(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Movie Industry Still Focused On Camcorder Bogeymen?

from the but-why? dept

It's tough to figure out what the entertainment industry is thinking much of the time. Lately, they've been so focused on stopping "piracy" that they've basically lost sight of the fact that they're supposed to be making money. In many cases, the fight against piracy is making patrons feel like criminals, discouraging actual movie attendance. And, of course, bad overall experiences in movie going, such as high prices, loud audiences, dirty theaters and other problems isn't helping. Dealing with those should be a top priority, rather than than worrying if someone is taping the video with some cheap camera phone. Apparently, that's not true, however. Rob Hyndman points us to an article in Toronto's Globe and Mail that talks up how upset Hollywood is with the fact that recording a film in the theater isn't a criminal offense in Canada. That means, law enforcement won't get involved, though the theaters and studios can certainly still file civil suits. As Hyndman notes, this is clearly a PR article that was placed by the industry as they gear up to push for a new copyright law that includes making movie videotaping a crime. The article goes on and on and on about how much videotaping occurs in Canadian theaters, making it out to be this huge threat to the industry -- never once noting that videotaped movies aren't exactly hot stuff any more. Michael Geist fills in the details, pointing out that the vast majority of copied videos available are from insiders who leak the films. And, of course, once those leaked films get online, there's simply no reason to even care about the crappy video taped versions. In other words, it's pretty much a non-issue -- other than the draconian steps the theaters and studios take to try to stop this practice, turning off more people. If the industry put the same effort into making the overall moving going experience more enjoyable, the benefits would likely dwarf any impact from camcorder-taped movies.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Vincent Vega, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 8:23pm

    Alright, well you can walk into a movie theater and buy a beer. And, I don't mean just like a paper cup, I'm talking about a glass of beer. And, in Paris, you can buy a beer in McDonald's.

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

  2. identicon
    tomtomt, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 8:29pm

    Going to the movies?

    I'm trying to remember the last time I went to the movies. It must be at least 5 or 6 years. Why? For some unexplaned reason the movie theaters seem to thing everyone there is stone deaf. Or do they turn the volumn up so much to drown out the audience talking on their cell phones or to each other. Or do they think they can overcome, with max sound, the movie is really crappy. Maybe if the movies were a little more interesting people would watch the movie instead of doing other things. So I just wait for the movies I want to see come out on DVD and watch them at home on my 20 year old TV.

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

  3. identicon
    Smart Guy, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 8:35pm

    My girl and me were going to go to the early show the other day. We hadn't been for awhile but we changed our mind when the price was $7.00 each plus a drink $3.50 So we went a nd bought a DVD for $9.99 on sale and got a botttle of wine $3.99 on sale and a small Pizza $5.00 and had a much better time and added a DVD to our collection

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

  4. identicon
    thehuntedpossum, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:31pm

    well, i sure still watch those cheap video versions... cause the majority of those movies suck and i don't feel like even paying for a rental. plus then if i don't like them, i only lose a good 10 min of my life, and if i do like them, it's off to the theatre or blockbuster. so actually, it's probably not hurting their sales in my case at least.

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

  5. identicon
    ee cummings, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:32pm

    "...they've basically lost site of the fact..."


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

  6. identicon
    nick botulism, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 9:53pm

    i read that article the other day and was rather annoyed at how one-sided the whole thing was. i can't believe they didn't talk to anyone about things like the possibilities of new business models for the movie industry or anything like that.

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

  7. identicon
    Solo, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 10:24pm

    "I have a sneaked up copy from the theater of 'bewitched' with Nicole Kidman and the dude from that SNL show, interested?"
    "No thanks. Please die."

    And to the comment about the movie going experience, I would add $12 for 6 ounce of pop corn, $10 for a 24 oz soda. 'Pretzel'? $10.

    They just need to add metal detectors and going to the movies will be just as enjoyable as flying.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 11:02pm

    Quit releasing crap

    From the article
    Last year, the first pirate DVD purchase was made 13 hours after Poseidon's first screening. The first pirate download was 42 hours after the movie made its big-screen debut.

    Who the hell cares if I actually paid to see that piece of crap I would be pissed. When Hollywood stops making complete garbage and sequels/threequels/fourquels/remakes then maybe its time to feel guilty. But no as I sit here and type the announcement of the release of a new Pauly Shore and Jean Claude VanDam remake of "Gone with the Wind" has probably been announced. (btw Pauly Shore is Scarlet)

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

  9. identicon
    Louis, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 4:34am


    I stopped going to the cinema cause its filled with two types of people; the cellphone talking douchebag, and the camerawielding dork, sometimes they combine into the the cellphone-camera wielding douchebag dork.

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

  10. identicon
    xtrmist, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Its called investment people!

    Take the price of admission and food and put it towards a home theatre package. They are gettin' alot cheaper.

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

  11. identicon
    No Shame, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 6:32am

    I still like the movies.

    Every few articles, techdirt tries to convince me that the moviegoing experience is horrible, and all movies are garbage. I like going to the movies.

    In fact, I do it about twice a month. And there seems to be enough movies that are good enough to make it fun. I couldn't do it twice a week.

    Maybe I'm lucky in where I live, because I don't ever have problems with cell phones, rude people, dirty theaters, being searched by security or camcorders at any of the movies I've watched.

