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File Swapping and the Analog Hole 271

Posted by michael
from the pound-the-table-and-shout dept.
forehead writes "Lawmeme is running an interesting piece on piracy in the digital age. It covers a number of the logical fallacies often cited by the major media companies and certain lawmakers."
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File Swapping and the Analog Hole

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 19, 2002 @06:24PM (#3547160)
    how can you claim a "loss" for pirated materials if the parties in question would nevcer have paid the retail cost for the materials?

    This consistently boggles my mind, all these companies saying "piracy costs us $500 mil a year". Listen, some third world family that makes $100 a month isn't going to pay $700 for office, alright?!?

    -rt
    • This consistently boggles my mind, all these companies saying "piracy costs us $500 mil a year". Listen, some third world family that makes $100 a month isn't going to pay $700 for office, alright?!?

      Oh, and I'm sure that it's the third world families that make $100/month that are pirating music.

      On their C-64 from 1986.

      Much like our good friend, JUNIS FROM AFGHANISTAN.

      Sorry, but most of the piracy is middle to upper-class teenagers and students... people who could pay for the music, but choose to pirate it.

      I have very little sympathy.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The people that I know as teenagers or students that copied music as MP3s, or cassettes prior to that time, generally ended up being people that bought a wide range of varied music new in the end, as their copied tapes wore out, or they lost the MP3 collection, or simply because it is nice to own the original CD.

        Without access to the copied music, they wouldn't have been exposed to a wide range of music, and thus they might only feel compelled to by a fraction of the music.

        Remember, the numbers point to file sharing actually increasing CD sales, as people use it as a test bed for music leading to informed CD buying without hassle (finding sales assistant, asking to listen to a certain CD, etc), and thus buying more as a result.

      • Dude. You got it wrong.

        Junis has an Amiga, quite a video-ready machine. Though he may have some problem with the popular pirate codecs, Junis could well be in the streets of Afghanistan, selling boots of AotC.

        We will know as soon as Junis is ready for the Q&A Katz promised the NY Times [nytimes.com] would occur once things calm down in Afghanistan.

        Though I'm not sure why things have to be calm for Junis to engage in further email. This does puzzle me. As time goes on, my faith in Junis does occasionally falter.

        May Katz forgive me.

    • The piracy is a merely another decoy, the same as child pornography, indecency, violence, recipes for explosives, spying, selling drugs, doubting certain parts of the official history,... etc. The underlying objective behind all those moves is to regain the control over the information that the 'masses' may receive. They had it tied up so nicely with TV, movie and major print media all in the few hands. Then internet came and ruined it all. They've been itching to clamp it down by any excuse they can sell. Each pretext du jour they're pushing slices the opposition differently. Eventually, these fragments of the opposition will become so small and misaligned in their particular purposes, that they can be brought again under control.
    • So the MPAA is claiming $3Billion. Have they put those numbers on their SEC filings? If they haven't, they are either lying to Congress, or Enronning (is that a word?) their shareholders.

      Gee, which do you think it is?
  • by dattaway (3088) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @06:26PM (#3547166) Homepage Journal
    mpaa.com [mpaa.com] that is link to in the header seems to be a legitimate business, but mpaa.org [mpaa.org] is the cartel we seem to be concerned with.

    So much for the internic's rule of .com and .org domain rules where .org's are supposed to be "non-profit!"
  • by Fenris2001 (210117) <fenris@n[ ]edu ['mt.' in gap]> on Sunday May 19, 2002 @06:31PM (#3547180)
    ....that the link above points to Management Partners and Associates [mpaa.com] and not The Motion Picture Association of America [mpaa.org]
  • I for one, won't bother watching an analog (tape) copy of a film that's in the theaters, mostly because of the quality. I want to see it in it's full glory. However, thanks to DVD ripping, file sharing, and a cable modem, I sometimes will download a movie and watch it on my PC, as I can get a decent picture and sound. I rarely do this though, as I mentioned before that I like movies in their full glory, and sitting a few feet from my 17 inch monitor and my okay sounding speakers doesn't really cut it.
    Then again though, I'll gladly watch a movie on my TV where I can lay on the couch or bed (that's what I'm talking about full glory) with just the TV's internal speakers.
  • by 00_NOP (559413) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @06:39PM (#3547202) Homepage
    The article says:

    One of the most prominent and recurrent arguments of the copyright interests is that "digital piracy" is far worse than "analog piracy" and thus justifies the imposition of draconian paracopyright laws, such as the DMCA and CBDTPA. I refer to this argument as the "analog fallacy." The fallacy is that analog piracy is not nearly as threatening as digital piracy because analog copies degrade with every generation while digital copies remain pristine no matter how many copies are made. While true in a strict sense, the fallacy is that most of the assumptions necessary for this argument to be true are not realistic.

    But surely the real 'threat' of digital media is actually the close-to-zero marginal cost of copying the original.

    With a VCR each copy is a real, physical, medium. With digital everything is, well, virtual.

    There are different responses to this - in software, free software is a response. Free software advocates accept that digital 'objects' can and will be copied, so build that in.

    I'm not convinced that model works for music and movies though.

    Free software is built on a pre-existing cultural norm - ie hacking - that doesn't exist for these other media.

    Furthermore, no government contracts (the States), or direct support (elsewhere) is available to create the movie-making equivalent of MIT's AI lab.
    • by cadallin451 (536419) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:04PM (#3547270)
      "Free software is built on a pre-existing cultural norm - ie hacking - that doesn't exist for these other media."

      I would argue with this point. In what way do hackers differ from other people who make art on an amateur level? There are people who write, produce music, and produce visual arts non-commercially, and some of this material is damn good, such as Penny Arcade, PvP, or Megatokyo. This is true for all media forms and goes back to a central flaw in the media industry's argument.

      They would like us to believe that without commercial distribution i.e them, media would not exist, but this is simply false. Money is not the sole reason people create art, they do so because they enjoy it. They whole idea copyright and IP in US is based around the idea that "Hmm, It would be nice if people who create art could charge for it, allowing them to more easily support themselves and create more." This initial idea was valid and good, but it has now been carried over to the extreme. The media industry now is essentially rabidly trying to destroy non-commercial media, as a threat to their profits.

      The attitudes the RIAA shows towards independent labels and bands are really the opinions the media industry has about all amateurs, if we start amusing ourselves, we won't need them. This is why content creating is in danger from SSCA/CBDTPA. They want us to be locked into them with no other choice.

      • by ninewands (105734) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @09:09PM (#3547564)
        Quoth the poster ---

        <QUOTE>
        The media industry now is essentially rabidly trying to destroy non-commercial media, as a threat to their profits.

