Failures

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
bittorrent, hannibal, marketing, promotions, psa, sony emails

Companies:
sony



Sony Execs Freaked Out That Its Marketing People Wanted To Use Torrents For Marketing

from the how-dare-you-embrace-new-technology? dept

The decision of whether or not to embrace or fight innovation is such a weird one at times. It leads to such ridiculous choices. It's no secret that the big movie studios have decided that things like BitTorrent are evil and must be shunned at all costs -- even as plenty of successful creators have learned how to embrace the technology in ways that helps them make money in ways that weren't possible before. But, if you've staked your entire corporate position on the idea that BitTorrent technology is pure evil, then you can never, ever even try to embrace it and see if you can actually use it to your advantage.

Witness this bizarre email thread, in which Sony's top execs completely freak out over the idea that some other Sony folks are considering ways to use torrents for promotional purposes. It started with some Sony folks in Europe, who had the idea of putting up fake torrents of the TV show "Hannibal" that would (at first) include a short portion of the show, and then would tell downloaders to watch the show on TV. But Sony bosses in LA put the kibosh on this plan:
Personally, I love this and this it is a great promotion – unfortunately, however, the studio position is that we absolutely cannot post content (even promos) on torrent sites. The studio spends millions of dollars fighting piracy and it doesn’t send a good message if we then start using those same pirate sites to promote our shows.
Well, first of all, it's not a "great promotion" because people have tried putting up similar fake torrents for ages, and it tends to just piss people off. There's a reason they're downloading it rather than watching it on TV and telling them to just watch it on TV probably doesn't help anyone. It just pisses them off. But let's leave that aside for a minute.

The folks on the TV side at Sony tried again. They thought, instead of a "promotion" for the TV, how about just a "public service announcement" (PSA) about how unauthorized downloads are bad. This is also a pretty dumb idea that has been tried for over a decade and generally just leads to mockery. So it likely wouldn't be that effective, but Sony top execs got even more worried that even using torrents for PSAs would somehow legitimize BitTorrent, and Sony cannot allow that to happen.
I called Paula and restated that this is simply a long road to “no” because it so severely undercuts our efforts not only in CE, but all we have accomplished elsewhere (and that could be compromised by making the distinction between bad & good sites more gray)… Forget about a site blocking strategy if we start putting legitimate PSAs or promos on sites we’ve flagged to governments as having no legitimate purpose other than theft… PSAs being for public good, etc…
Elsewhere in the email thread, Sony Pictures' top lawyer Aimee Wolfson notes that "this is a highly problematic idea":
This is a highly problematic idea. Even with a PSA message, it will be easy for the pirate sites to cite it as (a) lawful activity on their site, and (b) an attempt to promote the show. (Note that the attached script is definitely promotional, and responds to the pirate viewer’s activity with a knowing and conspiratorial “wink” – not the message we would want to send.)
Meanwhile, the Sony TV and marketing people keep pushing for this idea, with Sony TV boss Steve Mosko saying "this is really important to me" and others recognizing that this is a "clever" idea, considering that the European team has "no budget."

In some ways, this is so incredibly shortsighted. Here Sony is so committed to the idea that torrents can't be shown to have any legal, non-infringing uses (even though there are plenty), that it won't even allow its own staff to experiment with ways to use the new technology to their own advantage. But just the admission in the email alone shows that Sony's top execs know damn well that there are legitimate, non-infringing, uses for BitTorrent, and they're deliberately trying not to use them just to make BitTorrent look much worse than it is.

Sony's focus is so blinded by "Piracy bad! Piracy bad!" that it can't even consider "Hey, this technology might be helpful." Once again, I'm reminded of how Jack Valenti declared in 1982 that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." Except, at least back then Hollywood wasn't so stupid as to not embrace the VCR. Just four years after Valenti claimed that the VCR would kill the American film industry, in 1986, VCR revenue for the movie industry surpassed box office revenue. The Hollywood of the 1980s fought technology, but at least it learned how to use it to its own advantage. Apparently the Hollywood of today is so committed to hating on technology that it will give up the new markets enabled by it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:51am

    Didn't I comment the other day that BitTorrent was technically promotional too? I do believe I did.

