Irony Alert: NYC's Anti-Piracy Propaganda Campaign Using 'Free' YouTube

from the free-free-free dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about the anti-piracy propaganda campaign that NYC has been running, paid for by taxpayer dollars, which spreads typical MPAA FUD, and concludes with the line: “There’s no such thing as a free movie.” However, in looking over the campaign, I just realized that the videos are hosted on YouTube… for free. In other words, while NYC and its Hollywood friends are claiming that if you get something for free, it must be illegal, they’re making use of free online services themselves. Without YouTube, they’d have to pay for the hosting, bandwidth, streaming software, etc. themselves. But this way, they get it for free.

Now, it’s absolutely true that YouTube could monetize the videos with ads (though, I don’t see any on that video right now), but that sort of reinforces the point. There are all sorts of business models that allow you to offer something for “free” to the end user, but are monetized elsewhere. YouTube does exactly that. It offers what would otherwise be quite expensive (hosting, bandwidth, streaming software, etc.) and gives it all away for free, and has built a whole business around that. There’s nothing saying that the movie industry can’t do the same thing. Rather than falsely stating that there’s no such thing as a “free” (to the consumer) movie, there are certainly plenty of ways that the movie industry could monetize movies that were offered free to consumers. It’s just that the legacy players choose not to. And then complain. And get politicians to waste taxpayer money…

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Comments on “Irony Alert: NYC's Anti-Piracy Propaganda Campaign Using 'Free' YouTube”

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Karl (profile) says:

Re: Ripe for satire.

Damn it, accidentally hit the “enter” key…

Ever since I saw this video, I was thinking that it’s ripe for satire…

Vendor: “Free movies! I got free movies!”

Passer-by: “Really? They’re free?”

Vendor: “FRRRREEEE. But there’s a catch… If you take these movies, this nice woman right here, loses her job.”

Passer-by (to nice woman holding boom mic): “Oh, that’s terrible… What was the last movie you worked on?”

Nice woman: “The Last Airbender.”


Passer-by: “I’ll take ALL OF THEM.”

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ripe for satire.

What about…

“Excuse me sir. Did you know you could be streaming all the movies you want right to your TV, including new releases and the entire back catalogue of film, for a reasonable monthly fee – while also getting exclusive deals on memorabilia, home entertainment devices and screening parties here in the city?”

“Wow, really?”

“Yes, but we won’t let you. Instead we’re going to fire this woman if you don’t buy a DVD for $14.99”

RD says:

Re: Re: Re: Ripe for satire.

“Yes, but we won’t let you. Instead we’re going to fire this woman if you don’t buy a DVD for $14.99”

Marcus – BEST G-D analogy of this problem EVER. “We wont let you” seems to be the entire business plan for the MPAA and RIAA. “You get what WE say, and nothing more!” Until this attitude changes, they cant expect people to allow ALL of human culture and arts to be locked away behind big corporate/monopoly interests and never seen/shared/enjoyed.

RD says:

Re: Re:

“YouTube can be legal (and often is). Talk about trying to create a story.”

Guess reading comprehesion, reason, logic and being able to spot hypocrisy skipped your generation…

TD never said YouTube wasnt/couldnt be legal, the ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY effectively said so when they said (and this is the important bit so you might want to pay extra-close attention):


and various other, similar absurd statements (such as “no free music” and “every use must be paid for” etc)

YOU (and the Entertainment Industry) are the ones missing the point here, not TD.

Get a clue, please.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Last time I looked, YouTube was, in the vernacular of TD, a free tool whose use was fully authorized by YouTube/Google.

Last time I used most pirated content was not authorized by the rights holders to be copied and distributed to the world at large.

Typical TD FUD. Use any and all opportunities to shift the discussion away from the relevant issues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t know about the other anonymous, but I read the whole post. Once again, you play the “title says one thing, then try to disclaim it as you go on” game.

In other words, while NYC and its Hollywood friends are claiming that if you get something for free it must be illegal

They are doing no such thing. If you get copyrighted material that is normally for sale for free, it is likely illegal. They make no such comments about using various forms of distribution such as you tube, tv, radio, and the like.