        The attitudes the RIAA shows towards independent labels and bands are really the opinions the media industry has about all amateurs, if we start amusing ourselves, we won't need them. This is why content creating is in danger from SSCA/CBDTPA. They want us to be locked into them with no other choice.

        </QUOTE>

        After all the ranting I have seen on /., somebody has FINALLY stated that which SHOULD have been obvious. The whole SSSCA/CBDTPA uproar in Washington has LITTLE, if anything, to do about you and me downloading "mp3z" or "|\/|0\/i3z" over the internet. It's all about the fact that the means of content production and distribution have gotten inexpensive enough that the CREATORS of the content are no longer beholden to the publishers of content.

        The "pirates" that scare the bejesus out of the MPAA and the RIAA aren't the "CD-rippers". They are the indie artists who can afford to purchase mixers, etc. and record and digitally encode their own music and distribute it LEGITIMATELY over the 'net without Sony, Time-Warner, MCA, Disney and the rest of the "usual gang of suspects" getting THEIR cut.

        It's not about copying, it's about CONTROL. It's about the survival of an outmoded business model that has left many of the original artists of rock dependent on charity in their old age. It's all about preserving the KNOWN historical rip-off (of the artists by the labels) by preventing a future speculative one.

        It's all about the fact that digital camcorders and digital audio recording is on the verge of making the studios and labels and their 18 layers of middlemen and IP lawyers as obsolete and dead as the dinosaurs.
        • Hmmm then explain the "Blair Witch" movie. I was shot on consumer level film, put together, and got nowhere until a big studio bought the rights to it at Sundance. Do you really think if it was digitized and stuck on a website it would have generated the millions it got when a major studio got behind it and marketed it out the wazoo? Name me a band that has launched into Gold Record status from mp3.com or from individual web sales. It takes money to make money, and the RIAA and the MPAA have the money. For every Britney, Backstreet Boys, Linkin Park, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, there are WAY more failed bands, even with the marketing muscle of the RIAA. The MPAA is about the same, for every Spiderman, there is Godzilla 2000. Joe Average does what the ads say, and it will not change for some time.

          I'd wager a significant amount of money that even successful sites like Megatokyo, Slashdot, PvP and other "fringe" sites have far fewer mainstream hits than the big media sites like AOL, CNN, MSNBC, etc....
          • That's right -- today. The MPAA and RIAA are thinking about tomorrow. The day when it's just as common for me to get my audio files online as it is at the record store. Suddenly, the MPAA and RIAA become very irrelevant.


            It used to be neigh well impossible to record your own material and have it sound or look as good as the big boys in California. It was horribly expensive. Now, a guy with several thousand dollars worth of equipment can do it. One day, it will be someone with a few hundred dollars of equipment. One day it will be common to get our files on line, just as we get them on CDs today. I might even argue it's common today, except that a vast majority of people don't even have internet access, and many of the people that do don't have broadband or any current knowlege of mp3s and DivX.


            But one day, they will. Publishing will be cheap, and the RIAA and MPAA will be useless. That's what scares them.

    • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:10PM (#3547288) Homepage

      But surely the real 'threat' of digital media is actually the close-to-zero marginal cost of copying the original.

      With a VCR each copy is a real, physical, medium. With digital everything is, well, virtual.

      Yeah, but if you have an analog copy, you make it into a digital copy, and the game's over. And there's always someone who will be able to get a higher-quality "rip" then you did, somewhere, someplace. That's why this is all such a futile waste of effort on their part.

      Unless the {RI,MP}AA manages to outlaw ALL computers and recording devices and criminalize ALL recording not performed by them, an analog->digital rip will always be possible and the content will be available. The world is digital and we can't turn back the wheels of Progress. (In fact we should Promote it!)

      I'm not convinced that model works for music and movies though.

      The basic model they have now seems to be working just fine.. how much did Spiderman make?? All they need to do is lower their expectations of gross margins to the levels of most every other established industry.


    • Free software is built on a pre-existing cultural norm - ie hacking - that doesn't exist for these other media.



      Maybe it should.

      What is hacking? Eric S Raymond has an interesting definition [tuxedo.org], but I don't think that's what you mean. I think you're talking about the "sharing code" aspect of free and open-source software; this is the sense in which RMS was referred to as "The Last Hacker"

      Slashdot has had other stories of people sharing things other than software -- stories, music, etc (note that I am not speaking of Napsteresque file swapping, but of artists who choose to make their work available). Perhaps I am an optimist, since I know of no scientific evidence of this, but I believe that sharing and helping one another are things that people do naturally. Isn't that what society is about? Isn't society all about individuals and small groups mingling together to improve the quality of life for those people? There are different lines of thought regarding internal structure and philosophy which are beyond this discussion, but I have difficulty imagining anyone other than a hard-core collectivist disagreeing with me.

      I've had arguments with aquaintances about this. They say (I kid you not) that a libertarian philosophy will never work because almost all people are evil and greedy, that the government must step in and do something (it's interesting that they disagree about what exactly the goverment must do - a liberal, by which I mean a specific liberal and not liberals in general, says that we must redistribute the wealth in the US, and a conservative says that we need a strong military to defend the country, but I disgress). That's not the world I live in. The existance of NGOs and non-profit organizations proves that people will rally behind the causes they believe in, be it making free software [fsf.org], helping people [redcross.org], or stopping torture [amnesty.org]. It's not a world in which private colleges and universities thrive on grants and donations well out of proportion to their government-funded counterparts. In the real world, people actually do show compassion; while there are certainly heartless people in the world, there are not as many as those projecting friends of mine would have you believe.

      What's this got to do with the current topic? If people are willing to share physical property, intellectual property should be even less of a leap. It is therefore a shame that the greedy few, the MPAA, the RIAA, the BSA, and their kin, are placed as an example of what is considered normal. Although it has been bought by an RIAA member, plenty of artists still have their music on MP3.com gratis. A precious few even have music which is libre [mp3s.com].

      Sharing is everywhere. You just have to know where to look.
  • In Australia, where I happen to live, download limits on broadband connections are heavily capped. The ISPs usually offer 1GB plans for about 55A$ and 3GB plans for 75A$. Why on earth would I spend almost all of my precious 1GB download limit on a single ripped movie? For the same amount of money, I can go and see four movies at the cinema AND have popcorn as well!
    • I spent about a week downloading the Buffy musical DIVX on my modem. I still watched it on TV when it was on here in Australia. The VHS copy I made while it was on TV is significantly better than the DIVX copy (for now at least, obviously it will degrade over time if it's watched enough). When it arrives on DVD I'll likely add it to my DVD collection which, quite frankly, I've already spent enough money on.

