Rather Than Bitching About The Failure Of SOPA/PIPA, Rupert Murdoch Should Take A Closer Look At His Own Policies

from the check-out-your-mirror,-rupe dept

It’s well established that Rupert Murdoch threw a bit of a hissy fit on Twitter, after public protests helped put SOPA and PIPA on hold. However, as plenty of people have been pointing out, perhaps the real problem is with Murdoch’s (and others’) own business model choices. Danny Sullivan recently put forth an open letter to Murdoch, talking about the difficulty of getting The Simpsons legally, despite paying for it:

That’s right. I pay you three times for The Simpsons. First, I get it broadcast over the air. That’s me paying you for it, because the airwaves are mine — not yours. You’re simply allowed to lease them from the public. You’re getting a piece of that spectrum from me. In return, I expect you to deliver me valuable content through it. Well done with The Simpsons.

But you know, it’s easy to miss things broadcast live over the air. Also, my signal is pretty bad. So I pay a second time, to DirecTV, to get exactly the same content you send over the air to me through satellite TV. I get a better picture. I get the ability to DVR episodes to watch later. And I pay something like $125 per month for my subscription, some of which goes into your pocket.

That brings me to my third way of paying: Hulu Plus. I don’t DVR everything. Somehow, I missed The Simpsons when it started up again this fall. But Hulu Plus has turned into a lifesaver in these cases. It has let me catch-up on programs. It’s been well worth the $7 per month I pay for it, some of which, again, goes directly into your pocket.

Yup, triple pay. So, clearly, Sullivan can watch the Simpsons when and how he wants, right? Nope:

And now to tonight. My son fired up Hulu Plus, so we could watch The Simpsons, as we have in the past. But no luck — he got a “web only” message. Turns out, I discovered after doing a little searching with your least favorite search engine, last year you started limited next-day episodes…..

Despite paying for Hulu Plus, I cannot watch The Simpson on any device like my Roku player that is designed to play The Simpsons direct to my TV.

I gather this is because you don’t want me to buy Hulu Plus and stop paying for DirecTV, right? I get that. But it’s not like I have the same option to watch archived episodes on DirecTV, If they’re offered on demand, they are impossible to find.

Sullivan points out that all this is really doing is pushing kids to go to their search engines and to start exploring the infringing sources Murdoch seems so angry about. Seems like more of the same old story we’ve heard over and over again… with the twist here being the fact that Sullivan is already paying three times for the same content and still can’t get it legally.

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Comments on “Rather Than Bitching About The Failure Of SOPA/PIPA, Rupert Murdoch Should Take A Closer Look At His Own Policies”

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68 Comments
Paul says:

Forced to paying 100s of times for the same content...

Anyone paying for Murdoch media is potentially paying for the same content 100s of times over, via decades worth of repeats.

With the widespread use of DVRs it has become childs-play to sample an entire networks broadcast schedule. In fact it was this ability that lead me to dump the local Foxtel cable (50% owned by Murdoch) after I confirmed that 99.99% of the programming I was paying $100/month for were all repeats.

At the rate of new content on Cable TV it’s possibly only worth $1 per week… and that’s probably the revenue per user they’d get if they allowed al-a-carte pay-per-view on-demand subscription.

Who’s actually doing the thieving here Rupert?

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Forced to paying 100s of times for the same content...

$100/month! Cable in America sounds expensive.
I hope that gets you all the sports & movie channels + in HD?

I pay DirecTV about $95/month and that gets me about 250 channels on 4 TVs with 2 HD DVRs (my Dad could never figure out a DVR).

The only package I get is for some additional HD content and movie channels.

So, yeah, it’s really expensive, but I would get all LA/OC sports local teams in HD plus some national games, almost every College Football game in HD, etc.

But if my Dad didn’t live in my house, I probably would have cut cable/satellite years ago.

Anonymous Coward says:

OT: Will Congress Take Privacy Out of Your Netflix Queue?

http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty/will-congress-take-privacy-out-your-netflix-queue

The Senate Judiciary is holding a hearing right now on a piece of legislation, H.R. 2471, that you likely haven?t heard of but will have a big impact on your Netflix account. Yes. Netflix. Sometimes even called the Netflix bill (they have claimed responsibility for pushing it), it would allow consumers to grant companies a perpetual consent for sharing video rental records, rather than requiring consumers to decide if they want to share information every time they make a purchase.

