Motion Picture Association: The Cloud Is A Threat To Us And The Best Response Is Censorship

from the hammers-and-nails dept

The Motion Picture Association is somewhat notorious for flipping out over every new technology and how it will, without doubt, mean death for them. Most famously, of course, the prediction that the VCR would be the “Boston Strangler” to the movie industry a mere six years before home video revenues outstripped box office revenues. However, this seems to be somewhat instinctual behavior. Everything new must automatically be classified as a threat, and the best response is to kill it outright. The latest version of this appears to be the threat of (gasp!) “cloud computing.” At a get together in Hong Kong, in which the movie industry was supposed to be talking about “protecting the screen community in the cloud era” apparently there was the typical predictions of doom with little in the way of suggestions. But there were some. Frank Rittman, the SVP of the Motion Picture Association, explained that the cloud was evil and censorship was the answer:

The news was even worse from Frank Rittman, SVP of the Motion Picture Association, Asia Pacific, who stated that potential pirates have all the digital tools they need to make illegal media sharing more viral than ever. “Digital online technology has enabled new channels of delivery for entertainment media,” he said. “The cloud also represents a threat in that it facilitates piracy, and the pirates seem to have gotten into this space first.”

The answer to both problems, Rittman believes, is pushing for Internet Service Providers to block sites known to be troublemakers when it comes to Internet piracy. He pointed to examples of the practice in Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea as models of how this has worked as a low-cost way of cutting down on piracy that has met with some success.

He also complains that Hong Kong won’t pass a law like this because the process has been “hijacked by extremists.” Well, that’s one way of looking at it. The alternative way is that arguing that flat out censorship of entire sites because you have been too slow to adapt, is crazy talk and is significantly more extremist than anything anyone else has been arguing. If you want to go after direct infringement, go after that. But censorship of entire sites is going way too far. And, contrary to his claims, it has not “worked” nor has it “met with some success.” It hasn’t driven people back to paying for movies.

Really, Rittman’s statements are an example of the problem. Here are people so focused on “stopping piracy” that they don’t care about the consequences of their own actions on innovation, nor do they care about whether or not it helps their own bottom line.

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Comments on “Motion Picture Association: The Cloud Is A Threat To Us And The Best Response Is Censorship”

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David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You’d think the man would stop and parse his own statement, providing him with the ultimate Eureka! moment.

My imagination spins this out in a world where common sense prevails: “We, Hollywood, have to catch up and leverage this technology for our customers. What we learn from this catchup process should well-position us to take advantage of the NEXT technological evolution and actually beat the pirates to it.”

Remember the guy who said recently that distribution of Academy award material should not be done digitally because they are all about “theatrical releases”? This is the kind of closed-end position that dooms Hollywood (or dooms the rest of us if the politicians continue to be nourished via Hollywood’s teat).

Tig3RStyluS (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In Germany every external hard drive sold includes an additional tax that ultimatelyo pay to the copyright cartel. Same with document scanners. It is assumed that every customer who purchases an external drive or document scanner is going to feverishly copy content illegally. What this tells me is that the copyright cartel not only sees the cloud as a threat, but will lobby governments to include a level of tax on cloud services that will be paid to royalties societies. Not every country will do it but politicians who receive campaign contributions from the cartel will no doubt support it and roll over.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:


Though admittedly it’s “old man yells at cloud that has been around for 20yrs or more”

and for all those whipper-snappers out there shakes my cane at ya all The cloud is NOT new its the amount of data it can actually hold that is newer but the basic structure, concept, and implementation was around in the early 90’s and before.

Now back to rockin and laughing at the idiots (MPAA ) who think clouds don’t have silver linings

out_of_the_blue says:

You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

And there’s now EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE what shutting down or blocking key file hosts can do:

Study: Megaupload closure boosted Hollywood sales 10%

I recognize that citations prove nothing and facts are no obstacle — to Techdirt fanboys. But when fits with common sense, it’s compelling anyone actually open to argument.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
Where Mike “supports copyright” but always overlooks or excuses piracy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

Dated 20th March 2013 – Music sales are not affected by web piracy, study finds

I recognize that citations prove nothing and facts are no obstacle — to Out of the Blue. But when fits with common sense, it’s compelling anyone actually open to argument.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

Two studios. Unnamed. In 12 countries “using Adwords estimates”. In a study by an institute set up by MPAA money.