      I love DVDs. I enjoy hearing the Smashing Pumpkins talking about their videos while I'm watching them. I enjoy the countless remixes with each video on my Beastie Boys anthology. I enjoy Robert Rodriguez pointing out all the snafus in Desperado (shadows of a camera on a boom passing through a shot, the same extra dying multiple times etc). I like the features.

      There was a thing on TV here the other day about cinemas in Australia not being able to afford the equiptment to show digital movies, so we get AotC on analogue film rather than the original digital. People go to the Cinema for the large high quality picture and the sound, in short the experience. If cinemas here can't afford the digital technology, what percentage of people are going to have anything approaching it in their own homes?
  • Pirate vids et al (Score:2, Interesting)

    by h0tblack (575548)
    For years people have been watching pirated videos copied from studios or screeners. The quality was often not been great, but neither are a lot of the first digital copies of films to appear. People have been copying radio, tv, vinyl, tapes, cd's etc for years. Copying and sharing is not a new thing, but it's being made out to be by certain organisations. I remember people making a fuss when recordable audio and video cassettes arrived on the scene. Have these killed the industry? No, they've grown larger and created new industries. Methodology may have changed, but what people do has not, well, not a great deal. Maybe new avenues have been opened, but isn't that what the Internet is all about? Opening new doors, broadening horizons, breaking down barriers. Lets not use new technology to create extra barriers to peoples freedom and creativity.
  • At a minimum, within a day or two of any movie being released, bootleg videos based on camcorder recordings of showings are available on certain streets in New York City
    • Why don't they just come out and say Canal Street?
  • >> $250 million seems a relatively small figure to me

    A quarter billion bucks is nothing for this Yale dude. :0) Wow, now I understand what kind of deep-pocketed-parent kids study there.
  • I've downloaded attack of the clones, I haven't watched the downloaded copy but I have seen it twice at the cinema, and I'll probably go again. I'll most likely watch my downloaded copy during the endless gulf between cinema and the time I can rush out and bye a copy on the first available day. My shelf is stacked full of movies and dvd's I've paid for, I've never downloaded a film I haven't previously or subsequently PAID to go and see at the cinema and rarely have I not bought the film on release and yet I am the enemy. Mr Valenti would have you believe I'm an enemy of the movie industry, Wake up! I'm your friend, I love the movie industry, I'm a fan, I pay my way.

    If you thought my subject line was provocative think about it. The MPAA is exactly that, we are dealing with an organisation that is beating the drums of war. They point at a group of people and say "They are your problem, they will take your jobs, they will destroy your livelihood, deal with them and life will bed a bed of roses" . What we have is an organisation that is exploiting the same fears and weaknesses in the people they are exploiting as fascists and warmongers have done since the dawn of time.

    Next time your watching your favourite (and presumably legally purchased if not legally played) dvd turn on the directors commentary and listen. Most of the time I hear people who care about the movies they are making, they care about the art form and they care about the people who are going to watch it. These guys are as much the victims of the MPAA as we are, keep making your movies and we will keep paying for them.

    Some people might consider me foolish for admitting to downloading films and not posting anonymously but in my own way I'm standing up to the MPAA, supina slashdot guys, get my user details. Come to the UK, let 12 of my countrymen see my dvd shelf and then convince them I've lost you money. You'll probably win but I'll get a fine and you'll get a big stack of mud on your face.
  • by captaineo (87164) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:17PM (#3547303)
    This article, which I though was generally excellent, unfortunately stops short of naming the MPAA's true goal - continuing its monopoly on the production of blockbuster movies by ensuring that no high-quality filmmaking equipment falls into the hands of non-studio filmmakers.

    Back in the pre-digital days it was easy for a determined independent artist to throw together some analog video equipment (eg consumer VHS decks, camcorders, and mixers) and make a film. The only thing you couldn't easily do is distribute the result to a wide audience...

    Now, thanks to the internet, anyone who can compress some videos and set up a web server can theoretically distribute films.

    *BUT* look at where the technology is going... There is no cheap digital recording and distribution system that is accessible to independent artists. (yeah, DV is fairly cheap - except for editing decks - but you can't *distribute* on DV). You can buy DVD burners for a few hundred dollars now, but consumer-level burners do not let you "author" a properly-formatted, CSS-scrambled DVD like the megadollar Hollywood systems can. And there is certainly no low-cost high-definition format on the horizon - HDCAM is insanely expensive, and HD DVD will be read-only. Broadcast digital video systems use obfuscated encryption methods and will only be accessible to studio productions.

    It's in Hollywood's best interest to keep recording and distribution technologies out of the hands of independent artists. Using the cry of "piracy!" as a distraction, they are trying to pass laws that will basically make it illegal to use high-quality video equipment outside of the studio system. This way the MPAA companies will maintain their control over what films get made, resulting in fewer choices and higher prices (the inevitable consequences of a successful monopoly).

    Incidentally, in my own production work I've already been hindered by the media industry's efforts. On two occasions I've had to perform a digital->analog->digital dub to record copy-protected music, *the rights for which I had legally paid for*... Also, I've been forced to reverse-engineer a high-definition video transmission format, because no such equipment is available to those without a studio-level budget.
    • that's the stupidest comment I've ever read. In EVERY way it's now FAR easier to shoot and distribute your own productions and with INFINTELY better quality tha was possible 10 years ago. Editing decks? You don't edit with DECKS these days. HDCAM? Apointless format if ever there was one, and a great many commercial producers neither can or want to afford it. You are an absolute fool - if you were that interested in making TV you'd get a job in... TV!
      • ...did you actually READ that?

        His point was that, in fact, it IS easier to shoot and distribute your stuff now than it was ten years ago.

        And that the MPAA and the movie studios are scared shitless that someone out there will make a BETTER MOVIE Than they have in the past, and get all the riches and fame, and THEY WILL NOT. Therefore, part of the issue with destroying the ability of PCs to record to DVDs and do video editing is SPECIFICALLY to take the ability to make movies out of the hands of Just About Anyone and put it back in the hands of the studios.

        SOMe of us don't have major comic book collections, a bunch of credit cards to max out, and a bunch of friends to hit for loans [imdb.com] that we can use to make our first movie [imdb.com]. Meanwhile, on my next trip, I can start working on mine and do the work on my laptop in my hotel room, getting things started. For about $4000, instead of $50,000.

        And even if it sucks, hey, I can use the media over again and start from scratch...
      • "that's the stupidest comment I've ever read"

        You must be new to Slashdot.... hell, you must be new to this planet.

