MPAA: Censorship Is Good For Consumers
from the say-what-now? dept
Ah, the MPAA. Hardly a day goes by when someone there doesn’t say something positively ridiculous. The latest is a reaction to the news that a court in the Netherlands has expanded the censorship of The Pirate Bay to a few more ISPs. The MPAA has decided to explain that this kind of censorship is good for consumers:
The UK ruling and indeed other recent ones in Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Finland as well as this one are positive developments that support not only the creative community but also consumers.
It’s not entirely clear why they say “the UK ruling,” since the post only refers to a ruling from The Netherlands, but it’s a strange world when someone is claiming that censoring a website that consumers find useful is “good for consumers.” So how do they defend such a ridiculous claim? Well, by getting the story backwards yet again:
The number of sites that offer legitimate creative content continues to increase dramatically. But to fully enable this growing sector to thrive and provide consumers with content when they want it, where they want it and how they want it, it is imperative that the content not be siphoned off and distributed illegally by those seeking to profit from the work and creativity of others.
Hogwash. First of all, if the industry had its way, it would never have to innovate online at all, preferring greatly to live off of the old system of DVDs with crippling DRM. The only reason they were pushed to start innovating online was because of competition from the likes of The Pirate Bay, which finally caused them to agree to license platforms like Netflix, which has shown that it’s actually quite easy to compete with The Pirate Bay if the MPAA and its studios would stop demanding ridiculous restrictions on content (and insanely high prices). Offer a good service at a good price, and The Pirate Bay simply can’t compete.
The claim that for such services to thrive the content can’t be “siphoned off and distributed illegally” is again totally bogus. Netflix competes quite nicely in the US with The Pirate Bay, and if the studios allowed more Netflixes to exist (rather than locking down every competitor with stupid rules like only having 24 hours to watch a movie) there would be plenty of innovation. Furthermore, even if they block The Pirate Bay, it doesn’t stop the fact that the content still is and will be available. Claiming that legitimate sites can’t compete if there is unauthorized content available means that legitimate sites can’t compete at all. Yet we see them compete successfully with unauthorized content all the time.
So why does the MPAA lie?
As always, it’s about control. They don’t like being pressured by such innovation. They don’t like having to adapt and to change. So they attack any new form of innovation and brand it as piracy — just as they did with the VCR. Of course, amusingly, it’s now that same home movie revenue which they fear losing. Yet if the MPAA had had its way 30 years ago, there would be no home movie market from which to lose revenue. Because, just a few short decades ago, the MPAA insisted that such a market would kill Hollywood.
Oh, and as for this point:
The court verdict found that The Pirate Bay is predominantly devoted to illegal activities with more than 90% of all content infringing on copyright.
You know what else had more than 90% infringement in the early days? The VCR. But thankfully courts recognized that it also had substantial non-infringing uses — as does The Pirate Bay. It’s not difficult to see how the industry could have embraced sites like The Pirate Bay to their own advantage, but failing that and having them censored… and then insisting that somehow benefits the public? Sorry, the public isn’t going to buy that kind of crap.