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  • identicon
    Michael, 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:51am

    I called Paula and restated that this is simply a long road to “no”

    Stop restating things and it will not be such a long road you asshat.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:03pm

    Once again, I'm reminded of how Jack Valenti declared in 1982 that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." Except, at least back then Hollywood wasn't so stupid as to not embrace the VCR.

    Interesting how times change. The "VCR" in question died out long before the advent of the DVD made VHS obsolete, but the original device that caused such a stir among the motion-picture types was... drumroll please... the Sony Betamax.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      But that was long ago when Sony was just a hardware company and had no interest in making money off of content.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 12:12am

      Re:

      "The "VCR" in question died out long before the advent of the DVD made VHS obsolete"

      I'm just wondering what you mean by this, since VHS and Betamax are both formats used by a VCR (Video Cassette Recorder). If you're referring specifically to the Philips format, I don't believe that was what Valenti was referring to.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re:

        I'm referring to the Sony Betamax, which Jack Valenti's people tried to sue out of existence not too long after he said that.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 23 Apr 2015 @ 3:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          OK, but you must surely then understand that when Valenti made his comment, he was referring to the type of device and not a format. The VCR was a blanket term for devices that used Betamax, Video2000 (among other numerous other minor formats)... and VHS.

          So, in that context how does "the VCR in question died out long before... the DVD made VHS obsolete" make any sense given that the VCR reference covered VHS? I'm presuming you think that VCR meant Betamax, but it certainly didn't. Valenti was railing against the entire concept of a VCR, not Sony's specific implementation. If Sony had been defeated, VHS manufacturers would have been next on the slab.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:08pm

    > ... and responds to the pirate viewer’s activity with a knowing and conspiratorial “wink”

    Is this talking about an 80 year old game show host promoting "talk like a pirate day?"

    But, y'know, those scare quotes are really scary!

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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:14pm

    Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

    This seems related to our love for false associations, such as science can't be trusted to explain the origin of life because science brought us the atom bomb. And, yes, that is a Creationist argument made by scholars we'd think would know better.

    Humans can't logic. They can, but only in short bursts with lots of training.

    And this is why (for instance) we have OReilly rants against government waste (as if waste was a thing that could be unilaterally point-sourced and curbed). You can't explain that.

    Sony's execs see BitTorrent as the evil engine of piracy, and not the multi-purpose tool it is. By the same notion, they would probably judge the Sony Walkman or Sony Betamax the same way.

    In the case of the Walkman, that helped Sony make its gazillions and buy up Hollywood (Columbia and Tristar... wistful sigh) so now they can generalize anything associated with piracy and try to obstruct its use and development.

    New companies inovate. Old companies litigate.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:20pm

      Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

      Old companies can avoid litigation by getting custom legislation passed to protect themselves. The protected area is a gilded tarpit.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

      You sir, win the internet for the day. You managed to take a post that has nothing to do with Creationists or Republicans and yet blast them both with it. Bravo, bravo. Well done!

      One question though. How does it feel to be so bitter and angry towards groups of people that you have to work insults to them into places that don't fit?

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      • icon
        Kal Zekdor (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

        Isn't Bill O'Reilly registered as an Independent? Conservative, certainly, but not a Republican. Seems to me like you took two random examples on the failings of rigid, dogmatic ideologies, and interpreted it as a personal attack.

        Do you have a persecution complex, or are you posting flamebait for the hell of it? I am inclined to believe the former, though your last statement gives me doubts, so correct me if I'm mistaken.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

          I was merely pointing out that he took an unrelated issue to spew forth his hate for groups of people. Not sure why I have to have a complex to point out the deficiencies in his comments. It appears that you have appointed yourself a defender of haters.

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          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:05pm

            Oh, dew tell.

            I pointed out two examples of a specific kind of spurious logic that have been used in two ongoing dialogues. No, the topics themselves are not relevant to Sony's panic over BitTorrent but the logical misstep certainly is comparable. If you want, I can point out other incidents of the stupid, even in favor of positions with which I agree, because I don't like intellectual dishonesty.

            How, exactly, that is hatred or being a hater you will have to explain to me. Please elaborate.

            I will grant you that yes, I do regard biblical creationists the way that (giving you the benefit of the doubt) you do geocentrists or flat-earthers, but that is because my education so far has precluded all the creationist hypotheses that are based on observation and logic. Feel free to enlighten me. (I do hold respect for philosophical creationists such as Last-Tusedayists since they actually take a Socratic approach and apply reason.)