    • You can also apply the same argument to the music industry. Right now, you can record, mix and master a high-quality album on an off-the-shelf computer, and either have it pressed into CDs or distributed online, with total expenses under the credit limit of a platinum Visa.

      What hasn't been mentioned enough is that passage of the CBDTPA would cripple that model. Because any equipment capable of performing an analog recording could be used to pirate music, future audio packages and digital microphones, etc., will need to be RIAA-approved. Will anyone outside a recording studio or a major label be able to invest in recording if that happens?
  • What I don't understand is they don't enforce current copyright laws with individuals who break them. The only reason why everyone doesn't shoplift at their local grocery store is not because it would be difficult but because of the fear of getting arrested by local police. This is a fear that no one has when downloading movies or mp3's. This isn't even a fear for those servering illegal content on their cable modem.

    If the FBI started arresting average users at random and then made a public display of them, piracy would drop 95% over night. The only people who would be left would be the geeks who know how to share data with each other without being able to be traced.

  • loads more. The music and movie industries don't fear the fact that they might be making less money because of the internet as much as they fear that they won't be the ones exploiting it to the fullest.
    They don't want to sell you their content, because that way they only get paid once. They want to lend you the content. So that every time you want to see it, you will have to pay.
    As stated in the article, all those new laws don't really prevent copyright infringement (what is piracy supposed to be anyway), they rather give the content makers control over the replay devices. Control that starts with the ability to block companies and individuals to produce unauthorized replay devices (CSS), continues with the abilty to monitor and analyze viewing habits and will finally lead to a pay per view/listen system for everything you watch/listen to.
    After that copyright law will be changed so that nothing will ever be returned to the public domain.
    This is, of course, only their dream and who can blame them, it's the way they make their living. If you have to whine about all those nasty copyright infringers (oh let's call them pirates and thieves, makes much better headlines), in order to get what you want, so what, you need to survive, you don't know how to do anything else.
    The consumers can only blame themselves if they let those laws be passed and such excessive rights be granted to the creators, but most unfairly to the distributers, of content. Keep in mind that distributer and creator are almost never the same and that the latter usually gets the shorter end of the profit. The distributers are deeply concerned when their content is illegaly copied via the internet, but don't see any reason to compensate the creator when they do the same. The creator (of content that is) on the other hand,could get the idea to distribute the content him or herself and thereby bypassing all the old distributers. That would be the ultimate defeat. So if we control the distribution devices that can't happen. You can't make a "protected" DVD without CSS and if you want CSS you'll have to pay (or insert any other protection/DRM method for CSS).
  • by Kasreyn (233624) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:19PM (#3547311) Homepage
    Which is calling it "piracy" in the first place.

    Please explain to me how making a copy of a computer file can be compared to attacking a ship at sea, boarding it by force, killing the men, stealing the cargo, raping the women, and scuttling it (unless it's a nicer ship than the one you already had).

    Somehow, those two actions just don't equate in my mind. "Piracy" is a term the recording industry has sold everyone on because of how nasty it sounds. Certainly a lot nastier than "copyright infringement", which is the actual crime being committed. Talk about corporate-created reality.

    I was disappointed in LawMeme for not realizing this, but I guess they've swallowed this BS the same as anyone else.

    -Kasreyn
    • He can only call the mpaa idiots so many times without sounding like a rant.
    • The word "piracy" has both meanings and has had both meanings for the past 200 years. It's one thing to be pendantic about the hacker/cracker subtleties, since those are new words, but this one is not and has been used that way for centuries.
      • Probably even 300 years instead of 200 years. Still I think it's wrong to use the word piracy here: the word 'pirates' should call up memories of stories about captains with swords, eye patches, parrots, and hooks and/or wooden legs [mgm.com] roaming the seas and hiding their treasures on islands, not people using computers or tape recorders.

        Just some observations.

        The purpose of copyright historically [atfreeweb.com] was to create and protect monopolies (for the printers). Note also that originally, the licensing laws gave the right to reproduce to the printer [atfreeweb.com], not the creator of the work. Even though the laws currently claim to protect the creators, in practice this monopoly-creating origin is ironically similar to the current practical situation with respect to the recording companies.

        The terms pirate and piracy in the meaning of ship-related robbery definitely has seniority [ferncanyonpress.com]. It has its origins in the greek language, when piracy on the mediterranean was a big plague [ferncanyonpress.com] more than 2000 years ago. Piracy on the seas has to be at least 2400 years old. That's eight times as long as the history of copyright itself, and 24 times as long as since when music can be copyrighted.

        Copyright on music has only a short history to its current powerful state.

        300 years ago, copyright did not exist at all [intellectu...rty.gov.uk]. About 50 years before that, between 1662 and 1710, the king owned what we now call the 'copyright' on all written works. Before 1662, written words were not licensable or protected in any way besides physical property of the paper.

        Only less than 100 years ago, music wasn't copyright protected [arl.org], what remained copyright protected didn't stay protected longer than 28 years.

    • Arr matey.. ye be handin' o'er yer warez, else'm somebody could git hurt. An tell yer MPAA and the black pirate b0neCrunChER sends his reguards!

      Yo ho ho and an ISO of Photoshop 6.
    • By using the term for such a common act (please, how many people haven't copied a tape or VHS at one time or another) it's taken all teh bite out of it. Noone seems to care any more. You call someone a pirate and people don't seem to care.

      In the 1500s a pirate was a fearsome thing, now it's the kid next door.
  • Effect of Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:27PM (#3547325) Journal
    Just to point out, as the article details, a DIGITAL bootleg of Spiderman was out on the Net the day before it hit the theater. The result? The theatrical release STILL was the largest grossing opening day (and weekend) ever. Its second weekend was the largest second weekend for a movie ever. Its third weekend (this weekend) is sitting at $46 million which is, surprise, the largest third weekend ever.

    Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones.

    Ditto. Movie out in digital piracy a week before opening, and it still makes obscene amounts of money ($86 million this weekend and $110+ million so far).

    Wanna check on the sales of Star Wars I: Phantom Menace when released on VHS/DVD? One of the best sellers; ditto for The Matrix -- both of which were floating the web in DivX format before they hit the theaters, much less DVD/VHS.

    The last 4 years (1998-2001) are the best on record for revenue generated and attendence at theaters. DVD/VHS sales are thru the roof.

    In the "perfect" world, where movies are uncopiable and you have to see it at the theater and/or purchase a legitimate copy, the industry would see only a paltry rise in revenue compared to today -- not the $3 Billion touted by Mr. Valenti.

