MPAA Pirated Clips From Google Commercials To Make Its Own MPAA Propaganda Videos

from the can't-make-this-stuff-up dept

And here's another one from the Sony archives, this time noticed by Parker Higgins. It involves an email thread between Sony TV's Chief Marketing Officer Sheraton Kalouria and the company's top intellectual property lawyer Leah Weil (with top TV exec Steve Mosko included in the cc: field). In the email, they're discussing a new "reputational initiative" by the MPAA. From other emails, it appears that the MPAA finally realized that its reputation was toxic, and figured that rather than, maybe, figuring out why that is, it would put together a marketing campaign to improve the public's view of the MPAA. Here were the four goals of the campaign:
  • Fill the knowledge gap about our industry
  • Change consumer perceptions
  • Claim our rightful position as innovators
  • Reframe our consumer message in a positive tone
I note that "stop suing our customers and biggest fans" and "stop trying to censor parts of the web or destroy innovations that challenge our business model" didn't make the list. That's too bad, as either of those steps might actually, you know, help improve the MPAA's reputation.

But the really amazing thing about the campaign? Apparently at least some of the video involved unauthroized copying of content from... Google. The same Google that the MPAA and studios had dubbed "Goliath" and who they were hell bent on destroying because of the misleading belief that Google helped people infringe on their copyrights. Here was Kalouria's email to Weil:
Also, I was somewhat horrified that their creative shop used footage from Google commercials in their “Swipe-o-matic”. I kid you not…some of those scenes of people being “moved” by movies are from a current Google campaign...!
Weil only responded with a single word:
Yikes!!!
Yes. If you've been following along with the home game, you know that the MPAA is really, really against copyright infringement (or at least that's what it would have you believe). And it believes that Google is the single-biggest problem in the copyright world these days. And yet, when it's time for the MPAA to put together some of its own propaganda to put some spit and polish on its down in the dumps reputation, what does it do? Make use of Google's footage and pretend that the people being "moved" are actually being moved by the MPAA's movies.

Apparently, infringing on the works of others is okay for the MPAA when it does it itself. And that's leaving out the extreme irony of using Google's ad footage as well. It's unclear if this MPAA film ever saw the light of day, but it would be fascinating to see if anyone has it...

Filed Under: copying, copyright, leah weil, reputation, sheraton kalouria, sony emails, sony hack
Companies: google, mpaa, sony


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:40am

    So they are bottom feeding leaches who don't practice what they preach. No wonder they have some many 'friends' in office...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:41am

    Well, I can understand why they borrowed the clip. Obviously, the MPAA doesn't have access to the level of film talent that Google does.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:30am

      Re:

      Actually they do, it just that they wish that Youtube would go away rather than using it to find those with talent.

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

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:42am

    Ironic, but not felonious

    Well, to ratchet-down the hyperbole just a bit, a "swipe-o-matic" is a reference to a down-and-dirty test commercial intended for communication within the creative team only. It's a found object, moving image version of the longstanding "animatic", in which a camera performs zooms and pans on static images and sketches to suggest just what the final product might look like once it's shot. Roughly the equivalent of cutting out pictures of broccoli from Good Housekeeping magazine to create your fourth grade collage on green vegetables.

    But I get the "yikes" comment... even for a throwaway, the irony of a Google swipe isn't lost on Kalouria.

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: Ironic, but not felonious

      So you're saying they didn't infringe, or that it was fair use? Because even copying within an organization is infringement, even though it happens all the time, esp. at MPAA member studios.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:08am

      Re: Ironic, but not felonious

      Yeah it is perfectly fine to create infringing works, just not legal to distribute them.

      Maybe they thought it would be covered under fair use since they probably don't even know the definition of it anyway.

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

      • icon
        Berenerd (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re: Ironic, but not felonious

        ...but they did distribute it...how else would others see it so they can create emails? Or would you prefer a "Public Performance"? These are things the MPAA and RIAA have sued for. If I loaned my CD to a friend or played my CD/DVD in a place where it could be seen by others, per their definition, it would be a public viewing\performance.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Ironic, but not felonious

          they might have a legal loophole here since technically it was distributed outside the company by the hack. but I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt.