            And yes, I tend to disfavor idealogues, but that is because I've seen too many incidents of people clinging to notions of the way things should be without actually considering why, or how.

            And yes, I do hope to the Pillars of Creation that you do not mean to suggest Bill O'Reilly is an exemplar Republican, or for that matter, an exemplar conservative.

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      • icon
        tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:32pm

        Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

        No, I think you're the winner (whiner?). You managed to ignore pretty much everything he wrote to the exclusion of focusing on two hot button issues of your own. Bravo.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

          Say what? I am not focusing on those issue, merely pointing out that he is. Apparently you are too.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2015 @ 3:27am

        Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

        Creationism aside, I've seen stuff like "He's a convicted criminal, so his theory about X can't be right" from a lot of people, theists and atheists.

        Humans really have trouble with comprehending simple logical fallacies, and we tend to go down the path of "good man is always right, bad man is always wrong".
        For example: someone being a convicted blue-collar criminal doesn't imply they are bad at physics.

        Back on topic, this ALWAYS happens to many companies.
        Even more on point, Sony has done this every hardware generation since the late 80's. The lawyers are simply getting slower in catching up to technology in their cycle of "good"-"bad"-"good if walled".

        We will, eventually, get something like a DRM'd BitTorrent alternative, approved by the studios. And then something else will come along, that is if the economy doesn't implode first.

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    • identicon
      PRMan, 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

      "science can't be trusted to explain the origin of life because science brought us the atom bomb"

      Can you post a link or a reference for this? I read creationist materials all the time and I have never seen a statement like this.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 3:59pm

        Re: Re: Technology leads to Frankenstein tragedies.

        It is interesting and sad that people think creationists are anti-science. You merely have to google all the thinks that Christians, monks, etc have discovered while studying science. It is also interesting that creation is said not to be created in 7 days yet the big bang theory says it was created in 20 minutes.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:25pm

          Creationism and Science

          That's because young-earth creationists have been making a lot of noise, and because there has been a lot of pressure to insert creationism, or intelligent design, or at least disclaimers of doubt regarding evolutionary biology into primary school science curricula. That sounds pretty anti-science when news of such measures occurs on a weekly basis.

          This is not to say that all churches are anti-science though some of the big ones, such as the SBC are, and many churches struggle to fit biblical contradictions with contemporary science and their literalist position. Also, the post-2001 effort by the New-Atheist movement to push for secularism and reason-based culture has provoked some resistance, and that often appears as resistance against science and reason directly.

          Even the Roman Catholic Church (a clergyman of whom first proposed the Big Bang) has been experiencing resistance to the Hawking hypothesis that time didn't exist before the big bang, and the (currently conflicting) M-theory notion that this universe is one in a vast foam sea of universes, ergo the origin of existence is beyond the scope of our ability to observe -- which puts into greater relief the hubris behind the notion that humankind or even the Earth figures centrally into some divine plan.

          I think between the complexity of evolution and abiogenesis, and the terrifying truths of genesis cosmology, a lot of people find themselves uncomfortable with science, regardless of whether they agree with the idea that reality can be modeled through observation and reason.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:36pm

        The nuclear bomb card.

        What about the nuclear bomb? is an argument commonly tossed out in debates of science versus religion. I heard it first from a Muslim scholar debating with Richard Dawkins some years ago, and I'd have to search more to find it than I'm willing to do right now. it appears in almost any argument that pits science as a collective category against a given religion or against religion in general. Biblical creationism, where the narrative in Genesis conflicts with contemporary scientific models, is one dialogue in which it pops up.

        A noteable example was in Cardinal Paul Poupard's pronouncement in 2005 where, citing the atomic bombhe pronouncement that science needs the guiding hand of faith (implicitly the Vatican's guiding hand) lest science's full power be unleashed upon humanity like Gojira upon Tokyo (metaphor is mine).

        The fallacious notion is that science can be treated like a big singular thing (Also that nuclear science has anything to say about ethics. Even those sciences that are applicable to ethics -- say human psychology, sociology or anthropology -- still focus on models that explain specific outcomes as the result of specific circumstances. Consequentialism requires deciding what consequences you desire.)

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 6:55am

          Re: The nuclear bomb card.

          So you don't think that technology that can be used to make weapons of mass destruction--or even weapons in general--is inherently applicable to ethics?

