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Y Combinator Wants To Kill Hollywood 424

Posted by Soulskill
from the bigger-they-are-the-harder-they-fall dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Y Combinator, a firm that invests in startups, has put out a call to kill Hollywood. In a post on their site, the firm said attempts at legislation similar to SOPA wouldn't stop until there is no industry left to protect. They now want to incubate ideas for new types of entertainment, so we can evolve the movie and television industries. Quoting: 'There will be several answers, ranging from new ways to produce and distribute shows, through new media (e.g. games) that look a lot like shows but are more interactive, to things (e.g. social sites and apps) that have little in common with movies and TV except competing with them for finite audience attention. Some of the best ideas may initially look like they're serving the movie and TV industries. Microsoft seemed like a technology supplier to IBM before eating their lunch, and Google did the same thing to Yahoo.'"
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Y Combinator Wants To Kill Hollywood

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  • Cue the lawsuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:46PM (#38774500)
    Dodd and the MPAA are not going to take this sort of thing sitting down. They will sue over every word that ever appeared in any movie or TV show. They will attack any technology that is used to distribute this entertainment. They will lobby for laws forbidding this sort of thing.

    So, how can we help fight them?
    • by Anrego (830717) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:03PM (#38774642)

      This battle will probably fail.. but I think this is how the war is ultimately going to be won..

      Not by some massive project, but with little nibbles over a long period of time. Stuff like this shows that more and more people are getting fed up. They fail and someone else tries, then someone else, etc.. eventually you will see something persistent, and it will gradually get more and more share until it is a serious competitor, and hopefully, a replacement for the existing media establishment.

      • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:30PM (#38774886) Homepage
        Yeah, it's been baby steps of progress. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo (etc) have all shown that inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable, on-demand content delivery to customers televisions isn't just entirely workable, but popular.

        Various billing models for different kinds of media are being tried. Now Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft are getting into exclusive content production. That's a big leap forward.

        The trick is, and I think the Y Combinator folks understand this, is to not lose sight of the fact that the customers are increasingly capable and they want what they want. Giving them something else and saying, "Tough, that's the way it is and you'll like it." just isn't going to fly anymore.
        • Nintendo (etc) have all shown that inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable, on-demand content delivery to customers televisions isn't just entirely workable, but popular.

          But Nintendo and the other console makers still insist that a producer of works make its name on another platform before being allowed to distribute on the console.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            True, but chances are you're typing on that 'proving ground' (PCs and Macs) right now. Development consoles aren't cheap (for the developer) and represent a security risk (for the manufacturer). It's actually sensible for both parties to have proof that the developer can see projects through before making that commitment. On top of that, most developers looking to develop for a console are likely to have a few games under their belt anyway, for the twin purposes of establishing positive cash flow and gettin

            • by tepples (727027)

              True, but chances are you're typing on that 'proving ground' (PCs and Macs) right now.

              Not all video game genres are popular on PCs and Macs. For example, how many people are going to plug two to four USB gamepads into an iMac to play a multiplayer game?

              Also, noting with interest that you retained Nintendo for your comment but not Microsoft (who were also mentioned and have a similar policy in place for developer access to the 360).

              Microsoft at least offers the Xbox Live Indie Games path to market, as long as the developer agrees to write the game in pure C# (the environment lacks P/Invoke and Emit), not make a conlang a plot point, and not sell in countries that don't allow the sale of unrated video games.

        • The distribution mechanisms are all in place, and others will come along. That's not the problem.

          The problem is the content production. That's what costs millions of dollars, and needs a return on investment.

          The general publics expectation of production values means small, indie content production just won't compete with the hollywood projects.

          • Re:Cue the lawsuits (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:18PM (#38775678)

            It is less of a problem than one may think. The main issue is that online gatekeepers have USA on the brain.

            There is a world of content creators out there. We have been used by Hollywood studios to make A Grade content for decades, and then we are tossed onto the scrapheap when contracts are completed.

            New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, England, Ireland, South Korea, The Philippines... all viable content sources. In many cases, Americans have no idea that the mini series, animation, TV shows are staffed, set in, voiced by, acted by and starred by New Zealanders or Australians who are pretty good at faking American accents. When I have listed some in the past, Americans can not believe that some Stephen King mini series was not shot in Maine and instead shot in a small town just outside Auckland New Zealand.

            Production is cheaper outside USA, but not cheap enough. Thats where creative disruptive people like myself come in. As a storyboard artist and director, I am always finding cheaper ways to give the same effect. I have halved the cost of production on some of the projects I have been associated with.

            I have been in preproduction for my own online TV show for 2.5 years. We are ready to shoot the pilot in two months. We have already created half a dozen disruptive technologies that should reduce the cost of production 50%. As a bonus, it should speed up the production to a weekly turnaround on a cast and crew of ten.

