can get it, made on the spot. Alcohol, why ? Popcorn throwers, people talking on cell phones they leave if they get caught. R rated trailers on G movies, NEVER. Sounds like the theatre you go to is run by a bunch of kids. This month we celebrate 32 years in the movie business. We take pride in our business. Stay home and watch TV at home.

Chris says:

I only frequent "drafthouses"

There ARE theaters that serve alcoholic beverages. They’re called drafthouses, but they aren’t all that common in most states/

I have a lot of the same complaints that most do about high prices, crowds, overly loud/bad sound systems, so I might go to a the typical movie theater once a year, if that.

But if you’re lucky enough to live near a drafthouse, everyone there will be 21+ years old, and you can enjoy a drink or two, along with some real food during your movie experience (waitresses take your order). At my local drafthouse, the screen and the overall technology ain’t great, and the movies are all 6+ months old. But the price is cheap, alcohol is served, and the crowd is respectful. Plus, they tend to show classics like Monty Python on random Friday/Saturday nights. I’d go there anyday of the week, over the huge multiplexes filled with the kids and the cellphones and hecklers that so many people are fed up with.

Just a personal opinion…check out your local drafthouse, if you have one.

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