    Most people who get rips would either do without altogether, or wait until the DVD/VHS that THEY WERE GOING TO PURCHASE ANYWAY became available.
    • As with mp3s, divxs just persuade people to buy videos they wouldn't otherwise buy. When the industry is actually going to realise they're gaining sales through this rather than losing them is anybody's guess though!
    • Most people who get rips would either do without altogether, or wait until the DVD/VHS that THEY WERE GOING TO PURCHASE ANYWAY became available.


      Recent events in my life have lead me to believe that what you say is utterly true. I've been out of work for nearly a year now and my nest egg is slowly dwindling. As a result, the two things in my life that dictated how, where, and why I make media purchases (time and money) have flip-flopped -

      Employed - Plenty of money, no time.

      I buy on impulse. When I buy, I buy alot! I purchase CDs, DVDs and books I think might be good. I don't bother looking for bargains. I stick with one or two retailers that ship fast (but don't necessarily have the best prices). I almost never buy used. I hardly use P2P unless I cannot find something I want, or it's in transit and I can't wait for two days to watch/listen.


      Unemployed - Plenty of time, no money.

      I never buy on impulse. I never buy anything unless I've heard it/watched it and know that I like it. I buy from the retailer with the lowest price, even if it takes two weeks to arrive. I buy used whenever I can - more often than not, I wait until new releases are available second-hand before I purchase. I constantly use P2P to preview to see if I want to buy and to enjoy the rest that I can't afford to buy at the moment.


      Granted, my evidence is anecdotal and limited only to myself but it has opened my eyes, nonetheless. Despite the ravings of Jack Valenti et al. "pirating" is no substitute for purchasing. P2P is a pain in the ass - constant disconnections, mislabeled files, incomplete track listings, and the quality blows more often than not. Not to mention that a bootleg of a movie ONLY available in theaters is in NO WAY a substitute for the original (so I have to budget in the new releases I want to see, grrr...). Am I trying to get a free lunch? Fuck no! I'd rather spend the money, if I could.

    • The problem with piracy is not now, but in the future. At the moment, due to bandwidth and hard disk size, most videos have noticable artifacts and have lost details in compression.

      Now imagine the future. Bigger hard disk, more bandwidth. Now imagine high quality video piracy.

      For example: at the moment I'm addicted to a series on UPN. Locally, UPN is unavailable to me, and due to living constrants, a DSS feed is unworkable. So, I go to a certain IRC channel and download the latest eps. They might be poorer quality, and it takes awhile to download, but at least I can watch the show. OTOH, there is no commercials and no trailers.

      Now imagine the world 10 years from now. I'll probably find a different show to be addicted to, and there will be other changes. If I wait for DVD, I'm probably waiting years between when the show airs and when the DVDs are pressed. With the DVD I get trailers that some players won't skip over, and I have the problem of copywrite protection and the whole region-x hassle. OTOH, if I go online, I'll find the show within hours of it airing, it will be without commercials, and in a choice of formats that will play on any computer and probably easily be burned to a DVD.

      So, for a mental exercize, assume that the DVD is $20, and the online stuff cost $25 for, er, bandwidth costs. What would you rather buy? Now, realize that a broadband connection is less then $100 bucks, which means our $25 figure is rather inflated.

      Piracy is a problem, but it is partially because the pirated stuff is a better product. Else, why would I spend hours downloading/burning when I could just walk into Walmart and pick up a copy? I'm not *that* cheap.

      Just my $.02

      • And ya know, the MPAA could solve that problem today by selling unencumbered copies of its videos online for a reasonable price. But they'd rather take the route of calling every viewer a potential criminal.

        There's obviously a demand for "video on demand"--what's there's not a demand for is "pay every time you watch the video you bought," which is what the industry wants to sell.

        So they buy legislation in an attempt to cram it down our throats. Ultimately, we all lose.

      • Movies or television shows? Totally different ballgame. Production costs, quality, effort involved, etc. are miniscule compared to a feature-length movie.

        If you want to talk TV shows...

        The current model is based off of a certain number of episodes per year, shown a week apart. Half the year gets reruns so people can catch up.

        There is the problem -- people no longer need half-a-year to catch up. They can get the episodes they missed by downloading them. If the industry wants to compete, then do it with convenience.

        Make a central location (i.e.- getSouthPark.com) that people can go to and d/l an episode for $5 or so. High-speed servers that make your P2P look like shit. Don't have to hunt, don't have to worry you're getting inferior VHS to DivX after-the-dog-chewed-the-tape copies, don't have to wait. Hell, $5 for ones with the commercials or $7.50 sans ads.

        Lots of people would jump on that. Add a subscription service for a show -- get all the episodes sent directly to your TiVo for $50 a season. Sort of like "League Pass" with the sports.

        The problem is the model is changing and the industry execs don't want to change with it. They are comfortable.
        • $5 is way too much for one episode with ads. If they did this, one person would buy it, then share it on p2p.

          I found something interesting on the tv licence website the other month. (Sorry, lost link- google for it if you like). Apparently if you have a TV licence then you can record programmes and then give the tape to a friend who does not have to have a TV licence.

          It remains to be seen whether this can be used as an excuse for ripping BBC stuff and then sharing it p2p; reminds me of those plates outside people's houses saying: "There are no strangers, only friends we have yet to meet".

          graspee

        • The problem is the model is changing and the industry execs don't want to change with it. They are comfortable.

          That is one of the problems, and it's a big one, but it's not the only one...

          Another problem is that what's currently called "ecommerce" (credit cards are a 1950s-era system, and they were not designed for the internet) takes far too large of a bite out of a $5 payment (which doesn't settle for sure for over a month, even with the big-bite). This bite is especially hard on "little-guys" (assuming they can even GET a merchant account, they'll pay more & be treated worse).

          I sell something that can help little guys get around the getting-paid bottleneck simply, and with a far-smaller bite taken out of the payment. The big guys, whose generals are busily fighting the previous war, don't want to think about it yet, of course...
          JMR

          (My opinions, not any employer's)
        • The current model is based off of a certain number of episodes per year, shown a week apart. Half the year gets reruns so people can catch up.

          It depends where you are in the world. The US model involves showing a series in one slot throughout the year. Contrived so that new episodes come at certain times and you get "rerun hell". In other parts of the world you'd tend to get either shown once then something else shown in the same slot or shown once in it's entirity then repeated in entirity.
          Repeating the programme isn't intended for the benefit of the viewers, it's so that the broadcaster can fill up their schedule at least cost to them.