Also, I don’t have time to read the entire study but the figures on the first page suggest a variation of 2-3%, which is surely enough to be affected by notable releases by those studios or Netflix/etc. being finally allowed to service those countries.

Call me sceptical. There seems to be a correlation from the outline, but there needs to be much more. Hey, at least he’s started citing something other than his own ass, right?

silverscarcat says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".


I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.

The reason that movie sales went up 10% is NOT because of Megaupload’s shutdown, ootb, it’s because the economy was no longer tanking as hard as it had been JUST BEFORE THAT POINT!

MASSIVE FUCKING RECESSION in the west kind of hurts EVERYBODY for paying for stuff!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

Did you even read that report or just the headline?

The figures don’t actually support their ‘theory’. If you look the data suggests that digital sales equalled the same rate in May 2012 as Sep 2011.

They failed to even look at data from the same point in the previous year. Which in my book is an obvious point of failure.

The other thing is that this was sponsored by the MPAA so……

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: You CAN disagree that "it facilitates piracy".


Empirical? I wonder…
From your link:

but it’s worth noting that IDEA itself was created last year with funds provided by the MPAA.

Now there’s a completely independent and unbiased source…. Here’s a less partisan quote for you:

“Never organise an enquiry unless you know what the result will be”
– Sir Humphrey Appleby

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

Δ Purchasesj = (p * n) * (# Megaupload Visitsj) + Trendj
Δ Purchasesj represents the change in purchases in country j after the shutdown, n is the number of illegal movie downloads per visit to Megaupload or Megavideo, MegauploadVisitsj is the number of visits to Megaupload or Megavideo in country j before the shutdown, p is the probability that an illegal download will be converted to a sale if the download is thwarted due to the shutdown, and Trendj is the change in sales that would have occurred after the shutdown in country j if not for the shutdown.

It?s like where?s Waldo find p and n!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

“I recognize that citations prove nothing and facts are no obstacle…”

Except when they’re quantified and show you’re wrong, boy.
What NEW films were released to DVD/BluRay during the period specified?
If they were blockbusters, their presence would raise the total sales level, invalidating the premise.

PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: You CAN'T disagree that "it facilitates piracy".

Hey Jackass.

“New research published by the European Commission?s Joint Research Centre shows that online piracy doesn?t hurt digital music revenues. The researchers examined browsing habits from 16,000 Europeans and found that there?s a positive link between online piracy and visits to legal music stores, irrespective of people?s interest in music. The study concludes that the music industry should not see piracy as a growing concern.”

Do us a favor and grow some brain cells, thanks.

PaulT (profile) says:

“The cloud also represents a threat in that it facilitates piracy, and the pirates seem to have gotten into this space first.”

Yes, because you morons have spent the last 20 years trying to first stop legitimate services from appearing, then restricting both the customer base and usefulness of the services you eventually were convinced to offer. Surprise! Ignoring an emerging market lets someone get there first.

Anthony says:

They'll doomed

This bunch of halfwits and the ignorant b-stars that run the publishing companies that constantly fight for DRM as their saviour are all doomed. Like the dinosaurs before them, they’re watching the pretty light in the sky and smashing pillow rising from the ground arguing that all they want to do is to screw the honest customer to get a few miscreants.

Doom to the lot of them, their model of business is now failing and it’s time for some evolution.

I’m just out to lend my books and DVD’s to family and friend so they don’t have to pay to get the content … back when I’ve bankrupted these old fashioned industries …

John Doe says:

They are amazingly blind

It is amazing how blind the MPAA really is. In one breath they talk about how everyone is embracing cloud services and in the next breath talk about how to stop it. Why can’t they put 2 and 2 together and figure out how they can get into that space since that is where the customers want to go?

John Doe says:

Re: Re: They are amazingly blind

I would say it is worse than that, it takes leadership. It seems large, established companies lack real leaders. People with a vision and a strategy. People who can recognize market shifts and react to it. Creative people who can adapt and capitalize. Risk takers who are willing to take a risk. Corporate leaders these days, seem to be more worried about maintaining the status quo than breaking new ground.

beltorak (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: They are amazingly blind

but real leadership requires courage. courage to take risks on new unproven technology. courage to change the company drastically in a short period of time, because while the new tech might be profitable after a period of time, it will almost certainly eat into their current revenue stream on day 0. and implementing the new thing, even the internal changes needed to accommodate the new thing, will also drain their profits on day 0. and it also takes courage, when their initiatives fail, to admit that they have failed. that they, the leaders, failed. to admit that the investment on the future they made was a bad investment, or that they failed to leverage it properly. and then to pick themselves back up and try again. it takes courage.