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          • icon
            tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:01am

            Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

            No. Weapons are merely specialized tools. They don't care whether they used for offence or defence. What's done with them by those who deploy them is where ethics comes in.

            Hiroshima and Nagasaki may have been war crimes, just as Nazi and Allied bombing of civilians in London or Dresden were war crimes. But theatre nukes used on a battlefield? What could possibly be wrong with that?

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:15am

              Re: Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

              "But theatre nukes used on a battlefield? What could possibly be wrong with that?"

              I can think of a few things. But then, I consider the current use of biological and chemical weapons on the battlefield to be immoral. I also consider the current use of depleted uranium to be immoral.

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              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

                Correcting an editing mistake: I said "I consider the current use of biological and chemical weapons", but that "current" should not be there. I'm not making any assertion that biological or chemical weapons are (or are not) currently in use.

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                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 1:40pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

                  The Syrians and Iraqis stockpiled them. The US probably still has some stockpiled too. I wouldn't put it past the Israelis or Russians or North Koreans. I expect ISI[SL] would love to get their hands on some.

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              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:50am

                The immorality of weapons.

                But why are biological or chemical weapons immoral?

                I think they're immoral not intrinsically but because reasons. For example, depleted uranium has a effects on the battlefield and its inhabitants long after the war. In a sense, it's the same problem as unexploded munitions.

                But, I think, a biological agent that gives the enemy army dysentery and allows them to be defeated with less than 10% casualties (rather than the higher rates of a stand-up fight) might have some justification, just as the atom bombs were dropped to avoid an all out invasion of Japan, and the firebombing of all the major cities of Japan as we did Tokyo.

                On the other hand, you could argue that war itself is unethical, though that raises the questions about when it is the lesser evil, such as when war can be used to end a pro-slavery regime or one with a systematic genocide program.

                Or... a regime with a mass-surveillance program, a failed justice system and an extrajudicial detainment program. We're already sometimes pondering at what point does war become the lesser evil.

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                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 2:05pm

                  Re: The immorality of weapons.

                  ... might have some justification, just as the atom bombs were dropped to avoid an all out invasion of Japan, and the firebombing of all the major cities of Japan as we did Tokyo.

                  No, no, a thousand times no. Civilians ("women, children, and the elderly") are not valid targets. They're not even armed, and children don't even know what's going on. It's evil! Hitler and Churchill both knew and worried about this before the war, yet they let it happen anyway. It was a war crime. My own dad was made complicit in that crime.

                  There may have been munitions factories in those cities, but you don't shoot if you might hit an innocent (!!!) bystander. It's evil to even contemplate. War between combattants is ugly enough.
                  Or... a regime with a mass-surveillance program, a failed justice system and an extrajudicial detainment program.

                  Again, no. That's their problem to solve, not anyone else's. We learn by our mistakes if we have to. You don't want to end up living in Nazi Germany? Think before you vote assholes like that into power. Tough love.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 2:23pm

                    Re: Re: The immorality of weapons.

                    You think that who we voted for impacted whether or not those programs went into place? Obama has pretty much demonstrated that our alleged representatives don't represent us.

                    And the 2000 election that got Bush into the oval office wasn't determined by either majority rule or even a fair election.

                    And no, we live in the society we have. We don't all just accept our suffering just because someone should have done different some time in the past.. To Hell with your tough love. And to Hell with your delusions of a just world. But the more that we suffer at the bottom, the more likely it is that those at the top will perish in fire.

                    And the ones who replace them will not be considerate to those outside who just watched it all happen. Dark ages of warlords and failed regimes usually follow the collapse of empires.

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                    • icon
                      tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 3:46pm

                      Re: Re: Re: The immorality of weapons.

                      You think that who we voted for impacted whether or not those programs went into place?

                      The US (as well as many other countries, including my own in many ways) has been broken for a *long* time, and the usurpers should have been checked long ago! It got that way through citizens' apathy. The founders warned about this; even Churchill conceded that. Fix the system, and don't let it get out of control. It's our responsibility to keep that ravenous beast in line if we insist on using it.
                      And the ones who replace them will not be considerate to those outside who just watched it all happen.

                      If we're invited in to help (ie. Rwanda), sure, lets go. I support humanitarian efforts.

