MPAA Still More Focused On Those Darn 'Pirates' Rather Than Making Money

from the good-luck-with-that dept

It appears that the MPAA’s whac-a-mole game of pointlessness continues. As a whole bunch of you have been submitting, the MPAA’s international arm (just chop off the last “A” in the name and you get the MPA) is asking a court in the UK to issue an injunction forcing ISP BT to block everyone’s access to Newzbin. Newzbin, of course, is a Usenet aggregator, that was found liable for infringement via its service, in large part because the site’s staffers actively promoted that you could use the service to infringe. This was no surprise, as courts don’t look kindly on encouraging people to infringe. What then followed was a bizarre and convoluted mess, in which Newzbin reappeared — though it’s not entirely clear how or who was behind it.

So, now, the MPA has decided that it’s easier to just try to block access to it. Apparently the UK already has a “Great Firewall” type of system that requires ISPs to block access to sites deemed to be child porn sites, and the MPA says that it should be simple to start censoring “pirate” sites that it doesn’t like as well. Of course, if you don’t see the slippery slope there, you probably missed the story about how a list of “pirate sites” to be blocked, which was put together for ad giant GroupM with help from MPAA members Viacom and Warner Bros., included such evil sites as the Internet Archive, Vimeo and SoundCloud. How long until the MPAA asks them to be blocked from the UK as well? Of course, this is what happens when “fighting piracy,” rather than “helping studios adapt and make money” is your number one priority. You end up with an entire “content protection” division with multiple vice presidents… but no “here’s how we adapt and make money” division. And all those “content protection” lawyers have to have something to do, so why not press for blanket censorship? It sure beats working…

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Companies: bt, mpa, mpaa, newzbin

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Comments on “MPAA Still More Focused On Those Darn 'Pirates' Rather Than Making Money”

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JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The remedies are futile, as shown by the fact that “piracy” is not being negatively impacted at all. The unintended consequences and erosion of basic rights that come along with the useless remedies are the reason for the keening and gnashing of teeth. I’m suspect you fully realise that, but have a vested interest in saying otherwise…

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In the last twenty years of fighting piracy how much money has it cost the MPAA/RIAA to uphold such an evident loss because of copyright enforcement?

We’ve had stories about copyright infringement based on similar ideas.

We’ve had stories based on trying to shut down websites for torrents.

We’ve had stories of piracy costing the industry based on a 1:1 download of files.

It’s arguably cost the trade industries more money to fight all of the websites, all of the technology, and all of the civil rights of those gosh durned pirates that they’re making into enemies. How hard would it be if the trade industries took a back seat, made a $10 license, and allowed technology to flourish, to actually stimulate the economy and progress than stopping it with the “but… but Piracy” speech?

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“They can go after pirates and make money at the same time.”

Going after “pirates” costs money but arguably brings little or no net financial gain. Putting their efforts into actually making more money is a far smarter idea. The choice shouldn’t be a hard one.

But you’re right that it’s not and either/or choice. Its choosing between making more money or not. Between pissing of fans and customers or not. Between providing a useful service to their members or not.

“When your headlines and stories are so biased, it’s hard to take them seriously.”

When your comments are so biased, it’s hard to take them seriously. What’s the difference? Why is bias not allowed in an opinion blog with open comments. Seems like a pretty weak and pointless complaint.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are right in theory. But when piracy is hurting the bottom line, it’s pretty much a given that piracy will be addressed. If they fail to address piracy, they will make less money in the long run (we have all the proof in the music business from Napster up to today).

It’s not hard to understand why they would see working against piracy as a way to shore up the bottom line, and not a mutually exclusive exercise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You are missing the fact that most of the people that are downloading would never have paid for it in the first place. How do you deal with that? Come to my hose and shake me down and make me pay for something I will never pay for? If it were not available online, I would just go without. How do you deal with that?

Please do tell!!

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You assume that people who downloaded the movie would’ve bought it in the first place if people hadn’t been able to download it.

Also you seem to forget those people who find a movie on a torrent site and then go to the store to buy the dvds (has actually happened).

You seem to ignore the figures that people who pirate are also the ones who spend MORE on multimedia products, such as cds and dvds.

Getting rid of piracy does not and will not result in more sales.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Getting rid of piracy does not and will not result in more sales.

Such a laughably stupid comment that is so typical on this hilarious blog.

People steal the music they want off the internet all the time. They do so because no one is stopping them. Duh.

Most people are greedy by nature. They’re not going to pay for something when they can get it free.

Denying life’s realities just makes you people look silly.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“People steal the music they want off the internet all the time. They do so because no one is stopping them. “

One sentence has nothing to do with the other.

“Most people are greedy by nature. They’re not going to pay for something when they can get it free. “

Netflix’s success disagrees with you.

“Denying life’s realities just makes you people look silly.”

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Getting rid of piracy will also get rid of the sales that you get by people actually liking your product after they’ve got to sample it.

