Disney CEO: I Can't Figure Out Ways To Adapt My Business, So I Need Government Protection

from the well,-that's-compelling dept

We had high hopes for Robert Iger when he took over Disney from Michael Eisner (whose views on intellectual property were positively wacky). Iger surprised a lot of people by taking a very progressive view towards digital and online content, as well as recognizing the need for new business models, rather than attacking your fans and customers. In 2006, he noted that the recording industry had screwed up and he intended to respond differently:
"The bottom line is they were not in tune with what their customers wanted and what the world was demanding of them and I think it hurt them significantly."
So we were disappointed last year when Iger came out strongly in support of rules to force ISPs to kick customers off the internet based on a "three strikes" plan, where accusations, not convictions, are all that matter.

It seems that he's not giving up. Chris points out that, at President Obama's recent "Jobs Summit" Iger gave a speech where much of it was focused on the need for stronger intellectual property protection from the government, and no talk about all of the innovative business models that others are creating without relying on governments to prop up their business model. In discussing his talk, he noted:
So when you hear about "stealing intellectual property," a term that may have little meaning to you, think about it as a means of contributing to unemployment and harming our economy.
Of course, there's no indication that this is actually true. Even if people are saving money by not spending on Disney content, they are spending that money elsewhere, contributing to jobs in those sectors. If you want to use Iger's logic, you could just as easily claim that copyright laws allow them to charge monopoly rents on products, thus depriving many other industries of money and jobs. Thus -- again, using Iger's own logic -- copyright contributes to unemployment and the harming of our economy. Not sure he really wants to go there.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:11am

    In the same meeting, Robert Iger also said he wanted to lower Capital Gains Tax to stimulate the economy. Lots of Disney-esque "Creativity" there. I have to imagine President Obama was a little angry when he said that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:51am

    If what the customer wants is to get something for nothing, then I think that he is right - this isn't a workable business model, and there sure isn't any reason to support it.

    Three strikes laws are to the internet what store security and video camera are to shoplifting - something that had to be done to stem the tide of stealing.

    Taking stuff without paying isn't right in any society, it's really funny to watch Mike try to tiptoe along the line between "sharing" and "stealing" - and failing all the time.

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

    • identicon
      Mechwarrior, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:58am

      Re:

      Your example with stores is sort of flawed.

      When you steal a loaf of bread from a bodega, you get to eat it.

      You can't eat a movie, nor can you wear it, ride it or install Linux into it.

      You can't steal it, because its just a bunch of bits. All you're doing is copying it.You can steal the disc though, but I don't think that is the problem you have here.

      As for 3 strikes law, the difference between it and surveillance is that surveillance videos are neutral viewpoints and can be used to either indict or absolve guilt, where as the 3 strikes provisions provide very little relief for wrongly accused, as there isn't much required of the accuser in the form of evidence.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re:

        "You can't steal it, because its just a bunch of bits"

        WRONG.

        You can steal bits. For example, taking the medium the bits are stored on deprives the owner of the bits.

        If you meant copying can in no way be theft because nothing is actually taken then you'd be right.

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

        • identicon
          Mechwarrior, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If you read the rest of my comment, I did explicitly say that disc's can be stolen.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, but you said the actual bits can't be stolen. The 'bits' are a physical part of the disc so they can be stolen.

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

            • identicon
              Mechwarrior, 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bits aren't physical, what you are thinking of are "pits", since a disc is composed of one or more layers containing pits of different sizes forming a pattern from which a laser can detect the change in wavelength and thus translate them into binary.

              As for "stealing bits", you can't steal them, not even physicaly. The bit is a numerical value of 1 or 0 . Cam you steal 1's and 0's?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re:

        I think what the copyright maximalist wants is a security camera placed inside everyone's computers.

        To stem the tide of stealing. All you have to do is bribe, sorry, lobby the political class, enact the laws in secret and voila!

        Easy as pie.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      ...and yet again you seem to miss all of the points.

      "Three strikes laws are to the internet what store security and video camera are to shoplifting - something that had to be done to stem the tide of stealing."

