MPAA Pirated Clips From Google Commercials To Make Its Own MPAA Propaganda Videos

from the can't-make-this-stuff-up dept

And here’s another one from the Sony archives, this time noticed by Parker Higgins. It involves an email thread between Sony TV’s Chief Marketing Officer Sheraton Kalouria and the company’s top intellectual property lawyer Leah Weil (with top TV exec Steve Mosko included in the cc: field). In the email, they’re discussing a new “reputational initiative” by the MPAA. From other emails, it appears that the MPAA finally realized that its reputation was toxic, and figured that rather than, maybe, figuring out why that is, it would put together a marketing campaign to improve the public’s view of the MPAA. Here were the four goals of the campaign:

  • Fill the knowledge gap about our industry
  • Change consumer perceptions
  • Claim our rightful position as innovators
  • Reframe our consumer message in a positive tone

I note that “stop suing our customers and biggest fans” and “stop trying to censor parts of the web or destroy innovations that challenge our business model” didn’t make the list. That’s too bad, as either of those steps might actually, you know, help improve the MPAA’s reputation.

But the really amazing thing about the campaign? Apparently at least some of the video involved unauthroized copying of content from… Google. The same Google that the MPAA and studios had dubbed “Goliath” and who they were hell bent on destroying because of the misleading belief that Google helped people infringe on their copyrights. Here was Kalouria’s email to Weil:

Also, I was somewhat horrified that their creative shop used footage from Google commercials in their ?Swipe-o-matic?. I kid you not?some of those scenes of people being ?moved? by movies are from a current Google campaign…!

Weil only responded with a single word:


Yes. If you’ve been following along with the home game, you know that the MPAA is really, really against copyright infringement (or at least that’s what it would have you believe). And it believes that Google is the single-biggest problem in the copyright world these days. And yet, when it’s time for the MPAA to put together some of its own propaganda to put some spit and polish on its down in the dumps reputation, what does it do? Make use of Google’s footage and pretend that the people being “moved” are actually being moved by the MPAA’s movies.

Apparently, infringing on the works of others is okay for the MPAA when it does it itself. And that’s leaving out the extreme irony of using Google’s ad footage as well. It’s unclear if this MPAA film ever saw the light of day, but it would be fascinating to see if anyone has it…

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Companies: google, mpaa, sony

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Comments on “MPAA Pirated Clips From Google Commercials To Make Its Own MPAA Propaganda Videos”

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Vidiot (profile) says:

Ironic, but not felonious

Well, to ratchet-down the hyperbole just a bit, a “swipe-o-matic” is a reference to a down-and-dirty test commercial intended for communication within the creative team only. It’s a found object, moving image version of the longstanding “animatic”, in which a camera performs zooms and pans on static images and sketches to suggest just what the final product might look like once it’s shot. Roughly the equivalent of cutting out pictures of broccoli from Good Housekeeping magazine to create your fourth grade collage on green vegetables.

But I get the “yikes” comment… even for a throwaway, the irony of a Google swipe isn’t lost on Kalouria.

Berenerd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ironic, but not felonious

…but they did distribute it…how else would others see it so they can create emails? Or would you prefer a “Public Performance”? These are things the MPAA and RIAA have sued for. If I loaned my CD to a friend or played my CD/DVD in a place where it could be seen by others, per their definition, it would be a public viewingperformance.

Violynne (profile) says:

Fill the knowledge gap about our industry
Knowledge gap? I’m confident the public knows this is an organization which compared copying a movie to that of a murder victim and professed its love of child pornography.

Change consumer perceptions
The FBI warning message isn’t enough?

Claim our rightful position as innovators
How much worse can the MPAA go from dead last?
(I get the sneaking suspicion we’re about to find out)

Reframe our consumer message in a positive tone
This point pretty much sums up the MPAA. The fact that it needs to reframe its current message shows it was never positive to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

What Mike said wasn’t included is certainly the root of the MPAA’s reputation problems, but them having this on the list is downright hilarious!!!