                      But, mount an invasion of the USSR to bring down the Soviets, or supply the mujaheddin with stingers to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan? Fuck no. Cut all ties, don't trade with them, encourage dissidents and escapees, but not our fight! Caveat emptor.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 2:32pm

                    All-out war

                    Remember that the theory of total war, by which entire nations devoted all their resources to waging war, and by which we turned to the doctrine of strategic pinpoint bombing (which wasn't very pinpoint at all) emerged as an escalation due to the desperation of Germany and Imperial Japan.

                    Both of them depended for their own well being on waging war on their neighbors. The retaliation had to be proportional (lest the attacked nations fall like France), and the end result was massive bomber runs on alleged ball-bearing factories, and a sub-warfare campaign on Japanese oil freight.

                    One of Hitler's junkers dropped a single bomb in a commonwealth neighborhood and that set off the spark of using civilian targets.

                    Not that it's the first time. Rail guns (that is mammoth guns on railroad tracks) were used in WWII to shell Paris, and was not accurate enough to shell a smaller target. The notion of attacking civilians is regarded as poor sportsmanship, but any war that lasts long enough escalates to attacks on civilian targets, and then we firebomb Dresden and Tokyo.

                    And sometimes people get charged for war crimes. Sometimes they don't.

                    It's not right. It's not what necessarily should happen. It's just what does happen.

                    It's a reason to not go to war in the first place. And it's a reason to not do the kind of things that drive people to go to war.

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              • icon
                tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 1:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

                I may be a bit more jaded than you. In fact, I'm pretty sure of it. I admire your insistence on sticking with the high road, but war is war. Ethics don't really apply (as long as we're talking about warrior on warrior; non-combattant civilians should be considered sacrosanct). The Geneva Conventions, to me, were little more than a PR effort to make war more palatable to the masses looking on. I'm reminded of that old ST:TOS episode that had people walking into destructionators based on calculated losses. Kirk was absolutely correct in destroying it. Don't gloss over the ugliness of war. No one wins in war.

                I see nothing terribly immoral about biological or chemical weapons (other than the fact that they can't really be controlled and their effects last far beyond the end of the war). If they make war too ugly, great! Maybe that would stop the next one from happening.

                [I wonder what Mike must think when "Sony execs freak out" devolves into ethical discussions like this. Thanks Mike.]

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                • icon
                  Mason Wheeler (profile), 23 Apr 2015 @ 1:36pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The nuclear bomb card.

                  If they make war too ugly, great! Maybe that would stop the next one from happening.

                  That's what Nobel thought about his invention of dynamite: this is something too horrible to ever use in combat, therefore it will never be used. Instead, military folks gleefully adopted it and invented the bland-sounding notion of "collateral damage" to gloss over the attendant horrors.

                  It's what a lot of people thought about World War I, with its insanely pointless trench warfare. They called it "the war to end all wars." We all know how that turned out.

                  It's what a lot of people thought about the atomic bomb. Here, finally, is something so horrible that no one will ever try to use it again. And no one did... right up until the next war broke out, and General McArthur advocated using The Bomb on North Korea so aggressively that President Truman had to fire him. We've just barely managed to dodge this one so far, but don't think for a second there aren't people out there who would love to get their hands on a nuke and then set it off in a major population center, if they could!

                  There's never been such a thing as a weapon so ugly that no one wants to use it, and I don't think there ever will be. Heck, just look at Star Wars. Build a weapon literally millions of times more destructive than a nuclear warhead, and someone will use it, and then rebuild it as a bigger and better 2.0 version when the first one gets destroyed! Those movies were so phenomenally successful because they had a ring of truth to them.

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                  • icon
                    Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Apr 2015 @ 2:51pm

                    Thankfully, Star Wars is fiction

                    And a weapon that can blast a planet to smithereens can be set at a lower level and crack it up a bit so that it can be harvested for minerals (after it was evacuated, of course)

                    I tend to point out the conflict between India and Pakistan, both armies of which have high ranking fanatics who hate the enemy, and none of the safeguards that the US and USSR adopted to prevent a madman first-strike scenario. And nukes in the hands of mid-ranking officers.

                    Not one has been launched in aggression.

                    So, while I agree with you it is possible to find wackos who would use a nuke, I can say with some confidence that they aren't commonplace. That holding the ability to kill a million people -- even a million of the most despicable enemy -- seems to have enough of a palpable gravity to give most of us pause.

