If You're A Copyright Maximalist 'Piracy' Must Be The Answer To All Problems

from the let's-try-this-again dept

Tom Giovanetti is a wacky sort of copyright maximalist, who insists that "copyright is property, no questions asked" and never misses an opportunity to defend stronger and stronger copyright. Every so often he pops off with something totally nonsensical like the time he insisted that copyright could never be used for censorship. He recently spouted off, comically, about how "piracy" is "killing movie franchises." Now, this might be a surprise to anyone who, you know, actually pays attention to Hollywood. Because nearly every top grossing film these days is... part of a movie franchise. Let's take a look at the top performers of 2014 so far:
By my rough count it looks like about 13 of those 20 are part of franchises -- though some of that may depend on what you consider a franchise. Let's look at the movies from 2013:
Again, rough count, I get at least 10 franchises, but with nearly all of the top dozen being franchises. Also, not shown is that movies 21 (Grown Ups 2), 22 (The Wolverine), 23 (Anchorman 2), 25 (GI Joe Retaliation) and 26 (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2) are all franchise movies.

So, uh, what possible factual basis could Giovanetti have for claiming that piracy is killing off movie franchises? Oh, because an actress in one movie said so. He links to this story in the "Hollywood News" which also bemoans "pirates" putting "a nail into the coffin of another film franchise." But it's actually linking to yet another site, Digital Spy, which has an interview with actress Chloe Moretz who voices some frustration about "piracy" of her movie Kick-Ass 2. In it, she notes:
“Sadly, I think I’m done with the character. Hit-Girl was a very cool character, but I don’t think there will be any more movies. You make these movies for the fanboys, but nowadays everyone seems to pirate them rather than watch them in the movie theatre. KICK-ASS 2 was one of the number one pirated movies of the year, but that doesn’t help us because we need box office figures. We need to prove to the distributors that we can make money from a third and fourth movie – but because it didn’t do so well, we can’t make another one. If you want more than one movie, everyone has to go and see movies at the cinema. It’s all about the the numbers in the theatre.”
Of course, that claim that it was "one of the number one pirated movies of the year" doesn't appear to be supported by the facts. TorrentFreak, which regularly compiles such information, doesn't show it in the top 10 (though a number of other franchises are in there, including Fast & Furious, The Hobbit, Iron Man, Star Trek, The Hangover... and I've seen no indication that any of those movie franchises are going away due to "piracy.")

But still, Giovanetti insists it must be true, because clearly, Moretz must know (even though she was wrong about the one factual statement she made).
I have no doubt that, if one of the lead actors says piracy was a major factor, that's at least part of what she was told by the producers.

Cross-referencing this story with the recent episode where 2.2 million people watched a leaked, pirated version of The Expendables 3, it's clear that there is a significant harmful impact on movie production due to piracy.
Giovannetti insists that "defenders of piracy" and "Hollywood haters" (as if that's the same thing) will try to say that the real reason there won't be a Kick-Ass 3 is because Kick-Ass 2 was no good, but he refuses to accept that, because he hasn't seen either movie in the franchise. If only there were a way to actually determine if Kick-Ass 2 was any good... Oh wait... There's this wonderful thing called... Rotten Tomatoes:


So, on the one hand, we've got tons of data showing that Hollywood has been investing heavily in franchise movies, and they're performing tremendously well, making ridiculous amounts of money the past few years, leading to ever more investment in them. On top of that, you've got pretty clear evidence that Kick Ass 2 just wasn't a good movie. So, the data here is pretty clear... but in the mind of the paid-for copyright maximalist, the "simplest" solution (supported by absolutely no data) must be that "piracy is killing movie franchises." Fascinating. Perhaps Giovanetti should rename his "think" tank to a "well, I kinda feel this way, and don't show me any actual data" tank.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 2:03am

    Now...

    How much profit did each of those movies fail to make?

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 5:15am

    Re: Now...

    I'd argue none that they deserved. Most pirates for new releases will fall over some main categories:

    1- Those who want a preview to check if the money is worth
    2- Those who don't like going to the cinema
    3- Those who will not pay at all (if they can't download they won't go watch either)

    So if you fall into 1 and you don't go because the movie is crap then it did not deserve that money anyway. I assume Hollywood would be willing to offer some reimbursement for those that dislike the movie? No? So why the complaint?

    Number 2 is a largely mistreated market. If Hollywood stopped with its shit and released the movies simultaneously on the cinemas and in services like Netflix (or even directly on physical media) I'm fairly sure they'd capture most of this group. Obviously that would require it being easily available for sane pricing.

    Number 3 will never shell out any money anyway even if you threaten with death penalties so why bother?

    So in summary they are actually the only ones to blame for their alleged losses.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 5:16am

    Re: Re: Now...

    It should be noted that number 2 encompass people like me that don't go simply because tickets to the movies have become criminally expensive.

     

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    Vidiot (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    Box office trumps all?

    Because... brick-and-mortar theaters, right? That's the place we all really want to see films. Of course.

    Since literal box office revenue... the cash drawer and the ticket printer and all that... is the only thing that counts, young Chloe will no doubt be willing to forgo the points she gets from cable, on-demand and disc releases. Or maybe not.

     

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  5.  
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    Violynne (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 5:27am

    If Chloe Grace Moretz is quoting anti-piracy crap, you can bet she's not doing it on her own volition.

    Kick-Ass 2 sucked. Badly.

    Too bad her name's now going to be smeared with this rhetoric crap. You can bet this guy won't be the only one who'll abuse her statement as "fact" and her reputation will suffer from the abuse.

    Such a shame, considering she's a talented actress.

     

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  6.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    There's always just one answer for some people

    Movie not do as well as you'd hoped in theaters/DVD sales(because it sucked)? Blame piracy.

    CD's not selling because people don't like paying $15-20 for 1-2 good songs? Blame piracy.

    Coffee machine broke down? Blame piracy.

    That jerk from the next cubicle over smell like they bathe in antiperspirant/perfume? Blame piracy.

    The sun a little too bright when you wake up with a hangover? Blame piracy.

    Stub your toe because you weren't looking where you were going? Blame piracy.

    The answer is always blame piracy.

     

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  7.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:06am

    Think tank

    He's thinking...about combating the "problem" of piracy with tanks (i.e. heavy-handed government intervention), rather than coming up with any real business solution.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Now...

    You should point out that if you fall in category 1, unless the movie is truly spectacular and deserves a second viewing is short order, that you are unlikely to see it in the theater. So it's only a question of if you are going to buy a DVD or pay for PPV. Since you already have a copy, neither action is particularly likely unless there is some unseen benefit for you to do it.

    Those in category 2 could rent, buy, or PPV - piracy is the "cheap" way to do it.

    The problem with number 3 is that they will encourage the people in 1 and 2 to continue to pirate. Without the people in three (like the meathead camming and getting arrested)m there wouldn't be the product to work with. So while the people in category 3 may not ever spend money, their negative effects on others are what is really key.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:08am

    Re: There's always just one answer for some people

    whiny post about nothing? Blame piracy!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:10am

    If 2.2 million people pirated Expendables 3, and each people instead of pirating went to the movies, and even brought a date, that's 4.4 more viewers. At 20 bucks a ticket, that is $80,000,000. The move only grossed $34,825,554. The total budget was $125,000,000.

