Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media Businesses The Internet

Why Make a Sequel of the Napster Wars? 280

Posted by Zonk
from the did-well-in-test-groups dept.
6 writes "Cory Doctorow has an interesting article over at Information Week about Hollywood's strategy of suing sites such as YouTube. Says Doctorow: 'It's been eight years since Sean Fanning created Napster in his college dorm room. Eight years later, there isn't a single authorized music service that can compete with the original Napster. Record sales are down every year, and digital music sales aren't filling in the crater. The record industry has contracted to four companies, and it may soon be three if EMI can get regulatory permission to put itself on the block. The sue-'em-all-and-let-God-sort-'em-out plan was a flop in the box office, a flop in home video, and a flop overseas. So why is Hollywood shooting a remake?'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Make a Sequel of the Napster Wars?

Comments Filter:
  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:25PM (#20191383)
    So why is Hollywood shooting a remake?

    Unlike the Napster case, Youtube has revenue sources (and Google can invest the additional funds needed to keep it afloat).

    The studios, quite rightfully see a source of revenue there. It's not just a bunch of cheap bastards sharing amongst themselves. It's a multibillion dollar company making money off of THEIR content.

    Should copyright just be abolished because we want free access to tv shows and movie clips?
    • by DoraLives (622001)
      > Should copyright just be abolished because we want free access to tv shows and movie clips?

      Looks to me as if the de facto cat might already be out of the bag on that one.
    • Re:Well (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jc42 (318812) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:40PM (#20191497) Homepage Journal
      Should copyright just be abolished because we want free access to tv shows and movie clips?

      Nah; the copyright system should be abolished because it leads to our current mess in which a few giant companies use it to deprive the artists of their rightful income. We should toss such copyright laws, and devise a revised scheme that guarantees that the artists get most of the money.

      Or we can continue along the path of zillions of skirmishes that hurt everyone, until it settles down to a new system. And hope that that new system can't find a new way to steal most of the artists' income and give it to a few fat cats who have a stranglehold on the distribution channels.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)
        the copyright system should be abolished because it leads to our current mess in which a few giant companies use it to deprive the artists of their rightful income.

        Yes... because that is the fault of copyright law, and not the artists, who sign over the rights to their works for a pittance.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hal_Porter (817932)
          Yes... because that is the fault of copyright law, and not the artists, who sign over the rights to their works for a pittance

          If there was no copyright of course, they wouldn't get a penny. The media companies would just mass produce CDs with their music, sell them to the public and keep all the money for themselves.

          Kind of like Youtube/Napster does/did in fact.
      • by Skim123 (3322)

        We should toss such copyright laws, and devise a revised scheme that guarantees that the artists get most of the money.

        But who, exactly, is the "artist" in a movie? I saw the Simpson's film this week - a short animated movie - and the credits easily exceeded 100 people. Even in music, while the artist may be the one who created the work, s/he certainly did not work alone to get their songs recorded, produced, distributed, and marketed.

      • by tchdab1 (164848)
        >>Nah; the copyright system should be abolished because it leads to our current mess in which a few giant companies use it to deprive the artists of their rightful income.

        But who's going to pay to pass legislation that abolishes the laws that over-protect the copyrights of the guys making money off them?
        Not the artists - they're out-gunned by several orders of magnitude; us too.

        Conversely, I can see who is going to pay to pass legislation to further strengthen those laws.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515)

      Should copyright just be abolished because we want free access to tv shows and movie clips?
      on tv shows and movie clips, sure.

      If the majority of people don't respect a law (and they don't) then that law is unjust.

    • "Eight years later, there isn't a single authorized music service that can compete with the original Napster. "

      Since you brought up revenue sources, every most every current online music service seriously out performs Napster on the "bringing in revenue to the record company" front.
    • I don't see that "Hollywood attack". The article author failure to provide massive attack examples.

      No one will see that kind of attack because there isn't a single point of failure. They can't totally destroy that kind of distribution but only sue some players for refund.

