Australian Movie Studio Boss Skips Out On Public Q&A, Claiming It Will Be Filled With 'Crazies'

from the respecting-the-public dept

Last month we wrote about a new copyright reform proposal in Australia, which is basically Hollywood's wishlist. It was put together by George Brandis, who completely flat out ignored the proposals of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), despite it going through a long and detailed process to come up with quite reasonable reforms. Instead, Brandis buddied up with Hollywood insiders representing US interests, and totally ignored consumer groups.

In response to the proposal, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull (who has, apparently, been pushing for more reasonable rules to dilute Brandis' extreme proposals) said that a public hearing would be held in September to discuss the proposal, getting a variety of stakeholders in the room together, including consumer rights groups. The major Australian studio, Village Roadshow (the "token" Australian studio in the failed Hollywood-driven effort to sue ISP iiNet a few years back), has apparently decided to opt out of attending the session. While the company's CEO Graham Burke originally said he couldn't make it because he'd be overseas, he actually told Turnbull that he was skipping it because he didn't want to deal with "crazies," by which he apparently means the public who are concerned about their rights being trampled:
“My company is not prepared to participate in the forum. As expressed to you previously these Q and A style formats are judged by the noise on the night and given the proposed venue I believe this will be weighted by the crazies,” Burke told the Minister.

[....]

“What is at stake here is the very future of Australian film production itself and it is too crucially important to Australia’s economy and the fabric of our society to put at risk with what will be a miniscule group whose hidden agenda is theft of movies,” Burke told the Minister.
Nice to see what they really think of the public and concerns about how the new rules might trample free speech, an open internet or the nature of innovation. It's a pretty weak argument, showing real desperation when someone insists that the concerns being raised by public interest groups and ISPs about significant legal changes that will have a major impact on the internet as a whole, are just "a miniscule group whose hidden agenda is theft of movies." No one's "agenda" is "theft of movies." People are legitimately concerned about the consequences of putting liability on ISPs over actions of their users. The near certain response is to lead to massive censorship, blocking of free speech, and much greater expenses for consumers -- none of which will have any real impact on infringement of movies.

It seems quite telling, actually, that Burke apparently recognizes that he has no good responses to these concerns, and can only respond through insults and ad hominems.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    If you were that interested in protecting the artists Mr Burke you should be there defending your points with solid arguments instead of letting the "crazies" poison the discussion undeterred. That's what the public has been doing for ages, fighting for a place in the closed discussions between your "sane guys" and the Govt because they do have solid arguments against your pretense sanity. If they had easy access just like you to every negotiation I'm quite sure your team would be taking the ball home far more frequently under your reasoning.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:37am

    The irony is thick with this one. Wearing a full set of blinders and unable to find the mirror when it comes to recognizing the crazies.

    There is a reason why these policies in making are always behind closed doors with no public invited. If the public knew what they were up to they would be out in the streets protesting these actions. It can't stand the light of day shining in on the real crazies.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:41am

      Re:

      unable to find the mirror

      can't stand the light of day

      It's because they're vampires, sucking money out of everything and leaving nothing but a corpse behind to rot away, all to fuel their insatiable hunger.

       

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Sounds familiar

    whose hidden agenda is theft of movies


    Hey, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, from the shills and trolls that comment here! Smells like a published talking point to me.

    Of course, it's complete bullshit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Crazies...

    is apparently another term for "people we don't agree with"

     

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    LduN (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    I win 100%

    In essence he was saying "100% of people I talk to agree with me, those that don't agree are crazy and/or unfit to be taken seriuosly."

    Can I start using that?

     

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    Michael, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    a variety of stakeholders in the room together, including consumer rights groups

    A 'variety of stakeholders' could include movie studios, production companies, performance rights groups, lobbyists, etc.

    I think it sounds like a bunch of crazies too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    I appreciate his concerns and his decision to reduce the number of crazies by one...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

    this just shows that he isn't in the least bit interested in doing anything as far as the public, his customers are concerned. all he wants to do is penalise as many people as possible, as hard as possible, for as long as possible. he also expects everyone to continue going to the movies or whatever, just to keep the coins flowing in. and dont forget that he also isn't prepared to do anything that customers have been crying out for decades for the entertainment industries to do which would almost eliminate the problem that they say exists, and that is to listen to what customers want! good download speeds of media released everywhere at the same time, drm free and sensibly priced. the way he's acting, the only crazy is him. makes me wonder how the hell him and others like him, get these jobs in the first place? perhaps being as crazy as those interviewing him for the job is a big plus!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    "What is at stake here is the very future of Australian film production itself and it is too crucially important to Australia’s economy and the fabric of our society to put at risk ..."