    The movie would still have only grossed $115,000,00, and still lost $10,000,000. Of course every pirate wouldn't have bought a ticket or went with someone, so even by fuzzy math really slanted towards the studio, it's terrible movie.

    (according to BoxOffice.com http://www.boxoffice.com/statistics/movies/the-expendables-3-2014)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Now...

    4 - Those who don't even get the opportunity to go, and don't want to wait a year for the dvd/netflix release.

    Kick-ass 2 never even aired in cinemas over here.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    I do not want to watch a movie in the theater. Mainly because I have a small child that I do not want to bring and ruin the movie for everyone else, as well as the fact that most theater experiences are terrible, people talking, people on their phones, others with kids that are screaming (and at movies really inappropriate for small children).

    Hollywood should give us some way to watch first run theaters at home, charge $100 or something, so I can invite a bunch of friends over and break the cost up.

     

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  13.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:25am

    Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    So, I get your point that some of the most pirated movies also performed well in the box office, but does that fact mean that piracy is still not harming the people producing the movie?

    Because doesn't it also mean they could have earned more money but for piracy?

    Speaking from personal experience, I know that I forego watching many movies because a decent pirated copy was available for download.

    Oh, don't hate on me just because I'm speaking a view contrary to many people who visit Techdirt.

    I do not presume that my concerns about piracy are warranted; rather, I just believe the issue is more debatable than this site gives credit (perhaps you can convince me otherwise). And while I agree that existing solutions are not effective/appropriate ways to deal with the problem of piracy, I also still think that it is in fact a problem that needs to be addressed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "Since you already have a copy, neither action is particularly likely unless there is some unseen benefit for you to do it."

    The copies are usually not the same high-rez quality as the later dvd/blu ray releases, plus they don't have the extras (commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes features) the home vid disks have.
    I do buy, but either during the first week of release (when they're heavily-discounted), or pick up "used" copies a month or so later at one of several stores near me that local reviewers sell their copies to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Criminally expensive AND the experience sucks, sucks, sucks.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:32am

    Death of franchises

    He recently spouted off, comically, about how "piracy" is "killing movie franchises."


    Yes, this is a crazy stupid thing to claim. But a part of me wouldn't be terribly upset if franchises were to go away. They are one of the worst things about Hollywood movies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:33am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    What appears to be an honest comment on this issue is quite refreshing indeed.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:34am

    Incomplete data is incomplete.
    Only 6 of those 20 films in 2014 are "closed". Guardians of the Galaxy isn't even "open" a month yet, for example.

    The premise of the article sorta stands but at a glance the stats are misleading as data set is not complete.

    Understanding all the elements of the data, specifically the [close] is required and I feel the one sentence Let's take a look at the top performers of 2014 so far:, with only the two words "so far" doesn't quite do.

    Was speed reading and I missed that bit. Only noticed it was there after I looked at the data.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Sometimes we are

    "Giovannetti insists that "defenders of piracy" and "Hollywood haters" (as if that's the same thing)"

    I'm both. When I heard that there was an earthquake in California, I was hoping that it had levelled Hollywood and killed everyone in it. No such luck, though. But happily, there are more active faults, so maybe tectonic shift will do us a favor and exterminate the vermin. Oh happy day!

     

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  20.  
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    Seegras (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:36am

    if copyright is property, no questions asked...

    ...will you please pay property tax on it? According to its perceived value (which, by the way, will also be put into the calculations regarding damages from illegal copying...).

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    Nice regurgitation of data, but it does nothing to disprove the general proposition that piracy negatively impacts a movie's bottom line.

     

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  22.  
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    Guardian, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    the scams nearing an end

    they just keep making garbage no one will buy into cable or tv cause its not worth the cash for it....

    its already not worth going to a movie theatre and having to pay 20 bucks for a pop n popcorn....

    just keep telling your self something long enough and your brain will beleive it...( it's called brainwashing) and that is what HOLLYWOOD DOES....its a cult by any other means

     

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  23.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: There's always just one answer for some people

    So poking fun at people so obsessed with 'piracy' that they blame anything and everything on it counts as 'whiny', go figure.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Add another to your list of not going because of poor viewing experiences and as you say, "criminally expensive".

     

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  25.  
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    Colin, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    My favorite part of the article...

    After the quote, Giovanetti says:

    "Now, I didn't see either Kick-Ass or Kick-Ass 2, so I'm in no position to judge the quality of the films."

    So in an argument that piracy is what's killing the box office, he readily admits that sometimes people just don't fucking go to see a movie. It would seem to me that he too is to blame for there not being a Kick-Ass 3!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    while that particular example ("I have not gone to movie X because a infringing version was available") is probably true for a lot of people; it's not the end of the discussion;

    - even if there wasn't you might not have gone to that movie. Or you might have, but have skipped another movie. So 1 copy != 1 lost sale
    - people that tend to infringe a lot ALSO tend to buy/go more. a lot.
    - also if it's a good movie, they will talk about it, and might just convince other people to buy/go when they would have otherwise not.

    Now I'm not saying copyright infringement is good and everybody should. But with this in mind one also needs to look at a few number:
    - movies/series that are in the top lists of downloads are also in the top-list of revenue
    - the claims about lost revenue are so insanely high that apparently we would give all of our available money (including that we use for, say, housing and food) if we als a society wouldn't be able to download from less reputable sources.


    But, really, it's mostly about maximalism. Penalties for infringement are insanely high. And the maximalists have been stealing from the public by extending copyright duration again and again.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    Nothing at all...other than bottom lines as you say have been reported year after year, with the last 5 or 6 years each being a record breaker over the year before it. As in all time record breakers. The one year that slipped in as being not a record breaker was something like 8% off being a record breaker. Not exactly piracy killing the biz.

     

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  28.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:45am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Does piracy have some impact? Yes, and exactly how could make for a good discussion, the ups, the downs, all that.

    The thing is though, a lot of those going on about piracy(movie and music) keep insisting that it not only has an impact, the impact is so severe that it threatens the industries as a whole, causing both the movie and music industry to only just barely survive, something that is clearly not even close to true.

    With hyperbole like that, constantly screaming about how 'The movie and music industries are on the brink of death due to piracy!', it's kinda hard to take them seriously or have a productive discussion as to just what impact piracy does, and does not, have on sales.

     

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  29.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    And people like me that find all of the local theaters are disgustingly dirty.

    If I stick to the floor when I walk - I'm not coming back.

     

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  30.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Those in category 2 could rent, buy, or PPV - piracy is the "cheap" way to do it.

    I actually take the most convenient route. Netflix, Amazon Instant, and Vudu tend to be the most convenient options for me, then comes torrents.

    I HAPPILY pay for it on any of the three services before I will go to a legal torrent because they are easier - but I run into an awful lot of stuff I want that I cannot get on those three services.

    Give me one service with everything available, reasonable prices, and a button on my remote and I'd be happy to pay.

     

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  31.  
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    ECA (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Do we have to do this again?

