The MPAA Isn't About Helping Hollywood. It's About Preserving Its Own Need To Exist.

from the shirky-principle dept

In the past we've discussed the Shirky Principle, named after a statement by Clay Shirky that:
"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution."
In some ways that's a corollary to Upton Sinclair's famous quote:
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
I've long believed that the MPAA has this problem in spades. The group, which is supposed to be about helping the big Hollywood studios, has long taken a very different positions. Five years ago, we wrote about how bizarre it was that the MPAA had an entire "Content Protection" division. As we noted at the time, the organization not only had a Chief Content Protection Officer, but also an Executive VP of Content Protection, a Senior VP of Content Protection and a regular VP of Content Protection, and probably a handful of Content Protection Minions or whatever they call their non-VP worker bees.

And yet, there didn't seem to be anyone at the MPAA who had a title along the lines of "Chief Open Internet Evangelist" or "Chief Digital Business Model Strategist" or something along those lines, who could have been working with Hollywood to help transition the organization into the digital age. No, instead that transition has come in fits and starts with the MPAA itself fighting against most of the key moves and doing little to help forward thinking filmmakers and studios. In fact, if you talk to many of the up-and-coming filmmakers these days, they're just as angry about the MPAA's stance as open internet supporters -- because they realize just how counterproductive a "protection" regime is, rather than a "embrace the opportunity" regime would be.

Eli Dourado has written up a fantastic discussion of this very idea, by focusing on two key things that came out of the Sony Hack that, together, more or less highlight the point above: that the MPAA is not pro-Hollywood at all, but rather seems entirely focused on "giving itself a reason to exist, rather than solving the film industry's" challenges. Specifically he highlights these two things:
  1. Leaked emails revealed the Motion Picture Association of America’s ongoing plans to censor the Internet to reduce digital film piracy.
  2. The hack prompted a surprise, online Christmas Eve release of The Interview that let us observe the effect of a new distribution model on film revenue.
We have, of course, covered both of these, but Dourado puts them together nicely in context, showing how the MPAA's site-blocking/filtering/censorship strategy is one focused on destroying many of the opportunities of the internet, while the digital release of The Interview showed how embracing digital can actually be quite useful for Hollywood -- not that the MPAA wants anything to do with that at all.
When put together, these vignettes raise important questions about the future of the film industry and its lobbying efforts. Is the MPAA really representing Hollywood’s long-term interests in Washington, or is it trying to fight old battles over and over in an attempt to justify its own existence?
Dourado goes through the detailed history -- revealed by the Sony Hack -- of how, post-SOPA, the MPAA has regrouped to focus on ways to bring back site-blocking and censorship online, while simultaneously attacking Google at every turn (even when Google did exactly what the MPAA asked for and demoted sites the MPAA dislikes). As Dourado notes:
But the more striking point is what this strategy reveals about the MPAA: the organization still deeply believes in site blocking as more or less the solution to online piracy. It continues to position itself as an enemy of the open Internet.
From there, he discusses the success of the online release of The Interview, pointing out how well it did. Of course, some of that may have been because of all the (somewhat questionable) news about the supposed threat from North Korea, leading some to choose to watch it for patriotic reasons. Still, Dourado notes that, while there was piracy of the film as well, much of it came outside the US, because Sony initially limited the release to US only online. And the movie did make a fair bit of money online and, perhaps more importantly, got people to pay attention to its online efforts:

There is additional evidence that the online release was a win for Sony: its YouTube channel gained 243,000 new subscribers in the aftermath of the Interview release. As YouTube entrepreneurs like Michelle Phan would note, subscribers are as good as cash, a ready source of revenue for future online movie releases, if Sony decides to do more of them.

The Interview episode shows that the Internet need not be viewed only as a source of piracy. With a modest change in business model, it can also be the film industry’s next great distribution platform.

And then you get to the divergence question: which strategy is best for Hollywood and the film industry... and which strategy is best for the MPAA? Take a wild guess:
What is the best strategy for the film industry going forward? Should it continue to fight the open Internet, as it did with SOPA, and as it has continued to do through state AG investigations and lobbying the ITC? Or should it embrace the Internet as a potentially profitable distribution platform that is in any case here to stay?

It’s clear which strategy the MPAA, the lobbying organization, prefers. If the studios were to truly embrace the Internet, the MPAA would have a much diminished reason for existence. There is no one you need to lobby in order to release films online. Many employees, such as chairman Chris Dodd and general counsel Steven Fabrizio, would have little to do. The organization would have to go back to administering its film ratings system and asking states for ridiculous film tax credits.
He goes even further, pointing out that this stupid focus on "content protection" has been shown time and time again not to work, whereas embracing the internet seems much more likely to work. But, of course, it would leave the MPAA with less things to do. And thus, to me, it goes all the way back around to the Shirky Principle. The MPAA has to keep focusing on "the piracy problem" because it has set itself up as "the solution" to that problem, perhaps knowing full well that it's a solution that can never be solved. Yet, because of this, it guarantees a large role for itself, convincing gullible studio bosses to keep forking money over to the MPAA, so that its leadership can keep earning multi-million dollar salaries.

The real issue here is that, as younger, more internet-savvy filmmakers continue to bubble up throughout Hollywood, sooner or later more of them are going to realize what a farce the MPAA has become. And just like the MPAA's "content protection" strategy has totally failed Hollywood, eventually it's going to totally fail itself as well. That's what you get for fighting the future, rather than embracing it.

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  • icon
    antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:58am

    So the "future" that you think they should embrace is just an open Internet with no rules whatsoever. Is that right? Tell me this, when they're trying to sell their film through legitimate channels, how are they going to compete with everyone else just giving it away for free? Do you really think that is sustainable? They're really just supposed to sit back and let everybody else give their stuff away? That's your suggestion? If it's more than that, then give us specifics, Mike. Stop with the high-level nonsense. Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong and how you would fix it. If you're going to continuously lash out at the MPAA, then give us details of how you would do it better. I know you have so much experience, what with your blog and all.

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    • icon
      RadioactiveSmurf (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:07am

      Re:

      So are we supposed to ignore the fact that the interview made +15 million online even though, as the article has stated, there were illegal free options available? You complete through convenience and service! If you can't then you lose.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re:

        The most pirated movies of all time are also the highest grossing ones. And the "it didn't profit!" accounting tricks don't fool anybody now. So yeah, we are supposed to ignore it in his little world.