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

          • identicon
            Michael, 20 Apr 2015 @ 12:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ironic, but not felonious

            No.

            They had to have distributed it between Sony employees or nobody would have been "horrified" when they saw it.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 1:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ironic, but not felonious

            The law doesn not normally take into account extenuating circumstances.

            The MPAA should have hte law applied equally to them, or the law is worthless.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:44am

    In some universe, the MPAA knows that Google doesn't infringe on copyright, the MPAA calls copyright infringement...um, copyright infringement, and that the MPAA doesn't copyright infringe themselves.


    But we don't live in that universe.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 9:49am

    More evidence of Sony piracy also surfaced over the weekend, and they obliviously did not study Hacking: The Next Generation, and Hacking: The Next Generation; as they fell prey th what the books covered.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:03am

    MPAA lawyer -
    Your honor: To prove Goliath, er Google, is the biggest threat to copyright ever, I'd like to submit Exhibit A, our willful infringement using Google's own video found by using google.com.

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

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:06am

    Fill the knowledge gap about our industry
    Knowledge gap? I'm confident the public knows this is an organization which compared copying a movie to that of a murder victim and professed its love of child pornography.

    Change consumer perceptions
    The FBI warning message isn't enough?

    Claim our rightful position as innovators
    How much worse can the MPAA go from dead last?
    (I get the sneaking suspicion we're about to find out)

    Reframe our consumer message in a positive tone
    This point pretty much sums up the MPAA. The fact that it needs to reframe its current message shows it was never positive to begin with.

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

  • icon
    Stig Rudeholm (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:06am

    Business as usual

    Copying: It's only infringement when someone else is doing it.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:08am

    All content belongs only to them.
    All laws about content only apply to everyone but them.

    That or their campagin to keep their reputation in the shitter is really coming along.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:10am

    If any other company were to do this the MPAA will be demanding the immediate shutdown and destruction of the company with all assets etc. going to them in compensation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:13am

    What Mike said wasn't included is certainly the root of the MPAA's reputation problems, but them having this on the list is downright hilarious!!!

    "Claim our rightful position as innovators"

    They only fight innovation. They don't innovate anything that anyone wants themselves. Hell... they can't even make a new original movie anymore!! Everything is either a sequel or a remake of something else.

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

  • identicon
    Guardian, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:27am

    250000 dmg per view

    they should pay 250,000 per view.....

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

  • identicon
    Tavis, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:43am

    One way to know for sure...

    ... is to see when the automated ContentID system starts blocking Google's own ads for "infringing" on the MPAA's propaganda.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 10:55am

    I read those excerpts as an indication that the speakers involved recognized the problem of reusing Google's content, though apparently the creative team that reused the content saw nothing wrong with it. This is unfortunate, but not too surprising. The more interesting question is how many people saw it and said nothing before it reached this e-mail thread. If the first unauthorized copy was shown almost directly to the people here, then you may have only one or two individuals who did not know better. If this bubbled up through layers of middle management, that shows an institutional failure to know better.

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:05am

    It would be oh so fitting if Google sued them over this.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:09am

    The MPAA is not interested in fair play, even under their draconian interpretation of copyright law.

    Rather, the MPAA's interest is in gaining legal privilege for itself and its clients.

    And this incident illustrates that this is the case.

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

  • identicon
    RD, 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:24am

    MPAA definitions

    Infringement. They know it when they see it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 11:44am

    the only thing i'm waiting to hear that will be any good to me is when are the industries going to curl up and die? i can live without them, just like everyone else can. it's them who cant live without us, yet they treat us like crap, like they are the most necessary thing ever invented! self-interested bastards!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 12:46pm

    Does reputation matter?