            If we source writing talent from outside USA, the writers will come cheaper than American Hollywood writers, and as a bonus, they come up with the original ideas. After decades of having their ideas stolen by Hollywood Writers, Directors and Producers, it will be a refreshing change for them to get paid... and refreshing for us to get the new stories straight from the creators, instead of filtered through the Hollywood Homogenising machine.

          • by evilviper (135110)

            The general publics expectation of production values means small, indie content production just won't compete with the hollywood projects.

            That's basically only true of action, sci-fi, and a few others, and CGI can bring that down dramatically. The vast majority of films Hollywood churns out are a bunch of people walking around, talking to each other... That doesn't require all that much money to do right.

            One of the best movies in recent years is an Indie most people never heard of... The Big Empty (2003

          • by dead_cthulhu (1928542) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @05:03PM (#38776315)

            It's amazing how so many foreign films and independent titles seem to get by on much smaller budgets.

          • Re:Cue the lawsuits (Score:4, Interesting)

            by multimediavt (965608) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @07:20PM (#38777215)

            The distribution mechanisms are all in place, and others will come along. That's not the problem.

            The problem is the content production. That's what costs millions of dollars, and needs a return on investment.

            The general publics expectation of production values means small, indie content production just won't compete with the hollywood projects.

            Oh, so not true! The content production value is very much in the hands of Pro-sumers today. DSLR cameras that record full 1080p HD content are under $2000USD with lenses. Add some mics and lights and you can build a production kit for way less than $10,000USD. For anyone with a photography background and some study, that's all you need to create good content. I've been involved in these types of productions for years, and I know what can be done today for tens of thousands of dollars, not millions. Granted, these aren't fully bonded and insured action pictures, and we're not doing much post-production CGI work, but that's a small amount of what's released from Hollywood anyway.

            The real problem with competing with Hollywood is two-fold. 1. The GIANT marketing engine and resources each studio has that the indie crowd doesn't. And 2., STORY! Story is king and can overcome the cheesiest production standards (you do remember the pre-remasterd Star Trek: TOS from 1966? That was super cheese and turned off a lot of viewers initially, but the folks that stuck with it quickly saw how good the stories were and how well they were presented that the cheesie effects were tertiary at best; what you want really. It was these folks that, through mostly word of mouth, got more people to watch or come back and watch). All the good screenwriters end up in Hollywood because that's where the money is! Again, the money is there because of the huge marketing edge that Hollywood still posses and will for some time to come.

            No, the best that this incubator could do would be to create a "minor league" for Hollywood, much like Major League Baseball's system now. I think that is completely viable and would generate a ton of really good low-budget content that would serve a lot of minority viewers (i.e., those not interested in much that Hollywood offers now, not ethnic minorities per se). It could be a breeding ground for up-and-coming talent as well as show Hollywood a little history lesson on how they got started. Have to remember folks, things weren't always as they are now. Hollywood was an orange grove not much more than 100 years ago. They had to start somewhere and I think giving storytellers a more structured, accessible voice could be a very good thing. I will be submitting a proposal.

        • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:43PM (#38775450) Homepage

          Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo ... Now Netflix, Hulu and Microsoft are getting into exclusive content production.

          You mean like content that is available on only ONE of those companies' networks, exactly like what you say they are taking baby steps against?

        • Re:Cue the lawsuits (Score:5, Interesting)

          by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:44PM (#38775454)

          Yeah, it's been baby steps of progress. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo

          Who exactly are you trying to kill? All of these entities are deeply enmeshed with, if not outright owned and operated by "old media."

          In the end it's going to be approximately the same people doing the same sort of business under the same names, they're just going to get their money from ads instead of from sales, subscribers and tickets. Progress?

        • by russotto (537200)

          Yeah, it's been baby steps of progress. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft, Roku, Nintendo (etc) have all shown that inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable, on-demand content delivery to customers televisions isn't just entirely workable, but popular.

          Most of those are steps backwards. Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft -- they all PAY Hollywood. If you want Hollywood to die, you have to NOT pay them. No paid content at all. If you must watch TV, skip the commercials and lie on any survey.

          Now, if y

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let all of us simple organisms rise from our petri dishes and pick up a BOOK, shall we?

      That would destroy Hollywood and we may actually become smarter -- not that there's any other direction to go these days in America...

      Before you get all riled up...I am American, I see how sadly mentally-deficient we are here...it's sad, really...

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Two problems. Publishing is just as bad as Hollywood, and reading does not make you smarter. Halequin romance novels and Penthouse forum are not going to raise man to some higher plane of existence.
    • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:09PM (#38774710)

      > So, how can we help fight them?