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      • icon
        antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re:

        So are we supposed to ignore the fact that the interview made +15 million online even though, as the article has stated, there were illegal free options available? You complete through convenience and service! If you can't then you lose.

        I rented it from YouTube. It was pretty funny. I probably wouldn't have rented it had there not been so much press about the North Korea thing and the film being pulled. I don't think you can glean much from this one piece of datum, especially given the uniqueness of what happened.

        That said, in Mike's utopian vision, everyone could simply upload the video to YouTube. In his view, nothing should be done to protect the content. How many would rent it for $6 from YouTube when there's tons of free copies available on the same platform?

        Morally, though, I don't see why Mike thinks Sony, who put out over $40M to make the movie, should have to compete with everyone else, who put out nothing, to create it. What justifies the free-riding he so desperately yearns for?

        He'll never address these issues, sadly. He'll just keep calling their business model outdated without ever telling us what they should do, specifically, instead.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think movies compete the same way everyone does. Why would I buy from a grocery store when I can have a two man operation steal everything I need? My gf works in retail, people rob them blind every day and they still "compete". You make it sound like they are defenseless babies. They are adults entering an enterprise knowing full well what the risks are. Dont you know what the risks are? Why do you act like the risks are anyone else's but their own to deal with?

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          • icon
            antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think movies compete the same way everyone does. Why would I buy from a grocery store when I can have a two man operation steal everything I need? My gf works in retail, people rob them blind every day and they still "compete". You make it sound like they are defenseless babies. They are adults entering an enterprise knowing full well what the risks are. Dont you know what the risks are? Why do you act like the risks are anyone else's but their own to deal with?

            I'm sure they understand the risks far greater than any of us. Regardless, what's your point? Just because there are risks, i.e., piracy, why shouldn't they do anything to mitigate those risks? I don't understand why content shouldn't be protected. Can you explain?

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            • icon
              beltorak (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              mitigate? sure.

              * installing a rootkit onto my machine for a copy i legally bought;

              * enforcing censorship "that has worked well in repressive regimes such as china, so it should work here";

              * curtailing the free expression of others without a whiff of due process;

              * preventing people from connecting through the most revolutionary communication medium since the mainstream adoption of the printing press (a la gutenberg)?

              fuck no.

              as said in the past, "your rights end where mine begin".

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            • icon
              JMT (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Just because there are risks, i.e., piracy, why shouldn't they do anything to mitigate those risks?"

              Nobody has ever said they shouldn't do anything, but it's pretty damn clear that what they are doing now is not working. You seem to be suffering from the MPAA's special kind of insanity, where they do the same thing over and over and expect the results to change. Don’t you think it's time they tried something completely different?

              There have been dozens of independent studies done over the years making a very strong case that piracy costs company's a lot less than they claim, and actually help them a lot more than they'd admit. Platforms like iTunes and Netflix overwhelmingly prove that people will pay for reasonably priced content that is offered in a convenient, consumer-friendly method. This is something the MPAA's member studios have failed spectacularly at. A bit of common sense would suggest that diverting a significant amount of the money and time spend on anti-piracy efforts into meeting consumer's widespread pleas for better content provided the way people actually want could well provide a nett benefit for everyone (except maybe IP lawyers...). Piracy will never go away entirely, but who cares if everyone is getting more of what they want.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "why shouldn't they do anything to mitigate those risks?"

              I don't think anyone's saying they should do *nothing*. But, *anything* is a wide range of options. There are lines, and your heroes cross them regularly.

              They can do things that are workable, realistic, and don't remove the rights of innocent third parties. Funny how you miss these caveats in your attempt to tilt those windmills.

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        • identicon
          Just Another Anonymous Troll, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing.

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        • icon
          David Muir (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Mike's utopian vision?

          It is clear that revenue generation once you embrace digital distribution and the age of the Internet requires a multi-pronged approach and further experimentation.

          They key thing you always seem to miss is that simply fighting against the rising tide is a losing strategy. You criticize Mike as if he actually advocates throwing out all rules and letting chaos reign. He has never said that and your continued obtuseness is so very frustrating. Most of the solutions I have seen proposed on Techdirt are nuanced with the unique parameters associated with the particular situation.

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          • icon
            antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Mike's utopian vision?

            Yep. Brought to you almost daily on Techdirt. Just don't ask him any questions.

            It is clear that revenue generation once you embrace digital distribution and the age of the Internet requires a multi-pronged approach and further experimentation.

            I have more content to stream than I could possibly ever watch. They seem to be trying new things. I'm not sure what your point is. I rent movies online from several different sources.

            They key thing you always seem to miss is that simply fighting against the rising tide is a losing strategy. You criticize Mike as if he actually advocates throwing out all rules and letting chaos reign. He has never said that and your continued obtuseness is so very frustrating. Most of the solutions I have seen proposed on Techdirt are nuanced with the unique parameters associated with the particular situation.

            Mike doesn't think YouTube should be liable for anything that its users do--even if YouTube knows about it and directly profits from it. Heck, he's not sure that Ulbricht should be liable for running Silk Road, even though he encouraged others to sell drugs and directly profited from each transaction. He doesn't think YouTube's users should be liable for anything either. That's just suing the "fans." Protecting content in any way is just holding on to a dinosaur business model. I think it's clear that Mike sees nothing wrong with anyone uploading whatever they like to YouTube. Has he ever indicated otherwise? Of course, he won't just talk about these things directly. That would be too easy.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Mike doesn't think YouTube should be liable for anything that its users do

              Its not just Mike, actually its codified in law.

              'Protecting the content' STFU

              Actually, Mike should be honored that he has shaken the MPAA up enough for them to send out a clown like you.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "It is clear that revenue generation once you embrace digital distribution and the age of the Internet requires a multi-pronged approach and further experimentation."

            I am not sure I concur with that. Make something worth watching and I will pay for it. Nothing vexing about this at all. Make it not available everywhere out the gate costs idiots money.

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        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How many would rent it for $6 from YouTube when there's tons of free copies available on the same platform?

          Show me these free copies on YouTube. I couldn't find any at all. Your question is flawed from the get go.

          And like RadioactiveSmurf indicated - at least 2.5 million people choose to go the legitimate route online, even though free versions were available to them. So my answer to your question is "quite a few of them".

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          • icon
            antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Show me these free copies on YouTube. I couldn't find any at all. Your question is flawed from the get go.