    Society is at risk unless the Australian film industry is allowed to Save The Day? No I think that's already been done, that was Invasion of the Body Snatchers right? Get me a better plot, and oh yeah get me some better actors.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    Don't you think that if it will be filled with "crazies" that it would actually make your arguement stronger to attend said event, and record the "crazies" and share it on youtube, like the current trending "Comcast" Nightmare call?

     

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    AC, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 1:51pm

    "Australian Movie Studio Boss Skips Out On Public Q&A, Claiming It Will Be Filled With 'Crazies'"
    Self-fulfilling prophecy: Go, and it will be filled with crazy. Stay home to avoid the crazy, and it won't be there.

    Everybody wins!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    "No one's "agenda" is "theft of movies." "

    Actually that's exactly what the agenda is. Everyone is willing to admit that but you and that's why you people are refered to as crazies. The End.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      Spoken like a crazy.

       

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      CK20XX (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 2:53pm

      Re:

      Those "crazies" are the industry's customers, i.e., the ones that allow them to stay in business in the first place.

      Even internet pirates have the potential to be customers. You know why? Because setting up torrenting software can actually be pretty difficult. You have to configure it to account for proxies, firewalls, and such, and difficulties such as lack of peers and swarms of leechers with no seeders can make torrenting movies frustrating to do.

      As Redbox and Netflix have shown, if you make movies conveniently available, even pirates will pay for them just so they can avoid a lot of hassle.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:33pm

      Re:

      Whined the Prenda fanboy.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:53pm

      Re:

      Yeah, crazy. Fancy thinking that policy should be based on facts rather than bribes from Hollywood and fantasy stories from the studios. CRAZY.

      Fancy thinking that the Australian public should have an equal say to the American corporations when it comes to Australian laws. CRAZY

       

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      JMT (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:04pm

      Re:

      "Everyone is willing to admit that..."

      Who is this "everyone" you refer to?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:50am

      Re:

      No, the agenda is to lie about "theft of movies" to justify censorship, extortion and disproportionate power over copyrights.

      That is *your* agenda.

      You need to stop lying.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 2:20pm

    "and the fabric of our society to put at risk ..."

    Fabric of our society = middle men overcharging and promoting artificial scarcity?

    We clearly aren't living in the same society.

    as usual they are totally unwilling to address the issues caused by them and only them.

     

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    Kronomex, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    "“The owners of copyright material, music, movies or whatever, are able to determine the price at which they sell it and when they sell it. That’s their call.""

    That little snippet was my favourite part of Burke's comments and what it's all about. In other words we will continue to screw Australian consumers and you can't do anything. The man is a Grade A Wanker.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:27pm

    He didn't show up because the truth will hurt.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:29pm

    I think it's funny that he thinks the "group" is "minuscule", yet considers it significant enough to hide like a chicken.

     

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    tracyanne, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:55pm

    Just as well Australia isn't at war with the US

    quote::Brandis buddied up with Hollywood insiders representing US interests::quote

    Otherwise Brandis could be shot as a traitor.

     

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    Nop, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:57pm

    Welcome to Abbott's Australia, where our shiny new corporate government rarely even pretends to care about what's good for their subjects. :(
    It's a sign of the times when even a coal mining magnate like Clive Palmer is actually more reasonable than the governing regime.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 1:45am

    Village Idiot

    I hope Village Roadshow's stockholders are aware that their CEO has publicly admitted that he doesn't believe himself to be a rhetorical match for a handful of babbling loonies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2014 @ 11:41pm

    Point of order, Australia doesn't have free speech. It's common mistake that many Australians make as well. Too much USA cultural pollution I suspect.

     

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    Sheogorath (profile), Aug 23rd, 2014 @ 9:13am

    Australian Movie Studio Boss Skips Out On Public Q&A, Claiming It Will Be Filled With 'Crazies'

    Not any more.

     

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