      Change the election system in the US so you dont have to "fight" them any more, but can just vote them out of politics. Take the power politicians have to push abusive, bad laws. Bring in more direct democracy, so that lawmaking becomes more independent of the few bribeable, single points of failure (politicians). MPAA/RIAA are only able to influence laws because there are only so few politicians to bribe and because, after being bribed, nobody can stop them from introducing abusive laws.

      In my view, Paul Graham got it completely wrong. It is not Hollywood that has to be fought, it is the undemocratic political system that has to go. Hollywood just abuses the buggy system because it is so easy to abuse (think Windows 98). After YC "kills Hollywood", simply somebody else will come up to bribe politicians and purchase laws because it is so effective. The system allows for rich people to literally purchase laws.

      The cure is not to merely stop this one case of abuse, but to debug the system to prevent any further abuses. "Debug the system" in this case means introduce switzerland style direct democracy to make people able to bypass "professional" politicians and to directly veto abusive and unjust laws.

      • by yincrash (854885) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:29PM (#38774876)
        California is a clear example of why direct democracy doesn't scale. I think the reform has to happen on lobbying level. Should politicians be able to become lobbyists?
        • by dgatwood (11270)

          I disagree. It's a clear example of how direct democracy can work to fix broken laws. Occasionally, a referendum is heinous and gets struck down by the courts. Occasionally, a referendum is heinous and doesn't. The side effects are still statistically far lower than in crap passed by Congress, on average....

        • by thomst (1640045)

          ynicrash opined:

          California is a clear example of why direct democracy doesn't scale. I think the reform has to happen on lobbying level. Should politicians be able to become lobbyists?

          I have to disagree. California's referendum system really has very little to do with "direct democracy". Yes, that was the original logic behind its inclusion in the state constitution, but the current-day reality on the ground is that very, very few California ballot initiatives have anything to do with grassroots movements. The vast majority of the propositions that make the ballot do so because they are conceived and financed by some special interest that's willing to spend the money on p

      • by suprcvic (684521) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:32PM (#38774910)

        Change the election system in the US so you dont have to "fight" them any more, but can just vote them out of politics.

        In theory that's how it already works. The problem is that everybody is happy with their own representative, it's everybody else that's the problem. Not to mention, changing the system of electing officials requires the approval of said officials.

      • by KevMar (471257)

        Why, Why are laws a thing you can buy?

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:44PM (#38775452)

          Because of people like you. A law isn't something you buy, and thinking so confuses the issue. A politician is something you invest in, something you cultivate. I have said you don't buy laws, you buy politicians. But that is an oversimplification.

          MAFIAA recently said to Obama not to count on Hollywood money next time. That should explain how it works. You pay money up front for someone to get elected, hopefully someone who shares your opinions. When votes come up, politicians look to see who funded them. NOT to see who to vote for, but to see whose support they need to win the next election.

          Every vote, every bill, every decision, is about not alienating the people whose support you count on for the next cycle. Politics is a long game, and individuals usually only thing about things per-issue. Because they don't understand how politics works.

          Until people start taking a look at candidates, how they voted, what they actually did, long term, this won't change. The people only want someone to say the right things, like Gingrich does, not do the right things. As long as he says what they want to hear, he can screw them again and again.

          Or the simple answer - Hollywood usually votes Democrat because Republicans have tried to censor profanity and nudity. So Democrats and California politicians do what Hollywood wants, for continued funding. The politician is bought, the laws don't have to be.

    • by Nugoo (1794744) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:10PM (#38774714)
      Here's [imgur.com] a start. As far as I know, donating to the EFF also helps people fight the lawsuits.
    • by sottitron (923868)
      I am not sure you can legislate your way out of this in the long run. So I don't know if the 'fight' needs to be an active thing. I mean, piracy aside, maybe Hollywood is doomed to fail because the new platform of games and tablets and phones and social networking and the internet makes it obsolete. Thing is, by the time this happens Hollywood will probably have figured it out and will have used their bankroll to buy the new system, too.
    • Re:Cue the lawsuits (Score:4, Interesting)

      by smpoole7 (1467717) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:22PM (#38775708) Homepage

      With Loser Pay embedded in the Constitution. [wikipedia.org] (If you try to just do it via legislation, the courts will find some way around it.) The United States is the ONLY Western Democracy that doesn't follow the "English Rule" in litigation.

      If the MPAA, the RIAA, and any other "AA" group wanted to sue you, they'd have to think twice if they knew that you could get attorney's fees from them if (when) you win. Right now, the primary reason why threats of litigation are so effective is because they KNOW that most people will be bankrupted by legal fees, even if they win in court.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well... we can petition to have Chris Dodd and the MPAA investigated for bribery [whitehouse.gov]. That might be a good next step.

    • So, how can we help fight them?

      I admire their chops, but this is ultimately a waste of effort. The *only* thing which will stop this happening is *getting money out of politics*.

