Why Is The Hollywood Tail Wagging The Dog Of Academia?

from the that-seems-backwards dept

Hollywood's admission last week that its campus piracy stats were bogus raises an interesting question: why have colleges been so quick to roll over and accede to Hollywood's demands? Greg Sandoval points out that universities could have done their own studies a long time ago and had hard numbers to dispute the industry's accusations. If, as now appears to be the case, colleges are only responsible for a fairly small fraction of illegal file sharing, it makes the industry's demands that academia bend over backwards to help Hollywood in its anti-piracy fight a little unreasonable. The really screwy thing about this is that the movie industry is a relatively small part of the American economy. The industry's revenues in 2006 were just $42 billion. For comparison, Harvard alone has an endowment of $35 billion, and altogether the higher education sector has assets in the hundreds of billions of dollars. If they chose to stand up to Hollywood's bullying techniques, they would have little trouble mounting an effective legal defense. And given that Hollywood seems determined to paint students—academia's customers—in the worst possible light, it seems only appropriate that colleges be more proactive about countering unfair negative stereotypes of college campuses.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Next they will be saying that a lot of drinking and anonymous sex happens on college campuses too.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    endowment not = to a revenue stream. Reasoning and rationalizing skill of this post... poor.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    Tim wasn't implying that the endowment equals a revenue stream. He was just pointing out that Harvard and other universities have plenty of cash on hand to fight the industry.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Michael Long, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:21pm

    They could...

    While it's true that universities could have done their own studies a long time ago, the downside is that if they'd done so and if the study confirmed that there was a serious problem then they'd be that much more on the hook to do something about it.

    One has only to ask a the head of information services on a college campus how much bandwidth P2P sucks down.

    I'd say it's another case of don't ask, don't tell.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Mitch the Bitch, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:26pm

    What? Academia study something? Youre kidding right? Academia has become just another wing of the Democrats and the Big Government propaganda machine.

    Seriously, who writes the paycheck then follow the money. Your money and MINE BTW....

    Civil War NOW!

    No TAXES for YOU!

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:38pm

    works for me

    Both universities I have attended automatically block IPs attempting to use p2p software. The reason is simple, come september when freshman come into the dorms and discover the magic of p2p, the network becomes prohibitive to use. Since they've implemented blocking IPs, it has been wonderful.

    So, sorry if this infringes on your happy, information-sharing eutopia, Mike. But, it works out better for most of us trying to work on the network.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Debunked, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:42pm

    Tim not implying

    Tim quote:
    "If, as now appears to be the case, colleges are only responsible for a fairly small fraction of illegal file sharing, ..."

    It seems that Tim is being unclear or being evasive to impute music downloading as well when this article is about strictly movie downloads. He should correct "illegal file sharing" to "illegal movie file sharing" to make his intent clearer.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    ChurchHatesTucker, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 3:44pm

    They don't care

    The presumption that these Institutions care about their students is dubious, at best.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    ohnopiratespirates, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 4:18pm

    Lol'ing at representations of second tier academia

    Go to Harvard.
    Go to U of C.
    Go anywhere that isn't a second tier, struggling for students and endowment university.

    They *do* tell hollywood to go take a flying leap.

    It's about power, universities have no real reason to "band together," those that can afford to tell people to piss off do, those that can't, well just another reason for the best students not to go there.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Lol'ing at representations of second tier acad

    I wouldn't use such callous words as the previous poster, but have to agree that this is what is being taught today. On another note, I would add Stanford, and MIT to the list. Unsure of Wharton... So if your interested, consider a subscription to the Harvard Business Review.

    There's an interesting culture being grown in tomorrow's leaders thru MBA and even some undergrad Business courses. Much of it is brought on by information sharing successes of companies like WalMart's RetailLink, courses that discuss Don Tapscott's book Wikinomics, and other successes.

    Hindsight being 20/20, the lineage of this new economy could possibly have started from a single ad campaign thrusted forward by IBM in a commercial titled "Prodigy".

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 6:10pm

    Re:

    Academia has become just another wing of the Democrats and the Big Government propaganda machine.

    You do realize that government has gotten bigger than it ever was before under the current Republican administration don't you?

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    Eric (profile), Jan 28th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    The simple answer...

    Having worked in the IT departments of two Universities, at very different ends of the academic system, its quite easy to understand why schools block p2p and don't fight the system.

    It's just simpler to block the traffic than handle all the complications. Higher ed IT departments are stretched pretty thin and have more pressing issues to deal with. They know that students trade in copyright material and do what they can to limit pirating and follow the law, but unless pressed by the RiAA and MPAA, IT really doesn't care.

    Its hard enough keeping everything running...

    E

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 7:29pm

    Re: works for me

    That'd be a great comment if Mike wrote the post, wouldn't it?

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: works for me

    Not really, it still misinterprets what is consistently said here on TechDirt.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Jan 28th, 2008 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: works for me

    Huh? Do you know Mike?

    Personally, I'd love to shake his hand. He's done a lot more than you know.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Endowment might as well = income at this level of

    "Harvard University's endowment earned a 23.0 percent return during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. With FY07 being one of the best performance years since the inception of Harvard Management Company in 1974, the overall value of the University's endowment grew to $34.9 billion."
    Source: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/08.23/99-endowment.html

    Also, to the A/C for this sub-thread. Hiding the fact that you are a sock puppet for the RIAA... poor. buah ha ha ha

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 29th, 2008 @ 10:32pm

    Copyright infringement = 21st century witchhunt.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This