    I hate the MPAA, just as much as the next person. What I don't understand is... Why is it important that you convince me that all movies suck, and watching them in theaters is awful?

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 6:36am

    Re: Quit releasing crap

    Since the standardization of theater seating, I've really enjoyed moviegoing. Unfortunately, the major reason I dont go is twofold.


    i saw posieden adventure when i was 10
    i saw the hitcher when i was 15

    the movies all follow the same format of boring plot, some type of bullshit conflict resolution and then a happy ending (or 3 or 4).

    The fact that you may shell out 30 bucks and are likely to get a shit movie in return, isn't really much of an attraction. And given the track record of the movie industry lately, what do you expect?

    I understand overhead, i really do, I'm a businessman myself. What I DONT understand is a 300% markup on a bottle of coke.

    Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter.

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

  13. identicon
    wolff000, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 7:06am

    Re: I still like the movies.

    Techdirt is not really news it is someone's commentary attached to a news article from somewhere else. If you don't like the commentary or agree then why do you come back? Also do you not notice that most people here agree that the movie going experience isn't very good. Things cost way too much and dealing with the masses is something most people here seem to dislike myself included. So it seems you are simply hanging out in the wrong place on the web. If yuo want a lot of pro movie stuff go hang out on a movie website. Not one that has made it blatantly obvious that they think movie theaters are out of date so to speak.

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

  14. identicon
    Anon-i-mouse, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 8:05am

    I confess

    I confess. I downloaded the latest Bond flick (good quality - not taped) from the Web before it hit the theaters (got to wonder how that happens!). I wouldn't pay to see it at the local theater myself, but after I saw it I took my Little Brother who is just 16 to see it with me because I thought he'd enjoy it. So, the count is one illegally downloaded movie and 2 full-price tickets sold, vs 0 sold if I hadn't downloaded it (we would have done something else that Sunday, like go to the zoo). You do the math.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    I would rather ride public transportation than go to a multiplex movie theater. Public transportation is cleaner, quieter, has a better clientèle, and looking out the window is more interesting than most of the movies.

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

  16. identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 10:09am

    eroding respect

    We've reached a strange tipping point. Movies, music and computers are now, or very soon will be, inextricably linked to crime and obscenely unusual punishments in the minds of ordinary people.

    I can get into stolen car, drive about drunk running down pedestrians and then go on a reckless shooting spree with an automatic rifle and still face less punishment than I can sitting on my backside harming nobody.

    The criminal justice system is completely on its head in the USA. It is completely out of proportion and hemoraging respect from its own citizens and the rest of the world.

    It's just getting too risky to see a movie, use a computer or listen to music. Is that the "land of the free"?

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

  17. identicon
    cb, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 3:24pm


    Well written Mike. As a theatre owner, I find that taking care of those "ugly" things (cell phone users, sticky floors, loud groups, expense tickets,...etc) our business has done nothing but gotten better. Treat your customers right and you'll have a good business for a life time.

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

  18. identicon
    MovieCake, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 6:14pm

    Theaters make 1$

    Did you guys know that theaters make $1 of ryour 7-12$ ticket? That's why it takes a second morgage to buy a soda and popcorn at a show.

    Not standing up for theaters, just a little FYI =]


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

  19. identicon
    cost, Jan 16th, 2007 @ 8:22pm


    The theatres make 10% on every ticket during the 1st 2 weeks of the movie and then 20 % the third week.

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

  20. identicon
    Camerweilding_DORK, Dec 9th, 2007 @ 12:05pm


    QUOTE "I stopped going to the cinema cause its filled with two types of people; the cellphone talking douchebag, and the camerawielding dork, sometimes they combine into the the cellphone-camera wielding douchebag dork." - Cinemas by Louis on Jan 16th, 2007 @ 4:34am

    ok the cellphone thing is bad, it pissed me off to the point where i called him on, and kicked his ass outside, but as for the camera thing GROW UP, leave them alone and they will leave you alone. IT IS NOT A CRIME TO VIDEO TAPE MOVIES FOR HOME USE ONLY. the companies need to prove you taping it to make pirated coppys to SELL for a PROFIT.
    im considering taping all the movies i go to see so i dont need to pay for it a second time when its released on DVD. this is not a crime in canada. but the reason i hate theaters is the people that put thier feet up on the chairs and the people that kick the seats when your right thier in front of them.

    to all those people - Kiss my shiny metal @$$

    and to everyone making "back-ups" for home use,m MORE POWER to YOU, just remember to delet any pirated movies you downloaded and any downloading programs B4 doing that ( they cant still take you to court and get warrants to check you PC.... so cover ass and dont download pirated movies.

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

  21. identicon
    Lucidity, Jul 4th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Going to the theater

    I won't be going back to the theater. The price for a ticket for a movie that probably sucks, the cost of popcorn and a drink, and the jerks harrassing me by throwing food at me, takes away from any fun that I used to have.

    Staff don't care about me once they take my money. The theater smells and the crowd is rude and loud. I waste my time and money for a film that's horrible.

    Going to the movies is an expensive aggrivation. I'll just take a peak online, or get the DVD if I think it's worth my time. It's cheaper.

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

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