            You missed my point. In Mike's utopian world, where content is unprotected, many copies would be on YouTube. The fact that you didn't find any reflects the actual world we live in, where YouTube is renting copies and has no reason to compete with itself.

            And like RadioactiveSmurf indicated - at least 2.5 million people choose to go the legitimate route online, even though free versions were available to them. So my answer to your question is "quite a few of them".

            I'm one of those who went the "legitimate route." So what? Not everyone is a selfish pirate. We know that. What does that have to do with protecting content?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ask a large retail chain how much minor (actual) theft is unnoticed, ignored, or passed over.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              No one said 'unprotected' anyway. Its a simple as this, if the studio made their content availible for a decent price, most people would opt to buy over risking downloading from a 'questionable' site.

              This is their own fault. If they hold titles in reserve, they may loose value. Perhaps you and the MPAA should look into business school.

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              • identicon
                Pragmatic, 23 Jan 2015 @ 2:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                ^This. Mike consistently and repeatedly says that items should be made available to whoever wants to pay for it at a price they can afford.

                Why does Antidirt keep missing this? He says it all the time!

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            • icon
              Gwiz (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You missed my point. In Mike's utopian world, where content is unprotected, many copies would be on YouTube.

              As soon as the movie showed up on YouTube it was "unprotected". Where do you think the torrents came from?

              And I'm guessing that the 2.5 million YouTube number would be much higher if it wasn't limited to the US. You can basically disregard any piracy numbers from outside the US in this comparison since that's the only choice that was available to them.


              I'm one of those who went the "legitimate route." So what? Not everyone is a selfish pirate. We know that. What does that have to do with protecting content?

              This is where our philosophies disagree. You seem to think that the public needs to be forced into paying like children or else zero money will be made. I happen to think that's a bunch of hogwash. Most everybody will gladly pay a price they think is fair for a movie as long as it's convenient and available when it's desired. That's a pretty much a proven fact when you consider that Hollywood's bottom lines continue grow despite piracy. I believe that protecting the content actually hinders their sales. One number I would really like to see instead of "sales lost to piracy" is "sales lost to DRM, release windows & unavailability".

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            • icon
              tqk (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In Mike's utopian world, where content is unprotected ...

              You keep saying that as if there's a shred of truth in it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I'm one of those who went the "legitimate route." So what? Not everyone is a selfish pirate. We know that. What does that have to do with protecting content?"

              And there we come to it. People here are arguing that protection is meaningless because its too easy to circumvent, too inaccurate and buggy 'when it works, and frankly eroding away far more rights from the population and culture of the society than any of the meager non-benefits execs 'think' it provides. So when people offer alternatives, you simply say 'But what does that have to do with my meaningless attempts at total control?'

              That is the PROBLEM.

              This head in the sand idea that there is only ONE PATH TO SALVATION! And it's the least effective, most expensive one.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I rented it from YouTube."

          I might have considered it, had that option been allowed to me. Funnily enough, the pirates would have had no problem giving me a copy had I asked.

          Do you see the obvious problems yet?

          "What justifies the free-riding he so desperately yearns for?"

          Why do your arguments depend on a alternate reality fantasy that has nothing to do with Mike's actual opinions?

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          • identicon
            Pragmatic, 23 Jan 2015 @ 2:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Antidirt thinks "protection" means "the rightsholders maintain control of distribution and usage at all times."

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2015 @ 11:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          what they should do, specifically, instead

          There are many natural scarcities that exist around the creation of content, all discussed frequently on Techdirt. Let's look at a few:

          1) The creation & initial release of new content. Once created and released, content is infinite, and attempting to control it is both futile and immoral -- but the ability to create new content is a scarcity, and the ability to make the decision to initially share it with the world is held naturally by the creator. This can be leveraged by moving the focus from paying for copies of an existing work to paying for the creation of new work (such as crowdfunding, corporate and private commissions, and private patronage) and by maximizing the value of the first-mover advantage with smart marketing.

          2) Access to the artist. This is a natural scarcity that many people will pay for, and has always been a huge chunk of artist revenue generation. It can be leveraged in all media: musicians perform live; authors do speaking tours; filmmakers do Q&As and special appearances; visual artists hold private exhibitions.

          3) Physical merchandise. Despite attempts by copyright advocates to paint this as the weak panacea of "lots of t-shirts", there are many examples of creators building merchandise fortunes around their work. And if we're talking about $200-million+ Hollywood movies, that has been a huge component of the equation since Star Wars.

          That's just a start. When you're done dismissing all those with minimal reasoning, maybe I'll list some more.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      Ah, I started reading the article thinking it would be a troll fest and here you are! You were "shockingly" absent on a few articles that criticized your beloved masters and copyright these days. Of course they had the damning evidence plastered all over them but when have you let facts get in your way?

      In any case, let us debunk your bs.

      Tell me this, when they're trying to sell their film through legitimate channels, how are they going to compete with everyone else just giving it away for free?

      Offering what torrent sites do. Availability and ease of use. Netflix won me because of it. When content becomes a commodity you'll get money from offering valuable stuff. You see, Netflix sees PopcornTime as a threat nowadays because it is as easy to use and offers more up to date content. There isn't much Netflix can do because the MAFIAA refuses to license the entirety of their content so there is that. In a sense, the MPAA is the biggest threat to the studios now because it's backwards ideas FORCE many people into piracy.

      Stop with the high-level nonsense. Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong and how you would fix it.

      Y U NO DEBATE ME MIKE? Don't make a fool of yourself, the article itself hints at what should be done and we have had plenty of articles as recent as this week that point out what needs to be done. But you are a moron so you will ignore anything that doesn't fit your agenda even if it's rubbing against your face.

      If you're going to continuously lash out at the MPAA, then give us details of how you would do it better. I know you have so much experience, what with your blog and all.

      Read his articles, read his reports (The Sky is Rising series and others). They are free. And if you still can't put these basic concepts through your thick skull you can HIRE Floor64 as consultants. Just scroll to the end of the page and there are contact links. Besides, being an insider you already got contacted by a TD employee to get a goddamn hangouts session with Mike so it's even easier. It's about time you stopped being such an idiot.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re:

        There isn't much Netflix can do because the MAFIAA refuses to license the entirety of their content so there is that. In a sense, the MPAA is the biggest threat to the studios now because it's backwards ideas FORCE many people into piracy.

        Just as Australians were forced in this case due to region blocking. They couldn't buy legal access.