blaming piracy and stopping new innovations, while doomed to fail, is a safe strategy. presumably safe. safe for their jobs. safe for their profits. safe for their companies. it is a strategy that can be presented to “the board”, and when it fails, it is not their fault, but the fault of “all these damn pirates”. by controlling the conversation, by framing it as “us against the pirates” and “the pirates just want to steal our money”, they keep the board thinking that the problem is not that the current business model is outdated, but that the foes they face are harder to defeat than previously thought, and therefore more is needed; more laws, more object lessons, more extra-judicial means of redress. not because, as they would say, the battle is unwinnable; but because they have already invested so much into they existing system, that to discard it now would be tantamount to financial suicide. catch-up is a very hard game to win with regards to recent technology.

while i understand this, i do not pity them. they had their chance. 20 years ago they could have crushed online piracy today. and that innovation might not have been successful the first time around. it might have taken several attempts. it might have destroyed the business that tried it first. but it would have been a chance. by following this route for decades, for playing it “safe” for decades, for trying to maintain the status quo in a universe driven by entropy, change, and evolution, they have sealed their own fate of eventual obsolescence. it is too late for them. to those businesses I say, “please, just go away and die. we don’t need you anymore.”

Anonymous Coward says:

?The cloud also represents a threat in that it facilitates piracy, and the pirates seem to have gotten into this space first.?

Of course they got there first. They always get there first. You folks always have to be dragged kicking and screaming to any new technology. Here’s a tip: try being proactive in the development and use of new technologies, and you might reach that place first.

Anonymous Coward says:

the groups that believe this shit are:-
a) those idiots that spout it

b)those (idiots?) that HAVE to agree with those spouting this shit or they get fired!

c) those idiots in political positions of power, paid by the original idiots spouting this shit to believe it

d) those idiots in Law Enforcement that have to believe what those idiots in a) and c) say or they lose their jobs!

the ones that dont believe it are everyone else on the Planet! perhaps if the entertainment industries start to go after cloud services we will see an amalgamation of companies fighting them, which is what the gutless fuckers should have done from day one over all the censorship demands, back peddling and complying they have done to try to please an industry that cant be pleased, that wont be happy until every internet service, indeed the internet itself, has been destroyed so as to keep them going in the C20 manner they seem unable to progress past!!

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Given the 2 choices of doing nothing about it, or doing something but ending up worse off (See EA and SimCity), what is the rational choice?

Of course, that’s a false dichotomy. There is a 3rd choice: embracing the methods that pirates use to make more money by giving your customers what they want in a convenient manner for a reasonable price.

RD says:

Re: Re:

“Motion Picture Association: The Cloud Is A Threat To Us And The Best Response Is Censorship

Mike Masnick: Piracy Is Great, So Nothing Should Be Done About It”

Mike Masnick: Piracy Is A Fact And Is Going To Happen No Matter What As Long As There Are People On Earth Who Share Things, so stop trying to CONTROL it and start finding ways to COMPETE with it.


(Note for the Shill Mouth Breathers out there who cant be bothered to RTFA: I am not Mike, Mike did not, in fact, say the above statement. It is a (hopefully accurate) extrapolation of the viewpoints and conclusions of this site and the many people who frequent it.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Rape is a violent crime that destroys lives. Go on, asshole. Joke about it. Fucking morons like you are the ones that get punched in their goddamn faces and then cry that they did nothing wrong. Conflating a nonviolent crime whose harm cannot be quantified at all with a violent crime like rape or murder is something only the lowest scum would make. Crawl back under your rock.

Anonymous Coward says:

Really ties into this google+ post that I’m suprised techdirt hasn’t touched on yet.

DRM isn’t about antipiracy anymore, that’s the smokescreen but even the higher ups know it’s impossible. DRM is about controlling the companies that facilitate your access to content. So they surely can’t allow “companies” to exist that don’t follow their rules and accept their bullshit.

John says:

Obvious Solution

If you think about it, the root cause of pirating movies is the existence of movies. Therefore, we can stop piracy in its tracks by cutting off the supply.

No movies, no pirates. Hollywood can then rake in their record profits.

What? It’s an industry where blockbuster movies never turn a profit and where piracy costs them 20% more jobs per year than they employ in total. Surely they can find a way to squeeze money out of a lack of movies.