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                    • icon
                      tqk (profile), 23 Apr 2015 @ 6:59pm

                      Re: Thankfully, Star Wars is fiction

                      Mason, you're beginning to seriously damage my cool (to paraphrase Jayne (Firefly)). As for Uriel, remember Avatar? US forces in VietNam had no trouble whatever convincing themselves that they were just cleaning up the neighborhood by killing gooks, or anything that could be called a gook. The same happened in the century before last with the North American Natives. Generals who want to please their political masters will happily sink to the level of depravity necessary to do that, "for god and country."
                      So, while I agree with you it is possible to find wackos who would use a nuke, I can say with some confidence that they aren't commonplace. That holding the ability to kill a million people -- even a million of the most despicable enemy -- seems to have enough of a palpable gravity to give most of us pause.

                      Damn, there's a lot of wiggle room in there. We're doomed. All it takes is one MacArthur, or Curtis LeMay, or that shithead now running NATO currently attacking Eastern Ukraine, to convince the next GWB or the next Hirohito that "It'll be okay, trust me. This'll work."

                      I'm glad I won't live long enough to see it, or at least I hope I won't.

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                      • icon
                        Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 1:14am

                        The question this raises is why in sixty years it hasn't happened already.

                        We've not exactly been tidy or super secure when it comes to either Soviet or American nuclear weapons. It's difficult to process non-weapons-grade fissile material into weapons-grade, but not all the material that is available is entirely accounted for. And the Nth Country Experiment noted that the design of nuclear weapons is easy to come by.

                        I tend to speak with wiggle room because I tend to like to stick to stick to the realm of certainty. (I won't even commit to denying Russell's teapot, generally.)

                        But I do know that since the WWII endgame, particularly since Castle Bravo, when things went from atomic to nuclear, not a single device has been used in hostility. Yet, granted, but that's been seventy years. So either we've been very lucky, or we have had a dearth of madmen actually willing to nuke someone.

                        This is one case where I hope we haven't just been really lucky, because pure luck always runs out.

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

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 11:13am

            The applicability of weapons technologies to ethics.

            I'm not sure the intent of your supposition.

            Large-output power-sources typically are used for destructive purposes before they are harnessed to supply civilian energy -- which in turn can provide for computers or food sources to feed scholars who focus on the contemplation of ethics.

            Explosives have plenty of ethical civilian applications. Nukes continue to have the problem of radioactive fallout, which limits their applicability for mining or construction (Project Chariot was an early example that never went through), but this isn't to say we won't have civilian cause for big kabooms in the future in situations where the fallout would be less of an issue.

            Technology doesn't speak to ethics. It speaks to applicability, what can be done with it. Ethics discusses what should or should not be done, and the conversation of ethics expands with our capabilities, as scenarios go from supposition to the consideration of real action.

            So, to my best ability to parse your question, technology can be applicable with or without ethical considerations.

            My observation so far is that when a technology is new, someone will try to use it unethically, such as when Dolly, the cloned sheep was announced, some gazillionaires wanted to clone heirs despite dolly's health problems, and despite the ethical considerations of self cloning.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:17pm

    Lol I love that Sony's threat is actually encouraging you to post more from the leaks. Keep it up!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:18pm

    I try not to watch Sony films because I don't want to legitimatize their business model.

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

  • identicon
    AC, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:21pm

    Why even put fake torrents up?

    If TV producers would put full shows, including ads, on torrent sites, I'd use them. I don't have a DVR, so time-shifting, for me, isn't about skipping ads and 'stealing' TV shows, it's about watching them on a more convenient schedule.

    Studios can see pretty easily how many people are watching their shows illicitly, why aren't they using that audience to deliver ads?
    Guys, you can talk directly to people you KNOW are seeking out your content! It's going to get out there within minutes of airing anyway, why not control the message?

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:28pm

      Re: Why even put fake torrents up?

      The problem is with (once again) their ad services pricing model. If they put torrent files with commercials up, they cannot track viewership for selling ads. When you watch a re-run of I love Lucy, the ads are different - if they are baked into to torrent, they cannot change the ads during re-runs and have to sell the ads at some kind of "perpetual" rate that they currently don't support.

      Finally, paying people that are in the shows and commercials residuals once you have lost control over a file to determine how many times it gets watched becomes impossible.