      Listen to this talk by Jimmy Carter [abc.net.au], at one point he says the same thing. Back then, he was able to run a campaign on a shoestring, hardly having to raise money at all.

      Now, he says, candidates have to raise *hundreds of millions of dollars*. This has driven politics insane as corporate interests compete against the public interest.

      The one thing we should be conce

  • Godspeed to them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:47PM (#38774516) Homepage

    At the end of the day, all things being equal if the government has to step in and decide who it will legislatively favor, I’m hoping it is the tech industry. America is and for a long time has been losing its place in the world. We cannot compete with third world manufacturing, we have deliberately sacrificed our spot as a scientific leader by diverting funds away from a physics supercollider (The Large Hadron Collider in Europe is where future breakthroughs will occur while we now watch on the sidelines), we have given up NASA and future space exploration will be spearheaded by China and India, and we are dumbing down our science, math, and literacy education while the rest of the world ups their game.

    We basically have two things left, we are leaders in information technology, and leaders in making Lady Gaga CDs and Chipmunk movie sequels. Which do you believe is doing to be the best industry to foster a friendly environment for to maintain the relevance of America in the world? The media industry exists on the whim of the US government and other governments going along with our endless copyright extensions. Should they decide to stop, there is no value in what they create. Media can be copied for free, there is no scarcity of resources in the distribution, the basic rules of economics don’t work here.

    I’m not suggesting that the whole concept of intellectual property is null and void. It has its failings and certainly the way copyright is being handled is despicable (I also feel software patents are insane and detrimental to the information technology industry). But I do know that if this is to be a showdown between two industries, I want the one to win that actually produces something of economic, societal, and tangible value. If Hollywood and the music industry are simply incompatible with technology, then I think we can do without the next Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, but I don’t think we can do without the next Google, Microsoft, or IBM. Do we want to be a country of technical leaders advancing civilization along, or do we want to be the court jesters, a diversion for the Chinese and other emerging technologies to get some cheap laughs from while they surpass us in all other areas?

    • The problem with "intelectual property" is shown in the term itself!

      Ideas and intelectual ideas aren't "property." When they are "stolen" only a copy is taken, not the actual idea. It's not like if a television is stollen from your house and you no longer have it. The reason we have "intelectual property" is because corporations want to horde ideas and milk every dollar they can out of them.

      We're in a tough place in this country. Because of the way money is working our laws are being used for the good o

      • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:19PM (#38774794) Homepage

        Intellectual property laws came about as a way to balance public interest with private interest. Without some kind of copyright and patent protection, there is less incentive to create something intangible (like music, software, medicine, etc), especially it it involves significant up front costs and effort. However, to balance this against public interest, time limits were put into place and the concept of patents on non-physical items were not initially considered (that is what copyrights were for).

        The last couple decades have seen a total removal of the concept of public interest in IP law, it is now 100% about maximizing profits for distribution middlemen (note: not the actual creators themselves, look who is doing all of the lobbying). Copyright for all intents and purposes is perpetual and dictated by the age of a cartoon mouse, I don't think anyone believes it is not going to be extended the next time it is up for renewal. Patents on non-tangible items (software patents) and on items that were not created but discovered (genetic patents) have further abused the system.

        The idea of intellectual property is not inherently bad, but the current execution and the corruption around it now are more detrimental to society than helpful.

        • by Ja'Achan (827610)
          Do we really need this incentive any longer? There's plenty of art to go around, most of the copyright extensions are to prevent companies from having to compete with their own (would be free) backlog. Then there's plenty of artists who do things in their spare time just to be heard or seen. I can see the need for patents in say fields like new energy sources, since that's a big problem coming up, but for art and such, not so much. That might mean we get less games and less music, but eventually it'll bala
        • see, first of all (Score:4, Interesting)

          by unity100 (970058) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:22PM (#38775712) Homepage Journal

          Without some kind of copyright and patent protection, there is less incentive to create something intangible

          this is TOTAL bullshit. it was totally to the contrary.

          most lively and active period in music was in between 1700-1850. this is the era exclusively almost ALL great composers born and died, and a number of them totally shaped what 'music' is and how is done. (even bach is enough himself, and he died a bimbo)

          the most active and lively period in science and engineering happens to be within a similar period, 1750-1850. and this is also the era in which patents et al had the lowest weight in how science was done. most of the scientists lacked funds and support, and yet, many of the biggest scientists came among these people. DESPITE there were already patent offices circa 1800, scientists were totally behaving like the free software movement of our contemporary times - freely sharing everything.

          starting 1850, moneyed interests and newly materializing megacorporations spanning nations have started to come into play. and from this point on, innovation and discoveries subsided. the only reason the period starting from that point seems more 'scientific' is, what was discovered in the earlier period being put into practice in daily life. a period of application than discovery.