Richard (user link) says:

Until a production company or music label realizes that the cloud is not a threat and instead a new way to make money, the industry is going to have this huge untapped market. The first ones to figure that out will make themselves rich. Why make people pay for such things? Why not instead make third party advertisers pay for the views and give the end users the product for free? Psy made 9 mill off Gangnam Style and no one had to pay to listen to it. We had to watch an ad.

This is the model of the future. This is how things will soon be done. And those who can’t see it will be left behind like records when CD’s came out.

Anonymous Coward says:

In his world new technology is facilitating piracy.
In reality, it facilitates distribution.
Mike sees cloud as an opportunity.

Piracy is pessimism, opportunity is optimism. Distribution is the reality. As soon as they start to embrace reality and optimism at least sometimes in addition to their pessimism (They are lobbyists after all) then I will be ok with them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Where are all these communists coming from? They are coming out of the woodwork. Monitor and Censor! The communist manifesto to control your population. Everywhere else it is done by governments. Except in America it is now being done by corporations. Verizon, ComCast, All Entertainment companies. They are going to monitor your Internet usage, your phone calls, your social media. You are screwed! Especially if you bought a cell phone. You dumas! You are totally tracked. You will be totally hacked.

Rapnel (profile) says:

I haz idea!

You wish to compete with piracy? And by “compete” I imply push it back into the fringe, sideline it, make it a substantially less draining exercise in futility.

It’s so simple it fucking hurts a little.

First, at a minimum, you must match their offerings.
Second, once you have a match you must endeavor to catch.

Make it easy to find, easy to browse, easy to sample, format agnostic, geographically unlimited and, above all, affordable.

Technology is not moving in reverse folks. As one of the top of my head approach you’d do well to foster authorized sharing (figure it out oh great creative geniuses that you are)

I’ll tell you right now, I’ve looked under the covers and this crap you think you’re getting on top of.. uh-uh. I can find anything I want at any time. Links? You’d also do well to stop being silly.

I also might advise that you take up a new look at your planet. You keep fucking with communications the way your are and I can all but guarantee you that you and many others will regret that approach.

I’d say pretty soon the meshes will get larger and then you’re completely fucked – no ISP majik filter will help you then.

So, in a nutshell, stop being chicken shits. The collateral damage from your intransigence helps no one.

DBAP – help yourselves – it’s your business

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m still thinking that one day, one of the big companies is going to figure out that the best solution is to focus on competing and making money – and they will run every other media company out of business in less than 2 years.

Sooner or later someone has to say “are the other companies our friends or our competition? We have a chance here to sign all their artists with better deals and steal all their customers.”

Then again… it’s been a great many years, and so far no one seems interested in competing. Funny thing, that.

Anonymous Coward says:

He pointed to examples of the practice in Europe, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea as models of how this has worked as a low-cost way of cutting down on piracy that has met with some success.

Indonesia? Some success? ROTFL. Whatever he’s smoking it sure is very good/strong stuff that cause brain damage. 95% of movies/music/software sold there is pirated, less than $1 for physical medium.

What is this “practice” that he mentioned? Censorship? Very little to none. Fines? Last I heard of someone getting I fine is, I don’t know, never. Physical raids? Good luck with that, with the brick & mortar store being raided got back up 1hr (sometime less) after the raid.

#1 reason for piracy is price. At $4 GDP per capita, who’s in the right mind will buy $40 movie or $60 games. Furthermore, at that price point, there’s no added value. Even basic things like customer support is non existent. Returning defective product will require at least a month, and that’s assuming you have good connection in export/import market and/or powerful friends. Whatever “support” the customer get is from the pirate store themselves (usually, change of the physical media, or if all fails, select another title; the process begin again if the replacement fails).

So, if someone is buying legitimately, at legitimate price, the usual response from his/her peers is: “are you nuts?”, or “you must have a lot of spare dough to burn, mind giving me some?”.

Is this a mentality problem? Nope. There’s 2 occurrences where Sierra sold their game at $6 on 1, and $17 on the other. Both games sold out, and the supplier had to restock many times because of the demand. The pirated version? Not selling, AT ALL.

OK, those cases are in the ’90s. Nowadays, GOG have much more penetration than Steam. Why? Cos DRM, however benevolent and came with many added values, is still DRM, and the market has no compromise with it. People even forgo things like Windows and/or AntiVirus updates. Nothing is deemed worth the internet connection hassle.

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