      I can even say Holywood heads probably have no idea about many ways to defeat P2P or are doing a poor job because I often see significant points of failure in that scheme.

      Holywood don't wan't to end the movie theater experience, that's the
    • by cgenman (325138)
      Should copyright just be abolished because we want free access to tv shows and movie clips?

      I think the point of the article was that Hollywood could embrace YouTube, providing it with advertiser-supported content. They stand to reap similar rewards to the kinds that they saw upon deciding to sell movies on Video Cassette, instead of fighting it as a piracy monster.

  • Curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by David Hume (200499) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:29PM (#20191407) Homepage
    Assume that the major movie studios produced high-quality full-length first run downloadable movies with no DRM whatsoever at a reasonable prices. (You define what is reasonable.) Any DRM-less format you prefer.

    How many of you would "share" then with your friends? (By "share" I don't mean watch the movies with friends. I mean make copies of the movies for friends.) If so, how many friends?

    Would you see anything wrong with posting your copy to an FTP site or the equivalent?

    Would you see anything wrong sending copies to your closest 100 friends?

    Just curious.

    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:02PM (#20191643)

      Not MANY people would upload their copy to TPB, but it only takes ONE.

      Something movie distributors have in their favor is their exhibition system. Showing movies on a big, bright screen in a large room with a great sound system is significant added value. If you want to defeat movies as they are, you must defeat the movie theater, and if you want to do that, you have to:

      1. Make home systems provide an equivalent technical experience on a common basis, in other words not a niche trade for cinephiles and AV hobbyists.
      2. Figure out a better low-impact date for two people on a friday night than dinner and a night at the movies. A courtship date of watching movies at home just isn't the same. This is just a small example of a bigger point: going to the movies is a "lifestyle" thing, it provides an experience on top of the content. Selling a first-run movie over the internet would never compare, it'd be like buying a night at the club over the internet .
      3. Change the directors and producers. I have many director friends, all young and trying to break in, but none of them are even remotely interested in making a film and putting on YouTube to tell their stories. Recording artists, musicians, etc. famously have always hated their labels, complaining about the quite abusive deal they get. Directors, Producers, actors and everyone involved in movies LOVES theaters, in marked contrast to how musicians feel about labels.

      Just an opinion, but most people actively engaged in making commercial movies in Hollywood love the internet for promotion and secondary distro, but no business people, and crucially no artists, are talking about chucking the whole movie theater idea. Working in the status quo's favor as well, is the strong separation between commercial cinema, the clearly expensive star-studded vehicles that can be good or bad, but will generally be at least entertaining, and independent cinema, which can be more profound but often isn't, and is generally actively hostile to the idea of "entertaining" people (they regard mass entertainment in the way FOSS people regard configuration wizards).

      • Change the directors and producers. I have many director friends, all young and trying to break in, but none of them are even remotely interested in making a film and putting on YouTube to tell their stories.

        That's interesting because I know a bunch that are putting stuff up on youtube and elsewhere, and they seem to be getting the attention that they want from the studios and the cable networks. A few have been able to make a living as creators (and not just getting paid to work on another's project), while others have not yet crossed that line, i.e., they have to keep their day gig.

        What is really telling is that even the ones that are successful or are becoming successful are still making their goofy little

        • Well, remember Ryan Wieber and the Ryan vs. Dorkman short? That little effort got him a job at Lucasarts (although last I heard he was working for another effects house doing compositing for Heroes.)
        • by iluvcapra (782887)
          I do appreciate the forum something like youtube provides, but it isn't a commercially viable medium; it offers no challenge to film distribution, by the way the mp3 did to music distribution, which is all I'm really trying to address. You're right, basically, but we won't be reading about how movie studios are going bankrupt in 5 years because broadband penetration became sufficient to move high-def movies fast. The film industry is structured differently from the music biz, and the experience of watching
          • I wasn't arguing with you! Wanna fight about it? =)

