Hollywood Freaking Out That Europe Might Make It Marginally Easier For People To Legally Access Content

from the gotta-make-it-as-difficult-as-possible dept

Okay, we have some really serious concerns about the absolute mess of a draft copyright reform proposal that was leaked via EU regulators. The whole thing is basically a giant handout to legacy entertainment companies, pushing for things like taxing Google and other aggregators, and generally ignoring what's best for the public.

But apparently there's one single part of the plan that the entertainment guys don't like: the fact that a big part of the proposal is to knock out geoblocking, to create this "digital single market." To hear Hollywood whine about this, you'd think it was the equivalent of forcibly making all their content available via BitTorrent.
In a letter to the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament, they warn that the EU's plans to help make more films and TV shows available online across borders will have "severe negative impacts on our industry and incentives to invest, which would stunt economic growth and innovation for years to come."
To which the only proper response should be: "Oh, for fuck's sake, get over yourself."

You have to be one seriously fucked up industry to believe that a plan to bring down barriers and that makes it easier for the public to access your work completely legally will somehow have "severe negative impacts." At the very least, it certainly gives you an idea of what the MPAA thinks of the current suckers who are happily paying them to watch movies.

A Digital Single Market makes a ton of sense. Geoblocking is the bane of many people's existence, especially in Europe where so much content is blocked. You'd think that Hollywood would be happy to decrease barriers and open up greater opportunities to expand markets. But it often feels like "logical" and the "MPAA" are consistently at odds with one another. Opening up more markets creates better experiences and more consumers. But the MPAA is so focused on control that it doesn't realize that it's working against its own interests here.

And, really, given everything else that's in the bill, it seems like the least Hollywood studios could do is not attack the one good thing about this whole plan, the lowering of market barriers.

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  • icon
    Steerpike (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:48am

    The industry probably has all kinds of geo-specific licensing arrangements that they want to protect.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:01am

      Re:

      Along with geo-specific pricing.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly. Those things makes it much more difficult for them to operate since it lives off the company-imposed tarriffs. Thus for a US company it could very well cost some jobs.

        That the argument is the anti-thesis of free market and effectively an appeal to protectionism is making it hard to see through unless they are able to hoodwink some idiots to believe in the values of geo-blocking.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:29am

      Re:

      Well, a part of the industry does anyway... The part you can't seem to wipe off your shoe.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:53am

    Its a wonder that Hollywood is doing a nuclear reaction like Google does and that is Hollywood threatening to boycott providing its products into Europe should the EU go ahead with its plans to remove geoblocking from the EU.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      Should have been written as "Its a wonder that Hollywood isn't ...

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re: Nuclear option

        A boycott of its biggest market would be economic suicide and they know it. The trouble is, they've predicated their business models on geographic availability and release windows within the local theatre and cable TV setups because it's lucrative and because it's less volatile than an open market.

        As I've said any number of times, the last thing any incumbent wants is a free market. People might choose freely to go elsewhere and we can't have that, can we?

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:23am

        Re: Re: Nuclear option

        A boycott of its biggest market would be economic suicide and they know it. The trouble is, they've predicated their business models on geographic availability and release windows within the local theatre and cable TV setups because it's lucrative and because it's less volatile than an open market.

        As I've said any number of times, the last thing any incumbent wants is a free market. People might choose freely to go elsewhere and we can't have that, can we?

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      How would you boycott a market when your product can be reproduced infinitely and transported easily? You may have heard of piracy...

      Google doesn't offer products, they offer services which can be easily withdrawn from a market.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:13am

    Optics

    But apparently there's one single part of the plan that the entertainment guys don't like…
    So the EU planners perhaps have obtained some political cover—they can point to this one single thing, and say to the public, “See. Hollywood didn't get everything they wanted!” Naturally, they'll have to say that in French or German or whatever, but you get gist of it.

    And in the public arena, everyone who cares can fight really, really hard over this one single thing. A huge, exhausting political fight! Over this one single thing that it'd be in Hollywood's interest to “lose” on anyhow.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:21am

      Re: Optics

      "Sure we made all these concessions, but look: we didn't cave on this issue that obviously benefits everyone!"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:19am

    This happened before

    Twinnings CEO:

    The colonies' plans to import more tea and tea ingredients with lowered tariffs to make our many varieties widely available across borders will have "severe negative impacts on our industry and incentives to invest, which would stunt economic growth and innovation for years to come."

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

    • identicon
      Andy, 3 Sep 2016 @ 2:37am

      Re: This happened before

      The threat is that the middleman will become obsolete, where studios can release there content to distributors directly and ensure they get the profits into there own bank accounts and not through numerous middlemen who all take there cut so as that they end up with only a fraction of the profits generated from there content.

      But as with the book publishers they do not like the fact that someone other than there designated family get profit from any content, they want it all in-house through friends and business associates so they can skim even more off the top line.