      With store security and surveillance, you have 3 things sorely lacking from the entertainment industry's attempts to stop "piracy" so far - evidence, accountability and due process. None of these are present in the 3 strikes laws.

      Then, of course, we have facts that stealing is not the same as infringement since the owner still has the original copy, the fact that people do still buy movies even if they obtain a pirated copy first, etc, etc. But, you've shown yourself to be completely uninterested in truths like that...

      Hopefully the CEO of Disney can realise how foolish this line of thinking is and adapt, rather than help destroy another part of the industry like his predecessors' copyright rules have helped achieve. There are public domain movies that are literally unavailable to anybody because of his company's actions, I hope that future production is not killed by similar idiocy.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:29am

        Re: Re:

        Then, of course, we have facts that stealing is not the same as infringement since the owner still has the original copy

        The same old excuse. I laugh every time I read this, it's such a freaking cop out as to be beyond understanding.

        It doesn't matter if they still have the original (they have it in their vaults, as a master, DUH!), but rather that you failed to pay for your copy of it. You don't have rights to the product, and in the end, it's just like jumping the turnstile to get on the subway - sure, the train will still run, and sure, the train won't run less because you are there, but you are getting something for nothing - which makes you a thief.

        The rest of your post is just blithering based on a warped view of something for nothing.

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

        • identicon
          Mechwarrior, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So, if in fact copyright infringement is theft, then why aren't intellectual properties taxed like assets? A company car is an asset and thus taxable, why isn't IP?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your post is just blithering based on a warped view of being entitled to monopolies.

          Stop pretending that your opinion is the be all end all of morality.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          First of all - prove that the file I just downloaded is illegal. Is it public domain? A copy of something I already own of which I'm entitled to have a backup copy? Or something that I don't have any right to. File name and IP address doesn't cut it when trying to prove this. You didn't lose anything if I was already entitled to grab a copy of your movie.

          Secondly, although your train analogy make a lot more sense than the nonsensical shoplifting analogy, it's still flawed. The main objections I have to 3 strikes are the lack of evidence, accountability and due process related to its application. A subway train will have security, cameras and evidence that you failed to buy a ticket. 3 strikes lacks any of these. That's my problem, even before we get on to the fact that IP infringement only loses a POTENTIAL SALE, not a physical item like a beer can or a subway seat. They can still sell the item to someone else, or even the "thief" later on if they want to offer it in the desired way, without losing anything tangible.

          Finally, I'd appreciate an end to the stupid attacks on my character that you keep posting here. I have stated time and time again that I don't download anything illegal through P2P and I buy a minimum of 6 DVDs, 3 video games and 3 albums per month through legal channels. Save your "money for nothing" rhetoric for someone who does actually want this. I'm simply trying to explain how to make me want to buy MORE not LESS, get it?

          Tactics like the ones by the entertainment industry have already made me boycott the RIAA. I don't particularly want to boycott the major video game & movie producers as well, but that's the corner they're backing me in to by their tactics.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Turnstile jumping is a "Theft of Services" and usually a misdemeanor or other very small crime where you may just receive a ticket rather than be arrested for a felony.

          Your definition of the word thief and theft are also off. It's the act of TAKING that makes you a thief. In the case of copyright infringement you aren't TAKING from anyone. You treat the word thief as anyone who obtains something they 'shouldn't have'. With that definition anyone who finds a quarter on the ground would be a thief since that quarter isn't theirs and wasn't willingly given.

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

        • icon
          Hulser (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 2:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The same old excuse. I laugh every time I read this, it's such a freaking cop out as to be beyond understanding.

          You appear to be misinterpreting the people who make the distinction between theft and copyright infringement. Almost all of the people who make the distinction don't do so to justify copyright infringement. For example, you react as if Mike has said that copyright infringement is OK because it's not theft, but you won't find this statement in any of his posts. The reason that people make a distinciton between theft and copyright infringment is that they are fundamentally different and should be treated differently under the law. Are copyright infringment and theft illegal? Yes. Are copyright infringment and theft immoral? Yes. Is copyright infringment like theft? Yes, but that doesn't mean that we should treat a copyright infringer the same as a thief or, as we're doing now in same cases, worse.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 2:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Copyright infringement is immoral? Like murder? Like rape? Like theft? Like jaywalking?