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    • identicon
      Nigel, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:24am

      Re:

      Please stfu you are a complete idiot. The MPAA can go die in a fire. They don't do shit except spend creative peoples cash on nonsense.

      Cant believe I bother to respond to this frankly.

      "Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong"

      They should not even have a business model in the first place. They dont do anything nor do they bring any value to game.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "They dont do anything nor do they bring any value to game."

        A lot like this comment ._.

        I appreciate your frustration and frankly back your position, but there's enough angry ranting rhetoric from the other side. We need more constructive criticism. Even if the idi... erm.. individual... completely rejects your point of view, the discourse and discussion is important to spread the debate and bring about the fresh flow of ideas from the community :)

        Fight with logic and debate, not anger or hatred. Otherwise, the terrorists... sorry... the Gatekeepers win!

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    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:26am

      Re:

      Gosh, imagine, there are people selling bottled water. How can they compete with communities giving water away essentially for free?

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      • identicon
        PRMan, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:54am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, that fountain at the park is COMPLETELY FREE. (Just look out for that bubble gum stuck in there.)

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re:

        Clearly those offering free water are heinous criminals of the highest order, and need to be sued and tossed into jail, with laws passed to protect the valuable bottled water industry from such vile criminal elements.

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      • icon
        antidirt (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re:

        Gosh, imagine, there are people selling bottled water. How can they compete with communities giving water away essentially for free?

        Are you really comparing copyrighted works to tangible goods? I thought that wasn't allowed on Techdirt. Regardless, I don't get your point. How is water, which is tangible and needed for survival, like a movie stream, which is nontangible and unnecessary?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you saying artistic works are not tangible? careful, the MPAA may fire you.

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        • icon
          JP Jones (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Water is one of the few resources where the comparison actually works because, for the purposes of drinking (as assumed by the example of bottled water), water is effectively an unlimited resource. You can't physically drink enough tap or filtered water to significantly impact your water bill (hence the "essentially free").

          Yet people consistently pay for bottled water, including brands like Dasani, which is literally filtered tap water. In both cases we're talking about an essentially unlimited resource, which not coincidentally tends to be free or close to it (weird thing, that supply and demand principle, especially when supply approaches infinity...).

          Your comparison to the necessity and tangibility of both things is irrelevant. He wasn't talking about water in general, which is finite and valuable, but about water for drinking in communities, where it is effectively unlimited and available for free. And yet people still pay for that same resource when it's completely unnecessary to do so.

          This directly counters your statement that people won't pay for something if they can get it for free and the resource is unlimited. This is demonstrably false.

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          • icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 12:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Almost every place that sells bottled water had a restroom with it coming out of the tap for free. All that's really being sold is a bottle.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thank you for saying the Ip isn't actual property. Now can we please stop pretending it is?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I thought that wasn't allowed on Techdirt."

          Only the piss-poor analogies that you tend to come up with to argue with strawmen. Analogies that bear some relationship to reality are fine.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re:

        Bottled water and public water aren't the same, are they?

        So, this analogy is moronic. And thus, of course, deemed "insightful" on Techdirt.

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        • icon
          JP Jones (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasani

          And by communities I assume he means in the home, where most refrigerators will give you essentially the same thing as the majority of bottled water. And even if the water is from special place, it's still essentially water (there isn't a ton you can do to modify plain water). Even a drinking fountain is not giving you a significantly different product from a bottle of Dasani or Aquafina, other than the plastic bottle.

          People pay for the convenience and perceived value of bottled water, not because it's a superior, finite product that they can't easily get elsewhere.

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        • icon
          RadioactiveSmurf (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are right in that bottled water can be superior to public water sometimes. So if the MPAA made their product superior to the free stuff then money would be made. Seems to me the analogy holds up and is far from moronic.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No.

            The product that is being stolen, the movies that are produced by Hollywood, is the exact same one that is in theaters.

            The analogy is truly moronic. But if that's all you guys have, hey, go for it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Stealing an intangible? Please continue...

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

            • icon
              RonKaminsky (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 5:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The product that is being stolen, the movies that are produced by Hollywood, is the exact same one that is in theaters.
              Well, you've just shown that business savvy isn't exactly your strong point. Time and time again, I've witnessed arguments on the net concerning the "cinema experience" vs. the "personal viewing experience".

              IHBT&IAFFT

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 6:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The product that is being stolen, the movies that are produced by Hollywood"

              ..and this is why you fail. You can't even properly identify the product being sold.

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        • identicon
          BigKeithO, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Of course they are the same thing. How many types of water do you think are out there? At most bottled water is run through a charcoal filter or maybe a reverse osmosis system. It is still water, the stuff in the store has a bottle, the stuff from your tap has a glass.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes, Evian is exactly the same as a drinking fountain in Brownsville, Texas. Uh huh.


            And you people wonder why everyone mocks you?

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

            • icon
              JMT (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well since you're obviously a water expert, what exactly is the difference? And don't just give us marketing BS.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 6:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                No, don't you get it. He carefully picked a brand name that comes from a natural spring rather than the ones that demonstrably come from municipal supplies, so he wins! The chorus of mockery in his head agrees!

                /end sarcasm

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, watching a shaky cam subtitled in East Asian languages is exactly the same as going to a cinema in the USA. Uh huh.

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

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            They aren't quite the same thing. In the vast majority of municipalities in the US, tap water is far safer from a health standpoint than bottled water is.

            I am lucky in that I live in a part of the country where the tap water is superior in every respect to bottled water: it's safer and it tastes better. But even here, I see people buying bottled water. It's pure insanity.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And thus, of course, deemed "insightful" on Techdirt.

          Jealous much? Tough luck.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You think chickens clucking is deemed insightful.

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

      • icon
        Tim Griffiths (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 5:35am

        Re: Re:

        It's almost as if people will pay for convenience!

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:45am

      So, do you really think that anyone is fooled by the ridiculous strawmen you throw out? Are you banking on the idea that no-one will read the actual articles, and just go off of your claims? Regardless, straw is flammable, time to break out the matches...

      So the "future" that you think they should embrace is just an open Internet with no rules whatsoever. Is that right?

      Point to where this was said. The exact wording mind, don't just give a vague, 'well if you read it it's obviously there' excuse, point to where exactly Mike made the claim that you are assigning to him.

      Tell me this, when they're trying to sell their film through legitimate channels, how are they going to compete with everyone else just giving it away for free? Do you really think that is sustainable?