    I thought the whole point of having the MPAA do the "evil" things was to deflect criticism from the film companies. So if people hate the MPAA but still willingly give money to Sony, Universal, Disney, etc., why should the MPAA care? Certainly some people (probably the type of people who hang out here) will avoid giving money to members of organizations like the MPAA, RIAA (remember riaa-radar?), BSA, ESA... but I've seen little evidence the general public cares.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:25am

      Re: Does reputation matter?

      This amazes me too. Read the comments on torrentfreak related to one of these "MPAA is evil" stories, and they bitch and complain and swear they'll torrent GoT to hell and back, yet never even consider giving up on them. After all the abuse, they're still addicted to the crap.

      re/code, Verge, Gizmodo all breathlessly swoon over every Hollywood trailer spat out. It never seems to occur to them that it's just yet another comic book like all the others before it, or another Star Wars do-over, sent to the screen. GoT is not even any good.

      What's wrong with these people? It's sad.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:09pm

        Re: Re: Does reputation matter?

        Idiocy, addiction, lack of conviction, take your pick. When it comes down to it, people like that are nothing more than walking wallets, eager to take the abuse companies throw at them, as long as they still get to watch/read/listen to the crap that the companies throw out.

        Words are nice, but it's actions that matter, and the actions of fools like that make those of us who actually care how companies treat their customers, and are actually willing to back up that care with real boycotts, instead of just empty whining, look bad.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2015 @ 3:29pm

    It's Not our Fault, Google Made Us Do It!

    You see, this just proves that Google induces people to infringe copyright. They even *made* the MPAA infringe!

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 20 Apr 2015 @ 7:01pm

    1 law for the serfs 1 for the elites. get wealthy and successful like the MPAA and congratulations you can buy your way out of most crimes you comitt.

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

  • icon
    beltorak (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:24am

    Let's bring it up a little....

    A lot of people are jumping on the MPAA-haters bandwagon here; wanting Google to sue, screaming about "one law for thee, another for me", laughing at the hypocrisy, "o the irony", etc etc. And while I agree with the sentiment behind many of these outcries and guffaws, focusing on that is missing the bigger picture. One which I wish the MPAA would understand.

    Sharing culture is a quintessentially human thing to do. Whether they want to make a point, or make someone smile, or just enlarge the circle of people for whom a reference is meaningful, sharing is natural. It happens all the time. It is perfectly right and good to spread ideas, culture, and experiences, with friends and with strangers. Trying to fight human nature is more futile than trying to fight the tide - which might be difficult, but there's little the ocean can do to you if you decide to get rid of the moon. Trying to excise (by punishment no less) a fundamentally human drive can only end in failure so long as one human remains alive.

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:38am

      Re: Let's bring it up a little....

      You assume they don't get this, and I think that's your mistake. They don't want to stop this sharing culture. They rely on it. Rather, they want to monetize it.

      The problem is, they really suck at that. Geo-blocking, lawfare, DMCA, DHS/ICE, bribing attorneys general and writing their lines for them to attack search engines, outlawing VPNs? Who comes up with insane ideas like that?

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:13am

        Re: Re: Let's bring it up a little....

        They don't want to stop this sharing culture. They rely on it. Rather, they want to monetize it.

        Not sure I agree. They're not interested in us sharing culture with each other, they want us all to get our culture from them. That's not really sharing. They're fine with discussions about the cultural artifacts they're selling, but their acceptance ends short of actually sharing the artifacts.

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

        • icon
          beltorak (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: Let's bring it up a little....

          > They're not interested in us sharing culture with each other, they want us all to get our culture from them.

          This is exactly right. That's why they hate the public domain so much. If we are creating and sharing culture with each other, then (the theory goes) we won't partake of what they magnanimously deign to sell us.

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

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

    "Claim our rightful position as innovators"
    holy shit what are they smokin? "rightful"... cant stop laughing.

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

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

    I haven't made it past the third bullet point yet... still laughing! :'o)

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

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:21am

    Paging OOTB. Come in, Blue. What have you to say about this?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:39pm

    MPAA is such a joke!

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


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