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by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
alex swartsel, dan glickman, infringement, sophistry


MPAA Calls MPAA Intellectually Dishonest For Claiming That Infringement Is Inevitable

from the talking-points dept

We've been having some fun with the MPAA's extraordinary cluelessness lately. It started with MPAA communications person Alex Swartsel bizarrely and unfairly attacking GigaOm's Janko Roettger for daring to point out that an economic downturn (combined with dumb moves by the movie industry) might lead to greater file sharing. Swartsel, a spokesperson for the MPAA, went ballistic, claiming that such a statement was intellectually dishonest and somehow condoned the practice as socially acceptable. Here's the key paragraph from Swartsel and the MPAA:
We doubt many people will subscribe to the kind of intellectual dishonesty that suggests that itís fine Ė or really, that itís inevitable Ė to steal as a way of saving. But itís troubling that by suggesting that stolen content available on rogue sites and elsewhere is just another substitute good, Roettgers is tacitly arguing that content theft is legitimate and socially acceptable. Truth is, itís neither.
And what, specifically, did Roettger say? Here's the exact quote:
The U.S. credit ratings downgrade, tumbling stocks and international instability have made not just financial analysts nervous this week. Consumers are also starting to wonder whether weíre about to enter another recession. Whenever that happens, people start to tighten their belts and cut unnecessary expenses ó like paying for movies and TV shows. Add in the Netflix price hike as well as new authentication plans from broadcasters like Fox, and youíve got yourself a perfect storm for piracy.
I don't see how that's condoning anything, really. But if Roettger is being intellectually dishonest and saying that it's fine, well, then that means that the MPAA is also intellectually dishonest and condones piracy. That's because, as TorrentFreak points out, just a couple years ago, former MPAA boss Dan Glickman said almost the exact same thing that Roettger said:
"This is a high priority issue," said Motion Picture Association of America head Dan Glickman, who expressed concern that the dire financial situation would make pirated movies more popular on the streets and online.

"If you look at the situation, the current economic crisis makes this problem much more serious than before," he told a forum.
So, if I'm reading all of this correctly -- and I pretty sure that I am -- according to the MPAA, the MPAA is being intellectually dishonest in suggesting that "it's fine -- or really, that it's inevitable -- to steal as a way of saving." Got it.

In the meantime, we're still waiting for the MPAA and Ms. Swartsel to issue an apology to Roettger, an excellent and fair reporter, who certainly doesn't deserve the MPAA's bizarre "blame the messenger and accuse him of supporting piracy" treatment.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2011 @ 8:07am

    I can certainly understand the motivation underlying the "I want it NOW" customer sentiment, though I happen to believe it is not as prevalent as some might be inclined to believe from reading articles here, but at the same time I wish that just once I would read an analysis of that which motivates content producers beyond the simplistic mantra "It's mine and I will darn well as I please".

    I believe it might be useful and informative to seek out and explain those factors important to the incumbents in the content industry. At least this would provide the other side of the story, and from these contrasting views more informed opinions can be formulated.

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