by Mike Masnick

Destroying The MPAA's Claims On The Canadian Camcording Epidemic

from the let's-try-that-again dept

Over the last few weeks, we've noted that the MPAA is on a new publicity campaign to make Canadian laws stricter when it comes to people caught videotaping movies in the theater with camcorders. This is silly for a few reasons, including the fact that camcorder movies make up a tiny portion of counterfeit copies out there -- which are dominated by better quality cuts leaked from the movie studios themselves. Michael Geist has now done a fantastic job destroying each and every bogus claim from the MPAA about the situation in Canada and what needs to be done about it:
  • On the studies claiming that a huge percentage of camcorded films come from Canada, Geist notes that the MPAA keeps changing the number they use and give no support for it, and refuse any independent auditing of the number. An independent study doesn't seem to find the threat of Canadian camcorded videos to be particularly high.
  • On the claims of the economic impact of camcorded versions to undercut the market for DVDs, he again points to the fact that camcorded versions have a very short shelf-life. They're almost always quickly replaced by much higher quality leaks from the studio -- or, once the actual DVD is out, copies from the DVD. In other words, any impact directly from the camcorder version is fleeting, at best.
  • As for the claim that Canada's current laws can't deal with the problem, Geist points out that there are already severe penalties associated with camcording films and even the MPAA's own website highlights how Canada's laws are stringent in cracking down on camcorder usage. He also points to numerous reports of arrests for camcording found on the site of the Canadian cousin of the MPAA.
  • And, finally, on the bizarre claim last week that such legislation eliminated the threat of camcording in the US, apparently no one actually asked the theater owners. The president of the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners was quoted just a few months ago saying that camcording films has expanded across the US over the past few years. That seems quite different than "pretty well eliminated piracy in the US."
Unfortunately, though, most of the press reports still rely on the bogus stats and the bogus story line planted by the MPAA to convince people that the law needs to be changed even further in their favor.

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  1. identicon
    ScytheNoire, 6 Feb 2007 @ 1:43am

    As a Canadian...

    As a Canadian, I hope they look at it and challenge the claims much like they have about music downloading. It would be a real shame if societies rights are infringed upon for a monopoly business coallition, as it is in the USA. I hope the judges and law-makers are smart enough to say things like "prove it" and do independent studies along with listening to those who would disagree with their info.

    I personally never watc CAM releases because they are so crappy. It wouldn't be worth watching. Instead I just buy the DVD, which I own hundreds of, or I might preview a movie by downloading it, which is a preferred method that no stuido wants to support right now. Or they want to use DRM, which is not something I want to support. Instead those downloads I have seen are from DVD and DVD Screeners that COME FROM THE MOVIE STUDIO'S.

    So the biggest threat from the movie industry is from themselves. They release their own Screeners, which get leaked. They allow pre-release of DVD's to get ripped, from their manufacturing contractors. They place DRM to prevent their products from being used properly, discouraging purchase of said products. And they don't provide any valid download distribution method.

    So the only thing hurting the movie industry right now is the movie industry itself. It they changed things, give the customer what they want, how they want it, they will purchase it. Hell, I own hundreds of DVD's, because I love movies, but I'm not going to buy crappy movies, I'm not going to crowded over-priced theatres, and I'm not going to buy overly-DRMed products like Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

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