While consumers would still opt into sharing, Netflix would clearly like consumers to set sharing as the default and then forget it. This change eviscerates the protections in an obscure but important privacy law, the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA).

vukovar (profile) says:

Re: OT: Will Congress Take Privacy Out of Your Netflix Queue?

I understand why there has to be a Bill to change this, my question is, what’s *behind* this piece of legislation? It seems a little odd to me that suddenly what we rent on Netflix is of interest.

Now where did I put that article on removing any identifiers from ripped DVD’s…..

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re: OT: Will Congress Take Privacy Out of Your Netflix Queue?

The reasoning on the Netflix side of things is that they want to build in more social features into the service. They want to allow people to post links on their Facebook walls or Twitter feed about the films and shows they are watching. They can’t build this functionality because the law doesn’t allow them to do.

The concerns over the bill are probably a bit over blown as people are sharing that kind of information right now regardless. They are just not doing it in a Netflix sanctioned way.

My understanding is that it will be an opt-in feature and people’s rental history will be kept private if they opt-out of the feature.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: OT: Will Congress Take Privacy Out of Your Netflix Queue?

More to the point, there is a federal law explicitly prohibiting companies from divulging someone’s movie rental history. This came into existence after the whole Robert Bork debacle. The law does not cover music, however. Since you can share your Pandora on Facebook, Netflix wants to provide that same ability in the US. They already have that ability in other countries.

Ninja (profile) says:

That. TV has shown it. Cable TV has shown it. I saw it on the cinema. I heard it on the radio. It was paid. I’ll obviously pay an extra for the stuff I like but it’s public domain already (I’m not talking about the copyright definition of public domain but rather it’s owned by the public). You already broadcasted it for free or I’ve already paid for the broadcast.

What’s the difference of watching as it airs or downloading it later from [insert source here, infringing]? Advertisements? I’m ok with downloading a few dozen megabytes more of ads if you care to explore this option…

File sharing is not an issue. Your old age seems to be, Rupy, as it won’t allow you to innovate.

Anonymous Coward says:

hear hear! and so he should. the man’s a megalomaniac! plus, like 99% of people who are in charge of companies and governments, he is too damn old! he is in charge of companies but reckons he should take no responsibility if people that work for him do bad things (phone hacking, bribing etc). if you own a company, you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens within that company!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: In the UK we pay for it all and yet still called Pirates

“We pay our BBC Licence (about ?140 a year) so we get free radio and tv, which we can record and playback whenever.”

To be fair, this only pays for *BBC* content. If you want to consume content produced another organisation (or country), you have to pay those providers in some way, unless it’s licensed by the BBC. Your license fee doesn’t let you download something that was shown on Sky Movies, because you didn’t pay for it (unless you’re also a Sky subscriber and use Sky Go to download, of course).

Then again, if you have the audacity to not be standing on British soil at any time, for business or pleasure, the ability to legally watch the content you paid for is stripped from you…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: In the UK we pay for it all and yet still called Pirates

excepting its quite likely that the song or film will be / have been shown on bbc at some point past or future. SO in a way you will get it at some point – you’re just chosing (by pirating) when specifically.

But i do want to add that i currently also pay for Spotify, Buy 20+cds a year and many books and even some childrens videos (includign BBC’s Merlin), but never Disney, i always download disney (if they extend copyright then i’m going to ignore that extension). But i do download Greys Anatomy as i cant find any up to date GA on telly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In the UK we pay for it all and yet still called Pirates

dont forget, there is no option over paying the licence because there is no option to not have BBC! even having no TV ariel doesn’t get you out of paying either! nor does streaming everything via your PC. every time there is a challenge to the licence, the government moves the post, changes the criteria, so they can keep the fees going!

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: In the UK we pay for it all and yet still called Pirates

Actually, having no TV aerial is one of the four exemptions from the TV Licence fee: the other three are:

Having a non-tuned television without any other equipment for watching live TV;
Consoles being the sole use of a TV;
being over 75 years of age at the time of renewal.