    1. Cost of Food..
    most Theaters belong to a GROUP that buys bulk from the Candy companies, think this is CHEAP? NOPE.. They could goto Walmart and get it cheaper.
    2. Cost to SHOW.
    Showing a film in the first release, is STUPIDLY PRICED..its based on how many people will be in the theater. 200 seats, will take 180 paid tickets to PAY to show the film.
    3. FILM over digital..
    NOW this is fun. Digital copy, insted of 10,000 CANS of FILM being mailed around. IT ISNT cheap sending around CANS of film..
    4. WHO wants to work on a movie?
    EVERYONE..hairdresser makes $1000 per day.
    5. who would like to be a STAR?
    $1,000,000 to $???????? for a full movie.
    5. who OWNS most of the Theaters,
    If you really LOOK DEEP..the WHOLE industry is owned by the corps that MAKE the movie. from the candy to distribution, and Everything.

     

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  32.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Good thing. I never watched it, but it looked very violent and probably caused numerous deaths.

    The movie studios should really start taking action to prevent their movies from driving people to be violent.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Yes...demand that everything be available under one roof "or else". Any other impossibilities you would like to demand?

     

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  34.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    "Penalties for infringement are insanely high."

    Wholeheartedly support this statement; recent stories of people facing multi-year prison sentences for pirating a movie

    However, I don't think that this means, as many have suggested, that punishing infringers is the wrong way to address piracy. Fines, rather than imprisonment, are appropriate &–random inspiration–an expedited review process could enable this to actually be an effective way to address a problem.

    An imperfect analogy with a premise I'm hoping is clear, If speeding tickets are an effective to reduce speeding/the # of speeders, can't monetary penalties for infringers also still be an effective way to address piracy?

    Because until we find (& really, considering the global nature of piracy, I should say IF we can find) a better solution to address the whack-a-mole problem as to the major sources distributing/enabling distribution of pirated content, I can't see a better way to address the matter.

    As example of the problem, I look not to PirateBay but to filestube.to, who recently introduced a streaming video search to their website which makes it so unbelievably easy to view pirated content, with no downloading and no wait to view content others pay for.

     

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  35.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    Re: My favorite part of the article...

    he too is to blame for there not being a Kick-Ass 3

    When it is something good, we do not place blame, we give credit. He gets some of the credit for there not being another one of these crappy movies.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    About the only time I've ever bought music CD's was when Napster was around. Despite being able to download songs (and downloading them) I bought them to support the artist. After the RIAA went after Napster I have never bought a music CD since. First of all the money doesn't go to artists but it goes to collection agencies. Secondly those who buy laws to destroy culture do not deserve money.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "Yes...demand that everything be available under one roof "or else"."

    Absolutely, I'm the consumer. I demand everything my way or else you lose my business.

    "Any other impossibilities you would like to demand?"

    How is it impossible? If you mean the IP holders are unwilling to do it that doesn't make it impossible.

     

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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    I agree that those with a vested interest in the matter (ie., those in the industry) have unfortunately used their big voice to employ hyperbole that often just does not align with the facts. But, as a few other commenters have pointed, articles like this employ similarly incorrect hyperbole and data to support their side too.

    I just wish there was more level headed debate about this issue. As a frequent reader of Techdirt who really appreciates much of the reporting they do, I find it interesting that I disagree with their POV on this topic so heavily.

    I feel like Techdirt so strongly suggests piracy isn't a problem, presenting a POV (along with other who some term internet exceptionalists) that I believe is often a cop-out steeming from a believe that online regulation is possible. Perhaps thats true, but that line of thinking prevents innovative thinking/creation that could lead to better ways to regulate online activity in a fair way.

     

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    techflaws (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Since you already have a copy, neither action is particularly likely unless there is some unseen benefit for you to do it.

    Like supporting the creator financially so he continues producing content to enjoy?

     

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  40.  
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    Colin, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:22am

    We need to prove to the distributors that we can make money from a third and fourth movie – but because it didn’t do so well, we can’t make another one.

    Oh no! Someone might have to make an original film instead of a third sequel of an adaptation! The horror!

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    If a supermarket stocks tomatoes but refuses to stock celery, what do you think customers who want both are going to do about it? Suck it up?

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    No, what really hurts is people fed up with the industry telling their friends not to support douchebags that sue grandmothers because they can't afford their next mansion with a pool inside.

    No piracy. No purchase.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    It is funny to me that people would pirate that crap, let alone pay for it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: There's always just one answer for some people

    Like yours?

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "Since you already have a copy, neither action is particularly likely unless there is some unseen benefit for you to do it."

    Quality. Most DVD or BluRay rips cannot stand up against the quality one can get on the DVD or BluRay itself. I'm not even going to touch a cam download.

    Extras. It's one thing to watch just the movie, it's another to have subtitles, easter eggs, directors commentary, behind the scenes.

    Collecting. I don't know about anyone else here, but I like owning physical copies of my movies. I'm a collector. I pride myself in having a copy of every movie in a series. When it comes to Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, I pay extra for the extended edition. Thinking about it, I just like extended editions of movies in general.

    Legality. It may be a small benefit, but it exists.

    Support. If you love a movie and want them to make more, you have to buy the move to show your support.

    Convenience. As has already been pointed out, Netflix is just easier then torrents (less likely to get you a virus too). I don't use Netflix, but as I said, I like owning a physical copy.

    Did I miss anything?

     

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  46.  
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    Call me Al, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Ticket prices

    It is something mentioned all the time on Techdirt but seemingly ignored by Hollywood execs. Cinema tickets are really very expensive.

    I live in London. A peak ticket here can now be as much as £13 (over $20). That much money for something that is of unknown quality and where a refund would not be available annoys me a lot.

    I want to see films. I buy and consume a lot of media in various forms. I'm fortunate in that my local cinema chain has a season ticket of sorts. If I see at least two films a month, and would have chosen to see them anyway, then I save money. However without that I'd question each and every ticket I bought and probably wouldn't go anywhere near as much.

    I often think that Box Office is the wrong metric to use when determining the success of a film. I would much prefer to see a tickets sold or "bums on seats" figure. If you have increasing profits but declining ticket sales then it is possible that you risk alienating the casual viewer and eventually the more die hard viewers by milking them too much.

     

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  47.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    I'm sorry to say, it already is available under one roof - I can get any movie I have ever looked for from bit torrent.

    All I want is for them to make it more convenient to use - and I am willing to pay for that.

     

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  48.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Interesting difference of opinion. I don't really see TD's 'stance'(if you can call it that) on piracy as 'It's not a problem', but rather 'It's not a problem to the extent that certain groups claim it is.'

    Articles like this for example, I don't see as trying to claim that piracy doesn't have an impact, but rather the impact isn't even close to what is being claimed. When you've got someone claiming that piracy is the reason that a given movie won't get any sequels, and in response you point out that the movie was terrible, a much more likely reason for a lack of potential sequels, that doesn't really strike me as dismissing piracy entirely, but more countering a claim with facts.

    From what I've read over the years, the writers on TD(and it goes without saying that the following is merely my opinion, based upon what I've read and seen) generally seem to see and treat the topic of piracy as such:

    1. It has an impact, which can be both positive and negative.
    2. It does not even come close to being the apocalyptic doomsday, 'Ender of Industries' that some people/groups claim it is.
    3. The best way to deal with it is to compete with it, not try and stomp it out, as piracy is never going to go away, so spending a bunch of time and money trying to legislate the problem away is a waste of time, and the process of such tends to have massive collateral damage.

     

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  49.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    I would think it would make more financial sense to charge the same price as a movie ticket - so the people that want to watch the movie from home can, easily, and guess what - they don't have to pay the theater operator.

