Why Won't The MPAA's Lawyers Identify Themselves?

from the what-are-they-scared-of? dept

One interesting tidbit to come out of the MPAA and RealNetworks suing each other over Real’s DVD backup software: the lawyers for the MPAA who presided over the press conference announcing the lawsuit asked the press not to identify them. This is bizarre. What sort of spokesperson won’t allow themselves to be identified? And why would the MPAA’s lawyers do that? More importantly, why would the press oblige?

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Comments on “Why Won't The MPAA's Lawyers Identify Themselves?”

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GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

The answer is simple.

If their names are publicized, then their children and parents are very likely to find out what the REALLY do for a living.

This makes for awkward Thanksgiving meals:

RIAA Lawyer “Bob”: “Mom, could you pass the gravy, please?”

Mom: “Sure Son, here’ya go. And darling, please remember that no amount of my Giblet Gravy can wash away that empty feeling you have inside you because you’re working for the GOD-DAMNED MPAA!”

another mike says:

Re: The answer is simple.

She should make him sign a EULA and purchase a license for the gravy. And agree to the DRM, dinner rights management.
When he goes to pour a second scoop of gravy on his mashed potatoes, she stops him and is like, “Oh, you only purchased a license for one ladle of gravy. Would you like to buy a license for a second ladle full?”
Then when he tries to pour the second ladle of gravy on his stuffing instead of his mashed potatoes, “Oh no wait, that’s gravy for mashed potatoes. You’ll need to license a ladle of stuffing formatted gravy to do that.”
Now that there’s different types of gravy dripping all over the plate, “Son, your turkey is infringing on the gravy you licensed. You can agree to a pre-settlement offer to clear the table after dinner, or have to do all the chores for the next year when we win in court.”
You weren’t wrong GeneralEmergency, you just didn’t carry it to its logical conclusion.
The next year, when Thanksgiving is at the lawyer’s house and his wife makes Mom’s gravy, she gets sued for recipe infringement.

Anonymous Coward says:

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

The MPAA top man was Jack Valenti for many years. You may recall Valenti was also a presidential adviser prior to MPAA life.

During MPAA tenure, he famously said to congress “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” With roots in maintaining existing distribution and business models, it isn’t surprising they want to be quiet.

I know I’m pulling this a little off-topic here, but understand that the main function of MPAA is the ratings system. In a critical documentary completed in 2006, “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” was submitted to the MPAA for a rating. During submittal of this movie to the MPAA, it received a NC-17 rating, even though it failed to meet criteria published criteria for a NC-17 rating. The rating was subsequently surrendered, and in an interesting twist, it received a TV-14 rating via the Congressional TV Parental Guidelines system.

Oh, I believe “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” does name some names. Could this be why it got a NC-17 rating?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There are always a few people who want to make everything into something of a personal attack, and this is sad. I was merely asking that the commenter channel their anger into doing a few Google Searches and bring back a work product which includes something constructive.

I invite you to read my previous post:

Anonymous Coward says:

What happens when an organization that is best known for inveighing against the unauthorized copying of movies gets caught doing exactly that? The Motion Picture Association of America was caught with its pants down, admitting to making unauthorized copies of the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated in advance of this week’s Sundance Film Festival.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated looks at the motion picture ratings system created and run by the MPAA. Director Kirby Dick submitted the film for rating in November. After receiving the movie, the MPAA subsequently made copies without Dick’s permission. Dick had specifically requested in an e-mail that the MPAA not make copies of the movie. The MPAA responded by saying that “the confidentiality of your film is our first priority.”

Dick later learned that the MPAA made copies of the film to distribute them to its employees, despite the MPAA’s stance on unauthorized copying. Ah, there’s nothing like the smell of hypocrisy in the morning—apparently the prohibition against copying films without the copyright owner’s consent doesn’t apply to the MPAA. A lawyer for the MPAA justified the organization’s apparent hypocrisy by saying that Dick had invaded the privacy of some MPAA staffers, which justified the MPAA’s actions.

“We made a copy of Kirby’s movie because it had implications for our employees,” said Kori Bernards, the MPAA’s vice president for corporate communications. She said Dick spied on the members of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration, including going through their garbage and following them as they drove their children to school.

A little background: This Film looks at how the rating system functions, specifically at how some types of content are treated differently by the MPAA. Dick feels that the MPAA is full of—surprise—double standards, especially when it comes to how they treat graphic violence vs. sexual content, heterosexual vs. homosexual sex, and big-studio vs. independent films. As part of the documentary’s creation, Dick trailed and identified some of the previously anonymous members of the ratings board. Dick’s conduct became a cause for concern for both the MPAA and its employees, leading to their calling the police on some occasions.

According to Mark Lemley, a professor at the Stanford Law School, the MPAA may have been within its rights to make copies of the film. Given that the MPAA’s intent isn’t financial gain and that the whole situation may rise above the level of trading barbs through the media into legal action, making a copy may be justified. Personally, I can’t see any justification for an organization such as the MPAA ignoring a directive from a copyright owner, but IANAL. A “digital version” of the movie was submitted for screening, according to Dick’s attorney, Michael Donaldson. If that digital version turns out to be a DVD, the MPAA could also find itself in hot water for violating the DMCA. Oh, the irony! Either way, the MPAA can’t be happy about being put into a position where they are forced to justify the same actions they decry when undertaken by a consumer.

It’s difficult to see how This Film Is Not Yet Rated—which ended up with an NC-17 rating for graphic sexual content—is being harmed. If nothing else, Dick is reaping a bountiful crop of free publicity on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. The MPAA’s decision to make copies of the film without the copyright-holder’s permission reinforces the documentary’s message that the MPAA’s actions often reek of self-interest and hypocrisy.

Anonymous Coward says:

rent, rip, and return

stopping all the programs that make this possible is like ridding the ghetto of roaches.

Maybe they should spend their energy on making better content and embracing the technical age instead of trying to blow us back into the stone age.

I had never heard of this before but man it is a great idea, Thanks! There are SO many FREE programs out there for coping disks!

As always their attempts to stop what they don’t like only promotes it!


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Heres why...

15000 emails? If you don’t get any results from that, your reaching the wrong people.

Who contributes to the MPAA PAC and who are beneficiaries? Opensecrets.org is a good resource.

Contributors and Recipients.

Note: MPAA seems to contribute to people not up for current election cycle, so you may want to look at 2007, 2006 or prior cycles.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Studios Sue to Bar a DVD Copying Program

New York Times Article: Studios Sue to Bar a DVD Copying Program

?We are disappointed that the movie industry is following in the footsteps of the music industry and trying to shut down advances in technology, rather than embracing changes that provide consumers with more value and flexibility for their purchases,? RealNetworks said in a statement Tuesday.

Anonymous MPAA loather says:

Unless the court documents are sealed

I doubt that MPAA and their lawyers could get those documents sealed without the agreement of their victims. I know if they made a request like that of me while they were suing me, my price for preserving the privacy of lawyers so low that they would file lawsuits on behalf of the MPAA on the shaky evidence they have would be pretty high.

If the court documents aren’t sealed, then it’s just a matter of time before someone requests a copy and transcribes them. I expect they’ll turn up on Groklaw any day now.

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