Hollywood Continues To Make Up Facts; AP Continues To Parrot Them

from the evidence-please? dept

So, the MPAA's latest target for crackdowns on camcording appears to be India. You may remember that it went through a series of questionable claims about camcording in Canada and the US, where if you looked at the math, none of it added up. Apparently, the same thing is happening in India and the reporters at the Associated Press don't feel the need to investigate bogus Hollywood numbers. In this AP report about the MPAA's new "crackdown" on camcording in India, the reporter says that camcording is to blame for 90% of "pirated" movies:
A year in the making, the coalition to fight film piracy in India will work with movie theaters to crack down on camcorder piracy -- the source of 90 percent of all pirated DVDs -- with police to tighten enforcement, with Internet service providers to fight Internet piracy and with politicians to create more effective laws.
With these big professional reporters, you might think they would try to fact check a claim like "90% of all "pirated" DVDs come from camcorded movies." They might have trouble doing that, because the actual research suggests something quite different. A study that we wrote about a few years ago found otherwise. Specifically, it found that "77% appear to have been leaked originally by industry insiders."

But, of course, we need to save the AP, because they do real fact checking, right?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    mjb5406 (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:17am


    Good grief... if 90% of pirated DVDs were from camcorder videos there would be NO market for pirated DVDs at all! I can't imaging someone hand-holding a camcorder for 90-plus minutes to record a movie would create anything with quality worth watching!

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

  2. identicon
    Michael, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Boston Strangler

    Apparently, the camcorder is to the movie industry that the Boston Strangler was to women...

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

  3. identicon
    AC, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:29am


    Has anyone actually watched a bootleg from a camcorder? I've seen on, and it was terrible. Although, the part about 3/4 of the way through where someone got up and walked in front of the camera was pretty funny.

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

  4. identicon
    Rabbit80, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:32am

    I have the answer... outlaw camcorders. That will stop nearly all the movie piracy and we won't need ACTA shoved down our throats. Whilst we are on doing that, we need to ban all microphones so people can't record the music from the radio - this will fix the problems with piracy in the music industry!

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

  5. identicon
    Flakey, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:34am

    Camcords are laughable

    As usual numbers are convenient when they support what you want to present and particularly damning when they don't and you're wanting to sweep them under the carpet. This is the problem with numbers when it comes to the protection industries.

    Camcords were never something desired for downloading. Almost anyone I've talked to sort of snickers at the questionable "quality" of a camcord. I suppose it's alright if you've no objection to the shadow of someone standing up during the movie or the lack of any quality sound. Even the image itself is not very good in these days of high definition.

    When the RIAA and calhoots were in the process of trying to get the anti-piracy measure of making it illegal to camcord in Canadian theaters, why the total of illegal camcords coming out of Canada and out of New York were better than 100%. I guess my high school math failed to teach me proper mathematics as I learned 100% was all of anything and there was no more. Yet I learned from the RIAA and calhoots, that's not true. You can have more than 100% of anything...who knew?

    It amazes me the lengths that facts will be stretched out of proportion to support a stance and even more that time after time it is proven that the news reporters no longer write the news. They get it from the corporate feeds and claim it news. I often wonder if there are any lights on in the news room anymore. There sure doesn't appear to be anyone in the news fact checking room remaining because it looks like most have fired them in the interest of cutting costs.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 9:50am

    Re: Camcords are laughable

    What are calhoots?

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

  7. icon
    Planespotter (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Cam = crud.
    Telesync = crudish.
    Telecine = ok'ish.. if you really have to watch it now.
    R5 = ok, normally let down by audio.

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

  8. icon
    PEBKAC (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Camcords are laughable

    Cahoots from California?

    Doesn't India have its own rather booming movie industry? I could be mistaken, but don't they also have rather stringent rules for what's allowed to be shown in films (regarding nudity, swearing, etc.)? So US films (some) would be harder to see in the first place, possibly resulting in a thirst for bootlegs...but US movies might not be even permitted to be shown and hence camcorded if they're found to be violating those rules...

    Whatever. India has internet too. Camcording is hardly the easiest way to obtain unauthorized copies.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Camcords are laughable

    >>What are calhoots?

    Calhoots is shorthand for a famous sorority that is primarily made up of students attending the Univ Southern California Film School. Being a new soririty, The Calhoots House is actually not on Sorority Row. It is across the street from a well known wing shack, hence the name "CalHoots".

    Calhoots has a recent problem of people sneaking camcorders in, and patrons not buying wings...

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

  10. identicon
    Joe, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:26am


    Ok - not to defend the MPAA which, as Mike says, is somewhat math challenged at the best of times, but from my reading, I think they are talking specifically about dvd's found in markets. I've gone through many many Indian and Chinese markets and seen loads of Hollywood (and I'm sure Bollywood) films that were just burned from a cam and then place a photocopied cover on them. (as an aside, the mangled plot synopses on the back of them were better than many of the movies).

