Hollywood Hires New Person To Make Same Old Mistakes In Fighting Against The Future

from the good-luck-with-that dept

A few weeks ago, a friend sent over a link to a website called CreativeFutures -- a Hollywood-created organization to (of course) push for anti-piracy efforts. What was really weird about it was that it seemed almost identical to a different such organization, called Creative America, which the same studios had used as a center piece in pushing SOPA, but which had gone quiet. The NY Times, however, has cleared up the mystery. Apparently, CreativeFutures is Creative America, with a new name and a new leader... who seems to be pulling out the same bad playbook on how to deal with innovative technologies that have changed the market for video. Here's a tip: any time you see someone insisting that "the answer" to dealing with widespread infringement is "more education," you know that you're dealing with someone who is either ignorant, or not particularly serious concerning the issue. And yet, here is CreativeFutures new boss, who the NY Times describes as "sassy," Ruth Vitale:
One idea — though now it is no more than that — is to build alliances with educational nonprofit groups that might enforce the notion that stealing an artist’s work online is just like lifting from a classmate’s desk.

“It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,” Ms. Vitale said.
For decades, the industry has kept insisting that all people really needed was a bit of "education" and they would magically start shoveling money back down the same payment channels they used to. But, of course, that's never worked. Because it's never been an education issue. It's always been a service problem, in that the industry fails to make works available in a convenient way that consumers want. Yes, the industry has gotten better at this over the years, but they still make it way, way too difficult, and that's why there's infringement.

Second, of course, is if the education is focused on having someone else put a name on your work, well, that's plagiarism, not copyright infringement -- and there's a pretty big distinction there. And, here's the thing: people understand that difference inherently. Pretending that they don't -- as Ms. Vitale seems to do here -- is acting as if the general public is stupid. Pedantically talking down to the very public you want to support you, telling them they need to be educated, and then "educating" them with bullshit misleading analogies that have nothing to do with the actual situation and totally misdiagnose the issue... is not exactly a well thought-out strategy.

Perhaps, instead of throwing money away on bogus groups like the re-christened CreativeFutures, the movie industry would be better off, you know, letting innovators build better services instead of ones that are totally hamstrung and locked up in ways that are annoying and inconvenient to the public. But, if there's one thing we've learned in decades of watching the MPAA and RIAA do the wrong thing it's that, when given the choice between treating consumers as idiots and actually listening to them, they'll always choose the path where they treat customers as idiots.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 5:53am

    Why would they do that?

    After all, making copyright purposely confusing and using obscure language has worked so well for so long that most people don't understand how copyright really works.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:01am

      Re: Why would they do that?

      "In retrospect, I should have gone into the snakeoil business years ago."

      I'm always slightly annoyed that I have too many morals to make an easy living from lying. It does seem to be a very lucrative business if you don't care about either people or the long term of the business you "support".

       

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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 7:08am

    >>any time you see someone insisting that "the answer" to dealing with widespread infringement is "more education," you know that you're dealing with someone who is either ignorant, or not particularly serious concerning the issue.

    The third alternative: Someone has figured out a way to make a healthy salary from pandering to the IP industry and their fears of the copyright boogeyman.

    In retrospect, I should have gone into the snakeoil business years ago.

     

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    Anon E. Mous (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 7:45am

    It used to be that the Artist/Band and the Producers/Actors needed the record and movie's big conglomerate to put out their albums/movies because they ran a monopoly to manufacture, distribute, market, stock, and sell the older forms of media.

    The Artists/Bands Producers/Actors have other options to get their media to the masses now. The music/movie industry fears losing their grip on huge profits and control.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Who first?

    " One idea — though now it is no more than that — is to build alliances with educational nonprofit groups that might enforce the notion that stealing an artist’s work online is just like lifting from a classmate’s desk. "

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    Now when are the labels going to pay their workers fairly along with sharing their profits, which piracy has not affected, for the public domain they've been taking from for decades?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Was I the only one who thought it odd that an article about "Creative America" that's supposed to identify with regular Americans starts out talking about Vitale's equestrian hobbies?

    I mean, seriously, unless you're a rancher, how many Americans can afford a horse? Does she also collect art?

     

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      reboog711 (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:06am

      Re:

      To make a random comparison, the number of people I know who own horses is probably about the same number of people I know who own pools.

      I don't take that to mean that people who swim cannot identify with regular Americans.

       

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        Ruben, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re:

        How does the number of people you know who've ridden horseback compare with the number of people you know who know how to swim?

         

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        JEDIDIAH, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 11:17am

        Blue cities and red trailer parks.

        The vast bulk of the population is not affluent enough to be able to afford either.

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re:

        I know a lot of people who know how to ride horses but can't afford to own one. The group who knows how to ride or swim is larger than the group who can afford to own a horse or a pool.

        BTW, a pool is quite a bit cheaper than a horse when you factor in the cost of upkeep.