Source >You don’t need a licence if you don’t use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV – for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch ?catch up? services like BBC iPlayer or 4oD.

ECA (profile) says:

gET A HINT

lets look at a few things.

Cable/sat came across with the idea of FEWER commercials.
NOT HAPPENING.

Cable/sat suggested that you would only pay for what you want..
WAS that way, NOT NOW..

For all the channels you GET…you watch about 20.
AND still pay for all the others.
ESPN gets over $5 per month from every person on Cable/sat…EVEN when/if you dont watch it.

IF you could pay $1 per channel for the Ones that you WANT, most people would be paying

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

> You still pay indirectly

That is tortuous logic. It is easier to just understand where the money comes from, because then you can understand motivation. “Why don’t broadcasters make it easy to access their content — I paid for it!” Wrong. They don’t let you access their content because it is the sugar they use for you to consume advertisements. Once you understand how the model works, then you understand why it is the way it is.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They don’t let you access their content because it is the sugar they use for you to consume advertisements. Once you understand how the model works, then you understand why it is the way it is.

Last I checked, HULU had advertisements. So, using HULU works in to this logic. Of course, DVRs could remove the commercials, so that is probably why the companies hate DVRs so much.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

I just hacked his cell phone and this is what today’s agenda shows:
8am-10am: Laugh at the little people as I cash many more cheques a the bank.

10am-2pm: lunch, at the expense of the little people.

2pm-2:01pm: Hire real journalists. Oops, time’s up.

2:01pm-7pm: Her name’s Hanna today. Best lather up my mojo.

7pm-bed: Post my senility today. These kids eat this up. Pawns.

I tried to hack and update the schedule, but lost the signal. It was AT&T after all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Murdoch probably doesn’t care about the Simpsons. Some people at Murdoch’s Fox News almost sued The Simpsons creators for slander, because of how The Simpsons frequently make fun of Fox News for being really biased. A lawsuit was only avoided because some high level executive at the Fox Network put their foot down and said “I’m not having this company sue itself in court”.

darryl says:

Hes stupid to pay, and is supporting Murdocks riches !!!!

sounds like murdocks policies are working just fine, he appears to have significant more money, (AND CONTENT) that Masnick could ever dream of.

And he is able to get stupid punters like this moron to pay for the Simpsons 3 Times !!!!!!..

So what is murdock doing wrong again ?

If you are stupid enough to pay for content, over and over and over again, then who’s fault is that ?

Who else but a total idiot would actually pay to watch the simpsons..

Ofcourse, it is because he pays for it, that it exists, do you actually think that if no one payed for the production of the Simpsons, that it would be produced ?

Also, this is not an article about Murdock it is an article about some moron who is stupid enough to be a Murdock customer..

How is that murdocks fault ?

How is anything this idiot doing show Murdock that what he is doing is not working ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hes stupid to pay, and is supporting Murdocks riches !!!!

>sounds like murdocks policies are working just fine, he appears to have significant more money, (AND CONTENT) that Masnick could ever dream of.

I don’t see Murdock’s name on that content, do you?

>And he is able to get stupid punters like this moron to pay for the Simpsons 3 Times !!!!!!..

So instead of being grateful that the guy didn’t pirate the episode you’d rather call him stupid. And you wonder why people pirate.

>So what is murdock doing wrong again ?
If you are stupid enough to pay for content, over and over and over again, then who’s fault is that ?

The law makes everyone pay for various content over and over again, based on demands of the industry. Are you blaming people for following the law?

>Who else but a total idiot would actually pay to watch the simpsons..

Yeah, all the other non-idiots would download it.

>Ofcourse, it is because he pays for it, that it exists, do you actually think that if no one payed for the production of the Simpsons, that it would be produced ?

So if you don’t pay for it, it doesn’t get made, but if you do pay for it, you’re an idiot?

>Also, this is not an article about Murdock it is an article about some moron who is stupid enough to be a Murdock customer..

Again, keep insulting the public for supporting the systems you love so much. Don’t be surprised when this support disappears.

>How is that murdocks fault ?