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

            • icon
              Hulser (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 4:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Copyright infringement is immoral?
              Yes.

              Like murder? Like rape? Like theft? Like jaywalking?
              Like in the sense that they're all immoral, yes. Not like in degree obviously.

              Any other questions?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 6:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Jaywlaking is not immoral. I have no problem debating the morality of copyright infringement but come on?

                Jaywalking? Really?

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

                • icon
                  Hulser (profile), 9 Dec 2009 @ 8:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Jaywalking is immoral because the jaywalker is infringing on the rights of the driver. Given current traffic laws, if a pedestrian walks into traffic when they don't have the right-of-way, they are endangering themselves, the drivers on the road at the time, and anyone else that might be hit by those drivers trying to avoid hitting the jaywalker. It's straightforwardly immoral.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:55am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Can morality really be based on current laws? What if technology makes it so there is no longer a danger present? Would it still be immoral?

                    What about the prohibition laws? Was it immoral to smuggle moonshine? To drink it? So in 1919 it wasn't immoral to drink moonshine but from 1920 to 1933, yes it was. Then in 1934 it was no longer immoral to drink moonshine?

                    That's confusing? I thought morality stemmed from a divine law?

                    Although I totally agree with you that jaywalking, because of the risk to others, is wrong, based on current traffic laws, but I'm still having trouble seeing at as immoral.

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

        • icon
          Almost Anonymous (profile), 9 Dec 2009 @ 10:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Let us say that I have paid for Digital Product A, why can't I resell it when I'm done with it? And before you toss the red herring that I will keep a copy of it, for this example, either I can't or I won't. Even better, if I intend to keep it, why am I discouraged or even "not allowed" to make a backup of my purchase?

          Answer: Because even the companies that sell these non-real items know that they are non-real, easily copied, easily distributed. Even IF you could somehow lock down an MP3 such that if you sell it to someone you can't keep a copy of it, the distributors still wouldn't go for it; they want everybody to buy their own... wait for it, this is very very important... their own COPY.

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

    • icon
      Steve R. (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:30am

      Due Process and Capitalism

      AC wrote "If what the customer wants is to get something for nothing, then I think that he is right - this isn't a workable business model, and there sure isn't any reason to support it."

      First there is the issue of due process. Seems that our corporate leadership is assuming that they have a so-called "right" to deny due process for the sake of making a profit.

      Second, if the capitalistic business model is unsustainable to bad. You go out of business. There is no justification under Capitalism for using the power of the State to prop-up your profits.

      It amazes me how many people who profess to be Capitalists, really belong to the welfare entitlement society.

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

    • identicon
      Brian, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      Totally agree. The Chinese are taking intellectual property all the time, then repackaging it and reselling it. In Mike's logic, "Hey, the money is still being spent, and is still generating jobs and supporting the economy somewhere."

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

    • identicon
      Danny, 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      Three strikes laws are to the internet what store security and video camera are to shoplifting - something that had to be done to stem the tide of stealing.
      The main flaw here is that atleast with the cameras and shoplifting there is undeniable evidence that I stole something whereas with the three stikes and you're off the internet laws are basing those three strikes off of mere accusations.

      There is a big leap to go from prosecute me for shoplifing and having a recording of me stealing the item to kicking me off the internet because I've been accused three times. Those laws would have much more to stand on if they were based on convictions and not accusations.