            I found it interesting that the directors you knew where not interested in web video or youtube in particular, that's all. I looked over your credits and you've worked some pretty big shows as well as smaller ones. I don't know how much this skews it. I do know a few fairly big names, but they're older dudes, too, so their lack of interest in web video for anything other than promotion of their latest might go with age. They don't feel they have to make lit
            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              My friends from USC will do some stuff and put it on YouTube, but they don't count it -- they want to make money making movies, and who the hell remembers who directed "Lazy Sunday"? ;)

          • Oh, but to respond to your actual point . . . . =)

            It's a two fold thing. On one hand, yes, the internet + digital video does change the game radically. On the other hand, not quite so radically that it's going to destroy the movie business. So . . . . I think we're in basic agreement? Beyond that, I think that the movie business is being enriched by DV in a way that the music business is not being enriched by digital music. I think you might have already said that.

            Anyway, I'm tired and rambling, so I'll lea
      • by theJML (911853)
        Well, I hate to say it, but #1 is pretty much done already. Go to Best Buy or Circuit City or any other electronics shop, they'll sell you a pretty decent setup that you can turn up louder than the theater will and depending on how much you want to spend, will probably be better than the theater. You can even have someone install it for you if you're not-so technically inclined. My system didn't cost much, and compared to the usual range of regal, amc, and showcase cinemas around here, it's a large step abo
        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          but #1 is pretty much done already

          As long as people are paying $80 for a 4 ft. Monster RCA cable, I'm dubious on this point. It just ain't the same. 50% of the acoustics is having a big room, thousands of square feet, and 50% of the visual experience is having 120 degrees of your field-of-view filled at meters distance. BTW, if you think you're getting theater resolution from HDDVD or Blu-Ray, you aren't -- that's still another generation up.

          #2, well, the dinner and a movie date was never the best one

      • This is the post that is the closest to offering hope in my view.

        Movie Theaters ARE added value. And tastes ARE jaded. Yes, "some indie films have succeeded", because they are carefully written not to require cinema pyrotechnics. However, many low-budget imitations of big-budget movies that cheat on the special effects get *slammed* horribly as "cheese-planet".

        I certainly don't have any clear answers, but I'd like to see some kind of system that deliberately plays on the poor-student eventually feeling cram
        • by iluvcapra (782887)
          two little things:

          movie theaters depend on concessions for their overhead. Every last penny of the box office generally goes to the distributor (this is on account of the actors and director having first-dollar gross deals). This is why the markup is a little ridiculous.

          Transformers was expensive, but still cheaper than Spidey 3 and Superman Returns, two flops. I would not defend Hollywood's profligacy per se (i think it was a big pissing contest to see who could have the biggest budget). But entertaining

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arkhan_jg (618674)
        The movie business has done an excellent business of killing the cinema experience. The studios take such a big cut of the ticket sales (90% for the first week I believe is usual) that cinemas struggle to make money even with every seat filled with big blockbusters. They make their money largely from the concessions stand, which is why it's so damn expensive and they try to stop you bringing your own in.
        Then add in the random patrols of staff with night-vision gear looking for cameras, the sticky mess on th
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by langelgjm (860756)

      Sure, anyone who says they wouldn't share is probably lying, but that's not the point. The digital world has already turned certain aspects of our economy upside-down, and it has the potential to make even more changes. Its fundamental nature is to eliminate scarcity, and since so much of our current economy is based on scarcity, current business models don't function well in the digital world.

      DRM is an attempt to introduce scarcity into an arena where none exists. It goes against the fundamental nature of

    • by QuantumG (50515)

      Assume that the major movie studios produced high-quality full-length first run downloadable movies with no DRM whatsoever at a reasonable prices. (You define what is reasonable.) Any DRM-less format you prefer.

      CSS = DRM-less already because it is so readily crackable. But ok, whatever.

      How many of you would "share" then with your friends? (By "share" I don't mean watch the movies with friends. I mean make copies of the movies for friends.) If so, how many friends?

      Everyone who wants a copy and can convince me to put in the effort to make it for them (cause I aint lending it to ya, you bastards never bring it back).