         

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      Ninja (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      You know, she came with the mission to put an end to the wild west days of the internet. It's obvious she needs horses.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 7:59am

    Educating others?

    Who needs an education?

    "“It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,”"

    That is not piracy, it is called plagiarism or maybe fraud. Hollywood spin-monkey should invest in a dictionary.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:13am

      Re: Educating others?

      Actually in her example it actually is theft. There is no copying. The actual artist no longer has a painting to put his name on. The problem here is that is not anywhere close to resembling the situation in file sharing. File sharers don't claim to have created what they share. So they suck at math and now apparently their language skills suck too. And they want to be authorized to educate kids. Really?

       

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        jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re: Educating others?

        Taking a painting is theft. Trying to claim credit for the painting by putting your name on is plagiarism.

        Neither have anything to do with copyright.

         

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      Trails (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:16am

      Re: Educating others?

      When one downloads from TPB, it's not as if they think Gottfrid Svartholm directed...

       

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:00am

    Hey Vitale -

    “It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,” Ms. Vitale said.


    Look up "plagiarism".

    Look up "copyright infringement".

    Look up "fucking moron".

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:04am

    "“It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,” Ms. Vitale said."

    That's a very good example of plagiarism. What does this have to do with piracy, though?

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:15am

      Re:

      Ah, quoted too soon, I see that's covered in the article :)

      Analogies to real life scenarios are tricky at best, since the infinite and intangible nature of digital goods instantly makes most of them inapplicable. But, is it really that difficult for these people to make arguments that don't apply in any way to the issue at hand?

      If she wanted a real analogy in that scenario, the kid used a smartphone app to take a perfect picture of the painting that they could maybe then print off or use in other ways. But unless the kid then went and entered into plagiarism any way (he passes off the copy as his own work or sells copies), it's difficult to see how the first kid was harmed in any way.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:04am

    well, that's plagiarism, not copyright infringement

    Don't confuse the maximalists, there is no plagiarism or infringement, there is only theft.
    /Sarc

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:10am

    "...enforce the notion that stealing an artist’s work online is just like lifting from a classmate’s desk"

    And this is why it's doomed to fail. Children know "lifting from a classmate's desk" is not the right thing to do but they do it anyway because it's easier and more convenient than doing the work. And in that situation you have actual damage to the person who got his work lifted.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      "And in that situation you have actual damage to the person who got his work lifted."

      ...and that's why it's nothing like copyright infringement. At least scenarios that don't happen with copying a digital file for personal use simply don't apply. First, the original owner of the work is left without the original. Secondly, the reason for the "lifting" is to profit from the work (e.g. pass a test).

      It's doomed to fail because the analogies they're coming up with clearly don't apply to the thing they're attacking.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        "It's doomed to fail because the analogies they're coming up with clearly don't apply to the thing they're attacking."

        No, it's stupid because they're using bad analogies. It's doomed to fail because so far, nobody's managed to find a good way to keep kids from doing things using school programs.

        This sort of thing has been tried to keep kids from using drugs; it didn't work. It's been tried as a means to keep kids from having premarital sex; it didn't work. It's been tried as a way to keep kids out of gangs; it didn't work. Hollywood apparently thinks that this time, cleverly constructed propaganda can defeat a huge variety of intense social pressures. It can't.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 12:16pm

      Re:

      There is absolutely nothing morally wrong with copying. Infringement is not theft.

      "stealing an artist’s work"

      This is arguably the biggest reason I want IP laws abolished. I've said this over and over again, IP law is not about preventing artists from being 'robbed'. It's about serving a public interest. Artists are not morally entitled to a government monopoly privilege on anything. That these laws are still being misconstrued as being about anything other than serving a public interest is arguably the biggest reason I want them abolished.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:23am

    and the reply to 'treating customers as idiots' is the same as well and should be taken. that is 'to stop buying the media until the industries DO listen and DO take notice of consumers. until that happens, there will be no progress made at all. but that is probably exactly what the industries want because, bit by bit, they are gaining control of more of the internet and locking it down. the main aim of these industries has always been the same. get control of the internet, the best distribution platform on the planet and then see how the things that are the worst thing ever atm magically change to be the only methods to use (talking about file sharing sites, torrents and cloud sites)!!

     

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    sorrykb (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Education is the answer

    For starters, the new head of CreativeFutures could benefit from a little education about the different between copyright infringement and plagiarism.

     

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      Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:22am

      Re: Education is the answer

      This point cannot be stressed enough. Allowing Hollywood to muddle these terms into into some Newspeak porridge conflating everything with theft is doubleplusungood. I'm frankly surprised the NYT didn't call her out on this.

       

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      DannyB (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 10:24am

      Re: Education is the answer

      Education really is the answer.

      Making copyrighted films based on the public domain would be like copying your neighbor's flower arrangement, getting a copyright on that arrangement, and then suing your neighbor for copyright infringement.