You and I both know that distribution on YouTube isn’t free. They toss ads over the videos and generally act as a commercial free host.

So the entire gist of your post is off, because you are trying to create outrage or show people in a bad light because you don’t agree with their politics, not because of how they are doing it. In my world, that comes off as sour grapes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Comprehensive reading isn’t your strong suit, is it? How about you read it again, slowly this time. Take in all the word and their meanings in the correct context. Use a dictionary or encyclopedia if you are unsure about certain words or terms.

During this process you will probably spot that the article is contrasting the Google/Youtube business model with other players in the content industry. You see Google pays a lot of people a lot of money to write software. Then they give it to me for free and still make money. The movie companies currently have trouble making money and should look towards the Google/Youtube business model to make their money.

The irony comes when an organisation doing it wrong uses an organisation that does it right to spread their word.

Reading at a 10th grade level takes a bit of practice, but I believe anyone can do it. Keep up the practice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Apparently you failed basic reading skilled:

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

So either the material has been put in the public domain by the rights holder, fell into the public domain at some point, or something is telling a big fib.

Which is it? You are the great sleuth, so tell us how we know.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You made two points in the article, one being a snarky jab at certain groups who may choose to use YouTube precisely because YouTube has said this is A-OK, and the other being another rambling about alternative business models.

You’re a smart guy. I’m surprised you would so totally misunderstand a rather simple concept.

Please read again.

jon day says:

overhead people must adapt to current business practices call it evolution. movie/music companies need to utilize modern practices maybe they all don’t need to make a million off a song maybe making hundred thousand is more reasonable in this decade as promotion and even making a good movie has been proven can be done for 7,000 look up primer a movie. oops mentioned a movie that they own the rights to, guess i should have to pay them! these people make more off their ideas than people like Thomas Edison do you say his family should get 10 cent every time we turn on a light bulb. remember the worlds population doubles ruffly every thirty years that means double the profits with minimal extra effort.

abc gum says:

I do not understand how pointing out hypocrisy can be considered FUD – which as we all know, is an acronym for Fear Uncertainly and Doubt.

Typically, FUD is used to attack competitors in the marketplace causing the potential customer(s) to rethink their purchasing decisions possibly leading to increased sales for the perpetrator of said FUD.

Please explain what I am missing here, I’m sure it is quite simple and I merely overlooked it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It’s FUD because rather than discussing the message, it’s mocking the methods of getting the message out. It’s laughing at the guy with the important message because he isn’t dressed cool, or ignoring something important because the person delivering the message as a lisp. It is an attempt to make the presenter of the message look bad, uncool, someone you should fear or dislike. It is an attempt to make you unsure about their message because they are “hypocrites”. It is made you make you doubt the content of the message, becuase the presentation isn’t right.


Put more simply, “don’t pay attention to the message from that man, he is a jerk”.


Huph (user link) says:


I’m not sure this is actual hypocrisy, the quote is “There’s no such thing as free movie” and Youtube is a video hosting site. Now, it would depend on how you define “movie”, and while *I* tend to think this is almost hypocrisy since movie is simply shorthand for “moving picture”, I’m fairly sure the studios don’t see Youtube as a “their movie” host. In their eyes, it’s (supposed to be) a user-generated content hosting site. Of course, the site is a lot of things to a lot of people; a place to show work, home movies, a video journal space, a chance to share legal content, a chance to share illegal content, a place to log demo ideas, a medium to spread music, to collaborate, a simple online storage locker, a forum for commentary and communication, etc… it’s a big site.

It’s just poor word choice on the part of the ad company. In order to avoid confusion, the phrase should have been “There’s no such thing as a free 2 hour pile of bloated crap that we janked up with terrible 3D effects.”

BUT! What’s more interesting is that this whole situation–even the discussion here at TD–is actual certified IRONY. You don’t see that too often.

Eric says:


I wonder if Mike has to wear a helmet daily so he doesn’t get brain damage from banging it into the wall. I thought the whole concept of the article was simple:
NYC says Free = Stealing
NYC uses FREE site to spread word, thus by their own definition they are stealing.

The only person who actually added anything insightful to the comments was Marcus. It was also sadly funny as all good humor is, because it’s so true.

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