      Would you see anything wrong with posting your copy to an FTP site or the equivalent?

      No, but it would be an annoying upload time, and I doubt I'd get any benefit from it.

      Would you see anything wrong sending copies to your closest 100 friends?

      I think, on average, every one of my DVDs has been copied about 3 times. TV episodes I've downloaded I've copied for friends a hell of a lot more because they don't know how to use P2P program

      • Re:Curious (Score:4, Interesting)

        by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:16PM (#20191749)

        It's a total sellout for the government to give away my freedom to them. If this was to mean that these movies weren't made, then boo fuckin' hoo. I'd rather there be less Hollywood movies and more freedom to copy than the situation we have today.

        Do you oppose copyright as a general principle? Without copyright, there could be no GPL.

        Bill Gates: It's a total sellout for the government to give away my freedom to copy the Linux kernel to Linus Torvalds. If this means nobody writes free software anymore, than boo fuckin' hoo. I'd rather there'd be less free software and more freedom for me to sell it to people, preferably with a cute little animated assistant to help configuration.

        • by kebes (861706)

          Do you oppose copyright as a general principle? Without copyright, there could be no GPL.

          In the "copyright debate," the "without copyright you can't have GPL" argument is indeed an interesting one.

          Actually I think that FOSS would do just fine if copyright disappeared tomorrow. Sure, some companies would create closed-sourced forks, but the community has enough momentum that it would do just fine. That having been said, I actually quite like the principle of the GPL and Creative Commons licenses, when it

          • by iluvcapra (782887)

            The "source material" definition gets more and more complicated with the medium, and it seems like it would be too elastic. Isn't merely the script the "source" of the movie, and the photography just compilation? Or is it principle photography, but it could take someone a month to rebuild the original cut of a film from the footage (it's a lot like reverse-engineering). But then you can't add a scene, so maybe you need access to the actors!

            Entrenched interests would prevent such a law from ever being cr

            • by kebes (861706)

              The "source material" definition gets more and more complicated with the medium, and it seems like it would be too elastic.

              I agree it would get tricky in practice. Then again current copyright law has plenty of ambiguity and gray area. It would have to be carefully worded. (Then again, that's true of all laws.) I'm not going to go through the exercise of trying to refine this idealistic law, since it's not realistically ever going to be adopted.

              Among those entrenched interests are the writers of the Consti

        • Re:Curious (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bill Currie (487) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:33PM (#20191869) Homepage
          Without copyright, there would be no need for the GPL.
          • by iluvcapra (782887)
            How do you mean? If I put out some code under the GPL license, I basically force anyone that would try to add to it to make their changes public; this is why I use it. How would abolishing copyright give me the same result? Sure, THEIR additions wouldn't be under copyright, but what difference does that make if they only hand out a compiled binary?
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          Yes. I do oppose copyright in principle. And, as a separate issue, I oppose Linus' use of the GPL, as he doesn't believe in the principles behind it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          What?

          Without copyright, the GPL wouldn't be necessary.
    • Yes, the vast majority of people would give copies to a few friends... and enough people would give out copies to the world-at-large (and there are enough people who would download said copies) that these DRM-free files would spread far and wide.

      Now, some would argue that this shows that people are mean or short-sighted, or somesuch. Perhaps. Another explanation is that the status-quo assumptions about ownership, distribution, and monetization of creative works are entirely out-of-sync with reality (wher
      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        So how would this play out in an actual free market? You'd probably have commissioned works. You'd have companies setting up "donation-based content release" (e.g. "Did you like Spiderman 2? Well once we receive $X in donations, we'll release Spiderman 3 for the world to enjoy! Donate today!").

        I have friends that have tried this, and a big issue is marketing your donation scheme in such a way that you can find enough interested people to put up the money. If you were subjected to the Spiderman 3 ad campa

        • by kebes (861706)
          You raise many good questions. I don't have all the answers... but I'll provide a couple ideas:

          How do you raise the money to publicize the donation scheme?

