NBC Universal & MPAA Get NYC To Run Propaganda 'Anti-Piracy' Ad Campaign
from the yeah,-that'll-work dept
Jarrett Streebin alerts us to the news (via BusinessInsider) that the the NYC Mayor’s Office of Michael Bloomberg is running an unintentionally hilarious ad campaign called Stop Piracy in NYC. This is actually a followup to an effort by the MPAA a few years back to get New York City to put in place even more stringent anti-camcording laws (it was already against the law to record a movie in the theater, but the MPAA demanded that it be made criminal, rather than civil, so that the NYC police could do its job for it). Of course, in order to do this, the MPAA simply made up numbers, claiming that 40% of all pirated movies came from camcorded films in NYC. The world is a large place, so attributing 40% of all such movies to NYC seemed like a stretch — made even more ridiculous when that same MPAA, just a few days later, claimed that 70% of all camcorded films come from Canada, where it was pushing for similar legislation. 40% plus 70% equals… a great big lie for political purposes — something the MPAA is no stranger to.
Reading through the details of the “ad campaign,” we’re not surprised to see the driving force behind it is our old friend, Rick Cotton, the General Counsel at NBC Universal, who often seems to have no shame in saying stuff that makes absolutely no sense concerning movie piracy. Cotton, most famously, is the guy who once made a filing with the FCC where he tried to claim that movie piracy was killing the American corn farmer. This ignored two rather important points: (1) people who watch unauthorized copies of movies can also eat popcorn and (2) corn — one of the most subsidized crops in the US — continues to grow as a market. Oh yeah, speaking of growing markets, have we mentioned how the movie industry keeps breaking records at the box office, despite all of this file sharing.
Is NYC spending taxpayer money on Hollywood propaganda, or is it being funded by the MPAA? According to one report, this is funded by the city itself, so, yes NYC taxpayer money is going towards this. The city is trying to downplay the cost, by saying it’s using resources it already has, but that also means those resources can’t be used for other ads. Wouldn’t it actually save more jobs if NYC wasn’t wasting taxpayer money on propaganda campaigns based on bogus information?
Anyway, the campaign has some hilariously misleading commercials. One has a guy pretending to offer bootleg DVDs, but if you take one, he says, the depressed looking person holding a boom mic next to him will lose her job. Of course, it’s not as if the MPAA and Cotton’s company have done everything possible to reject new business models that might keep more people employed. But, none of that matters according to the campaign. It’s because some kids, who would never buy the DVD in the first place, download a movie that someone won’t get a job. Uh huh. And it ends with the blatantly false line: “There’s no such thing as a free movie.” Someone should tell Nina Paley or Stevie Long or the folks at Double Edge Films or any of the filmmakers using Vodo, etc. There is such a thing as a free-to-consumer movie, contrary to the ad campaign’s central message. In fact, if the message is “if you’re watching a movie for free, it’s infringing,” then people probably shouldn’t turn on their TVs to watch movies played on broadcast TV.
The problem, once again, is not “piracy.” It’s folks like Rick Cotton thinking that the business model that Universal used to have must forever be the same. It’s pretty sad that NYC is supporting such backwards thinking.