      Water is free, yet companies manage to make a tidy profit selling bottled water.

      Almost every movie, book, or song is available for free already if someone cares to spend the time looking, yet all of them continue to sell quite well.

      If someone selling almost anything that can be turned into or is already digital format(songs/movies/books/etc) claims that they 'can't compete with free', then they are essentially saying that they can't compete, period, because they already are, and always will be.

      They're really just supposed to sit back and let everybody else give their stuff away? That's your suggestion?

      And again, point to the exact wording to support the claim you are assigning to him.

      If it's more than that, then give us specifics, Mike.

      It's not his job to tell you how to do yours, or tell them how to do theirs. And in fact it's unnecessary. I for example couldn't tell you how to fix a car if it broke down, but I can certainly point out that a car is clearly 'broken' if it can't go more than a mile without the engine dying.

      You don't have to propose a solution, to be able to point out where something isn't working. It's nice if you can, but not required.

      Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong and how you would fix it. If you're going to continuously lash out at the MPAA, then give us details of how you would do it better.

      If you actually bothered to read what he wrote, instead of just ranting about what you think he wrote, you'd know he's already discussed this numerous times, in many articles, over many years.

      Here's a few of the basic ideas you've clearly missed:

      1) Do offer your product in convenient fashions, making it easy for potential customers to purchase what they want, when they want, in the format they want.
      2) Do not try and screw the customer over by making them jump through multiple hoops, sign up with multiple services, and block them from being able to purchase your product due to moronic and completely outdated 'release windows' and 'This service/product is not available in your area'.
      3) Do provide more than just a product to your customer. Connect with them, become a real person to them, and make them want to give you money and support you. Put a face on the company that they are buying from, and make it one that people don't want to immediately punch for any number of reasons.
      4) Do not make your product so badly broken due to trying to 'protect' it against piracy('protection' that will be broken or bypassed by actual pirates, and only end up effecting paying customers), that people are driven to piracy in order to obtain a working product. If your DRM makes the legal offering significantly worse than the pirated copy, then you are just punishing those that are willing to pay you, and giving them one more reason to avoid doing so in the future.

      I know you have so much experience, what with your blog and all.

      As opposed to your experience doing what again? Oh, right, spending years complaining and demanding everyone else tell you, and those you support, how to do your jobs.

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    • identicon
      jackn, 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong and how you would fix it.

      They problem with their model is their constant distortion of supply, that never works well. e.g. I am sorry that show is only availible on Fridays at 9pm and you have to have an electrical wire connected to our supply chain if you want to 'purchase.'

      They should put out their content 24/7 for a price. Their own sites, or netflix, youtube, whatever. I either belong to the site, or I pay to see it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re:

        Even if they should introduce the appreciated system, it will STILL have to work with piracy, unless artists actually use the piracy system instead of their own.......why, because you create a valient attempt, forcebly shutdown your origins because now you've created something worth using, and low and behold as it will eventually happen, opportunistic dipshits will use any loophole dumb ass not thought through law to again restrain.......without the piracy system in place, the creators of the new system wont feel the pressure to keep to the spirit, and we the users are fucked.........a new system not to obliterate its origins, a system to make it extremely easy for everyone to donate a monetery value to the works they appreciate........you have to work in conjunction with piracy, not anihilate it

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:44am

      Re:

      Your under the impression that we want to retain the paying of sub standard quality

      If you want to create an income, then create something people are thankfull for, with quality.......with the userbase of free......cant think of a better system to tell whats quality and whats not.......i cant think of a better system to let artists know how they can improve, and maybe create the next big one

      Hire competent community devs i.e. communicates with the user base , who listen to their users, who can add new requested features that would in turn keep or introduce new users

      THATS whats happening RIGHT now, without multi million corporations........THATS how they need to start thinking, THATS what they need to START embracing

      NOT

      "The MPAA has to keep focusing on "the piracy problem" because it has set itself up as "the solution" to that problem, perhaps knowing full well that it's a solution that can never be solved. Yet, because of this, it guarantees a large role for itself, convincing gullible studio bosses to keep forking money over to the MPAA, so that its leadership can keep earning multi-million dollar salaries."


       

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      This comment is hilarious in the context with you being an Insider on Techdirt. So you think that you can't compete with free on a website that offers all of it's content for free that you are currently paying for?

      What specifics do you need? You're proving he's right every time you pay for his free content.

      There's so much irony here, but one of the biggest is your misconception that piracy is hard, or even risky. It's not, despite millions upon millions of dollars the MPAA and studios have thrown at it. In other words, Mike's "utopian vision" already exists as far as your complaint is concerned.

      Here's the thing. A content company isn't competing with pirates. This is a fallacy, and one that even a slight amount of logic utterly destroys. There's only one scenario where piracy even affects a content creator, and that's the scenario where a potential customer would have bought their product, but due to free alternatives, chose not to. Every other scenario is completely irrelevant; maybe the person chose to pirate, but wouldn't have bought the product anyway, or the person didn't pirate, and wouldn't have bought the product ever, or they bought the product. None of those scenarios are slightly affected by piracy, although for some reason everyone gets hung up over the first one. If by some miracle they couldn't pirate your stuff, they still wouldn't buy it, so the end result is the same.

      The actual problem, where someone could have been a customer but chose to pirate instead, is always fixed by one of two things: either you make the product available at a price they're willing to pay, or you improve your service to a level that they're willing to pay. If you don't fix one of those two things, all you're doing is creating the person who pirates but wouldn't have bought it anyway, by definition.

      The amusing part is that the person who pirates, but may have become a customer, is actually more likely to increase profits than the opposite. Why? If they considered paying they probably have an interest in your product. By pirating it, they are being exposed to the quality of content you create. If they like it, they are more likely to consider purchasing other products from you in the future.

      This is known in fancy business terms as "advertising." Companies pay millions of dollars per year in advertising. A 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl costs around $4 million. And piracy is advertising, even if it isn't authorized. The best part? It's free. So your worst possible scenario, the person who would have bought, but chose not to due to the availability of free alternatives, just got a full advertisement that didn't cost you a cent (again, because unless your product is at a price or service level they're willing to pay for, they aren't going to pay...this is common sense).

      This works even better for the younger crowd. Kids in high school and college rarely have a ton of expendable income, if any. They aren't going to buy a lot of content because they simply can't afford to. No amount of anti-piracy is going to magically change their income; without access to your content, they simply aren't going to buy it.