          One possibility is investors. The investors put money and expect a return. So the final "release price" is set to include the cost of advertising and investor returns. (Which, of course, is already the case for movies.)

          As well, it's almost impossible to get people to separate with their money without showing them a script, which would kinda ruin a lot of

          • by iluvcapra (782887)

            For music it's easy to imagine releasing a few tracks and saying "like this stuff? Donate so we can finish the album!" For movies they would probably use advertising, trailers, etc. All the usual stuff. Would people end up unwittingly funding crap movies? Of course. (We do nowadays, too...) Chains of trust would develop. In fact if a particular movie reviewer consistently promoted movies (after watching a special private screening) that turned out to be awful, people would turn to better reviewers. (And if

    • Why would anybody want to pay for low quality stuff? I still don't see why anybody would pay money for mp3s. How about just making CDs and DVDs reasonably priced. If they want to make things available for download, make it free, or just enough to cover bandwidth costs. They might find people buying the real thing more then, with the downloadable material being advertisement. Just a thought. I'd rather pay $5 for a cd than spend all day hoping to find it in flac or iso on a torrent.
    • by Rix (54095)
      Assume the major book publishers produced high quality full length readable books with no DRM whatsoever at a reasonable prices. (You define what is reasonable.) Any DRM-less format you prefer.

      How many of you would "share" then with your friends? (By "share" I don't mean read the books to friends. I mean lend copies of the books to friends.) If so, how many friends?

      Would you see anything wrong with posting your copy to a library or the equivalent?

      Would you see anything wrong letting your closest 100 friends
  • Collapse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:29PM (#20191409)

    Shutting down Napster was a huge blunder for the record companies, leading to the collapse of the entire industry.
    Not to defend the record companies, which are relics destined for obsolescence, but I suspect that not shutting down Napster would have led to the industry's collapse as well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bpeter3 (1141085)
      If you read the rest of it, the author says that shutting them down outright was a mistake. He says they should have sat down with Napster and worked out a revenue sharing/licsening deal. That way the record labels would have had a well established, well run, well liked outlet for their music. They probably would have lost some customers from Napsters peak if it went to a pay service, but it wouldn't have been completely unprofitable. Instead, the shut down Napster and all the people using it went elsew
    • but I suspect that not shutting down Napster would have led to the industry's collapse as well.
      which means that Napster had nothing to do with it either way - the industry collapsed because it refused to change with the times, not because of any impact Napster had. Napster showed the way for a different business model that might save them -- they chose to sue the messenger and ignore the message.
  • by Mononoke (88668) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:31PM (#20191433) Homepage Journal
    Eight years later, there isn't a single authorized music service that can compete with the original Napster.
    Wow, you're right! Not a single legitimate online music retailer can compete with a company that paid $0 for the products it distributed. That's amazing!

    You should teach an economics course or something!

    • by cronius (813431) on Saturday August 11, 2007 @07:27AM (#20194541)
      I know you're kidding, but just a quick comment on that: Bottled water. Don't know how the water quality in the states are, but in Norway we have very high quality on the water that comes out of the tap. Personally I can't tell the difference between tap-water and bottled water if they're the same temperature. When Norwegian companies started selling bottled water, they we're laughed at. "There's no way you can compete with something that's free, that's just ridiculous." Today it's a strong business.

      As for the movie/music industry: Service. Download all you want from itunes without DRM for $10 a month? Hell yes. There's no way TPB could compete with THAT, because the service you receive is so much better it would be well worth the price. A service is something people are willing to pay for, even though that same service could be received for free (by e.g. washing your own car etc).
  • by samuel4242 (630369) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:33PM (#20191447)
    Now Napster was great for you, me, and all of other hepcats, but it kind of sucked for the artists and the recording companies. And yes, I know that the recording companies rip off the artists. But if Napster rips off the recording companies, then the artists are guaranteed to get nothing.