      Or eating at your neighbor's house, liking the dish, getting the recipe, slightly altering it, publishing it with copyright, and then suing your neighbor for copyright infringement. Furthermore, mass suing everyone who has ever eaten your neighbor's recipe without a license from you.

      Copyright length is like if a home builder built a house and then thought they should be able to make money on it forever, like rent, or a fee each time it is sold, for example. They would argue this is justified because their hard work went into that house, just as the work that goes into a movie.

      Yes, more education is indeed the answer.

       

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        beltorak (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 6:36pm

        Re: Re: Education is the answer

        > Copyright length is like if a home builder built a house and then thought they should be able to make money on it forever, like rent, or a fee each time it is sold, for example.

        Actually it's a lot more like they want a fee every time some one steps into the house for whatever reason. Or turns around in the driveway. Or walks along the side walk and accidentally steps on the lawn. Throwing a party? There's a tax on each head....

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Waits for the big bad wolf to huff and puff and blow Hollywood/CreativeFutures straw house down once again.

     

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    Colin, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:26am

    But it also counts on the now slightly tempered brassiness of Ms. Vitale, who said she was openly frustrated at seeing techies steal the movie world’s sense of cool.

    “We’re the cool kids. We actually adopt new technology every day,” snapped Ms. Vitale...


    Oh wait, this is why I hated the "cool kids" in school...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      Really? It wasn't the wedgies?

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 11:23am

      Nerds popular? That's not right!

      Perhaps the people that despise Hollywood enough to set up in Marin County adopt new technology every day. I rather doubt that Hollywood itself has that kind of dynamic. Even without bean counters owning all of the major studios, you still have a studio system dominated by a small number of large corporations.

      There isn't likely going to be anything terribly progressive or creative about that kind of setup.

      To the Presidio take me.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:27am

    The answer IS education, however the problem is that they're targeting the wrong people. THEY are the ones who need to be educated.

     

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    David, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:30am

    The sad thing

    The sad thing is that copyright law is determined by the two large companies most invested in greasing the lawmakers.

    The fate of our culture rests on the shoulders of Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.

    Eat your heart out, Jefferson.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 8:39am

    “It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,” Ms. Vitale said.


    I'm pretty sure that the pirates she's thinking of don't put their name on pirated works in that way. The closest it'll get is something along the lines of "Ripped by 133thax0r42!" They certainly aren't trying to pretend they made the song, not whoever the artist is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:02am

    Ok, I got ed-u-macated.

    I don't fool with music/movies I don't have to worry about being sued. Of course that means I'm no longer Hollydud's customer either. I no longer buy any of it so as not to fool with it.

    They've managed to change one customer's mind into being a non-customer. Now that is education at it's finest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:05am

    There IS an education problem alright...

    but it is the other way around. Math teachers need to be brought in to educate Hollywood.

     

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    Greg (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Education is the answer

    Our legislators need educating and need to stop bending over every time one of the Media companies tells them to

    The ideas they put forward just don't make sense to 95% of the public, like why am I committing a crime lending the latest CD to my mate to rip for his Ipod or why am I committing a crime because I format shift a movie onto my pad.

    The content industries have fought tooth and nail to extend copyright and block any sensible fair use. We are how many years past Napster and they still have their collective heads stuck in the timewarp of the 90's.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 9:51am

    >“It’s as simple as this: One kid does a painting, and another kid comes up and puts his name on it,” Ms. Vitale said.

    Actually it's more like someone taking a picture with their cellphone and posting it to instagram. But you know let's just not focus on the real issues...

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Apr 1st, 2014 @ 11:25am

      It's just not natural.

      If they describe what's actually going on, they pretty much ensure that no one will feel any sympathy.

       

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 1st, 2014 @ 11:51am

    Education? No. 'Education'? Yes

    The absolute last thing they want to do is truly educate people on the copyright system, as it's so screwed up and corrupt that pretty much without fail, unless someone is directly benefiting from it, the more they learn the more they come to hate and hold contempt for copyright as it currently stands.

    No, what they want is to 'educate' people will all the debunked crap they continue to push, the idea that digital goods are, and should be treated as, the exact same as physical goods(except when it comes to consumer rights of course), that making a copy of something is the same thing as taking the original from the owner, that DRM has anything to do with piracy when in actuality it's all about control, and that piracy is this horrible thing that's got them on the ropes, and will kill them off any day now unless drastic new laws are passed, despite the fact that they're doing fine, and the harsher laws they want have proven to be completely and utterly useless.

     

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    John85851 (profile), Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Where's the questioning?

    So all of us can tell the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, but how about the people who were at the meetings or get the press releases? Why aren't more people calling out the "Creative" people for misleading the public like this?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Wrong.

    Filesharing = One kid does a painting, and another kid makes a copy

     

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