Copyright infringement also isn’t stealing, but the copyrightards keep bringing that falsehood up, because it makes for a great soundbite and feeds that conservative underbelly-feeling, and smacks of truthiness. And people are being stopped by the RIAA, the MPAA and other organisations. It’s just not helping the RIAA and the MPAA much, except set more bad blood, and causing more people to just download in retaliation. DUH.

Most people are greedy by nature, especially the entitled clusterfucks at the RIAA and the MPAA, who feel that we should pay 15 times for the same movie and music, Betamax, VHS, vinyl, cassette, cd, dvd, hddvd, bluray, digital download. We, the people, have been milked dry.
And despite the fact that they are making record sales even during times of recession, these clusterfuck-morons want more money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Marcel, that is the twisted logic of the file sharing supporters, which is just not supported by reality.

If the product was not desirable, people wouldn’t share it. People want the product, and they are willing to take certain risks to obtain it. If the risk factor gets too high (you are likely to be sued) or the availability drops (the rippers and initial seeders are no longer able to do it), then thigns change.

What doesn’t change is the desire for the product. Sure, in the short term, a lot of sour puss file traders will cuss and say “I will never buy from (insert company name here)”. Just like the Sony stuff, most of the people bitching went offline to play their PS3s. The desire remains.

Nobody suggests for a second that 1 download equals 1 lost sale. But in the bigger scope of things, if 1 in 10 people would have paid for something but instead downloaded it for free because it was easy, safe, convenient, and well free, then the economics is clear.

Shutting down a major seeder or ripper, making the content less available, that could be the tipping point that moves the consumer away from file trading and back to legal, legit channels. Again, it isn’t a direct purchase (movie ticket, CD, DVD, what have you), but also the other channels that bring income, from PPV to Netflix to broadcast TV.

No, one stopped file trader doesn’t mean one more consumer. It really isn’t about that guy, it’s about the 10 or 100 or 1000 people he will share with. Once you start to grasp that, you will start to understand why going after file sharers is actually useful for rights holders.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And yet, if it weren’t available chances are pretty slim they’d pay for it… Just ask the average Photoshop user.

And I agree that uploading is the illegal act here, and that going after them is a good thing. But the copyright-maximalists have it wrong too, they have $$-signs in front of their eyes, and are eyeing their bulging wallets and complain that it isn’t bulging more.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“Nobody suggests for a second that 1 download equals 1 lost sale.”

Erm, I think you should listen to the arguments of those corporations you shill for, because that’s exactly what they claim.

“that could be the tipping point that moves the consumer away from file trading and back to legal, legit channels”

But… it probably won’t be, at least not on its own. You see, that only works if the only reason why people pirate is due to the “free” aspect or its availability.

However, people pirate for all sorts of reasons – regional restrictions, theatrical windowing, Netflix/Redbox windowing, high prices (i.e. they’re willing to pay, but the price asked for new content is way too high), poor theatrical experiences, and so on. Often, it’s just that they don’t value the content enough – can’t get it now? OK, I’ll wait till it shows up on TV, don’t want to pay for it…

By all means, deal with “piracy”. But, it’s never going away, as it’s been here since the first recordable media was created and will be here until the last is available. Decreased availability may help, but nothing will work as well as removing the encouragement for them to pirate in the first place. You have to have some carrot to go with that stick…

iBelieve says:

Re: Re: Re:

Lets suppose for a moment that piracy was costing the studios and industry at large as much money as the crappy movies they are turning out was costing them, it is easy to see from their standpoint that putting the fear of dog into the hearts and minds of the masses was actually saving them money in the long run. I know I would be a full blown kick ass pirate son of of a bitch if I wasn’t in fear of being shackled and gagged, and dragged before a biased pro corporate paid off magestrate in a foreign country of their choice and hung by my balls for sharing a movie with my aging dad that was a flop at the box office any way..

Anonymous Coward says:

“If it were not available online, I would just go without. How do you deal with that?”

So why don’t you just go without now? The new laws and regs are designed to reduce its availability online. Maybe you’ll buy more, maybe not. But that fact doesn’t justify taking something of value without just compensation of its owner.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But that fact doesn’t justify taking something of value without just compensation of its owner.

This argument is often condensed to “BUT COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!” It’s a mental roadblock the labels cannot get past. They can’t see that they can proceed with making money without trying to stamp out piracy – nobody and nothing is stopping them. Maybe their need for control is just too deep, I don’t know.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The new laws and regs are designed to reduce its availability online. “

Yet, they refuse to offer me the alternative legal solutions. Netflix? Not allowed to service me and no equivalent service in my country. Hulu? The same. DVDs? Region coded, and often windowed to ridiculous degrees. Blu? Some major studios region code these too. Add that to the fact that I buy very little “blind” nowadays – I’ve been ripped off too many times to buy a full priced movie I haven’t seen yet – and they’re losing a lot of sales.