      Amazon ebooks is a perfect example of the movie studio issues, publishers are furious that the content creator can see exactly how much the publisher is making very easily, and then demanding more compensation in the future when they realise they have been cheated so badly while millions sell there content through amazon with no publisher and keep much much more of the profit.

      And the fact that there are some amazingly good authors on amazon , some that i have read personally that are superior to any other published content i have read for many many years.
      Damn i have read books that not only compete with the likes of Tolkien but surpass anything he has ever written, I have read book series that blow Game of thrones out of the water with there intrigue and excitement and adventure, books that take what Martin has written and improve on it so much Martin looks like a very inferior writer.

      But it does take a very little bit of an effort on behalf of the reader, It takes me about 20 minutes to decide what author i want to read as i have to read a few pages of his books before deciding if the writing style is worth my time. But within 20 minutes or less i can find a few books that i really enjoy giving my time to read.

      Why not the same for Movies, why can we not go to one website and find whatever we want either from established creators or new stuff, remember all the movies that have been made that are far superior to hollywood content, i have seen many and loved them in a way Hollywood can only dream of, i have even watch a 2 part 6 hour movie that i had to read subtitles and it was an amazing experience, or a three part series that was in French that i still think about today even though i watched it many many years ago all with subtitles, and i am a person that normally does not like to read subtitles at all.

      Put all the content in one place make it easily accessible and you will have many more people paying for content, but sadly that is a problem for the middlemen as they abhor the fact that they would have to actually spend some of there profit to create such a system that they could not easily manipulate to get them the massive profits they steal right now.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2016 @ 2:46am

        Re: Re: This happened before

        "...there are some amazingly good authors on amazon , some that i have read personally that are superior to any other published content i have read for many many years." -- Andy


        Got some recommendations? I like reading good stuff, and I'd like to support authors who are seeking a better deal than they tended to get historically.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 3 Sep 2016 @ 3:51pm

        Re: Re: This happened before

        Damn i have read books that not only compete with the likes of Tolkien but surpass anything he has ever written, I have read book series that blow Game of thrones out of the water with there intrigue and excitement and adventure, books that take what Martin has written and improve on it so much Martin looks like a very inferior writer.

        Well? Don't leave us hanging, if you've got awesome authors share some links and/or names so the rest of us can check them out.

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

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 4 Sep 2016 @ 12:23am

      Re: This happened before

      The colonies' plans to import more tea and tea ingredients with lowered tariffs to make our many varieties widely available across borders will have "severe negative impacts on our industry and incentives to invest, which would stunt economic growth and innovation for years to come."

      You nailed it. This is exactly what we are seeing with CETA, TTIP and so on. It's the resurgence of mercantilism.

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:23am

    You've got to have at least one token item in their somewhere that the lobbyists can make a big fuss about and you put through anyway, make a big thing of how you don't answer to them and say "See, we aren't in their pocket"!

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

  • icon
    Nick (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:36am

    I always thought that it was THEIR excuse as for why a movie/show was not available in all markets on day 1. "Oh, sorry, but strange international laws and content markets prevent us from showing it to you right now. Wait a month."

    As soon as the countries do something about it... "HELP! FORCING US TO RELEASE SOMETHING EVERYWHERE AT ONCE WILL BREAK US!"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 4:18pm

      Response to: Nick on Sep 2nd, 2016 @ 9:36am

      And to think, the creationists think keynesian is dead. Oh, the ignorance.

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

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:41am

    Multinationals want one-way globalism

    They want "free trade" so they can pay the lowest costs for things they buy (particularly labour) but they want to be able to set prices so they can charge people as much as they can afford in each different country.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:46am

    Surely the will fight this. Right now they are selling the content to each country idividually. If everyone can get it from the same service, they might only sell it once. This is really big for the.

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:48am

    Need to point something out ...

    But the MPAA is so focused on control that it doesn't realize that it's working against its own interests here.

    It is not the MPAA that is spouting this BS. It is the TV Broadcasters. "Fox Network Groups, NBCUniversal, broadcasters Sky and Mediaset and the British, French, Italian, German and Spanish football leagues" The MPAA does movies ...

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

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 2 Sep 2016 @ 9:54am

    Hollywood and Drug Companies

    Only Hollywood and Drug Companies have this much geo-regional concern, and it is mainly-based in the issue of region-specific pricing, nothing more. When a DVD costs $14.99 in the U.S. (where it was made) and $4.99 in India (two days later), to 'tear down those borders' would either close their India customer-base, or destroy those 'First-World-Profits' from the U.S. and European nations. You might think that 'a mid-point' would be reasonable, but not when you consider that they would lose much of their 'developing world' market if they went up even $1 per movie in many instances, or equally a fear to them, cause the return of rampant piracy (which is already rampant, but I digress).

    No, this is solely about having to adjust the 'rich nations' prices downward, or lose the 'developing nations' profits. The impact of either would offset the other, so to them, it is a lose-lose situation.