    Given that microcosm, I think that, yah - a huge number of them are pirate cams. Probably not 90% but definitely up there. I think this is actually a result of the international release windows as much as anything else. But given the huge amount of piracy, is Bollywood suffering? Aren't they making 10x the amount of films that Hollywood puts out?

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

  11. icon
    ervserver (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:39am


    boy I bet these so called camcorded movies are quality ... can't believe there would be much of a market for that

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

  12. identicon
    rabbit, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:46am

    Mike: But, of course, we need to save the AP, because they do real fact checking, right?

    Uh, no, as you pointed out, they actually just went to Reuters or some other source and re-wrote the same story. No need to check facts when you are just doing a re-write.

    ; )

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:47am

    The real story: If your business model is being "threatened" by low quality camcorder recordings, your business model is crap.

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

  14. icon
    JerryAtrick (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: 90%???

    Ever heard of a tripod?

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:54am

    unless that business model is 'amateur' pRon

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

  16. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re: seriously?

    Also, it seems that it is difficult for people to secure the best seats. Sometimes it is recorded from the sides. The result is that the projection screen appears as a trapezoid that doesn't fit the camcorder viewfinder.

    Other funnies:
    - when subtitles appear, and the dude needs to quickly aim the camcorder down to get them in his frame
    - people talking around the camcorder
    - people walking in front of the camera
    - terrible sound quality for the entire duration
    - shaky cam holding
    - double shaky cam when b/hollywood uses a "handheld effect" and so does the camcorder guy. Could these cancel each other out?
    - the guy needs to keep the camera discreet, so lowers it when an usher comes around

    I've seen one of these movies at a friend's house in Spain. I saw all the problems above by 20 minutes into the movie. I stopped watching, and rented the film at Blockbuster when I got back home.

    Watching a film involves two expenses: the price, and my time. The price of free was acceptable, but I am not willing to spend 2 hours of my time on so poor an experience.

    In fact, I almost think Hollywood should seed bittorrent with camcorder versions...people would rapidly learn to avoid the poor quality methods of getting content!

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

  17. identicon
    The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:59am


    Speakers too. It's trivial to turn a small speaker into a microphone.

    Plus there's a long history of guitarists using their ears to violate the songwriters' copyrights by making a copy in their brains and then their fingers to reproduce the work publicly. We should probably get rid of ears and fingers too.

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

  18. icon
    JerryAtrick (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:03am

    But what about the real issue, the fact that the MPAA has been unable to push around the FCC with its request/demand to release first run movies directly to the public...

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

  19. identicon
    Another User, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: seriously?

    That is a great idea. If Hollywood would just release all of there movies online for free at a much lower resolution then it may even bring more people to buy the movie due to wanting to see it in much better quality. There are many movies that go through theaters that I never see nor do I rent but being able to see a lower quality free version may change my mind.

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:18am

    Look to the Inside Hollywood.

    If someone were to say, download movies online, every once in a while they might find a movie that has text pop in every 15 minutes or show saying something like "This release for Award consideration proposes only, Copyright blah blah blah". Yeah, that wasn't leaked by someone in the film industry at all! The same people who cry about piracy taking away from the "common film workers".

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

  21. icon
    Richard (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:21am

    I for one support the MPAA in cracking down on the horrendous trade in camcorded movies. I wish them all the best at removing this blight from the world. And think of all the extra benefits that will come of it. No more will you download a movie, only to be disappointed that your "dvdrip" was really a "shonky cam".
    Although this reminds me of an article I read last night about people recording live concerts. They spend the entire concert with their phone in the air, looking at the concert through the tiny screen. In one case, the girl spent the entire concert facing 90 degrees away from the performer, because she was recording the big screen. I just can't imagine that you're getting the "full experience" watching an event through your phone, or in this case, a camcorder. Does that mean that Joe Pirate then goes back and buys another ticket, just so he can actually watch the movie properly?

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 11:57am


    Couldn't the quality of the recording be considered fair use, at least if you weren't attempting to profit from it, obviously.

    What happens, in the future, when you can resample a movie to make it look like a stylish animation? Add some artistic flair to the whole thing through a computer program?

    "Our live-action 100GB-esque blockbuster movie is being stolen! What do you mean the live-action element has been replaced by animation? The voice acting replaced by HawkingVoice 4.0 and the end file size is only 13MB? That's not fair! They're stealing from us"

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    99 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot (including this one).

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

  24. identicon
    CN, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 7:38am

    Only 90% ??

    If only they could get it up to 100%, then almost nobody would ever bother downloading a movie!

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

  25. icon
    ethorad (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Re: Re:

    Instead you could combine ears and fingers to block out the music thus protecting copyright

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 24th, 2010 @ 3:48am

    "camcorder piracy -- the source of 90 percent of all pirated DVDs"

    They seem to be confused between a pirated DVD and a pirate DVD. I can't imagine any pirated DVDs have come from camcorders.

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

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