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

    • icon
      The Mad Hatter (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 5:51pm

      Re:

      If what the customer wants is to get something for nothing, then I think that he is right - this isn't a workable business model, and there sure isn't any reason to support it.
      What if the customer decided to buy something from Paramount instead of Disney, because Disney didn't provide what they wanted? If Disney can't provide what the customer wants, Disney deserves to go the way of the dinosaurs.
      Three strikes laws are to the internet what store security and video camera are to shoplifting - something that had to be done to stem the tide of stealing.
      Store security and video cameras are used to prevent the removal of property. In simple terms they are preventive measures. The proposed Three Strikes Laws are not a preventive measure, and do not stop the removal of property, since property is not removed, it remains.
      Taking stuff without paying isn't right in any society, it's really funny to watch Mike try to tiptoe along the line between "sharing" and "stealing" - and failing all the time.
      Theft (or stealing) leaves the original owner bereft of their property. File Sharing leaves the original property intact. In file sharing you aren't taking. Taking involves removal. In file sharing the original still exists, in the same location. Of course I guess simple concepts like this are too difficult for you.

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

  • identicon
    RD, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:56am

    Copy != stealing

    "Taking stuff without paying isn't right in any society, it's really funny to watch Mike try to tiptoe along the line between "sharing" and "stealing" - and failing all the time."

    But you arent taking anything. You are making a copy, at best. This isnt theft. Says so right in the law. Also, its a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Might want to brush up on the topic.

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

  • icon
    Ima Fish (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:01am

    "So when you hear about "stealing intellectual property," a term that may have little meaning to you..."

    Mmmmm... when I think about the phrase "stealing intellectual property" I think...

    It's not theft, it's infringement.

    It's not property, it's a government granted monopoly.

    And if it's from Disney, it's certainly not intellectual.

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

  • identicon
    Matt Wester, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:05am

    There's more than one reason why people may not be spending money on Disney content. I would be happy to give them my money for some of their content, but I can't: the content I'm interested in is locked up in their infamous Vault. What was that about "not [being] in tune with what their customers wanted"?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:26pm

      Re:

      I would love to purchase Song of the South from Disney but they won't let me.

      That's weird? I thought Disney made Song of the South? But they don't sell it? It came out in 1946.

      Why doesn't Disney sell it? I want to buy it but they won't let me? That doesn't make any sense.

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

  • identicon
    me, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:10am

    Of course, there's no indication that this is actually true. Even if people are saving money by not spending on Disney content, they are spending that money elsewhere, contributing to jobs in those sectors.

    This is a valid point in economics.

    But the missing point is that if you don't pay for the item you are watching/listening/playing, thereby supporting the industry you are taking from, you are limiting the income provided by the creation of these products and this will cause a slow drain on the talent within these areas.
    It won't happen fast but if the individuals or groups creating the product don't have the right to their own work and recieve what they percieve as a fair amount of income from their work they will quit providing the content.

    Just my two cents.....

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Then the amateurs will start providing content. Like they have been their entire lives. Of course, back in the day, the only way to see an amateur's work was to actually know them.

      But with the internet? Maybe the 21st century will be know as the Amateur's Century.

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

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      I think the entire argument is wrong. It's been shown here that people who download buy more than people who don't. This would suggest that more money is going to the producers of the content.

      For example: I must admit that I did download games for the XBox 1. I got the thing for free and I really didn't care about it (Nintendo fanboy back then). After I figured out how much better the Xbox was than the Game Cube I started buying real games. I no longer have any illegal games (hard drive crash and never found the need to replace them) but I have probably around 100 legal ones. Way more than I would have purchased before the original Xbox.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Goes both ways. I had a lot of ROMs for emulators many years ago, most of them for systems that had stopped being sold a decade before. Some were for systems I'd never owned myself (NES, C64, Amstrad) and some for systems I did (ZX Spectrum, SNES, Atari ST). I never considered this wrong at the time, as I literally couldn't buy the originals in many cases, although the troll AC would probably disagree.

        I started playing a few games like this that I'd either never heard of (e.g. Sin & Punishment), had heard of but never played (e.g. Metal Slug), or had simply never been released in my region (e.g. Super Mario RPG). Years later, I've bought many of these games for the Wii Virtual Console and one or 2 updated versions from XBox Arcade and retro discs.