     

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  50.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:57am

    Re: Death of franchises

    1) Horrible plots
    2) Bad acting
    3) The Rock
    4) Franchises

    yup - they fall 4th on my list.

     

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  51.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Wait....

    If piracy kills movie franchises, wouldn't that mean that piracy promotes creativity by encouraging the making of original films? Wouldn't that make it a good thing?

    On a related note, I guess I'd better start pirating movies, if only to prevent "Expendables 4" from becoming reality. (Please tell me I don't have to actually watch the first three if I download them.)

     

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  52.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    The NFL seems to believe that having friends over to watch stuff in your home constitutes piracy: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070201/140812.shtml

     

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  53.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    "I feel like Techdirt so strongly suggests piracy isn't a problem"

    I can't speak for Techdirt, obviously, but it seems to me that their position is a bit more nuanced than this. I don't see them arguing that piracy isn't a problem, but that it's a problem that isn't as bad in effect as the industry portrays, and (more importantly) that there are much better ways to address the problem than what the industry is doing.

    Personally, though, I do think that piracy isn't a problem. I also think that the industry's attempts at reducing piracy are counterproductive and creates more piracy -- as well as causing real harm to everyone, including people like myself who don't engage in piracy at all.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:09am

    Re: Box office trumps all?

    The problem is that the setup relies on cinema as the god guide of how good a film is for some of the people investing. The problem is that reality doesn't mean anything if you cannot use data the investors/executives trust and feels good about.
    The problem is that the internet moves incredibly fast compared to the rest of the world. Industries are build around stability and as long as the internet develops as fast as it does at the moment, it will be seen as to volatile a market to invest in. Particularly with the heterogenity of the legislations countries have.

     

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  55.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:11am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    There are three kinds of people who pirate:

    People who would not pay ether way. They include people who can't afford it, can't find a legal means of paying, have a strange moral objection, or just don't like the experience.

    People who pirate then pay. These people are the ones who ether did not know the movie existed, or didn't know the movie was that good.

    People who would pay if not for piracy. These people are the ones the MPAA refer to when they talk about lost sales. These people have the money and the desire to pay, but decide against it due to less expensive options. This also includes the people who pirate and find out the movie just isn't worth the money.

    The first group does not go into the equation at all, they don't add or subtract to the box office numbers. The second group is a positive, and the third is a negative. Most reasonable studies have suggested that the second and third groups cancel each other out, some have even stated that the second group is just a little more then the third.

    It would be better to convert that third group then to punish all three. Better experience, less expensive, more convenient, that kind of thing. They can never convert all of them, but they can convert some of them and some of the first group as well.

     

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  56.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    If speeding tickets are an effective to reduce speeding/the # of speeders, can't monetary penalties for infringers also still be an effective way to address piracy?

    Speeding tickets have not been an effective way to reduce speeding. The most effective way to reduce speeding would be to eliminate speed limits.

    Some people seem to think that not having speed limits would turn drivers into crazed beasts and havoc would ensue, but the places in the world without speed limits do not seem to have an increased accident rate.

    Piracy could be looked at in the same way. Eliminating piracy could be achieved most easily by eliminating copyright (or allowing the "download" side of copyright without penalty). Suddenly, you have no piracy. Many artists that have built a business model around allowing their content to be consumed easily seem to be doing pretty well these days.

     

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  57.  
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    David, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    If I stick to the floor when I walk - I'm not coming back.

    Naturally: you'd have to be able to leave before coming back.

     

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  58.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Unsatisfactory

    You don't understand. If the film industry earns less than $45 trillion every year, that's clearly due to piracy. Why, the whole top twenty list from 2013 didn't even earn $5 billion.

    Greedy? Why we allowed the world the round-off $730 billion for other budgets...so why would you think $45 trillion is greedy?

     

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  59.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    It's only impossible because the movie distributors have made it that way.

     

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  60.  
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    David, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: Now...

    So if you fall into 1 and you don't go because the movie is crap then it did not deserve that money anyway. I assume Hollywood would be willing to offer some reimbursement for those that dislike the movie? No? So why the complaint?

    You seem to labor under the premise that Hollywood would not want to keep money it did not deserve.

    If that were its way of thinking, Hollywood would not lobby for posthumous retroactive copyright extensions: the corpses have absolutely nothing to gain from that any more.

     

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  61.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:27am

    Re: Box office trumps all?

    It's highly unlikely she gets any points from anything.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "Legality. It may be a small benefit, but it exists."

    I'd add that it's so small only because of the actions of the media cartels in making the laws such a joke that nobody takes them seriously any more.

    If we had reasonable laws, we'd have more respect for them, and we would regard staying within the law more highly.

     

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  63.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Point 3 seems to be the main point. It's not a question of whether piracy is a problem or not, it's the industry's response to piracy that is the problem as far as TD is concerned.

    Their response has been legal instead of changing their business model largely because their whole business is built in such a way that they can't change without overhauling their infrastructure (losing lots of middle man jobs), and because they're locked into legal contracts that prevent them from changing their business model.

     

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  64.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:42am

    Re: Now...

    This is all so freaking hilarious because I have a copy of this movie I haven't watched yet. The original was interesting for novelty reasons. It was a kind of "man bites dog" thing. A sequel to that is just not as novel anymore.

    Now I don't even go to the movies anymore. I just wait for the home video release. Sometimes I will pre-order the BluRay. Sometimes I will get it from Netflix. Sometimes I will even order the BluRay after being floored by the Netflix rental.

    Kick-Ass 2 is a big fat MEH.

    It aint no Avengers.

     

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  65.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:45am

    Re: Now...

    > The problem with number 3 is that they will encourage the people in 1 and 2 to continue to pirate.

    Nope. I am not going to go out of my way to pirate something when I am willing to wait for it to come to me on it's own schedule via my Netflix DVD queue.

    A pathalogical need to pirate implies some motivation for your impatience. A creative work has to be first good enough for you to even care.

    The work first has to be good enough for you to even care.

     

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  66.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:48am

    Re: Now...

    The original started with a father shooting his pre-teen daughter in the chest to train her for vigilante crime fighting.

     

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  67.  
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    Luke, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:48am

    Hollywood is the only industry that I know of that believes they have the right to not just make a profit, but to always make more profit than they did the year before.

    I never hear Kraft say "We made $150 million in profit this year, but last year we make $153 million in profit. People must be stealing the Mac & Cheese right off the grocery shelf! Sue all the grocery store customers!"

    I never hear Apple say "We made 200 million less than we did last year! People must be stealing the stuff right out of the store! And they're circumventing the plastic display cases that we keep the stuff in at WalMart! Sue them.... TWICE!!"

    Only Hollywood. ONLY HOLLYWOOD.

     

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  68.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Didn't you know already?

    They don't pay the theater operator anyways.

    That's why movie theaters have that obscenely priced popcorn and TV ads before the film.

     

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  69.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    > Some people seem to think that not having speed limits would turn drivers into crazed beasts and havoc would ensue, but the places in the world without speed limits do not seem to have an increased accident rate.

    Drivers are already crazed beasts. Speed limits and all of the other traffic laws really have ZERO effect on that.

     

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  70.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 9:57am

    The total lack of any argument.

    Yes. It's true merely because you say it is.

    Understood.

     

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  71.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    The first group does not go into the equation at all, they don't add or subtract to the box office numbers.