      You know what free access to your stuff causes, though? Interest. Habit. Fandom. Things that, once they do have more expendable income than free time, makes your better service and reasonably priced product more appealing. Studies have shown over and over again that individuals with the highest piracy rates are usually the ones that spend the most money on content. Which is obvious if you think about it; fans want MORE.

      Do you think HBO subscriptions would have risen as much if Game of Thrones was only available via HBO, and not piracy? Of course not. The only people watching would be those that already had a subscription. People bought it because they wanted to watch the show the second it came out. And they were willing to pay a ton for it (HBO is really expensive, especially if you don't already have cable).

      So yes, they're supposed to sit back and let other people give their stuff away, like they've effectively been doing for years. All that money going to ineffectual lawyers and lobbying could instead go to making a service so good, with so much content, that people will flock to it, and piracy will die out except for the few diehards that refuse to pay for anything (which, incidentally, will never be your customers).

      Granted, this sucks for the lawyers and lobbyists making bank on exploiting the content industry, but sorry if I don't really care about the people who are adding nothing to our economy. Which is the whole point of this article, really...the MPAA is made of up lawyers and lobbyists, not content creators.

      Funny how that works.

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      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re:

        I appreciate your lengthy reply but I feel bad that you wasted all that time and energy on someone who won't listen.

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        • icon
          JP Jones (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Honestly, it's not really for him. It's for the readers who agree with him, or are otherwise leaning that way, but have a more open mind.

          If one or two people go "huh, I didn't think about it that way" the energy was worth it =).

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          • icon
            art guerrilla (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            well, here is at least one who got something from it: highlighting antidirt's hypocrisy by the fact HE(she/it) is a PAYING 'insider' when it is 'all' free as in beer, good catch...
            antidirt: the self-refuting bot...
            hys-fucking-sterical...

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 2:51am

        Re: Re:

        So you think that you can't compete with free on a website that offers all of it's content for free that you are currently paying for?

        GOLD! Have my insightful vote dear sir!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 12:43pm

      Re:

      Tell us exactly why their business model is wrong and how you would fix it.

      Because it wants to break the Internet and censor without any due process - just their word.

      As far as how to fix it, well, that's exactly their fucking problem. They're free to go the way of all other things that were rendered obsolete, like the 8-track, Dodo, etc.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:15pm

        Re: Re:

        If penalizing piracy is "breaking the internet", then the internet is already broken.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Penalizing piracy would be going after the actual pirates. Breaking the Internet is forcing everybody else to do as you demand to block the pirates. The destruction extends to destroying the legal files on servers that belonging to a company that you hate because they could not automatically take down all infringing files.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Penalizing piracy might not have broken the Internet, but with the blatant disregard the MPAA clearly have, that's exactly what they're intent on doing.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, it's a lot easier to sum up than that.

        They are pumping far more money and resources into fighting piracy, then they are ever going to make in returns on their investment, even if their methods were having any sort of appreciable effect. That is the definition of a bad business move.

        Piracy could vanish, and I'm willing to bet between a return to release windows, geoblocking and overpricing content and a sudden DROP in exposure, they would see revenues drop below >current

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    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:20pm

      Re:

      So the "future" that you think they should embrace is just an open Internet with no rules whatsoever.

      Please quote the line where Mike said this. Or did you pull this out of your ass as usual?

      *clicks report for you bein an asshat*

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

    • identicon
      andyroo, 2 Feb 2015 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      Are stupid or just willfully ignorant. there have been so many ways the studios have made money from their content by providing it free to everyone, tv anyone....seriously when you want to attack someone make sure you have your facts right. there have been many that have proven beyond any doubt that the studios can compete with free, all it takes is for those filmmakers to ignore the MPAA.

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

    • icon
      Glenn Stencell (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 8:53am

      Re: Other options and workable solutions do exist

      You are dealing with two extremes and focusing on "the internet", when in reality the studios just need better "security controls" which are available.

      Unfortunately the MPAA and many other studio employees seem to beleive that if a solution exists, that they should be given it for free. That they can be trusted implicitely to know what to do with it. That they couldn't possibly mess things up. etc.

      The solution to movie piracy is in itself intellectual property. As such they should understand and be willing to obtain it in the same way their movies are expected to be sold.

      With any product or service which can not be returned, without assurances that the purchaser has not or will not use it without authorization, the terms and means of payment must be negotiated FIRST! Imagine everyone being able to go to a movie theatre to watch a movie, and only after they have watched the movie, deciding what if anything they will pay for it. This would be evidently rediculous.

      Yet, when the MPAA is informed that a solution to movie piracy exists, they act like they are entitled to it for free, and that they should be implicitly trusted to make sure the person who provided it will recieve due credit, and that they will decide what if any monetary reward they will receive. This is where the MPAA is completely ridiculous.

      If you are truely interested in knowing more about ways to solve this problem, then recognise that security starts at the top. The top is the studio CEO's, not the MPAA.

      The MPAA could have been a facilitator, but chose not to be.

      If more interested, then check-out the web-site Intellectualpropertyprotectionexpert.net. You can then contact me directly if you still have further questions.

      At least you are asking the right questions. Good Luck!

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 7:31am

    the organization still deeply believes in site blocking as more or less the solution to online piracy

    And if it gets its will and it is empirically proven that even that won't work and it will harm themselves it will keep pushing for even more draconian and destructive measures. Come to think of it Google may have tried to check if this is the case by giving what they wanted to the best of their efforts. The results were more whining and plenty of abuses of the system.

    THE MPAA and all the other *AAs and their international buddies do much more harm to creators than any amount of piracy could ever do.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:34am

    Second Hollywood

    "Hollywood" as a center of movie production happened because some young and hungry filmmakers wanted to work their art without the ridiculous and onerous costs and restrictions of St. Thomas of Edison, (aka The Master Invention Thief).

    It looks like a second Hollywood will soon arise from a new location as the young and hungry seek to get away from MPAA and legacy studio's collective head burying.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:59am

      Re: Second Hollywood

      How about dozens of Hollywoods? Maybe one in ever state? If you can diversify film production, you'll also diversify the kinds of films being made and the voices represented.

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

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re: Second Hollywood

        I think that where we're heading is even better than that: No Hollywoods at all, but a decentralized ecosystem of filmmakers and the supporting infrastructure they require. Much like what is happening in most other fields that are heavy on creativity.