    I personally like iTunes and the iTunes store. I don't mind the DRM and I re-rip the few songs I need to move. It's a pain, yes, but I think the price is fair. So I think iTunes is infinitely times better than napster because at least some money is headed in the right direction. Even if only 5% makes it through to the artists, thats an infinitely greater amount than Napster ever paid them.

    Sheesh. I owe so much to the artists who've written songs that have gotten me through some tough times. 99 cents is nothing compared to the gifts they've given.
    • by kebes (861706) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:17PM (#20191751) Journal

      Now Napster was great for you, me, and all of other hepcats, but it kind of sucked for the artists and the recording companies.
      But Cory's point was that Napster could have been transitioned into a wildly successful business, bringing cash to the recording companies. According to him:

      Napster's plan was plausible. They had the fastest-adopted technology in the history of the world, garnering 52,000,000 users in 18 months -- more than had voted for either candidate in the preceding U.S. presidential election! -- and discovering, via surveys, that a sizable portion would happily pay between $10 and $15 a month for the service. What's more, Napster's architecture included a gatekeeper that could be used to lock out nonpaying users.
      So if Napster had kept its tens-of-millions of users, and 50% of them were truly willing to pay $10/month, then that's billions of dollars a year that could have been pulled in. If that's not enough to support record companies and artists, then there is something seriously messed up with their businesses. The point is that users were willing to pay for the convenience of Napster: easy access to a massive catalog. The subscription model was also appealing to alot of people: you don't have to worry about how much you're downloading. There's a limit to how much music a person can listen to... so alot of people will actually end up spending more money on an $10/month subscription that they do on buying CDs. They will do so happily if the service suits their needs.

      Cory believes there was a huge missed opportunity for the industry to re-invent itself, and make money in a new age.

      The success of iTunes drives this point home: everyone knows you can get free copies of music from various websites. However people are willing to pay iTune prices for the convenience. The labels are still caught up in an old business model ("each copy a person listens to must be a trackable sale we have made") rather than accepting a new business model ("charge people a monthly fee for access to an exhaustive catalog").
    • by Hao Wu (652581)

      But if Napster rips off the recording companies, then the artists are guaranteed to get nothing.
      Only at first. Once the recording companies die, artists would be forced into more direct sales of their music (minus the greedy, exploitive middlemen), and they could take home even more money.

  • it's generational (Score:5, Interesting)

    it's very much about a bunch of old guys who ask their secretaries and assistants to send an email. they simply don't get it, where "it" is any technological innovation after the year 1990

    these old mogul type guys are from an era when you DID solve the problems of piracy by suing someone. because in the good ol' days, piracy was done by some mafia dude with a cd press or vinyl press or a bunch of cassette decks in a warehouse or closet room somewhere, and there were about 6 pirates out there who were making any economic impact on their bottom line: a small group of slow easy targets, and it was easy to get the fbi to help you

    now of course, anyone who can download a program and drag a file in to a folder is a "pirate". which is basically every single young, music hungry, technologically savvy, and, most importantly, POOR student... in the entire world

    but the old guys just don't get that

    the solution?

    wait. the old geezers will just die off. the guys who succeed them in the boardroom will know what's up and what's down about the realities of the internet

    give it a decade or so. these RIAA and MPAA lawsuits are obviously incredibly retarded. but your complaints about the obvious realities of today fall on deaf old ears
    • It's not that these companies are run by people who don't get it. They are run by people who get it exactly. The problem is that those company make lots of money fr things that aren't needed in the marketplace anymore. There used to be lots of costs involved in distributing music and movies (creating the media, marketing, distribution, etc). Most of these costs have gone away or are going away. There is little reason for either the consumer or the artist to give this money to these companies anymore. These
  • Why a Sequel? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:38PM (#20191483)
    One of the reasons (and I'm sure not the only one), is that there is no more Hollywood any more. Instead, there are huge corporate entities that also happen to own entertainment companies, like GE owning CBS, or Time/Warner/AOL.