    The risk is a social one with these people - they are likely to encourage others to pirate, to make it seem "normal", and generally help to grow your third group. Without the first group helping them, teaching them, and setting it all up for them, they would either be paying customers or would do something else with their time.

     

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  72.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Re: Ticket prices

    This is too true. As someone with a home theater, I can just acquire the home video release and have a comparable experience at home. That home video release will likely be cheaper than what it would cost to get my family into the movie theater.

    Plus, amenities will be extra and gravely overpriced.

    Finally, my couch won't be available for use at the local Googleplex.

    Stadium seating you say? We have Lazy-Boys!

     

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  73.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    So, I get your point that some of the most pirated movies also performed well in the box office,

    That wasn't my point. My point was that Hollywood is making a ton of franchise movies these days, and there appears to be no sign of anything, let alone piracy, killing them.

    but does that fact mean that piracy is still not harming the people producing the movie?

    I made no claim either way on that. I just said the claim that piracy is killing franchises is not supported by any data or reality.

    Because doesn't it also mean they could have earned more money but for piracy?


    This is entirely possible. I have never claimed that there is no impact from piracy. I just think that (1) it is massively over-exaggerated (2) that there are both positive and negative impacts to it, and people tend to ignore one or the other and that, most importantly (3) there are very easy ways for content creators to mitigate any of the "downsides."

    But to claim that piracy is "killing movie franchises" is simply ridiculous.

    Speaking from personal experience, I know that I forego watching many movies because a decent pirated copy was available for download.

    I'm sure that's true for many people. And not true for others. It has little to do with the "premise."

    Oh, don't hate on me just because I'm speaking a view contrary to many people who visit Techdirt.


    Don't think anyone would hate on you for expressing an opinion like that. People around here are quite willing to debate people with other opinions when presented in a reasonable manner, as you did.

    I do not presume that my concerns about piracy are warranted; rather, I just believe the issue is more debatable than this site gives credit

    Again, you seem to have set up a bit of a strawman in suggesting that we argue that piracy has no impact. We didn't say that.

    And while I agree that existing solutions are not effective/appropriate ways to deal with the problem of piracy, I also still think that it is in fact a problem that needs to be addressed.

    And, as we've pointed out for the better part of a decade, there are many ways to "address" the challenges of piracy, and the movie industry is woefully bad at dealing with pretty much all of them.

     

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  74.  
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    Rich, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Where is your evidence that movies drive people to be violent?

     

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  75.  
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    zip, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Wait....

    "On a related note, I guess I'd better start pirating movies, if only to prevent "Expendables 4" from becoming reality."

    Too late, it's already in the works. But you can be sure that if 'Expendables 4' turns out to be as big a box office flop as E-3 was --but without having the excuse of getting leaked 3 weeks early-- then Hollywood will almost certainly argue that the 'Expendables 3' leak killed off not just that film, but the next one as well.

    "Please tell me I don't have to actually watch the first three if I download them."

    Believe it or not, many so-called "pirates" share stuff just because they want to share, and that includes amassing and distributing plenty of content that they have no personal interest in.

     

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  76.  
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    Josh, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    I guess you'd have decide on what "harming" means. As a producer you're hope is that people see your movie. Even as an artist you'd expect people want to see your work. Where things will get muddled is just how is piracy hurting the product. These movies that have a high piracy rates also seem to have record breaking box office revenues. So, the real question is if there is a correlation what is it exactly? If the movie is making money hand over fist while still available for free online SOMETHING has to be drawing people to the theater to see it in droves. What do you suppose that is?

     

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  77.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Now...

    It aint no Avengers.

    Is THE AVENGERS your measuring stick for a good movie?

    That's so sad.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Would that be by...what, sending the director money directly? What about the actors? What about the rest of the crew? What would the studios say about sending money directly to a director, rather than them?

    Don't try and make the argument that studios create movies, they don't create anything except accounting frauds.

    I am all for supporting creativity, but someone has to come up with a way to support the creators, rather than rights holders, that makes sense, regardless of how one acquires the video, song, book, newspaper, whatever, etc.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:10am

    I keep reading those lists...

    ... of movies and I'll be damned if there is anything there that would motivate me to spend the 1.5 minutes it would take to go some torrent site and find the magnet link and click on it, let alone watch one of them, in the theater, at home, at a friends house, or anywhere else.

     

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  80. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:22am

    I love articles like this. The delusion is so strong with Masnick and the commenters here that we merely pass along a pdf of this to congressional aides with the comment "Don't believe us? Here it is, in their own words."

    Thanks guys :)

     

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  81.  
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    RD, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    Let's end the "piracy is a problem" myth RIGHT HERE

    - Guardians was pirated. Cams exist of it.
    - Guardians is a good movie. Many people like it, and are telling their friends to see it.
    - Guardians is the #1 grossing movie of the year and has made $500m SO FAR (thats HALF A BILLION to you math-challenged Hollywood shills) at the box office. it is only 3 WEEKS into its run.

    Piracy is not your problem. Making movies people will PAY TO SEE is.

    QED.

     

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  82.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    This is the argument the studios make, but I've not really seen any evidence that it holds water.

     

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  83.  
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    radarmonkey (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Here, let me fix that for you...

    KICK-ASS 2 was one of the number one pirated movies of the year[**], but that doesn’t help us because we need box office figures.


    [**] among the cast and crew.

     

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  84.  
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    ECA (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Part I hate

    Is when the movie industry TAKES a book, and rewrites it..
    JUST so they can copyright it..
    AS disney did with ALL the old fairy tails..
    I hate when they BUY an authors book, and do the SAME..
    HOW many movies have STUCK to the plot line..
    how many RECENT movies FILLED in blanks in the PLOTS, they created?

    Iv seen better anime, then I have recent movies..AND recent is 20 years.
    90% of what is done, IS/WAS someone ELSE'S BOOK/story.
    Look at TV, its the OLD fairy tails, REVISITED..
    how MANY COP STORIES CAN YOU write?
    HOW much REALITY is in the movies? the GOOD guy dont win, 90% of the time..
    Doing the RIGHT thing, isnt going to be a Good thing, if you get caught.

     

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  85.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    For reason of wanting to neither take the time to verify those factual statements nor dig into the relevance of that comparison when considering other possible reasons, I'll just take you at your word that the existence of speed limits does not have an impact on the accident rate.

    But I'll do this because I don't even know how accidents got introduced into the equation since it's a measuring factor not apart of the original comparison (speed limit enforcement & number of speeders with piracy & number of piraters).

    And while I sincerely appreciate/enjoy the dialogue you & others have provided in my search to understand where I myself fall in the debate on privacy, I just simply also find it hard to believe that, at least in America & somehow controlling for other possible causal factors, highways without speed limits would NOT have more people "speeding" (even though what that would mean in such a world is unclear).

     

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  86.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    I have to disagree that they have ZERO effect because I think saying that conflates your desired effect with the actual effect.

    (bear with me, I realize this is longer than intended but I think worth the read)

    Relating back to 16-year-old me during the first months with a car in which I got 3 speeding tickets & had my licensed suspended, I'll never forget how the instructor at my first driving school began his class.