I *do* spend money on content, thank you very much, but little of it is major studio content. In fact, 7 of my last 10 purchases have been from Arrow Video, an excellent cult & horror label that’s been releasing outstanding version of Italian & American movies. In fact, I’m currently in the process of collecting their entire catalogue since their output is uniformly excellent with all the extras & physical content you’d ever want, all available region free of course…

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think it’s also the fact that they seem to focus on ‘piracy’ to the exclusion of all else, especially innovation and making things readily available in decent quality. If they innovated more, they’d have better ‘moral’ capital. But when you see the movie industry, itself built on ‘stealing’ Imaginary Property, concentrating on this so much, it’s hard to really respect them. Especially when they keep doing bumper sales – so how is ‘piracy’ hurting them as much as they claim?

I’m not saying don’t concentrate on piracy – especially the commercial-scale stuff. But p*ssing into the wind to this scale is just a waste of money. Look at crime – plenty of things are illegal but still happen. Without becoming a police state, unfortunately they probably always will – so at some point, you have to draw a line. The trouble is, the **AAs keep trying to move the line, all the time whining about how ‘hard done-by’ they are, and still raking it in. Oh, and then there’s how they lyingly claim it’s all ‘for the artists’ when they rip those artists off possibly way more than the ‘pirates’ do.

It’s a culture of entitlement and bullying complaining that someone has the balls/power to ‘bully’ them. Tough titties, that’s capitalism. Innovate or ‘die’.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

“And all those “content protection” lawyers have to have something to do, so why not press for blanket censorship? It sure beats working…”

Dude these are content lawyers!!! Collectively they don’t have the common sense of a lump of coal. They have no creativity. They are the children who always shouted “That’s Mine! You can’t have it” even when it wasn’t theirs. They are the people who never learned that being wrong helps you learn and grow. They are people who lie for a living, have no scruples, and have no morals. They have no ability to adapt.

All in all, it would be better to sit in a room naked, with a TSA agent, wearing filthy blue gloves, that has just groped a naked homeless guy, that smells like cheese, than to try and help them. You should do the same. Please …

iBelieve says:

Pinning down the cause

Movie studios traditionally sold rights to the theatres and broadcast corporations televising their works. Then came Beta and VHS and soon after DVD and the licensing was then sold to public directly via the technology available. The technology also made possible copying the media content on a massive scale. Rather than going after the technolgy, they chose to go after the end users of the technology until they could eventually change the technology to reduce such capabilities of the technology made available to the general public. Here comes the (international) Internet.. What a nightmare it must be for them now. Who to pin down? End users on an unimagineable scale, Internet service providers, or the Internet itself with a lot of choices in between. Paying politicians’ campaigns through contributions, endless lobbying forcing courts to decide on laws at large that would protect this entertainment industry. Their task is without a doubt daunting. Who they sue is the biggest part of their dilemma. They have to sue, it seems. It doesn’t make the movies any better. It doesn’t help Hollywood’s cause to sue the very people they are attempting to entertain and in the end , it has become a huge out of control twisted mess full of greed and bad choices, but it is apparently producing income for their lawyers. While it leaves a bitter taste for the world audiences to bear, they are walking a tightrope. Pinning down the cause..

iBelieve says:

Re: Pinning down the cause

Not wanting to reply to myself, but wishing to add some points, having commented above in generalities. One of the biggest problems that on the surface doesn’t get a lot of attention is that although we purchase this entertainment on media that doesn’t last and is proned to eventually neccessitating backup copies being produced, I find it very difficult to see the likes of Microsoft and their DRM dictating what I can play, back up and essentially getting spanked by them when I have purchased my music and have paid for the license to own it and copy it to other media as I see fit in order to protect ‘my license’ and continuing my ability to enjoy it. ~Especially when this corporation and others facilitated the technology from early on in order to do this, but now attempt to lay down some law negating me. Others have completely violated their license rights, but don’t tell me what I can and can’t do with ‘my licensed music’. I pity the lawfirm that tries to deny that from me. I completely agree with the industry needing to police their rights and wanted to make that clear. I personally don’t want to steal from other artists, but when a corporation draws first blood and violates my rights, I want to fight back.. its very natural.

Damien Bizeau (profile) says:

Eric Vermote

Piracy kills music and movies-the MPAA needs support! Eric Vermote illegally used P2P in Maryland during 2003-2004 (bootlegs & audio files for his car). This man with a IT degree works for NASA & the University of Maryland but went to jail for automobile theft in Florida… he is definitely not at all scrupulous with music too obviously and filed a defamation legal suit in France against me in July 2009 stipulating he never got involved in on-line piracy because he is a manipulative liar & because the case involved never got officially substantiated or couldn’t ever be substantiated; my point is that if the Internet had been better regulated by the US government Eric F. Vermote would not have had the opportunity to lie against me and pretend what I accused him of (on-line piracy) is frivolous. On-line piracy cases almost absolutely never get substantiated unfortunately! Damien Bizeau – Classical Music, France.

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