    Policy about intellectual property is the responsibility of corporate lawyers, and they have a very primitive world view. They assume that all ownership is like physical ownership. If you own a theater, someone pays you to sit in the seat. If you sell songs, you sell the physical media. They don't understand that this model is no longer valid, and they don't have the flexibility to change.

    This is why Apple has succeeded with iTunes. Apple understands the new online world, and they have figured out how to make money. It's not surprising that a tech company would be able to succeed, and old line traditional companies would fail.

    Another side of the lawyer mentality is that you can only win by suing people. For some people in the law, not suing is like not breathing. (Insert shark joke here.) They see that their business model is going down the tubes. (Insert 'series of tubes' joke here.) Their first and only reaction is to sue. Why are you surprised by this? They are doing what they were trained to do, and what they are very well paid to do.

  • by proverbialcow (177020) on Friday August 10, 2007 @08:39PM (#20191491) Journal
    Because, as this summer has proven amply, the movie industry has temporarily run out of ideas and is only capable of producing sequels. Spider-man 3, Shrek 3, Pirates 3, Die Hard 4, Napster 2...
    • by rahvin112 (446269)
      Wow, Hollywood only produced 4 Movies this year!!!

      I think you forgot: Transformers, Star Dust, Daddy Day Camp, Skinwalkers, Harry potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hot Rod, Bratz, and Ratatouille, I know who killed me, Who's your Caddy, Becoming Jane, Talk to me, Rescue Dawn, Knocked up, Sicko and Evan Almighty to name just a few of the ones in theaters RIGHT NOW.

      As far as sequels, you missed Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Bourne Ultimatum.

      The fact is there are always a number of sequel
  • Some people, particular when they feel it suits them, feel that any time someone breaks the law, they're wrong and must be punished. Smart people recognize that "legal" and "ethical" are two different things, but apparently, people at record companies aren't smart.

    Now, one thing that must be said in their defense is that if you do NOTHING to defend your intellectual property, what's likely to happen is that you'll lose your rights altogether. Under certain IP laws, you are require to defend your IP. But
  • nonsense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twistedcubic (577194) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:07PM (#20191679)
    Eight years later, there isn't a single authorized music service that can compete with the original Napster.

    I call bullshit. I played "stump the DJ" with a friend who has rhapsody, and it was no less impressive than Napster, at least for all the obscure titles I know that I was amazed to find on Napster.
  • There seem to be a lot of people bitching about IP and copyrights, and "well of course the Napster kicked their butts -- it was free!"

    But what Doctorow is saying is that both Napster then and YouTube now *want* to do deals with the copyright holders, but they only see a revenue stream coming from lawsuits (especially given Google's deep pockets). He points out that both the recording industry and cable television started out by poaching someone else's IP (sheet music and already-broadcast material, respectively), then doing a deal with the copyright holders after they were able to make money doing it.

    Please, read the fine ar... oh, right.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    OK. We have 2 scenarios here, one perfectly legal, one illegal, yet same concept.
    It is perfectly legal to:
    1. Record a show on VHS
    2. Invite people to then watch this VHS (given no $$$ is involved)
    3. There are storage/cables/wires (in this case RG6 coax, whatever speaker cables you have, home theater systems, etc) involved in getting the media on the VHS to the TV for people to watch

    Now all of a sudden, it's illegal to:
    1. Record a show on HD (hard drive)
    2. Invite people to then watch (download) from this HD (
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      You make it sound like double standards are a new thing to the human race.

      Even better - people have had their houses searched and have been arrested for having devices that permit them to use pirated console games, and yet no one has ever had their door kicked in for owning a dual cassette player.
  • The big problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:53PM (#20192005) Homepage
    The big problem is this. There's suddenly a shift in entertainment now, where people are simply not willing to pay relatively large amounts of money to relatively few people. Entertainment is everywhere, and there are tons of different kinds, and forms. So right now, nobody wants to pay $20 for a relative "hit" CD, so they're just taking the entertainment.