    He asked everyone, "Alright, who's here for rolling through a stop sign?" 3/4th of the class raised their hands. "And who's here for speeding?" The remaining 1/4 of the class raised their hand. And then he said one of the more poignant & interesting things I could have imagined a driver instructor would say: "Alright, well you guys here for rolling through the stop sign. You're easy because what you did doesn't make sense since not stopping at stop signs really only saves you a few seconds. You guys here for speeding, however, are more difficult, because what you do actually gets you places meaningfully faster."

    And I tell you that story not because I like talking but because it's remained a vivid lesson for me that it's hard to stop people from doing something that provides them a tangible benefit which they desire.

    Getting places faster was my benefit. But weighed against the costs to achieve that benefit, it simply was not worth it to pay the fines & loss of driving privilege to continuing to drive like I did.

    And bringing this tediously long response full circle, piracy provides a benefit. I can get movies, TV shows, software, books at zero cost with relative ease. However, unlike speeding, there is no real cost weighted against that benefit to make me stop.

     

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  87.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Death of franchises

    Some movies have all four.

     

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  88.  
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    Michael, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Sorry, you are correct, I moved toward accidents / fatalities. Stopping "speeding" is not the point of speed limits - they are supposed to be about safety (slower cars = less dead people). Unfortunately, after 0 mph, there will be chances of accidents and even fatalities.

    One of the best sources of evidence of speed limits not making things safer is the German Autobahn:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobahn

    There are not really speed limits on many sections. There are speeds above which if you are involved in an accident, you expose yourself to more liability, but there are no speeding tickets.

    Statically, there are FEWER collisions and fatalities per-capita in Germany and on the Autobahn than in the US.


    Back to the piracy part. While I did not start the analogy, I think looking at speeding / speeding tickets has a couple of parallels in thinking.

    Your comment highlights a focus on "reducing speeding" - which isn't the point, the point is making roadways safe. If you can do that without limiting speed, or if limiting speed does not make roadways safer, why do it? With piracy, it is the same kind of thing - "reducing piracy" is moot if you do not need to do so to increase creative output from artists.

    In addition, speeding, like piracy, does not seem to be effectively controlled by enforcement. Very few people seem to be dissuaded from speeding by the fines, most people seem to drive as fast as they feel safe driving where I live - and then jam on the brakes when they see police officers (possibly making things less safe). I don't know why. It may be that people just think getting where they want to go is more important than that law, it may be that the law fees unnatural, possibly that the laws and limits were set when automobiles were not as safe - whatever the reason, it seems more powerful than the risk of a fine. Once you get to that point, enforcement and increased penalties just don't seem to make much sense.

     

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  89.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Just want to acknowledge that you guys are correct in noting that I misstated Techdirt's position. I've looked through some articles I remember agitating me & it is true that they do not take a piracy isn't the problem stance.

    Speaking to only my own personal feelings engendered by reading some of these articles, I think what has bothered has really bothered me (& perhaps led to my misstatement) is the relative ease with which it sometimes appears that the problem is address. A common overture of some of the articles has been that piracy can be beneficial or that piracy can be addressed in what I'm assuming is a Spotify-like manner.

    And while I agree that the industry needs a new model for content distribution, it just isn't simple. Spotify works because it provides two key benefits: convenience & efficiency. Coming from someone who has pirated a good majority of a variety of different types of content, I actually stopped pirating music long before Spotify came out. Why? Because it just took too god damn long to find music, get it by track, organize it, sort it, keep up with new release.. just TOO much effort was required from me to maintain it.

    Spotify alleviated me from having to expend that effort (& for an economical cost! God I really do love Spotify)

    BUT for other types of content, TV shows, movies, software, books, a distinct less amount of effort is required to wholly obtain this material through pirated sources. Only a few movies, perhaps a dozen TV shows, a minute amount of software (sometimes updates can be a pain & that is when, like with music, I start weighing whether purchasing it & saving the time is just better for me).

    Anyways, I'm sure that if TD has a single-user word limit for comment responses, I've definitely surpassed it, so I'll sign off by repeating I incorrectly stated their position (& maybe perhaps still do not fully capture whatever you perceive to be its essence), but I still think that in wanting to make industry responses look foolish they themselves can make it appear like a solution to the problem is all too easy to come by. More attention to the difficulties of that problem would be nice, but that being said I of course don't expect to have TD address my own personal feelings.

     

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  90.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Hey Mike, Just noticed you replied to this.

    Rather than submerge these comments with more words of my replies, please see my above replies regarding speeding and piracy as well as my acknowledgement that I did in fact misstate TD's stance on piracy.

    Ps. I've been wanting to reach out to you to say how much I appreciate the reporting TD does, but looks like I don't have to now. Thanks for the hard work!

     

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  91.  
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    AJ (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    See my comment above about speeding & driving school for further insight into where I derive my line of thinking at least as to comparing speeding and piracy.

    Me = thorough reader but only recently turned active commenter who is having a hard time distinguishing distinct threads in TD's comment section.

     

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  92.  
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    Tom Mink (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Yup, piracy kills bad franchises

    Piracy gives the opportunity for a critical mass of the viewing public to sample before making a purchase decision. It serves as an adjunct to critical reviews. Hollywood is upset that we have an opportunity to get a personal taste of their shit sandwiches before deciding to sit down for the meal.

    Of course, the most hyped number for any major release is the opening weekend ticket sales. Except for the rare occasion when a print is leaked early, the option to pirate a film in a way that would do anything to those sales is limited. As far as the studio decision process goes, piracy isn't doing anything substantial to the opening box office so followups to good flicks with solid numbers get greenlit on that basis.

    Movies that don't bomb in theaters, but absolutely need the subsequent dvd revenue in order to make the nut-- they're the ones that can get a boost or get trashed due to piracy. A savvy viewing public certainly isn't going to pay full price to take a flyer on an iffy production anymore. From a studio point of view, piracy actually has the potential to boost revenue for the occasional sleeper hit since the majority of the audience that might sample a pirated copy and then make a purchase would otherwise just wait until there's a streaming option.

    Maybe now that there's a real feedback mechanism for studios, we can hope that Hollywood will quit making shitty trilogies and stop once the shitty sequel has made the case that the franchise is dead.

     

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  93.  
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    DocGerbil100 (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Kick Ass 2

    Miss Moretz is presumably quoting what she's been told by the producers, the director, her manager, etc, but they're hardly going to admit that the movie they all worked hard to make was a complete waste of celluloid.

    I liked the Millar & Romita comic before it became a movie. I liked the original Kick Ass film. I DLed a pirate copy and - when it finally turned up legally half a year later - I went out and bought the DVD, to support the creators and encourage a sequel, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

    I also pirated and watched Kick Ass 2, but it's not getting my money, not one penny. While it was nice to see the good cast do their thing with the returning characters, I've got nothing else good to say about the film, which I felt was badly misjudged, abusive nonsense.

    KA2 is largely based on the comics Hit Girl and Kick Ass Book 3. It follows the general plotlines, but fails to convey the distinctive look & feel of either the comics or the first movie.

    The comics and the first movie depicted Hit Girl (the real star of the show) in a surreal yet still-just-plausible way. In KA2, they've thrown out much of the harsher scenes and treatments (which serve to ground the comics in a more realistic world) in favour of self-censorship and poorly-judged comedy.

    The worst example is a newly-added cafeteria scene, which seems there purely to depict three teenagers spraying unconvincing CGI vomit and diarrhoea everywhere. That's not what any other version of Kick Ass is about and it's not fun to watch.