          and we are still in that direction today. we are just feeding on what the pioneers DISCOVERED in their time of free science in 18th century. if you look at the stuff we do today, its application and reapplication of already known principles - mostly refinement, than discovery.

          its not like we are having gravity capable vehicles and flying around in cities, or even able to use quantum computing in applications. we are THAT slowed down.

          if you look at life and knowledge circa 1700 and life and knowledge circa 1850, you will notice that it looks like a superhero comic - life was SO out of reality compared to the start of that period.

          and look at 1850 and now, and you will not see the same drastic difference. almost all our technology is similar and some almost the same, but more refined.

          i will leave you to ponder the words of the first chairman and founder of u.s. patent office :

          Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices. Thomas Jefferson, 13 August 1813

          http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html [uchicago.edu]

          • Re:see, first of all (Score:4, Interesting)

            by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:54PM (#38775817)

            most lively and active period in music was in between 1700-1850. this is the era exclusively almost ALL great composers born and died, and a number of them totally shaped what 'music' is and how is done.

            The position that all of these people were somehow "better" composers and musicians than the people working today is highly speculative. They all worked for patrons, and generally died poor. Beethoven began to break the trend in the 1820s by aggressively selling his written works through publishers, at which time he became a staunch copyright advocate. It's clear that patronage could create great sacred music, and great dance and entertaining music, but the people who worked under these constraints were constantly trying to work around them and spent a great deal of their lives go around begging rich people for commissions.

            Jaron Lanier once made the good point that patronage was capable of creating a Michelangelo or a Bach, but it's very questionable if patronage could have ever created a Stanley Kubrick or a Beatles.

            When people pay for entertainment directly the n people paying for the artwork is at its maximum; paying for art with patronage or ads always reduces n.

    • by InThane (2300) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:26PM (#38774848) Homepage Journal

      We basically have two things left, we are leaders in information technology, and leaders in making Lady Gaga CDs and Chipmunk movie sequels.

      You left out high-speed pizza delivery.

      • by finkployd (12902)

        Nah, that cannot be too big of a industry when you think about it.

        Music, Movies, & Microcode is where it is at my friend. We're making bucks here - Kongbucks and yen - and we can be flexible on pay and bennies.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Just to extend on that last one about choices, the rest of the world so mostly goes along with the US because it's a huge and rich market, the GDP is bigger than the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the UK and France put together. It's a tiny bit smaller than the EU but bigger than the whole Eurozone, that's the weight the US throws around when it's making trade agreements and pushing their IP laws on others. Other countries aren't stupid, if they are to pass laws that would make their compani

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brainzach (2032950)

      Destroying Hollywood to save Google is just as stupid as destroying Google to save Hollywood.

      Both industries can coexists together just like they do right now. There is no need to be so cynical.

      • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:41PM (#38775434) Homepage

        Destroying Hollywood to save Google is just as stupid as destroying Google to save Hollywood.

        Both industries can coexists together just like they do right now. There is no need to be so cynical.

        Have you been paying attention at all? Hollywood has been waging an all out war on technology for decades. This cynicism isn't unfounded, it is in response to Hollywood spending billions in congressional bribes to get laws passed to stop nearly every form of media related technology since they ran across the country to escape the IP laws around Edison's video camera.

        They are not co-existing at all, one industry is actively and aggressively attempting to destroy (or gain full control over) another. And given that choice, I would rather lose the industry that in the grand scheme of things is useless.

        • Hollywood have been waging a war on copyright infringement, not technology.

          Google's business isn't copyright infringement. Their business is search and advertising. Google's beef with SOPA is that they don't want to constantly police their own search results and be held responsible for user generated content.

          If there was a way to magically get rid of copyright infringement violations without putting extra burden on Google or other Internet start ups, then both Hollywood and Google would support it. There

          • by finkployd (12902) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:42PM (#38775733) Homepage

            > Hollywood have been waging a war on copyright infringement, not technology.

            Hollywood has been waging an ill advised war on any technology that could have copyright infringement implications (which is a decent percentage). Remember the VCR? I was going to be to the movie industry what the boston strangler was to woman. (remember how destructive VCRs were to Hollywood? It barely survived)
            This is simply a continuation of the kind of ignorant resistance to technology that would actually be beneficial to the large media conglomerates if they were capable of adapting and innovating instead of just chucking money at Congress to keep extending copyright.

            > Google's beef with SOPA is that they don't want to constantly police their own search results and be held responsible for user generated content.

            I'm sure it also had something to do with the other myriad of technically unrealistic provisions around DNS and such, but yes.

            > If there was a way to magically get rid of copyright infringement violations without putting extra burden on Google or other Internet start ups, then both Hollywood and Google would support it. There is some common ground on the issue, and compromises can be made to make sure both industries can thrive.

