by Mike Masnick

MPAA's Double Standard: It's Allowed To Copy Movies

from the fair-use-is-okay-for-those-in-power dept

This very well might be a publicity stunt, as the Motion Picture Association of America accuses, but even if that's the case there are some worthwhile points in the fact that the MPAA is now being accused of making unauthorized copies of a movie. The movie in question is the documentary "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," which has already received plenty of publicity for its look behind the scenes at the MPAA rating process. The MPAA's response (other than calling it a publicity stunt) suggests the double standard it holds. They seem to feel that, because they're the MPAA, different rules apply: "We made a copy of Kirby's movie because it had implications for our employees." Funny, but we don't think that excuse would work for anyone sued by the MPAA for copying a movie themselves. As the article points out, the MPAA's own website very clearly states: "Manufacturing, selling, distributing or making copies of motion pictures without the consent of the copyright owners is illegal... Movie pirates are thieves, plain and simple... ALL forms of piracy are illegal and carry serious legal consequences." Also, this is the same group that was allowed to go into schools and tell children "if you haven't paid for it, you've stolen it." What about fair use? Well, Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA for many years, used to famously say that fair use does not exist. Apparently, he meant for other people.

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  1. identicon
    MPAAddict, 24 Jan 2006 @ 9:46am

    American Dream by Zappa

    Yes, they are hypocrical bastards, corrupting our political system, and extorting money in a racketeering scheme intended to intimidate anyone who disagrees with their opinion on fair use, (using lawsuits that are unsupportable based on the evidence they gained warrants for.)

    Yes, yes,... but these guys (and they are almost all old fat guys) are rich, and so we should see them as the American ideal. Let's not be jealous of them, because although we work 40 hour weeks for enough to scrape by, they are clearly blessed by God himself with their wealth, and might makes right.

    God save the MPAA bosses (and sub-bosses).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    derfaust, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:24am


    i for one hail our new MPAA overlords!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Professor HighBrow, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:28am

    Well Isn't that Shocking!

    I'm assuming given the nature of the people that actually are interested in the politics and technological implications involved, that most postings here will agree with Zappa and myself.

    The MPAA and RIAA will continue to abuse and alienate evryone as long as it means more C.R.E.A.M. for them. I find it interesting and disgusting that these monopolistic orgainizations continue to get away with pretending to be government sanctioned regulatory groups. They have all the qualities of the former and no real politician seems to object.

    Armies of lawyers prove that Justice can be perverted by money, as they continue to try to instill fear upon the public. Someone there must realize that fear is an excellent method of control over the average John and Jane Doe.

    Failing to react to changing technology, these groups simply serve to retain the assets of corporate fatcats, whom have already been found guilty in the past (remember the price-fixing class action lawsuit?)

    I'd like to see someone in politics who is willing to take on these clear violations of anti-trust laws, including these groups, and also the re-emergence of the "Mah Bell" style communication companies, and of course, above all, the unmentionable corporate Giant that rules over the world of operating systems. (Hint: It starts with an M.)

    When can we get our rights as consumers back, just like when they broke up the Bell monopoly?

    Might as well plead the 5th in advance, fellow readers... someday you might want to make a copy of the Operating System that you bought for several hundred dollars and put it in a firesafe in case your house burns down, but for now, you don't have the right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:30am

    Re: HAIL!

    fellow slashdotter... it brings tears of joy that i found you on another website :')

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    DaveTheCripple, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:37am


    Correct me if Im wrong, but I think there is more
    to that than meets the eye. If I remember correctly, it was stated that the copy was made to use for a court battle. Also, I seem to recall that copying the movie is illegal if digital restrictions were circumvented, and if there is none, (which I wouldnt doubt for this movie that is not yet out), that fair use is in place, and bam, copy all you want (to a certian extent)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    LiLWiP, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:40am

    Re: HAIL!

    From TFA...

    "You can't make a copy as a general matter, but you can if you meet several tests," said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. It helps the MPAA, Lemley said, that it is not selling the copy of "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" for commercial gain.

    Dick "is right to say you can't make a single copy unless you have a legitimate defense," Lemley said. "But it seems that in this case, [the MPAA] may have a legitimate defense."


    I would think that you would have to have a court approval for something like this? It violates the law...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    bmaclin, 24 Jan 2006 @ 10:52am

    Re: Well Isn't that Shocking!

    In case you missed it, the breakup of AT&T didn't stop the monopoly, it just created more little monopolies. It took another 25+ years for any real competition to spring up for the mini-Bells.

    People always want to say how bad we had it under AT&T, but their only valid complaint is in the category of long distance costs. Home and business phone service was cheap and reliable. Now it's costly and you will pay extra if they have to come in your house/business to troubleshoot.

    And forget about the "myth" of the mobile phone replacing the land-line. Mobile service is still noisy and unreliable, even in huge mobile markets in metro areas. And guess what--it costs even more than your landline!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    GM, 24 Jan 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re: Well Isn't that Shocking!

    I wish someone could organize a week-long or month-long boycott of the music or movie industries. Ultimately the power is in the hands of the consumer but the problem is getting all the consumers to cooperate (or at least a sizable chunk).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    JWW, 24 Jan 2006 @ 11:12am

    Re: Wrong..maybe?

    Sure, you can copy unencrypted comment all you want for your own personal use.
    The only problem here is that then the MPAA has to explicitly acknowledge the fact that fair use exists.
    Which also means that as long as the analog hole exists, fair use can never be removed.
    To state it bluntly, its the absolute PINNACLE of hypocracy if they use fair use to defend their actions here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    erbbysam, 24 Jan 2006 @ 11:22am

    not suprised

    I'm not really suprised that the MPAA has a felling of "I'm the big man and can make all the copies that I want too" becuase that's what the rest of the world is doing. They are a typical government policy "monger" that try to control what people do in their houses.
    They only catch people who are stupid enough to get caught. I'm only 16 and there are kids that I know in my town and surrounding towns that have downloaded music and movies strait through napster to today. Anybody with half a brain and a mouse can find it all over the internet. The government should be working to make it harder to get to by shutting down these illigle websites and not going after the kid who wants to see "charlie and the chocolate factory".
    Professor HighBrow is right on the money.
    The MPAA even comes out and says that some of there information on there kids website: http://www.copyrightkids.org/ might not be right. Click on the "Legal Disclamer" down at the bottom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Awfki, 24 Jan 2006 @ 11:35am

    Re: Well Isn't that Shocking!

    Amen, Brother! If the consumers could get semi-organized and put a 30-day dip in MPAA earnings that would get their attention. Until that happens they'll continue do whatever they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    gbc, 24 Jan 2006 @ 11:41am

    Could the MPAA be smarter than we think?

    Maybe it's just paranoid me, but couldn't the MPAA want a court fight over this? Wouldn't it strenthen precident for their other legal activities if they claimed 'fair use' and LOST this case? I mean how hard would it be for them to lose this one? And how much would it really cost them?

    I think it might be possible the best case scenario for consumers is if the MPAA goes to court over this and WINS!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    ZOMG CENSORED, 24 Jan 2006 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Could the MPAA be smarter than we think?

    You mean both sides of the legal battle will not be trying to win, but trying to throw the game en masse? I'd pay good money to watch that unfold... A battle to loose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    F the MPAA, 28 Sep 2008 @ 11:34pm

    Re: American Dream by Zappa

    The MPAA DOES NOT own the rights to movies. So if you get a summons from them you already have won. Since the MPAA and RIAA do not own the rights to movies or music they do not have the right to sue. They are not a legal firm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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