          Make a central location (i.e.- getSouthPark.com) that people can go to and d/l an episode for $5 or so. High-speed servers that make your P2P look like shit. Don't have to hunt, don't have to worry you're getting inferior VHS to DivX after-the-dog-chewed-the-tape copies, don't have to wait. Hell, $5 for ones with the commercials or $7.50 sans ads.

          Also since it's comming off a server the ads can always be current ads. Also ads can be selected by the geography of the viewer. Which means potentially more advertisers.

          Lots of people would jump on that. Add a subscription service for a show -- get all the episodes sent directly to your TiVo for $50 a season. Sort of like "League Pass" with the sports.

          Thing is that the status quo interests would want this $50 to go to the existing broadcasters. Rather than new distribution companies or even direct to production companies.
    • In the "perfect" world, where movies are uncopiable and you have to see it at the theater and/or purchase a legitimate copy, the industry would see only a paltry rise in revenue compared to today -- not the $3 Billion touted by Mr. Valenti.

      Any rise in revenue would need to be offset by any loss due there no longer being people who chose to buy after seeing the bootleg.
  • None of what the *AA's are trying to do--even outlawing general purpose computers--will really make much of a dent in unauthorized copying as long as the final product has to be displayed on a screen somewhere. Of course, that's nothing they can't fix with a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

    Mike

  • D-Disney (Score:2, Funny)

    by SeanTobin (138474)
    For example, one prominent proponent of this argument is Sen. Fritz Hollings
    (D-Disney), who made this statement when introducing the CBDTPA:
    ROTFLMAO!
  • Heh heh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:41PM (#3547371)
    I think the funniest part of this whole "losses from piracy" thing is that newspapers around the country run a story about piracy whenever a big movie is bootlegged before its release and then go on to mention the "threat" that these bootlegs pose to the box office revenues of the movie... but they never do follow-ups saying, "Oh, I guess not" whenever that massively marketed movie breaks a dozen box office records in a single day.

    Gee, could these big corporate newspapers be writing in the favor of their even bigger corporate owners? ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why does no one ever seem to bring up the Constitution in these matters? The Constitution says:
    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    The progress of science and the useful arts.
    Securing for limited times.
    Authors and inventors.

    The only copyright that is Constitutional is one granted for a limited time to the author or inventor for a limited time for a product that promotes the progress of the useful arts or science. The rest are not Constitutional.

    If it's not a copyright to the Author or Inventor, it's not valid.
    If it's not a copyright granted to promote science and the useful arts then it's not valid.
    If it isn't for a limited time, it's not valid.

    • Ha! This is the same country where growing wheat on your own property for your own consumption is legally classed as "interstate commerce".

      At least the Congress is granted the power to create some form of copyright. If you're worried about the Constitution, there are many more areas where the Federal Government is exceeding its enumerated powers far further.

      And if you aren't worried about those abuses, you're an absolute hypocrite bringing up much lesser ones.
  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @07:55PM (#3547401) Journal
    Even if one were to agree that internet piracy is decreasing the revenue of the RIAA and MPAA, even if Microsoft (yes, they are doing a similar scheme with their new licences) were actually right about the dangers (to microsoft) of OSS, in my opinion it boils down to a simple problem: Resitance to change.

    Why are they resisting the change? Because of revenue. All the above organisation's profits are dropping for various reasons and they are trying to stem the loss with either restrictive laws or restrictive licences. As I posted in another topic, this only changes the response to the laws and licences, but does not stop the actual process itself. Trying to exert control, by American companies, of personal devices and media, in an effort to stop the growing digitalisation of society will only result in even more resistance by consumers and the general move of innovation away from the US and bitter infighting amongst the industry. Trying to outlaw devices such as the general purpose PC, will drive parts of an entire industry, into insolvency (Software and tool developers above all) and will make the US an unpopular place to do business in and shift the impetus of media away from there.

    I'm not sure but I think that whichever way they go, they will have to face restructuring in the long term and this means losses. There are so many examples that one could fill pages with them- The steel industry trying to stop change with protectionism (only resulting in retaliation from overseas traders), The car industry trying to stop unionisation with violence and anti-communist propaganda (didn't win there either), the English monarchy trying to stop the US from gaining independance, AT&T trying to hold onto it's monopoly in the communication business. - In the long run it mostly backfires. Musicians who earn next to nothing from the RIAA can and will use these restricive laws to further their own poularity by speaking out against it. Companies moving to OSS because it's cheaper and less controlled. Developers not making products for sale or use in the US due to the restrictions there.

    I think, in the long run, laws such as these, are immensly damaging to the very organisations trying to enforce them now, because your average person, who doesn't pirate, will get ticked off that he has to pay more for a DVD or CD (or did you think that they were going to implement all these copy restrictions for free?), the same guy will get ticked off that he has no access to independant media, that everything he does on his non-general purpose computing device is watched and controlled by someone. Programmers in the US will be the laughing stock of the world if they can only code within a strictly defined set of parameters that entails very little freedom.

    I'm not a fan of Science Fiction analogies but "Flow my tears the policeman said" by Philip K Dick is good reading for the case that these restrictions become law.(Especially the epilog)
  • by browser_war_pow (100778) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @08:32PM (#3547458) Homepage
    No debate about the DMCA is complete without discussing my Congressman, Bob Goodlatte of the 6th District, VA. He is a fantatical support of the DMCA and has called me a thief and a supporter of theft in public because I stated my opposition to it. He is on his 6th term IIRC and he has currently no true competition worth even mentioning. The Democrats probably ran a guy against him last time in the hopes that they could raise some quick cash because right now he is totally unopposed with no hope in sight. That is bad, it means we have in the house a nearly institutional barrier that dearly loves the DMCA.

    He comes from a generally right wing district (though one that is generally quite secular, the most religious person I've met in my area supports marijuana legalization for example!) and not even the LP will try to steal his seat. He has the luxury of having a district that is not dependent on government subsidies and doesn't have a large techie population therefore he can propose stuff like the DMCA and NETA safely (he is directly responsible for the latter and claims to have been heavily involved in the house version of the former).

    People like Goodlatte are proof that we cannot rely on either party, we need a multiparty system where at least half the parties have clear cut political philosophies like the LP and Green Party. The LP IIRC is staunchly opposed to the DMCA and all legislation like it. It is the third largest party and that is a constant. The Green Party doesn't have even half the number of people in pubic office that the LP does. The LP is admittedly not very large, but it doesn't need a "celebrity" like Nader to get politically active people to remember that it even exists. In the last election, I could vote for the LP for governor, lt. governor and IIRC attorney general. The same could not be said about the Green Party. We need a party that has a shot of winning and we need to support it whenever possible.
  • Ironically enough it's the members of the MPAA who are using science and engineering to advance while the computer industry stagnates and refuses to pay any attention to consumers except for video games. And the video games industry is more a product of Japanese society--Americans are just resellers.