            So when do we see that start happening instead of the constant bribery of elected officials to enact draconian laws they don't understand, extend copyright to save a stupid mouse from entering public domain, and manipulating international treaties to stack copyright law and technology regulations in their favor?

  • by Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) <xenophon+slashdot@irtnog.org> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:49PM (#38774530) Homepage

    If you read the announcement, you'll quickly realize that Y Combinator thinks that the industry as a whole is stagnant, and that it sees opportunities for innovation in the realm of entertainment outside of the Hollywood system. Hollywood is dying on its own; Y Combinator wants to invest in the next generation of mass media.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Solid point, this is more of a coup de grace. What they really should be aiming for is the RIAA as that's both more accessible and more in need of a mercy killing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A "mercy killing?" Surely you jest. The RIAA doesn't deserve mercy, it deserves to be shot in the back of the head with a .44 and then skullfucked while listening to an album downloaded off TPB.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Before you kill them, could we please tear them apart piece by piece for all the revenue they've hidden from the artists they're supposed to represent?
    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:16PM (#38774766)

      But Hollywood isn't just going to defend its own content and allow the likes of Y Combinator to siphon off more of the public's entertainment dollar. They'll be out there, actively killing off alternative market channels with things like SOPA/PIPA. Hollywood isn't happy with the theft of their product. But they can handle that (like they did MegaUpload) with current laws. What they fear is that new content will be produced and distributed through the new channels (all legally) without them getting their cut of the business. These new channels, being more suited to the current market will kill off the Hollywood system.

    • Hollywood is dying on its own; Y Combinator wants to invest in the next generation of mass media.

      And Hollywood (both the RIAA and the MPAA) probably wants to invest in lawsuits that make flimsy accusations of plagiarism. Because people create cultural works by "standing on the shoulders of giants", as philosophers from Bernard of Chartres to Sir Isaac Newton put it, anything made by hobbyists must be an infringing copy of something created after 1922, even if only through cryptomnesia [wikipedia.org].

      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        "standing on the shoulders of giants"

        Not only those old folks; also, Disney: many of their movies are retellings of Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales -- often with a happier ending, so not only are they not being true to the original, they're creating derivative works -- which they now want to prevent the rest of the world from being able to do, all to protect "a stupid mouse."

  • Follow The Money.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rajeevrk (1278022) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:53PM (#38774566) Homepage

    Why dont the top 100 odd tech firms just get their boards together and buy out the entertainment industry, Fire all the old chaff, then figure out what do do with whats left. Even if they end up writing off the entire investment, the savings in reduced interference from a dying industry(Lawsuits, Trusted Computing, SOPA/PIPA etc.) will justify the few hundred billion. Plus, the innovation it will unleash when all those rent-seeking collaboration-killing laws become irrelevant will bring soo much new life into the dying(yes DYING!!) economies of the developed world.

    Sadly, i dont have any hope that such a scenario will ever come to pass, especially when most tech firms behaving more like a pot of lobsters...

    (sigh...)

    • I suspect that such a scenario would draw the ire of an antitrust suit. It's been near useless at protecting the public for the last few decades, but I suspect the revolving door of politicians and lobbyists won't stand for one of their most lucrative scams coming to an end.
    • by brainzach (2032950) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:14PM (#38774750)

      Walt DIsney alone is worth 70 billions dollars. No one is going to buy it out unless they can make that money back.

      Even if you do that, the old chaff will just start new companies and attract investors because they know how to make money in the entertainment industry.

      What is needed is alternative business models to compete with the old industry. It can costs millions of dollars to make movies and there has to be ways to finance it. Follow the money.

    • by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:32PM (#38774908) Homepage Journal

      Why dont the top 100 odd tech firms just get their boards together and buy out the entertainment industry

      I see three problems with that.

      First, watch out. Sony (SNE) was the good guy up until around the time it bought Columbia Pictures from Coke (KO).

      Second, some of the entertainment industry is privately held (notably Access Industries, parent of Warner Music, and National Amusements, parent of CBS and Paramount) and not subject to a hostile takeover. Some of the rest (e.g. GE's stake in NBCUniversal) is currently owned by companies with a market capitalization over $200 billion.

      Third, hostile takeovers of all the publicly traded members of the MAFIAA (CMCSA, DIS, NWS, SNE, TWX, and VIV) might result in investigations from national competition regulators.

    • Their output is (IMHO) aimed pretty well 100% at the 18-25 age group.
      They want lots of Flash Bang Wallop and a bit of rumpy-pumpy on the side.

      Where are the gutsy films that they used to make?
      Would many of the classic films of the past ever get a penny of funding these days?
      Films like Cat on a Hot Tim Roof? There are many more but seriously would that ever get made these days?
      There used to be a lot of 'gritty' and thought provoking films coming out of hollywood.
      These days? Nah.