        I think this is the future that Hollywood is trying its hardest to kill.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Second Hollywood

          I think this is the future that Hollywood is trying its hardest to kill.

          Of course that is what they are trying to kill, as otherwise it will kill them. The Interesting part of the Internet is the number of people and small businesses that help each other. I have observed that in general, those who do productive things are more likely to co-operate with each other that those who manage, who compete to become the top dog.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:10am

    The MPAA started out way back in the silent film era as a lobbying force fighting government censorship of Hollywood films. Since that war was won decades ago, the MPAA was forced to find new battles to fight to justify its very existence. War was declared on the VCR, a hard-fought battle that Hollywood was very fortunate to lose, as the VCR soon became Hollywood's largest source of profit. The last decade has been all about war against the Internet, which like the VCR, is also on course to become Hollywood's biggest profit source.

    No doubt the MPAA is very mindful of the RIAA's problems, that is, RIAA's funding has dried up as the music industry has embraced the internet rather than continue its futile fight against it, leaving the RIAA as an organization largely without a mission.

    The MPAA certainly doesn't want itself to follow the RIAA's path, so to keep the money flowing, the MPAA must constantly find (or create) new crises that need to be trumpeted and new battles that need to be fought -- even when (as usual) the MPAA is fighting on the wrong side.

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

    • icon
      TtfnJohn (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:23am

      Re: RIAA/MPAA

      When digital sound recording became almost became alomst completely impossible to tell from analog is when artists began to release digital works rather than analog no matter that the media was and that pretty much ended the RIA's fight. And now film makers are starting to embrace digital from beginning to end of the film making process, the cameras, editing, effects and so on are done in a digital enviornment so much of the MPAA's opposition suddently becomes at best quaint. Digital cameras these days turn out images of the best quality of film cameras and remember that film itself is an increasingly rare commodity. I also remember through the years that when the MPAA has gone on one of it's occasional anti-piracy campaigns has been when piracy has spiked. They have inadvertaintly advertised new works both good and bad which brought people into theatres and might have increased downloads legal and illegal depending on how you wanted to define those words. There is and never has been a crisis, Mike is right about that. There has beeen a change in production and distribution methods, that's all.

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

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re: RIAA/MPAA

        Except digital sound came about in 1982. CDs are digital. All mp3s did was compress the data down to a downloadable/storable size.

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

  • identicon
    me, 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:15am

    the mpaa

    the riaa, the fbi, the doj among others

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:30am

    There's also Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

    In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people. First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself.

    The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:01am

    "That said, in Mike's utopian vision, everyone could simply upload the video to YouTube. In his view, nothing should be done to protect the content. How many would rent it for $6 from YouTube when there's tons of free copies available on the same platform?"


    Dude, again, kindly shut the fuck up. You are not even in the ballpark of the conversation

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  • identicon
    David, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:34am

    MPAA Controls the Theaters - for now

    Part of the issue is Studio's are partly locked into doing business with the MPAA because most theaters won't play an non-MPAA rated film. And I believe those ratings are trademarked.

    With digital distribution, streaming, and such, even control of the theaters is mattering less and less each year.

    This is the fear - for if the MPAA loses control of the theater distribution, it's pretty much all over for the MPAA.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:42am

      Re: MPAA Controls the Theaters - for now

      That's great news because the theatre system is already dead!

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

    • icon
      Glenn Stencell (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 9:38am

      Re: MPAA Controls the Theaters - for now

      You are mistaking the role by which the MPAA was established with having some control over theatres.

      As a previous owner/operator of a movie theatre in Canada, I can give you a better understanding of this situation.

      In the early 1900's (sometime around the 1930's), the public became concerned about censorship issues and warnings to the public about the content in a movie. There was a large public demand for the government to become involved in this censorship issue.

      The large studios fearing government intervention in this censorship issued, offered to establish the MPAA and thereby provivide self-censorship. This was considered acceptable, and as such it is the MPAA that provides the rating information on films.

      In contrast, in Canada, we actually have government controlled censors. The bigger provinces like Ontario, have their own censors, and some of the smaller provinces (like the maritime ones) share in providing this service to the public. So to exhibit a movie in Canada, the applicable censor rating from the appropriate government must be provided and advertised with any movie exhibited in a movie theatre in Canada. The censorhip process is meant to be a service to protect the public.

      The MPAA's rating process is in the United States, only just a process of informing the public about the content in the movie and how offensive or in-offensive it may be.

      The idea of sef-regulating bodies in an industry is not unussual. Doctors, lawyers, and accoutants, also have self-regulating bodies over members in their industry/profession.

      The real problem is that the MPAA has expanded its mandate into areas (like trying to stop movie piracy), which it is not qualified or authorised to deal with.

      I hope this helps.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 10:48am

    cant happen soon enough!!

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

  • identicon
    redrum, 22 Jan 2015 @ 11:21am

    "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution." ... Did anyone else think of Al Sharpton when they read that?

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

  • icon
    Brandon Hann (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:18pm

    My two cents

    I've watched pirated movies before...either through an illegal stream online, a friend who downloaded a torrent or someone in the industry who has acquired a screener DVD from an award show committee.

    If the MPAA could count exactly how many times I've done this, they would put that number in their spreadsheet that eventually totals up the amount of money "lost to piracy" based on various values such as theatre ticket prices and/or home video sales.

    The problem is that my numbers shouldn't count in that column because I've never once said, "Well now that I've seen it, I don't have to buy it." I also tend to avoid theatres for a number of reasons and the film playing isn't at the top of that list.

    Alternatively, if I rented a specific movie from RedBox, then I've still basically saw the movie "for free." Granted, I pay a one-time fee to RedBox for every disc I rent, BUT that money just goes to RedBox. After they've purchased the disc, they turn it over many times and not only get their money back for the original purchase price, but also make a nice profit. And I'm assuming as movies get older, they sell used discs back to their customer gaining them even more money.

    So how do you really define "piracy"? If someone downloads a free movie after it's left the theatres just to "see if it's any good," then who's being harmed here? A lot of us don't drop down $15 to $20 on a Blu-ray disc to see if a movie is any good and even more of us choose to skip the theatres do to high prices or bad film reviews. But let's say I did buy a movie and invited 20 friends over to watch it with me, then are those other 19 people considered pirates because they didn't pay to see it?

    If I downloaded a crappy movie for free and watched it, then deleted it and never bought the Blu-ray because the movie was terrible, am I still a pirate?

