Crime Inc. Produces Thoughtful, Nuanced Episode About Piracy (Haha, Just Kidding! Cue Scary Music)
from the too-bad dept
Earlier this year, after a series of long and detailed phone calls in which I tried to explain to producers of CNBC's 'Crime Inc.' why the claims about "piracy" were exaggerated, and how conflating physical bootlegging and unauthorized digital downloads was a mistake, we did a filmed interview that took place over a few hours in San Francisco. I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, they'd be able to present the story of copyright infringement with a bit of nuance, rather than the typical "run for your lives! theft! piracy! gangsters!" Unfortunately, it appears that the show went in the other direction and did the cliche and totally bogus storyline that digital downloads are a form of organized crime costing billions. I haven't yet seen the whole program, but judging from the show's online description and "extras" along with its video preview, this is going to be more of the same garbage:
From the voice-over, scary music, and video clips, this looks like a repeat of what 60 Minutes put on a few years ago. Given that CNBC is (of course) owned by NBC Universal, perhaps that's not too surprising. But I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, they could be convinced to present a more nuanced position. Instead, the video clip clearly presents downloading in the same light as physical bootlegging, claims billions of "losses" and suggests the whole thing is a criminal epidemic, rather than a situation in which a failure by the entertainment industry to adapt is a major part of the problem.
One of the "extras" shows ICE boss John Morton gleefully talking about seizing and forfeiting domain names -- which is odd timing given that just yesterday the feds had to give back one of those domain names because Morton and his crew totally screwed up. But don't bet on seeing that in this report.
The show officially airs today (times depend on where you are). I have no idea if any of my footage even made it into the show, but given the positioning of everything shown on the website, it wouldn't surprise me if the points I made about how much of this is exaggerated and misleading don't make it into the episode, or if they do, they're presented completely out of context. So much for trying to bring a little sanity to reporting on these things. I guess reporting on reality, rather than the industry's spin, just doesn't play on cable news.