        Would have I done so without the "pirated" games, considering the Wii Virtual Console has no demos available? Doubtful - they're too overpriced for blind buys, but just right to revisit an old favourite. Without the ROMs, Nintendo would have lost a minimum of $100 from me. In fact they'd have more if they weren't fleecing people for the VC content (IMHO as C64 games are the same price they cost in the 80s) but that's another story...

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

  • identicon
    tack, 8 Dec 2009 @ 11:25am

    durr

    Why do people believe that every download is a lost sale? From my experience giving no free download option, I still wouldn't have paid money for any of this so called theft.

    Musicians and actors would still be musicians and actors making $20000 a year. Suggesting that hurts the end product is ridiculous. If anything it would increase quality because content would be made by artists and not the corporate autotuned 1 contract and done industry shills.

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 8 Dec 2009 @ 12:38pm

    Two Common Sense Ways to Improve the Economy ....

    First he says ... "These measures don't rely on increased government spending, additional legislation or regulation"

    then he says .... "The confirmation last week by the Senate of Victoria Espinel as the nation's first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator is a great step." .... isnt this both "increased government spending" and the beginning of "regulation"?

    What a dork this guy is ..... also was he drinking during that speach because it seems like its all over the place.

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

  • identicon
    dino, 8 Dec 2009 @ 7:44pm

    Between 2007 and 2009 I worked for AT&T on a project to forward copyright notice complaints to customers of their internet services on behalf of a group of companies and organizations. These included Disney, NBC/Universal, FOX, the MPAA, the ESA and the RIAA.

    These guys are working it from this angle as well, trying to get ISPs to track down their customers using IP addresses and timestamps gathered from filesharing systems.

    Thought it was worth a mention in this context.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 8:25pm

    I wonder.

    With the prices and sizes of recording equipment going down every year how long until everybody is recording everything.

    How copyright will cope with that?
    How governments will react to that?

    I can see law enforcement lobbying for more powers to take footage from anyone(eye witness).

    And laws being enforced on a great number of people who will feel then what they took for granted when people didn't have the means to know all about you.

    Thinking about that I think we are at the beginning of a new era, one that will change how things work for better or worst but it will change none the less.

    People today don't care about privacy laws or copyright because they don't think it affects them, most people are just blind to what is going on.

    But don't worry, when people start being stopped in the streets and forced to surrender cameras, players and whatever things will change, specially when you are caught with something that is coded into the law but is absurd to the majority. People think they have nothing to hide, but they are just ignorant of how the law works or how many laws exist today in any country. If you land in a court of law chances are that you will be convicted.

    Technology is acting as a magnifying glass to the limitations of the law and I'm hopping that those distortions will be brought inline with what really happens on the ground.

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

  • identicon
    Harmonious Pandemonium, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:04pm

    Harming of our economy?

    I'm still waiting for someone to answer how being kicked off of the internet by a three strikes law is supposed to generate incentive for buying intellectual property. Being kicked off of the internet would probably be beneficial for a lot of folks, including myself. Rather than having to pay my ISP every month, the money could instead go into my savings account, created for the sole purpose of buying a house. Short of using free wi-fi hot spots, I wouldn't be able to download intellectual content anymore, but really that is no big loss. Intellectual property is not a necessity to quality of life. If there was some movie I felt I absolutely must see, I'd probably just wait until I could borrow it from someone I know or the library, something I used to do a lot of long before the internet came along. Basically all three strikes will do is cause ISP's and any of the online services I use, which must now be canceled, to lose profits. Mike is correct in his assumption. While my money may not be going to the copyright maximilasts, it is still going somewhere in the economy. I can safely state that if it wasn't for their belligerence and greed, we would probably not even be in the predicament that we are right now.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2009 @ 10:44pm

    Can someone tell me why was my comment was being reviewed by the staff...?

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

  • icon
    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), 9 Dec 2009 @ 12:28am

    Disney...... Tone-Deaf CORPORATE MACHINE

    They're not what they once were... the way they use to connect with their fans. The fairytail has long been over for them. Now it's just IP, lawsuits against kids and their parents, & tone-deaf corporate mission statements. }:>

    Disney Sucks! }:(

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


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