    The MPAA is making everyone believe that real money is being lost do to piracy, but the real problem is you can't speculate how much that actually is. I'm sure there are a handful of people out there that do download movies as opposed to buying them, but in order to say that they effectively stole the dollar equivalent of movies they would have bought retail means you would have to know for sure whether they would have actually ever bought those movies! On the same token, what's stopping people from just signing up to Netflix, renting all the discs they can get a hold of and burning copies at home?

    The proof is in the pudding. The most pirated material (be it film, music or software) is generally the most profitable. My theory is that if your content isn't turning a profit, it's not piracy that caused it...it probably just isn't very good.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:02pm

      Re: My two cents

      I've been getting movies from my local library since the 90s (and music longer than that). According to the MPAA that's nothing but government-sponsored piracy.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re: My two cents

        The organization is saying no such thing, and you are deliberately misrepresenting what it has previously said.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: My two cents

          No, copyright holders have repeatedly insisted that doing things such as multiple people watching a film or listening to music, making personal backups, copying a file within the same computer all count as lost sales and piracy, with full support from the MPAA/RIAA.

          There's no misrepresentation. It sounds like you're trying to do PR damage control for them.

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

        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: My two cents

          But how is it any different? The difference between a free download and a library rental is pennies.

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

          • icon
            tqk (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 9:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: My two cents

            But how is it any different? The difference between a free download and a library rental is pennies.

            Sorry, you set yourself up for this. You could even shoot yourself down better than I can.

            I'll start out with "a free download and a library rental" are just bits in computers and networks.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:52am

      Re: My two cents

      "My theory is that if your content isn't turning a profit, it's not piracy that caused it...it probably just isn't very good."

      But it makes a fantastic scapegoat. Why make good films or improve your distribution model when you can whine about piracy and those poor corn farmers who are losing money because people aren't buying as much popcorn in cinemas (yes, they actually said that).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:23pm

    What's with all this "The MPAA does not represent Hollywood", as if an industry association has an obligation that extends beyond what is deemed important by its members? Last I looked the MPAA was comprised of a limited number of studios, so of course the positions it advocates will reflect what it has been instructed to do by its membership.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:01pm

      Re:

      What's with all this "The MPAA does not represent Hollywood", as if an industry association has an obligation that extends beyond what is deemed important by its members? Last I looked the MPAA was comprised of a limited number of studios, so of course the positions it advocates will reflect what it has been instructed to do by its membership.

      I believe the point of the article is that it's not serving those studios well.

      You did read it, right?

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

    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:10pm

      Re:

      First of all, there's a huge difference between "representing" someone and "helping" someone. If I "represent" someone who wants to give me a million dollars for a pencil, I may not exactly be helping them out.

      Second, I'm not sure you have the order correct. If I convince someone that giving me a million dollars is a good idea, and then I represent them in doing so, I'm technically doing as instructed. That doesn't change the fact that the action has a lot of benefit for me, and not for them, and that I didn't encourage the harmful behavior.

      Those limited studios are doing something that actively harms themselves, and they are being encouraged to do so by the MPAA, which has convinced them it's not only necessary economically, but morally the right thing to do. Both are complete bullcrap, but it's an effective lie.

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

  • icon
    res (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 10:49am

    MPAA uselessness

    I just remember what happened with the music and film industries saying that the cassette tapes, VCRs, CDs and then DVDs and so on would kill their business and then it turned out to be a huge money maker. How can the MPAA be so wrong so much of the time and have no major studio notice. Are they giving away yachts to studio execs?

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:45pm

      Re: MPAA uselessness

      The MPAA is doing what the studio execs tell them to do, which is go to Washington, play the bad guy, and take all the blame. They are a tool of the studios, not the boss of the studios.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2015 @ 4:30pm

        Re: Re: MPAA uselessness

        I dunno, it looks like more some mutual fuckbuddy system. "I suck your cock today, tomorrow you suck mine. The day after we'll suck each other off in a daisy chain, and it will be fabulous."

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Wyrm Oroboros

    "Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution."

    Some day, far in the future, humanity will realize that this statement is true for ALL institutions, including political, religious, medical, academic, moral and security institutions.

    Of course, by that time, there will be no such institutions feeding on human society, because people cannot realize this truth as long as such institutions exist.

    What a nasty circle we have wrought.

    ---

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 4:01pm

      Re: Wyrm Oroboros

      But institutions are awesome when they solve a problem. It's only after the problem's been solved that they become an issue.

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

      • identicon
        GEMont, 23 Jan 2015 @ 10:49pm

        Re: Re: Wyrm Oroboros

        " It's only after the problem's been solved that they become an issue."

        Actually, no. Were they to solve their problem then they would have no plausible reason to exist and they would have to either become something new with a new purpose, or dissolve.

        Look back in history and add up all the institutions that actually solved the problem they were created to solve and then dissolved of their own free will.

        The resulting number should be as close to zero as is possible without being a negative number.

        The problem is not so much in the concept of an institution being founded to solve a specific problem, as it is in the execution of the plan.

        After a year or so, the people involved will have rung up a few good shots over the bow of their target, gaining a "Good Name" for their institution.

        Having a "Good Name" however, attracts criminals.

        Criminals absolutely adore an institution that has a good name because then they can infiltrate and utilize the institution for their own less than honest purposes and use the "Good Name" of the institution as a facade to hide behind.

        If you think it is difficult to infiltrate an institution, you need only look to the shenanigans of the Scientologists over the last few decades to see the myriad methods of removing the unwanted members of an organization and replacing them with your own people.

        The longer an institution exists, the more corrupt it becomes, until it is 100% inhabited by organized criminals.

        Criminals who have found asylum inside an institution can get away with all sorts of criminal activities by using the non-profit status of the institution, for instance, or by using the institution's premises or transportation vehicles for illicit purposes.

        Many other criminal activities become enabled when you are protected by an institution's good public image.

        Eventually though, an infiltrated institution has to start paying attention to its public image - usually after being caught numerous times doing criminal things - and this is when they start to manufacture the "evils" they were created to defeat, so to speak, to insure that the public believes they are necessary in order to defeat that new array of manufactured evils arising in the land.

        So as you can see, institutions never solve the problem for which they were created. They simply become criminal organizations and manufacture the very problems they were formed to solve.

        Government and religion are two of the oldest institutions on earth and neither has succeeded in solving the problems their creation was based upon.

        C'est la vie eh. :)

        ---

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


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