    The motion picture industry in the past decade has accomplished the switch to having special effects be the real stars of movies. This results in a more uniform and dependable product where the consumer is guaranteed to at least have some payoff. The mass media also embraces scientific marketting where demographic segments are separately marketted to based on gender, age, etc. The American computer industry on the other hand has disinvested from consumer technology except for Apple. Resellers such as HP/Compaq and Dell add absolutely nothing of importance to their products. If there are cheaper and more powerful devices it is due only to the entrepreneurial hustle of Taiwanese, Koreans, and Japanese, not Americans. The basic PC experience for users of all categories remains a hellish nightmare of incompatibilities, nonfunctionality, and blatant lies.

    The most elementary advances in the computer industry are made impossible by the industry's stubborn denial of mistakes and a refusal to adopt to technology even decades old. As a small example, the original programmers of C developed the language and Unix on a machine whose capabilities are laughable compared to modern machines. The operating system cut back on features that had been planned for the failed Multics project. In such a restricted environment decisions such as deliberately forgetting the true length of arrays were required just to have an operational system. There is no such excuse today, yet the computer industry persists in trying to sell to consumers knowingly defective products which are compromised by simple buffer overflows. The computer industry thinks its just fine that consumers should have to constantly try and engage in a futile endless quest of "upgrading" to patch security holes that would not exist if a proper computer language had been used to write the base system.

    It is the computer industry that in recent years has suffered a complete collapse in revenue and valuation. It is the American computer industry that thinks marketting to consumers rectangular beige or black boxes with no style or gender customization is just fine while in Japan there is no reticence to market electronic devices directly to females.

    The only reason the American computer industry didn't have a day of reckoning sooner was the incestuous selling between corporations for IT spending, with the last hurrah the bubble caused by Y2K sales. But that opportunity is now gone and the computer industry is openly admitting it has no new ideas. The motion picture industry for the most part spends the money to develop new movies that for a few hours can satisfy the dreams of its customers. The computer industry can't even make a reliable PC. The motion picture industry eventually embraced DVDs and has changed the economics of the industry so that even apparent flops eventually earn more money than was spent to produce them. The PC industry's idea of progress is removing serial ports, parallel ports, and floppy drives because it can't figure out how to otherwise manage the pathetically small number of IRQs. The American PC industry is quickly heading towards Dell being the only reseller to consumers and businesses while Apple fills a niche upper-class market. Meanwhile the motion picture industry keeps on churning out monster hits such as Spider Man and continuations of franchises such as Star Wars and The Matrix, not to mention potential new franchises in Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. So who are the dinosaurs and who are dying? It's not the motion picture industry.
    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @10:49PM (#3547954)
      I believe I speek for everyone when I say: shut up and get off your damn soapbox. The computer industry has increased computing power by a factor of two almost every year. Windows XP, Mac OS X, Linux, and other modern operating systems have made system crashes extremely rare. IRQs are no longer a problem thanks to things like USB and IEEE 1394. There are plenty of computer resellers: Dell, HP (Pavilions are #1 in retail), Gateway, eMachines, and many other smaller companies manufacture and sell computers. PCs are more compatible than ever. I have different products from different companies with an OS that was developed 2 years after the computer was made and a printer that is six years old and and two hard drives from different manufacturers at different rotational speeds with software from at least twenty different companies as well as software which I have developed as well as an internet connection that runs over a cable line that lets my computer talk to computers running different hardware, different operating systems, and different software. And guess what? Everything works just fine.

      So what does all of this have to do with the price of eggs?

      The computer industry has produced faster, better machines at lower prices every year. Software has become easier to use and more reliable every year. A single network with most of the computers on the planet has emerged. Through open standards, computers of all types can communicate with each other. Hardware and software works on whatever type of system you have. Retailers and manufacturers, large and small, have been putting together standardized, low-cost components to make computers.

      On the other hand, the motion picture industry has been giving us mostly rehashes of tired old stories (with a few exceptions), usually filmed and distribued to theathers on 50+ year old technology.

      So who's the dinosaur?
  • Yes, analog Pirated copies degrade over time... but this is a NON issue to the pirate. by the time their origional copy degrades to the point where a good Pirated version of a film is no longer marketable (or even in some cases as good as the video tape released) noone wants to buy it anyways.

    Film pirating hurts the studios as much as Piracy hurts the software industry... The little guy with grand ideas that he/she will become a billionare will get the slap of reality from the piraters and the big rich guy will not notice that the piracy happens except for the pretty impressive numbers magically pulled out of an analyst's ass. Look at the Recipts of Spiderman already.. it has surpassed EVERYTHING else at the box office.. What the hell did they expect that piracy stole from them?? another trillion movie goers? BAH, nothing but FUD again from a journalist that is trying to not look like a industry puppet. If attack of the clones fails it's because it SUCKS... I personally felt it was nothing more than TITANIC revisited with a star-wars theme... I dont care about the teen-aged angst and the repeated attempts of our hero to get in the protaganists pants... I saw it to see things get blown up, people chopped in half and hopefully to see jar-jar die...It will not fail because it was pirated, digitized and then shared on Kazaa at a horrible bitrate and over-compressed audio track.

    Please, someone take these reporters out of their offices and show them what 90% of the pirated stuff is, and then they'll write a column that "worries about pirating are unfounded unless you like to see films of the backs of people heads, crappy-out of focus, pixelated.."
  • The article refutes the points of DRM legislation supporters on the grounds of technology and consumer rights pretty well. However, if the technology community wants to fight DRM legislation effectively, it needs to come up with better political arguments against DRM. These come to mind for me:

    DRM hardware/software amounts to a tax on non-media industry businesses

    Nations which already turn a blind-eye to copyright infringement will likely omit DRM measures in hardware for regional markets. This wll put foreign countries at an IT procurement advantage

    The trend of closed hardware makes the media industry less competitive by raising barriers for small independent artists. (alright this one is a stretch, but its large media conglomerates who cater to the lowest common denominator.)

  • I watch the Simpsons every single week. Every time it's on, I do indeed try to watch it. I own the first season DVDs (only one out, as far as I know), hell I even have some of their merchandise. I take almost every oportunity I get to give the makers money (through advertising, etc.)