You find it reasonable to call customers idiots, but you don’t consider it Murdoch’s fault that he’s decided the customer-unfriendly outlook of his own company?

>How is anything this idiot doing show Murdock that what he is doing is not working ?

Well, for one, you’re calling him an idiot for supporting what Murdoch is doing…

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, he owns the Simpsons? sound but not the related pictures 😛

But aren’t the related pictures just mental interpretations of photons received by his eyes? I think he owns his brain and his eyes. Nevermind the fact that the photons are being generated by equipment he has purchased which receives unencrypted electromagnetic radiation broadcast to everyone within line of sight.

Why can’t we just say that the universe owns everything and we’re just lucky enough to live on a rock that hasn’t been swallowed by a black hole?

Anonymous Coward says:

it is a cheap price to pay for content, after all you are not paying for COPYRIGHT of the content, that would cost you a great deal more.

SO pay your money and get your CONTENT, use what you pay for, as you do not pay for the copyright of the content.

You have not paid for the right to copy that content, because copyright means “you have a RIGHT to copy”.

Paying for content means “you have a right to view the content”..

I guess that basic concept is a bit beyond more here…

When a company like FOX broadcasts the CONTENT they are not broadcasting the COPYRIGHT, only the content, they retain the copyright.

Once something is aired, that does not void the copyright, why cannot you people understand that ??? oh thats right !!!! its TD…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You mean pay for content for the rest of my natural life over and over and over again and still be called a criminal?

No thanks I prefer to ignore copyright and just pirate the damn thing, what are you or anybody going to do?

Oh that is right nothing because you can’t do nothing, do you passed the law that would allow you to spy on people in their homes?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Generally speaking, a company like Fox does not own the copyright to their content. They have broadcast rights and the creators retain copyright on the works. Of course, News Corp does produce some original content (for very small values of “content”) to which they do retain copyright.

Your other points are equally stupid, not to mention they are presented in a shrill and childish manner. This is a discussion about time-shifting a broadcast for convenience, the content of which has been paid for multiple times. This is a discussion about how, after having paid to view said material, the broadcaster then makes viewing it impossible.

Daria says:

Re: Re:

How about when you buy the DVD and it only lets you watch on a DVD-player, not on a device of your choice. That’s right, let’s all pay for the same content over and over again, because those greedy Big Content chaps need fatter wallets and bank accounts. It seems to me that if I paid once for the content (through the damn DVD – and it wasn’t all that cheap), I should have the right to watch said content on any device I see fit. Because I paid for that right when I purchased the DVD. According to you, I should pay for every single format of the same content? How is that fair?

GamerLEN says:

Waiting for Rupert Murdoch to realize how useful the internet could be in his favor is like waiting for one of the bajillion and one doomsday prophecies that have been on the net to occur. Its possible, but so are pigs learning how to fly.

His ranting, to me, is nothing more than the crabby old man sitting on his porch and ranting about ‘those damn kids and their fancy pants toys’. He’s too set in his ways and too old to ever change.

Michael says:

If the mega conglomerate owners like Murdoch had their way, nobody would be allowed to record what’s on TV. They want you to keep paying for the same content over and over and over again. They want to monitor and regulate every aspect of your life including what you’re allowed to do within the confines of your home, what you’re allowed to do with whatever products you paid for, what you’re allowed to do on the internet, etc. It’s all about control.

Anonymous Coward says:

I love stories like this, because someone doesn’t understand the difference between a viewing and some right to control.

First off, broadcast TV is that: You can watch it or you can PVR it, and the price you pay is commercials.

If you choose to pay directv for delivery, as opposed to receiving it over the air, that is your problem, not anyone elses. It doesn’t imply any additional rights to the material you receive. When you pay DirecTV, you are paying for a delivery method, not the product. That they may have to pay a license for the product is their issue, a cost of getting you to pay for the delivery.

Hulu is a seperate delivery method, no different say that a premium channel on cable or perhaps a box set DVD in a store. You cannot go into Best Buy and say “the simpsons were on TV, so I want that box set for free”. When you pay Hulu, you pay for a delivery / distibution method. They pay for the content.

The important thing is this: Just because the content was distributed in some other manner at some time does not grant you some sort of unlimited rights access to that content, regardless of distribution method. It’s stupid to think that way.