      I agree that including the commercials in the files and allowing downloads is probably a good plan, but the business models they currently have really do need to change pretty significantly to make it work - and change is hard and people don't like it so they are going to fight it kicking and screaming for as long as they can.

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

      • identicon
        anony, 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:32pm

        Re: Re: Why even put fake torrents up?

        They will continue screaming like babies just as they did about vhs machines which Sony were amongst the first to create and sell with their betamax machines.Sony is a has been manufacturer with their products no longer seen as value and competitors taking the majority of their sales away from them. The lack of foresight is only going to hammer another nail into the coffin of their failing company, no company their size should rely on sales of one product and their sales of games consoles is all that is stopping them from claiming bankruptcy.

        As things stand now torrent software is being used for legitimate reasons more and more as more and more startups realise it is a very good way to spread their updates and even full software packages for absolutely zero cost to them. in fact the cost is spread through those that download any torrent by uploading a few copies, and the fact that torrents are the fastest way to download a file , especially a large file is opening the internet for many startups who would not be able to cover the costs of hardware and maintenance and bandwidth to share their content with customers.

        Sony has been a failing company for many years with their tv's not even coming close to competing with the competition, with their phones and tablets almost ignored by consumers, the only thing they have real sales of are games consoles and we all know how they have lost many customers by no one else's fault but their greed and crazy illegal DRM.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:28pm

    Several things

    Sony installed a rootkit onto innocent people's PC's. If anyone else had done that it would be a crime. When Sony causes millions of people to have to get their PCs repaired to remove Sony's malware, it's all okay.

    BitTorrent was created specifically for a legitimate purpose. How can Sony claim that it has no legitimate purpose. A legitimate purpose was the reason for its very creation. Ditto crowbars, and screwdrivers -- even though these can be used to commit crimes. Oh, and computers can be used to commit crimes -- just ask anyone who has been hit over the head with a computer.

    Sony, aren't they the ones who have been hacked multiple times? Until they can demonstrate knowing something about technology, maybe they should not be taken too seriously.

    Is CE the new euphemism for Censorship Enablement? Or what exactly does Sony's "CE" efforts refer to?

    Sony adapting to the reality of BitTorrent as a superior way to distribute files, after taking such a public stance against it will be like watching Microsoft try awkwardly to embrace Open Source after having burned all bridges and then some.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:56pm

      Re: Several things

      I consider the fact that Sony got hacked and had all this fall out from it poetic justice in light of the Sony RootKit thing.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Several things

      From the context I think CE is short for Copyright Enforcement.

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

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re: Several things

        Okay, so I guessed right: Censorship Enablement.

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

      • identicon
        Joe K, 21 Apr 2015 @ 3:01pm

        Re: Re: Several things

        From the context I think CE is short for Copyright Enforcement.

        Erm, I doubt that.

        The "innovative proposal" to upload fake torrents came from some hack
        in their Central European office.

        CE = Central Europe.

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

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:32pm

        Re: Re: Several things

        When talking about companies like Sony, CE almost universally meant Consumer Electronics. However, ever since buying a music company and a movie company, they've moved to the Dark Side, so it could very well be Copyright Enforcement.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:54pm

    If they wanted to...

    they could reduce BitTorrent file-sharing of their content to almost nothing practically overnight. Where BitTorrent really shines is when there are a lot of people who want a file and some have it. If there are only a few that have it and want it, it can take forever for one that wants it to find someone on at the same time sharing it that you can get it from. All they would have to do is provide an easy to access streaming service to their entire library at a very affordable rate and do away with all of the artificial barriers that they have constructed that drive people to piracy. Make it affordable and easy and people will flock to it in droves. Most people won't care that they don't own it as long as they can easily access it whenever they want. And when that happens most people will stop BitTorrenting their content and it's availability on BitTorrent will decrease.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:37pm

      Re: If they wanted to...

      That assumes your Internet connection is fast enough for streaming. Taking two hours to download one hour of content isn't a problem when downloading a torrent, but would result in the dreaded "buffering..." all the time if you were streaming.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:22pm

    It wasn't an asteroid or comet

    It wasn't an asteroid or comet that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was their being too stupid to adapt to changes in the climate. This is now happening to "big media".

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

    • identicon
      Joe K, 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:40pm

      Re: It wasn't an asteroid or comet

      It wasn't an asteroid or comet that caused the extinction
      of the dinosaurs. It was their being too stupid to adapt to changes in
      the climate. This is now happening to "big media".