    I also have about 60 odd episodes on my hard drive. I like to be able to watch them more often than I'm given opportunity. Presumably, these AVIs and RAMs and ASFs that I've downloaded off iMesh and gotten burned on CDs from my friends are illegal, pirated episodes... But if I'm giving them money every opportunity I get, how can I possibly be said to be STEALING from them for watching The Simpsons every day, instead of the lame every week (if I'm lucky) that it's on in the season? Off-season, it might not even be on at all! Same holds true for the (not all that many) shows that I actually enjoy on the babble box.

    Cheers, Joshua

  • They Don't Care (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bullocha (75537) on Sunday May 19, 2002 @11:39PM (#3548121)
    The whole $$$ lost due to piracy is just a fabrication... Here is my crazy theory:

    The record companies don't care about me, you and john down the street downloading songs off of Napster/AudioGalaxy/Kazza/Whatever. The songs we download and don't pay for only make up the smallest percentage of the companies revenues. Even then, most of us (well I know I do) still go out and buy the damn CD. I believe what the record companies are really scared of is losing THE ARTISTS.

    Here in Australia, if an artist is signed to a record company, and they produce a top album, for all their hard work they receive less than $2 per copy sold. Each CD retails for $30+ each. Of this $30, the record company, the distributor, the retailer and even worse, the government take their share. This leaves the artists with very little. In this brave new world, the artists will not need any of these people. They will be able to go into a studio, hand over their $$, record an album and distribute it online, all without the need of some giant company threatening them with contracts, intelectual property etc. Even if they sold online copies for $5 each, and every second person gave it to a mate for free, they still make more money than they did under the record company reign of terror.

    The record companies have realised this, but they can't go to the press and tell the public 'Stop Napster, cause it will send us broke, and you will be able to buy albums for $5 each'. The public wouldn't care less for their plight. So, they make up these figures on how much it is costing them, and how piracy is the reason you pay so much for music.

    This, I see the same with the large movie distributors like Fox. They aren't concerned with us pirating Star Wars or Spiderman.. We will all still want to go see it in the cinema with the sound, the screen and the atmosphere. They just use this excuse to cover the fact that soon, people will be able to make and distribute movies without them.

    What can I say? I love a good theory.

    A/./
  • The fallacy is that analog piracy is not nearly as threatening as digital piracy because analog copies degrade with every generation while digital copies remain pristine no matter how many copies are made.

    Have you ever downloaded anything? There is a slight chance that your copy won't work or something has gotten screwed. Considering most pirates may have Cable, DSL or higher, better access - they are likely getting non-corrupted files.

    But! If these digital copies are always so great then how come there is sfv [crc] checking, par files and the rest?

    Digital copies aren't exactly 100% point-click-error free-copying. In both cases better equipment makes for better copies.
  • I submitted this there as well, just so you all know. I was interested in the responses I might get from either forum.

    First, this is a very good article! I have often thought about this, but never really was able to put it quite as well the author did.

    Second, I would like to add a piracy method to your collection. Pre-release DVD
    screening copies are distributed in advance of an actual DVD release. These
    copies get duplicated, or ripped by someone in the chain then are sold for as
    little as a dollar overseas. The interesting thing is that these screening
    copies are clearly marked as such with additional contact information for those
    viewing them. "If you have rented or purchased this DVD, please call
    1-800-MPAA-NO-COPIES"

    Clearly the quality of the copy has little to do with the incentive for piracy.
    Having viewed one of these, I was surprised that anyone could get anything for
    them at all. The questionable legality of these things is right there in the
    viewing experience!

    Finally, my point. I agree with the basic premise of your article in that the
    RIAA / MPAA proposals will do little to solve the problem. The answer, as I
    see it, has little to do with piracy however.

    I believe the primary motivation behind the increasingly draconian copyright
    legislation is about control and profit. Media conglomerates in general see
    digital technologies as a powerful enabling technologies for "Pay Per View"
    (PPV) delivery. PPV technologies provide long tern annuity profits from every
    item in the catalog. PPV combined with copyright extension and litigation are
    not aimed at protecting anything but profit. If we are forced to get our
    content from the source each time, that source is guarenteed profit for as long
    as their media content is of any relevance to society.

    One more point to consider: Hollywood is not producing new content at the same
    rate it is being consumed. WIth analog media, this is a concern, but not a
    problem. They get annuity profits from the replacement and resale of older
    media. The primary selling point of digital media is long life and high
    fidelity. These present a problem today in that the average purchase may
    likely be good for the lifetime of the buyer. Our rate of media consumption
    is greater than their rate of production. In the near future, if we are
    allowed to own personal digital copies, we will only be purchasing new content.

    The rights we currently enjoy and the long media life will combine, through
    media resale and trading, to sharply reduce the high annuity revenue the media
    industry currently enjoys.

    It is this future loss of revenue that lies behind the current barrage on our
    rights today.

    Their answer will be new formats, and delivery methods designed to lead people
    away from the durable open media we use today. The switch from analog (vinyl
    and VHS) to digital (CD and DVD) made a lot of sense for both sides. Future
    format changes have few advantages for us, and many for them.

    "Of course I could be wrong..." --Dennis Miller

  • Enough lawyering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by serutan (259622) <.snoopdoug. .at. .geekazon.com.> on Monday May 20, 2002 @04:07AM (#3548779) Homepage
    This article, while furnishing some interesting info about the numbers, was a sickeningly typical lawyer nitpick. Instead of attacking verbiage with better verbiage, I wish these legal geniuses would address the real issue, which is whether or not copyright enforcement benefits the general public to an extent that justifies taking away other things.

    America has always been big on law enforcement, but there have traditionally been limits, like search and seizure laws and rules of evidence. The rights-ownership industry (we're not talking about creative artists here) appears to think that protecting IP should become the central goal of law in America. Privacy doesn't matter -- it could be used to hide infringement. Innovation doesn't matter -- it could be used to defeat protection. Opensource doesn't matter -- it's an evil socialist plot anyway. Everybody's behavior must be restricted so as to guarantee that people like Jamie "skipping commercials is theft" Kellner get a nickel every time anybody reads, views or hears anything other than their own bodily functions.

    We ought to do follow the advice put forth in some recent article posted here (can't remember the freakin one) that advocated focusing political contributions to defeat legislators who act as toadies to the entertainment industry. Every time a new tendril appears, cut it off. Blacklist the entertainment industry and see how they like it. Does anybody know who Hollings' opponent is going to be in the next election? Send him or her money. Send letters to every other senator notifying them that you are doing this and why you are doing it.

    American politics tends to be a series of one-issue campaigns. Our lawmakers understand that principle very well. Make the defeat of the copyright industry your one issue and let them know it.
  • But let me tell you, you're really not supposed to use the word "hole" right next to something that spells "a-n-a-l-..."...

    What are you trying to do, take /. to new levels?

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