      Perhaps that is why some non ho

  • Distributors used to be need to sponsor copying films and publicity. They are no longer needed the cinema house can handle all of that directly.
    The current process for independents (anyone not in house to a production-distribution conglomerate) is to make a movie, then spend time showing it at festivals looking for a distributor to pick it up so that the film can be copied and promoted. That is no longer needed.

    With digital projection there is no need for making expensive copies of films and cinema houses a

  • What makes them think that new media won't want to protect their copyrights just as much as current media?

    People will always want laws benefiting themselves. The problem is that the government is too open to corporate bribery. If politicians couldn't take money from industry, and had to sign non-competes upon taking office, then laws like SOPA wouldn't even get started.

    • What makes them think that new media won't want to protect their copyrights just as much as current media?

      Include in the financing conditions that the resulting film must be made available under Founders' Copyright [creativecommons.org], a time-delayed all-permissive license.

    • by Myopic (18616) *

      RTFA

      They explicitly make the point that all this legal bullshit is a result of the dying business model:

      "If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention. When a striker is fouled in the penalty area, he doesn't stop as long as he still has control of the ball; it's only when he's beaten that he turns to appeal to the ref. SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten."

  • my new model (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:57PM (#38774594)

    People:
    1) hate advertisements
    2) like renting
    3) don't want to spend money on garbage
    4) don't want to spend more than $5 on on good content

    Thus:
    Online streaming rental service (2 day rental) of content where the user can watch the first half of whatever program for free (eg. an hour of a two hour movie) and then ~half-way through at a strategic place the movie will pause and allow the person to continue watching it at a nominal fee ... LESS than $5 ($0.25 to $3) -- if it isn't on par with price of any other renter service out there it won't work. This way people can get their money back if they really don't like a movie. If they rent (and pay) the same thing multiple times (two or three for instance) they should automatically OWN a drm-free version of the movie (they've proven they aren't pirates so don't be bitches about it)

  • There is no dog like a dog in a manger, snarling and barking to defend it's cushy little spot while denying the artists and writers and staff who DESERVE the food their due.

  • How does anything get produced these days, shows or movies or games? Someone has to come up with the money, then the movie gets made, then it gets distributed.

    Now, ultimately that money is coming from individual people voting with their wallets. If people weren't watching Trek, there wouldn't be Trek. If kids weren't buying Pokemon cards and games, it wouldn't be made.

    So, the question isn't a matter of straight economics. It's not like any of this stuff is subsidized. Entertainment is enormously popular, en

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msobkow (48369)

      Funny. My favourite movies, CDs, and TV shows are not made by big budgets, but by B-movie houses and home editing/recording equipment. While some of the big budget blockbusters are worth the money, for the most part they SUCK because they spend all their time worrying about F/X and gadgetry instead of telling a good story.

      The whole "capital" issue is a red herring in my books, an excuse for the status quo.

      The MPAA and it's ilk should be reduced to advertising management firms, paid a percentage or fla

      • by msobkow (48369)

        I think of the current MPAA and RIAA structure as the "banking industry of art". They contribute nothing. They add nothing. All they do is arrange financing, for which they expect OBSCENE payments and distribution control.

  • Just buy them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skreems (598317) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:03PM (#38774638) Homepage
    Seriously. Apple has 76B sitting in the bank [latimes.com], Microsoft has 55B [yahoo.com]. Time Warner has a market cap of 37B [yahoo.com], hell even the media giant that is Disney/Pixar has a market cap of only 70B [google.com]. A lot of the music companies are a fair bit smaller.

    The distribution channels (Apple, Google, etc) are bending over backwards on deals with companies that they could acquire in a hostile takeover tomorrow if they wanted to. It's crazy.
    • Re:Just buy them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brainzach (2032950) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:22PM (#38774820)

      If Apple or Microsoft buys Disney, they will milk money out of it the same way the current management does. Apple would make it worst by only allowing movies to be shown on Apple devices.

      If Google buys Disney, they will fund movies by selling product placement spots.

  • Kill Hollywood ?!? I thought a wooden stake was all that was needed...
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:08PM (#38774688)

    There is all this raging against "the music industry" and the "film industry." Meanwhile the people doing all the raging are soaking or craving up the products of those industries like mad. Isn't that hypocritical?

    I have no problem with the music and film industries vigorously protecting their rights. But I am extremely pissed off that those rights extend for so damn long.

    I don't care too much about the parasites who want their movies and music for free. I care a lot about the creative people who want to be able to draw from music and movies from the thirties, forties, and fifties. They should be free to copy and mash and improve on those earlier works. That would make our artistic world a much richer place.