      Pity poor Hodor, lost in a hall of mirrors, enraged at all the
      unauthorised representations of the likeness of Hodor.

      Smashy smashy.

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

  • icon
    JBDragon (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:04pm

    I'm Glad Sony is against this idea!!! See why wants to waste time downloading a torrent of their program that's only shows part of it and is really a advertisement. Yes, Keep that stuff OFF, and the Full Normal versions of their programs can be downloaded without time being wasted automatically!!!! I'm just saying, or guessing this is how it is.

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

    • identicon
      Joe K, 21 Apr 2015 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      I'm Glad Sony is against this idea!!! See why wants to waste time
      downloading a torrent of their program that's only shows part of it
      and is really a advertisement. Yes, Keep that stuff OFF, and the Full
      Normal versions of their programs can be downloaded without time being
      wasted automatically!!!! I'm just saying, or guessing this is how it
      is.


      Initially, on reading the email thread in question, those were my
      thoughts exactly.

      But, on a second pass, notice how that particular (very obvious)
      argument is totally absent from their discussion.

      Just goes to show what utterly clueless dinosaur gangsters they are.
      It's like they're the mafia as depicted in Jarmusch's Ghost Dog, but
      without the cool one who digs Flavor Flav.

      (And, as for the youtube clip linked above, speaking of clueless
      dinosaurs, right on cue: "This video contains content from Lionsgate,
      who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.")

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:34pm

    Sony freaked because they don't know how magnets work.

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

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:05pm

    Sony elites couldn't careless about any of us

    I just ran across this article (http://www.vox.com/2014/4/11/5581272/doom-loop-oligarchy) referencing the nature of money and power. Sony leadership is obviously in the Elite camp within the American culture. And way too many of these super-rich, super-powerful people, Sony included, have way too little regard for the rights of the rest (99.9%) of America. Other than as consumers Sony leadership has less regard for the individual American than they do the soil used to produce their favorite wines.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2015 @ 3:33am

      Re: Sony elites couldn't careless about any of us

      It's not even about the "rights" of the rest as much as it's about the NEEDS of the rest. You don't have a "right" to a lot of things that you end up NEEDING in life (unless you want to live in the boonies).

      Obviously the long-term end result will probably be mass-unemployment, followed by a collapse in economy and then we can all start all over again (that is if the Earth doesn't go F.U. on us in the mean time).

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

  • icon
    Watchit (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:01pm

    Any pirate worth his salt will be able to spot the fake ones from a mile away anyway.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:51pm

    How Sony could use peer-to-peer smartly.

    I remember the test demo of Tron: Legacy being released in 1080p glory on p2p, which was especially nice since I cannot stream in high-res. When it comes to actual promotional stuff about films to come, the option of downloading tech-demos and sneak preview scenes and behind-the-scenes shorts and trailers in high-def would totally appeal to my inner fanboy, and, if a movie seems worthy of the big screen, get me to the theater even to tolerate the stupid twenty-minutes-of-ads.

    I remember the amazingly-well-produced-yet-grossly-manipulative Chipotle ad The Scarecrow which exemplified the content=advertising point. How awesome would it be to be able to download 1080p version of that? But for the demonization of peer-to-peer.

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 10:26pm

    The studio spends millions of dollars fighting piracy and it doesn’t send a good message if we then start using those same pirate sites to promote our shows.

    Maybe they did not wanna end up like Viacom ;)

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 12:16am

    "The studio spends millions of dollars fighting piracy and it doesn’t send a good message if we then start using those same pirate sites to promote our shows."

    The studio spends millions of dollars fighting piracy and it doesn’t send a good message if we then start using those same videotapes to promote our shows.

    Merely replace a single word, and you see an obvious fallacy and a situation where the studios made a crapton of money once they stopped being afraid of the "pirate format". This is why their "message" doesn't get across - they're literally repeating mistakes they should have learned from 3 decades ago. The rest of us are waiting for them to catch up with this century.

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

  • identicon
    Alex, 20 Aug 2015 @ 2:53am

    The studio spends millions of dollars fighting piracy and it doesn’t send a good message if we then start using those same pirate sites to promote our shows.

    Awesome content by Alex Bashinsky co-founder of Picreel @ Alex Bashinsky

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


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