    The producers presumably think they have a handle on what KA fans want to see. Based on the utterly dismal KA2, they have no idea at all. Normally, I would lament and decry the idea of a franchise killed by piracy, but if it's true in this case, it's a feature, not a bug.

    Goodbye Kick Ass 3. I won't miss you one jot. :)

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    I don't know the reason for you driving fast, but in my case, it was because I really hated driving. It can be stressful and boring at the same time (same reason I hated my old job). I just wanted it over with as fast as possible.
    I know it sounds quaint, but I discovered audiobooks. I found books I enjoyed and discovered a whole new experience in driving. I actually looked forward to driving now so I left earlier and kept to the speedlimit just to get a little more of that book. I can drive for hours now without any annoyance.
    My point is this: find something that makes the experience more enjoyable than the alternative and you get better results. Tickets in this case only worked after you had done it but the need to get there fast is still there, making your experience worse, or so I imagine.
    Same goes for piracy. Make the experience worth it and people will not only be customers by force, but by choice and that they will praise you for.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Editor-In-Chief, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 3:52pm

    Re:

    There is an aphorism used in physics and other sciences for statements like yours - "Not even wrong".

    David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Sorry about the spelling and general sentence structure. I just reread my post and discovered that I could possibly use some English lessons... or some sleep.
    Hope you got my meaning though.

     

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  97.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Kick Ass 2

    Yeah, I saw Kick Ass in the theater and enjoyed it a lot. I saw Kick Ass 2 in the theater and I didn't. It's failure is more likely due to it being a mediocre movie (at best) than because of piracy.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    Kick-Ass 2 was a load of steaming crap! I made it to the sequence where a very uncomfortable Jim Carey first appeared and gave up. A shit film by any standard. As for the evil pirates destroying movies: you only have to look at Lionsgate and the rubbish third Expendables movie. They made a crap film and it's not their fault they "lost money", it's THE PIRATES!
    I was considering pirating...backing up a copy...of Guardians of the Galaxy at one stage but saw it with a friend at the theatre and it's a (and I don't use the following words very often) definite must-see on the big screen.
    Oh yes, Dumb and Dumber To comes out mid-November in the US and just about everywhere else on the planet and when do Australian audiences get to see it? The answer; almost seven weeks later on 01/01/2015. And cretins like Graham Burke (the boss of Village Roadshow) can't seem to figure out why Australians resort to piracy.

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Editor-In-Chief, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    Please, please don't disparage cretins by comparing them to the likes of Graham Burke.

    David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 5:50pm

    Re:

    That not everyone watches movies?

    Genius!

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    tanj, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:02pm

    Re:

    http://www.primacinema.com/now-showing/

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/09/business/la-fi-ct-ric h-people-cinema-20130409

    There are legitimate options to watch first run movies at home. Quit whining you pirate apologist!

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually David you're right about disparaging cretins, I should have used "Overpaid, gormless scumbag". Thanks for setting me straight.

     

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  103.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Please tell me you forgot your sarc tag at the end there...

    From second link:
    'But the most unusual feature of the theater is a $35,000 device that offers 24-hour rentals of first-run movies. For $500 a film ($600 for 3-D), the Schultzes can show movies the same day they screen at the local multiplex.'

    Sure there's 'legitimate options'... if you're stinking rich and willing(and able) to spend tens of thousands of dollars for the gear, and then half a grand for the movie(that you can watch for all of 24 hours before needing to pay again).

     

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  104.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "You should point out that if you fall in category 1, unless the movie is truly spectacular and deserves a second viewing is short order, that you are unlikely to see it in the theater."

    What if somebody else watches a download, and likes it so much they tell me it was really good, and I go see it, probably with the wife and maybe some friends?

    Or, what if somebody else watches a download, and dislikes it so much they tell me it was really shit, and I decide never to spend money seeing it?

    Personally I have absolutely no moral qualms about either scenario (since the morality of piracy is apparently an issue for you). The first one is clearly beneficial to everybody, the second is entirely deserved by the filmmakers, and hopefully they'll do better next time.

     

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  105.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 10:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    What if somebody else watches a download, and likes it so much they tell me it was really good, and I go see it, probably with the wife and maybe some friends?

    The new reality is that they say it was good, and either send you a link to download it (torrent or file "host"), or hands you a burn disk / usb key and tells you to see for yourself.

    Piracy is like the ocean, the erosion is what causes the coast to change so much.

     

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  106.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Yup, and any day now, any day, the 'erosion' caused by piracy is going to cause Hollywood in it's entirety to slide right into the sea, lost forever.

    It must be true, after all, they've been saying so for decades, so any day now...

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Editor-In-Chief, Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Piracy is like the ocean, the erosion is what causes the coast to change so much.
    So true, when you watch the extensions to the shore given by the ocean. It will take from the cliffs and give to the beaches for the greater enjoyment of all society.

    But in truth, the only "pirates" are the movie studios, publishers, music production groups. Though the more correct name is "privateers" as they work at the behest of particular governments against others. They rape and pillage the public domain for their satisfaction and greed. They are the modern slave traders.

    David Oliver Graeme Samuel Offenbach

     

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  108.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    On a less joking tone, if 'Piracy is like the ocean', the response is simple:

    Build a raft, or get swept under. The waves don't care how much you might want them to recede, how much you might fondly think back to the days that you could control the waves and the sea itself, you don't now, they are here to stay, so either adapt to them, or be worn away.

     

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  109.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    Just a few additions to your typical, blinkered, "I know best but I won't cite anything other than my own ass" comments:

    "You should point out that if you fall in category 1, unless the movie is truly spectacular and deserves a second viewing is short order, that you are unlikely to see it in the theate"

    So, the movie studio are to blame for not making a good movie that garners such attention, right? By your own admission, if they made movies that demand to be seen multiple times and on the big screen, they have nothing to worry about. Interestingly, this is how most of the biggest box office hits get to that position - multiple viewings.

    It's also worth noting that the person getting the pirated "preview" may not be the person whose decision to see the film is affected by it. I know that I've chosen to see / not to see a new movie on the basis of a recommendation from a friend who saw a pirated copy. That recommendation is valid no matter whether my friend saw it legally or not. A pirated copy can lead to extra theatrical viewings from people who did not pirate just as easily as they can lead to "lost" viewings from people realising your product is crap.

    "Those in category 2 could rent, buy, or PPV - piracy is the "cheap" way to do it."

    Except they can't, because the industry is obsessed with restricting its potential audience. Format & regional windows, excessive prices on PPV and so on. A torrent might be available today, but the industry won't let you pay money to them for at least 3-6 if you can't/won't make it to the cinema. Piracy is often the only option, due purely to the business model of the industry. Magically eradicating piracy won't make money from the people they refuse to sell to in the first place.

    Of course, many who do pirate also go on to buy legal copies, make subsequent viewings legally on Netflix, etc. But again, reality makes your oversimplifications immune to glib rejection of opposing viewpoints, so you reject it.

    "Without the people in three (like the meathead camming and getting arrested)m there wouldn't be the product to work with."

    I love the way you contradict you own point here. The guy making a cam copy in a cinema will almost certainly have paid for his ticket. So, no, the pirated copies would exist even with out category 3 (a category that has existed since the dawn of cinema and will continue to exist no matter what you do).