    In the 20th century, when culture in the US, at least, was much more homogenic, stars like Elvis'es, Marilyn Monroe's, Beatles were more universally loved and demanded (paid for). Now, nobody is interested to that extent because there's so much more to see/hear/watch/read. Sure, a few hundred thousand kids may want to pay $5 for the new April Levigne CD, they're not interested enough to want to pay $20 for a CD.

    Entertainers are simply not able to earn the money they used to make. Neither are the distribution company. We're seeing an overdue shift down in the amount of money that we are willing to pay for entertainment. Supply of entertainment shot through the stratosphere at the end of the 20th century, and demand merely shot through the roof increased with the population increase and populations joining the modern world (as far as entertainment is concerned).

    All of this stuff that this article was about are simply the transitional pains. I predict that in 20 years, very few entertainers of any kind will be able to earn much more than say, a big city local television news personality. The days of Michael Jackson buying amusement parks and Elvis collection gold Cadillacs is over. The days of $20 music albums are over, too. The problem is that the large entertainment industry, as a whole, are going to go kicking and screaming, whether they're actors, musicians, or distribution companies (which are even less relevant now than the entertainers themselves).

    The distribution companies do, of course, represent the entertainers demands for more money, of course. The problem for them is compounded by not only are peoples tastes diverging into more and more entertainment options, but people are especially not willing to pay for distribution. They're going the way of buggy whip makers.

    What does this mean? It means that in 20 years, celebrities will be everywhere, but few will be massive, massive stars. It also means that they'll be more like actual, working people, and might have to work on their own distribution, if they want to make a good living from it.

    Perez Hilton is a great early example of what most of tomorrow's celebrities will look like: organic, diverse, earning money by giving their "art" away for cheap or free, and making money from ads and sponsorships, while handling their own distribution straight to the people.

    That's all people are willing to pay for. Why? Well, even if the distribution companies lock it down perfectly, it won't work. The demand isn't there. If you don't want to pay $20 to watch a shitty movie that you'll forget 10 minutes after you watch it, you can hop over to YouTube, and watch some rapidly improving, amateur stuff for free or cheap.
  • Want to know what you can get for nothing? Head down to Blockbuster and find the crappiest video horror film you can find. Even those do cost some money but they are cheap enough for people to produce for ego reasons and not have to worry about keeping investors happy. Want big budget films like Transformers and Bourne? Those cost 1,000X to 2,000X, or more, as much to make. They need equipment and skilled people to make. Everyone working cheap still won't make them free it'll just drive out the last of the
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Want big budget films like Transformers and Bourne?

            Honestly? Not really. Oh the teenagers love those, but teenagers love whatever you tell them to love. So does Hollywood prefer to make $360M with a $150M movie, or $100M with a $5M movie? Which has the better ROI, I wonder?
  • Fear.
  • cost $100M to make.

    If there was a way to make 'em cheaper, we'd be doing it.

    Thad
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      This is not necessarily true. Quite a few low budget indie films [wikipedia.org] have made it big over the past few years.

      Of course if Hollywood keeps feeding us crap, then the people are going to eat crap. However "how many millions can we spend on this movie" seems to be the official "my dick is bigger than yours" contest between Hollywood film studios nowadays.
  • When you own the politicians and courts?
  • If I'm the studios, this is my strategy: I use the courts to force the big players like Google to pass some of the revenues on to me. There's no point destroying a distributor a la Napster, because a competitor will pop up. I then ally with Google to gang up on competitors who aren't willing to pass on revenues to me.
  • Why? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Pig Hogger (10379)
    Control.
  • by Stephen Samuel (106962) <samuel&bcgreen,com> on Saturday August 11, 2007 @04:24AM (#20193819) Homepage Journal
    It's about their distribution monopoly.

    The Internet allows artists to get their work out without signing away their copyrights to the big media companies for a song and a prayer. That's what scares them. If they're not necessary for artists to make it big, then they're not going to be able to goad those artists into contracts that leave artists with a double-platinum album deep in debt to the record company.

    It's about control, not justice.

You might have mail.

Working...