Michael says:

Re: Re:

Sorry that I don’t feel pity if somebody decides to record/copy something produced by any one of those multi-billion dollar legacy players. They have so much money that it’s absurd and excel at conjuring up scam business ventures, not to mention drafting draconian legislation in an attempt to take control of something which doesn’t belong to them: the internet. They shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what people can or cannot do and justify their abusive behavior by pointing at copyright laws based around artificial scarcity.

Daria says:

Re: Re:

But when you paid for the DVD, you do have the right of unlimited access to that content, right? So why am I infringing when I want to see the content on a tablet, for instance? I didn’t record it from a broadcast, I paid for the DVD – the proceeds of which presumably go straight to the copyright holder. Concrete example: I bought a West Wing DVD, first series, in 2005. Paid close to 100 Euros for it (stupid, I know). In my mind, for that kind of money, I should be able to see the damn content anywhere I want – on TV, on the computer, on my tablet, damn, even on my phone if that’s what I want. Because I paid for it. Handsomely, I might add. Could you tell me where I’m going wrong in my thinking here?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But none of that matters to the consumer. This guy isn’t talking about legal intricacies or claiming he has a right to better service – he’s just asking a service provider why the hell their service sucks so much.

From the consumer’s perspective, it’s a crazy situation. They pay a lot of money to enjoy some content, and yet there are tonnes of seemingly arbitrary restrictions placed on how they can do so. Only one industry seems to think that the solution to a dissatisfied customer is to lecture them on the justifications for their crappy service…

Entertainment industry folks are the first to say “people don’t care about distribution methods and business models they just want our content so we’re going to sell it to them” – that’s a common refrain whenever someone suggests they need to ignore piracy and come up with new business models that don’t focus on specifically selling content. But now, suddenly, when a person who sees it exactly the way they do (“I love The Simpsons so I pay for The Simpsons”) wants to enjoy the product, you’re going to shoot back with an explanation of all the distribution and business model problems that prevent that?

Seems like a double standard to me – piracy is not a business model problem, but bad service is a business model necessity?

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

$125 a month for DirectTV. Good God! When I think of all the fantastic things I could do with $1,500 a year besides watch TV. Danny, you are totally wasting your money.

Stop complaining to Murdoch. He didn’t force you to buy the Simpsons three times. In fact he made it available three different ways, and you bought all three. You are the sucker.

Spend that $1,500 a year on local theatre, going to concerts, buying books, charity or traveling. You and your community will be better off.

(oh, and you don’t have to pay for Hulu to watch the Simpsons. It’s offered there for free!)

ECA (profile) says:

For those of you that DONT get the point.

TV is FREE…
you dont have to pay for it..
Antenna $50
Booster $50
Roof mount $10

And you are setup..for life.

You SHOULD be able to get all local channels, old and new, and it COSTS NOTHING…
AND you will probably enjoy not paying $1 per month, per person, around the world…to Murduck.

I live in a farming area, and we get 20 channels NOT on cable/sat. AND local sales are broadcast..

Beta (profile) says:

complain, complain, complain

I loved Nick Ross’s “The Case for Piracy”, about commercial media treating viewers with contempt, mutilating films, ruining series, monopolizing sports events and wrapping them in exorbitant packages, and so on. But this open letter doesn’t sway me.

First Murdoch broadcast The Simpsons. Whether I paid for that is arguable; he leased the spectrum from the government (or the public) and paid for it, and then broadcast a good show, The Simpsons. He kept up his end of the bargain. If I didn’t watch it at the time, that’s no fault of his. (“Well done…”)

Then I chose to get DirecTV for the same content but with some better features. I paid, and Murdoch kept up his end. I could have recorded The Simpsons on DVR, but I didn’t; no fault of his.

Then I chose to get Hulu Plus, which gets some shows from Murdoch and others. (“It?s been well worth the $7 per month…”)

Then Murdoch didn’t give a certain episode to Hulu Plus to offer at a certain time. Nobody ever promised me that he would. So I went to the Simpsons web site and watched the episode free.

…I dunno, I’m just not feeling the rage.

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