    To this I remind them, 'Hollywood, you are liberal, and as a defacto standard, your platform supports the TPP'. What in the world do they think the TPP is going to do to them, once it's enacted? This is just a lead-up to it, nothing more.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:17am

      Re: Hollywood and Drug Companies

      When a DVD costs $14.99 in the U.S. (where it was made) and $4.99 in India…
      That is the old business of selling plastic disks.

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

  • icon
    mattshow (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:29am

    A Digital Single Market makes a ton of sense. Geoblocking is the bane of many people's existence, especially in Europe where so much content is blocked.


    I can't speak the situation in Europe, but as a Canadian, nothing promotes piracy like geo-blocking.

    I genuinely make every effort to legitimately obtain content. I'm finally at a point in my life where I make a decent salary and my student debts are (mostly) under control. I can afford to pay for content and the legitimate channels are convenient. Within 30 seconds of deciding "I'd like to see Jason Statham kick someone in the face", I can be watching The Transporter in high-def on my TV.

    But when content is geo-blocked and I'm sitting in front of my TV/computer/phone, credit card in hand, literally begging to be allowed to pay money to access that content and that request is refused, any guilt or reservations I might have about pirating that content go right out the window. I will pirate it with a smile on my face and not feel a shred of guilt.

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

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:37am

    "The negative effects of such an intervention would lead directly to lower levels of investment in European content production, promotion and distribution,"

    But.. the world is flat!

    I imagine, given the near-zero cost of distribution, which happens to flow nicely into effective promotion, that investment into production would skyrocket.

    Once something is broadcast I'm not sure how the argument of a "right" to make money by controlling distribution is an effective argument anymore (if it ever was). Hell, it's only relevant due to deep pockets and corrupt influence on law makers.

    "Middle-men", in the areas of distribution in a digital market, are simply less relevant, if at all - laws and punishments and "the rights of distribution" be damned.

    It's not a secret if you tell someone... It is no longer "solely yours" when you release it... "Copyright" needs to be fixed and it's not because the middle-men or mega media corps stand to loose money. That's simply not the point of a copyright much less an indication of how long they should last. You guys simply do not create - you strangle what's already been created. And that only for yourselves and those artists that you've convinced that only they can be your one and only benefactor.

    I kind of like the control I have over the media I can access and the reality is that there's not much anyone can do about it, good, bad or otherwise.

    The sooner you asshats can agree on and create a catalog of rights then the sooner you can provide income to "your" artists and creators. Get your twisted, self righteous heads out of your cocktail glasses and fix your shit.

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

  • identicon
    Shilling, 2 Sep 2016 @ 10:56am

    Writing a letter with a possible outcome without giving examples is enough to weaken the knees of eu bureaucrats because jobs/investments. Sounds about right.

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

  • icon
    Richard Forno (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 12:51pm

    Logic and the entertainment industry are mutually exclusive concepts, ne'er destined to meet except at gunpoint.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 1:12pm

    Well, you're /partially/ right...

    In a letter to the presidents of the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament, they warn that the EU's plans to help make more films and TV shows available online across borders will have "severe negative impacts on our industry and incentives to invest, which would stunt economic growth and innovation for years to come."

    This statement is accurate only to the smallest extent possible, and where it's right it's misleading. Getting rid of geoblocking would have an impact on their business to the extent that they could no longer make crazy profits off of 'exclusive' deals in a given area, charging as much as they can in one area because the one buying knows that they'll be the only one who can offer it.

    Without geoblocking however that goes in reverse, if many people can offer something then exclusivity goes out the window and the price goes down as a result, meaning less profits for them.

    The hit to 'investment, economic growth and innovation' bit is complete rubbish however, just there to hide the fact that they're trying to keep profits as high as possible by continuing to screw the public.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 2 Sep 2016 @ 2:04pm

    Reminds me of Obama going to visit Britain before their brexit vote and threatening them with econmic trouble if they did not vote no.

    I doubt this bullying attempt will go any better.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2016 @ 3:59pm

    Just how many toes does Hollywood have to blow off in this game of Shoot Yourself In The Foot?

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 2 Sep 2016 @ 4:36pm

    Five little words for Hollywood: What a load of bullshit!

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

  • identicon
    PH13, 2 Sep 2016 @ 6:12pm

    The industry is stupid, as the best geobloking for a digital single market in Europe is the language, they only need transition to language license (basically licensing the original language + the local translation), after all the majority of people are only interested in the content in their own language. In this licensing scheme at most only remains a little conflict with some countries, but most are minor as for example Belgium, that speaks French and Dutch. The English can be the more problematic but thanks to the brexit this is mitigated.

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

  • identicon
    Whatever, 2 Sep 2016 @ 8:08pm

    I know I said I live in Canada and the lack of content sucks, but making content more easily accessible is a bitch! Think of the companies! This can only end in disaster, all to placate a bunch of pirates.

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

  • icon
    Steve (profile), 3 Sep 2016 @ 2:54pm

    It seems that the MPAA is the equivanelnt of the NRA in that it exists to serve itself first.

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


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