“Claim our rightful position as innovators”

They only fight innovation. They don’t innovate anything that anyone wants themselves. Hell… they can’t even make a new original movie anymore!! Everything is either a sequel or a remake of something else.

Anonymous Coward says:

I read those excerpts as an indication that the speakers involved recognized the problem of reusing Google’s content, though apparently the creative team that reused the content saw nothing wrong with it. This is unfortunate, but not too surprising. The more interesting question is how many people saw it and said nothing before it reached this e-mail thread. If the first unauthorized copy was shown almost directly to the people here, then you may have only one or two individuals who did not know better. If this bubbled up through layers of middle management, that shows an institutional failure to know better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Does reputation matter?

I thought the whole point of having the MPAA do the “evil” things was to deflect criticism from the film companies. So if people hate the MPAA but still willingly give money to Sony, Universal, Disney, etc., why should the MPAA care? Certainly some people (probably the type of people who hang out here) will avoid giving money to members of organizations like the MPAA, RIAA (remember riaa-radar?), BSA, ESA… but I’ve seen little evidence the general public cares.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Does reputation matter?

This amazes me too. Read the comments on torrentfreak related to one of these “MPAA is evil” stories, and they bitch and complain and swear they’ll torrent GoT to hell and back, yet never even consider giving up on them. After all the abuse, they’re still addicted to the crap.

re/code, Verge, Gizmodo all breathlessly swoon over every Hollywood trailer spat out. It never seems to occur to them that it’s just yet another comic book like all the others before it, or another Star Wars do-over, sent to the screen. GoT is not even any good.

What’s wrong with these people? It’s sad.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Does reputation matter?

Idiocy, addiction, lack of conviction, take your pick. When it comes down to it, people like that are nothing more than walking wallets, eager to take the abuse companies throw at them, as long as they still get to watch/read/listen to the crap that the companies throw out.

Words are nice, but it’s actions that matter, and the actions of fools like that make those of us who actually care how companies treat their customers, and are actually willing to back up that care with real boycotts, instead of just empty whining, look bad.

beltorak (profile) says:

Let's bring it up a little....

A lot of people are jumping on the MPAA-haters bandwagon here; wanting Google to sue, screaming about “one law for thee, another for me”, laughing at the hypocrisy, “o the irony”, etc etc. And while I agree with the sentiment behind many of these outcries and guffaws, focusing on that is missing the bigger picture. One which I wish the MPAA would understand.

Sharing culture is a quintessentially human thing to do. Whether they want to make a point, or make someone smile, or just enlarge the circle of people for whom a reference is meaningful, sharing is natural. It happens all the time. It is perfectly right and good to spread ideas, culture, and experiences, with friends and with strangers. Trying to fight human nature is more futile than trying to fight the tide – which might be difficult, but there’s little the ocean can do to you if you decide to get rid of the moon. Trying to excise (by punishment no less) a fundamentally human drive can only end in failure so long as one human remains alive.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Let's bring it up a little....

You assume they don’t get this, and I think that’s your mistake. They don’t want to stop this sharing culture. They rely on it. Rather, they want to monetize it.

The problem is, they really suck at that. Geo-blocking, lawfare, DMCA, DHS/ICE, bribing attorneys general and writing their lines for them to attack search engines, outlawing VPNs? Who comes up with insane ideas like that?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Let's bring it up a little....

They don’t want to stop this sharing culture. They rely on it. Rather, they want to monetize it.

Not sure I agree. They’re not interested in us sharing culture with each other, they want us all to get our culture from them. That’s not really sharing. They’re fine with discussions about the cultural artifacts they’re selling, but their acceptance ends short of actually sharing the artifacts.

beltorak (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Let's bring it up a little....

They’re not interested in us sharing culture with each other, they want us all to get our culture from them.

This is exactly right. That’s why they hate the public domain so much. If we are creating and sharing culture with each other, then (the theory goes) we won’t partake of what they magnanimously deign to sell us.

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