    Not only that, but you rather stupidly have the producer of the pirated content conflated with the audience for that content. They're often 2 different people, and in fact it's often the studio's own employees and contractors responsible for early leaks.

     

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  110.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:55am

    Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    "while I agree that existing solutions are not effective/appropriate ways to deal with the problem of piracy, I also still think that it is in fact a problem that needs to be addressed."

    I don't think you'll find many people who realistically disagree with that in principle. There is always going to be *some* negative affect with piracy. Solutions exist that either reduce these problems, increase the positive effects of piracy (which do exist) or alter the business model so that piracy is no longer relevant.

    The problem is that none of the "solutions" offered so far realistically deal with the problem, nor the underlying issues that cause it.

    Yes, piracy is a problem. Yes, it needs to be dealt with.

    But: no, piracy is not the biggest problem the industry faces. No, every download does not equal a lost sale. No, placing heavy restrictions and prohibitively expensive fees on would-be legal customers does not work. No, gaming the legal system to place the burden on to innocent 3rd parties and to demonise largely legal services does not work.

    "Oh, don't hate on me just because I'm speaking a view contrary to many people who visit Techdirt."

    My experience is that most here welcome contrary viewpoints and discussion - IF the viewpoint is based on fact and honestly held. There's far too many people who base their contrary views on falsehoods, outright lies and depend on personal attacks and distortion to make their points. If, as often happens, commenters feel the need to open their contrarian point by accusing everyone else of being a pirate, then base their argument on long-debunked lies (such as one download always = 1 lost sale), then they will be rejected.

    Bravo for doing none of these things. Your views are always welcome with me, at least, even if I disagree with a couple of the things said.

     

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  111.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    "I feel like Techdirt so strongly suggests piracy isn't a problem"

    I don't feel they do any such thing. However, the solutions offered are usually unworkable and often counter-productive, and do nothing to address the underlying issues that drive demand for pirated goods in the first place. Criticising these solutions does not mean that you don't recognise that piracy is a problem. It's just that it's neither the industry's biggest problem nor a problem that can't be dealt with via more acceptable and workable means.

    Put it this way - if you're in the US in 1920 and you oppose prohibition, that doesn't necessarily mean you don't think that alcohol is a not problem or that things shouldn't be done to address it. You just don't think that prohibition is a workable solution and perhaps recognise that it causes more problems than it solves. In that case, you'll eventually be proven right, but not before a lot of struggling with those convinced it's the right way, and a lot of dealing with the unintended consequences that should have been foreseen.

     

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  112.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    "Without the first group helping them, teaching them, and setting it all up for them, they would either be paying customers or would do something else with their time."

    Even if your premise is true (and I severely doubt this), aren't you admitting part of the problem here? If "doing something else" is a probable outcome, then those non-paying customer don't value the product enough to pay for it even if they don't get it for free. That's seriously the demographic you support desperately trying to stop pirating?

    Also, the most regularly successful method I've used to get people to pay for product rather than pirate it? Point them to legal services like Spotify and Netflix. In other words, rather than trying to block access to the pirates who supply the demand when other options are unavailable, supply the damn demand yourself.

    Of course, catalogue is often withheld from those services, and no streaming video services is able to service the country I live in directly (meaning I show them how to bypass regional restrictions in order to legally pay for content). But, it's the pirates who are at fault here, sure it is...

     

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  113.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Now...

    unless the movie is truly spectacular and deserves a second viewing is short order, that you are unlikely to see it in the theater

    Because you think the only reason for watching a movie in the cinema is the movie itself rather than the experience. I've done it plenty of times and I know quite a few people that also do it. Most of the times I'll watch a few parts or the first dozen minutes so there is that too.

    Those in category 2 could rent, buy, or PPV - piracy is the "cheap" way to do it.

    No, they can't. It's only available in the cinemas due to stupid windows.

    The problem with number 3 is that they will encourage the people in 1 and 2 to continue to pirate.

    No they don't. This subset is actually so lazy at times they won't even seed to 1.0 ratio to the point of cheating in private trackers. But of course you, the omniscient being, know better.

     

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  114.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    lol, the kids in that class are pretty much sociopaths. In my class people were generally against speeding because of accidents. Speeding decreased somehow (for higher speed limits) here after a hard awareness campaign that displayed totaled cars on the streets and pictures/videos of the emergency guys trying to get victims out of wrecked cars. Sure there will be speeders because there are always sociopaths like your childhood friends but speed limits will not deter them.

    Getting places faster was my benefit. But weighed against the costs to achieve that benefit, it simply was not worth it to pay the fines & loss of driving privilege to continuing to drive like I did.

    Getting to places safely beats any other benefit.

    And bringing this tediously long response full circle, piracy provides a benefit. I can get movies, TV shows, software, books at zero cost with relative ease. However, unlike speeding, there is no real cost weighted against that benefit to make me stop.

    And yet Netflix usage soared even to the point of making real difference in movie piracy (except for the movies that you can't find there). Seems people are willing to pay for convenience.

     

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  115.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 3:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    "Because you think the only reason for watching a movie in the cinema is the movie itself rather than the experience."

    Actually, this is an important point, and it indicates how blinkered and single-minded the argument is on one side. One of the biggest issues is that the studios tend to overvalue their part of the overall package that's being sold when you go to the cinema, and consider that above all else. They don't understand that there's more to the decision to go to a cinema than just the movie. These include:

    - Facilities (if the cinema has equipment that enhances the quality of the projection, that's the cinema's input, not the
    - Location (proximity to other venues can drive traffic. Personally, most of my recent cinema viewing have been driven by the fact that the cinema is walking distance from work and screenings start within 30 mins of my scheduled finish time, not the title. If I had to drive, I may not have bothered watching the 15+ movies I've seen there in the last year).
    - Cost (matinee and other special pricing to drive otherwise uninterested custom, including some cinemas offering a flat monthly rate for unlimited entry)
    - Socialising (combined with the above, many people go to the cinema routinely as part of a social group or meeting, not because film X happens to be on)

    In all of these cases, people may watch films they have already seen at home, pirated or not. The overall package is important. I know that I skipped seeing Godzilla this year because it wasn't in a cinema that was easy enough to get to at a convenient time. I'll wait for the Blu. If, in the meantime, I'd opted to grab a pirated copy, that situation wouldn't have changed. Nor would the magical disappearance of pirate options have driven me to pay for the cinema screening. The only way they could have got money from me at the time of the cinema release other than giving me a convenient cinema option would be to sell me the Blu. They chose not to, so no money for them.

    You only have to look as far as re-releases of classic movies to see that, yes, people will even watch a movie they legally own on DVD at the cinema if there's enough incentive. But, as ever, you can't boil all of this down to simplistic binary options, so some people ignore that this reality even exists.

     

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  116.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Now...

    They were the cause of all evil after Jazz and marijuana and before rock and roll and comic books.

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Sure I Agree with Your Premise

    Actually, as someone with no dependents and no desire to ever have any, I'm more afraid of ending up horribly crippled than quickly killed or vegetablised - if that happens, I'm never going to know so there's no disutility.

    I don't speed because it isn't useful anyway (you save so little time in urban areas and waste so much petrol) even apart from the risk of injury or punishment, and because if I'm driving it is usually because I've got some awkward or fragile load - most places I want to go are closer to my house than to anywhere else I can reliably get a parking space.

     

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


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