    • Its not hypocritical to call out when one side is abusing their part of the SOCIAL BARGAIN. No one is denying they make products we want, what we are saying is we are continuously getting the short end of the BARGAIN we struck. Copyright isnt intended to be a free pass to print money, its meant to incentivize the creation process for a LIMITED time. Its hypocritical of you to say you hate the laws these industries have gotten passed, yet you support their right to rigorously defend wholly immoral extensions
  • Alternative media and distribution already exists, and the main goal of the legislations Hollywood is lobbying for is exactly to stop them. It wil be hard to kill Hollywood using technology when they can outlaw any technology that competes with them.

  • A long time ago in a reality far far away... TV broadcasters had series shot to sell advertisements. Why can't web sites do it? Slashdot does. Taking that a step further, why not integrate advertisements into a video. With P2P technology, any company can have a series produced, insert advertisements for their products, and let file sharing do the rest. Would you, the average /.'r, have greater knowledge about a company and its products if they provided good intertainment for daily download? I would.

  • Unless you have an alternative way to raise money to finance movies and TV shows, you can't compete with Hollywood. It's all about money.

    If Google wants to get in the business, they will finance movies using advertising, which copies the 60 year old business model of broadcast television. It will just be more of the same.

  • by beachdog (690633) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:40PM (#38774976) Journal

    Another way of looking at the copyright licensing problem is the continuing assumption that every single copyrighted item must be sold for a specific price under the terms of a custom sales contract that is unique to every item sold.

    OK, I am stating the copyright goods sales assumption in an overly dramatic form.

    The first problem that the Internet has created is the electronic distribution of any kind of copyrightable object costs less than a penny. A file that costs 1/10 of a cent to transmit over the Internet is overwhelmed by the 45 cent credit card transaction fee.

    The second problem that the Internet has created is there is so much copyrighted material available that every person in the developed world has more copyrighted content available than that person can possibly attend to. As a perceptive analyst has pointed out: The Internet has created a state of information saturation.

    A single human being can only absorb x hours of movies, books or research material transmitted over the Internet in a single month. That means, a fair payment for copyrighted material is limited to Y dollars for x hours per month per person.

    So what this would point to is a mandatory automatic quitclaim copyrighted material payment system. No matter what the content is, the total payment price should be somewhere around 1 penny per hour of file transfer time. It should be so cheap that a user's personal storage would simply be full and only a relative few items stored.

  • by AxeTheMax (1163705) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:42PM (#38774998)
    In support of the comments that this industry can be brought out; I refer you to this interesting comparison on what entertainment is worth, even if it is both UK specific and music specific. From http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/3343543/Country-roses-A-cut-above.html [telegraph.co.uk]. The value of retail cut flowers (e.g. roses for your mother when she is in hospital) in the UK is about the same as that for music. It puts it all in perspective, especially when you consider that flower growers do not lobby governments to prevent us from giving our home grown roses to our friends.
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:08PM (#38775216)

    I maybe watch a move once a year at the cinema, and use the redbox about the same, but for every person like me, there are 3 people like my co-worker who shuffles down to best buy every week and gets like 5 blu-rays of shit he has never even seen cause he is going to get bonus reward points to purchase more shit that he has never even seen.

    I had a roommate like that to, piss away 100 bucks on just utter garbage dvd's to get a 25$ reward from media play, and as long as people are actually dumb enough to buy a ben stiller movie not once, but fucking twice cause they cant even remember whats in their 3 bookshelves of crap, then hollywood will thrive.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:16PM (#38775268) Homepage Journal

    Its really not about protecting the music/movie/etc industries. That is just the excuse to get it passed with ( some ) citizen support. Its really about the restriction of freedoms and a increase in government control over our lives. The entire 'anti piracy' angle is just a 'shiny smokescreen' if you like.

  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:35PM (#38775404) Homepage

    Microsoft seemed like a technology supplier to IBM before...

    ...before stabbing them in the back.

    IBM was left with an operating system but no applications. No one felt sorry for IBM at the time, they were just coming out of a very abusive anti-trust action. However, that's no reason for the article summary to try to whitewash M$

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:42PM (#38775438) Homepage

    Killing the music labels is quite feasible. They don't do much. They don't manufacture records - that's outsourced, and anybody can have a CD manufactured. They don't run the download systems - Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon do that. They don't run recording studios - those are mostly independent, and anybody can book studio time. Their relationships with record stores (what record stores?) hardly matter any more.

    The music labels have two remaining functions, one of which is attackable under antitrust law. They pay payola to radio stations for airplay and make deals with concert venues. Both have been the subject of antitrust investigations. They also do promotion. That's their real function.

    The one remaining function of record labels is venture capital. They "sign" bands and put in startup capital. Others can do that. YCombinator could do that. Venture capital firms might fund a company to do that. Myspace briefly did that. That's where the labels are vulnerable.

    "Own your own stuff" - Joan Jett, to new musicians.

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