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What the MPAA Still Isn't Telling Us 150

Scott Jaschik writes "An essay at the Inside Higher Ed site looks at the fallout from the MPAA's admission that its statistics on college student downloading were seriously wrong. Among the questions: What is the MPAA still holding back? Why isn't the MPAA changing its position on legislation? 'Perhaps the MPAA's press release acknowledging its "300 percent error" will set the stage for new, less rancorous private and public discussions about P2P piracy. Colleges and universities respect copyright; colleges and universities are engaged in serious efforts to inform and educate students about the importance of copyright. And MPAA and RIAA officials ... should acknowledge, respect and strongly support the continuing efforts of campus officials to address copyright issues, in part by ending the public posturing that portrays colleges and universities as dens of digital piracy.'"
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What the MPAA Still Isn't Telling Us

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  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:08AM (#22221516) Homepage
    If there's one thing I'd like to know about the P2P controversy, it's this: why would people bother to waste bandwidth and disk space downloading bootleg copies of most of the garbage that the MPAA (not to mention RIAA member labels) attempts to foist upon the public? If anything, the MPAA should be paying people to watch garbage like Meet the Spartans and Untraceable.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 )
      If anything, the MPAA should be paying people to watch garbage like Meet the Spartans and Untraceable.

      Well, this tells me one of three things:

      1. You don't watch movies at all, including those you just listed, and you are instead just spouting off about two recent movies because you read about what someone else said via some media source.

      2. You do go to the theater and watch movies and saw those two which you call "trash" and you are supporting the MPAA's campaign to subvert media outlets, higher education
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        OK, you got me. It's number 2, but I didn't see those two. I saw Cloverfield instead. You're right: I want to see the MPAA contribute to the United States' march towards tyranny. The sooner we get there, the sooner we can get over it and go back to being the land of the free and the home of the brave.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GuidoW ( 844172 )

          The sooner we get there, the sooner we can get over it and go back to being the land of the free and the home of the brave.

          You mean just like they did in China and North Korea?

          • Actually, I was thinking of Eastern Europe. Poland, the Czech and Slovakian Republics, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, etc. I'd suggest East Germany as well, but the reunified Germany has also slid into statism. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it wasn't brought down in a year. It takes time to build a tyranny, most of the groundwork is laid behind the scenes, and it takes time to tear one down as well. Hell, it took 70 years to bring down the Soviet Union.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by GuidoW ( 844172 )
              Meaning if the US slips into tyranny now, not one of us is going to see the end of it...
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Torvaun ( 1040898 )
                But if we keep putting it off, our children may be the ones to never know freedom. Besides, it took so long to tear down the Soviet Union because the citizens that destroyed it had never known a free Russia. We have seen how things ought to be, and therefore will fight hardest to regain it. If nothing else, we can lay the groundwork for the fight against tyranny.
            • The first thought that comes to my mind is Rome. Once it slipped into the control of Julius Caesar, it never recovered. The Roman Republic was long lost to the tyranny of the Roman Empire. The end result was a complete collapse of Rome itself, a loss of world infrastructure, and a completely separate empire (the Byzantines) which was eventually overthrown by the Crusades and later the Ottomans.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pojut ( 1027544 )
          There are many AMAZING movies that have come out recently and have shown up in theaters. Thank You for Smoking, I Heart Huckabees, The Fountain, Eastern Promises, The Departed, Collateral, The Bourne Trilogy, Breach, The Kingdom, The Good Shepard, Lady In the Water, The Last King of Scotland, The Science of Sleep, Hotel Rwanda, Blake Snake Moan, A Scanner Darkly...

          All movies that have come out recently, all of them big-name movies, all of them rated by the MPAA, and all of them amazing.

          Not everything out t
          • by morari ( 1080535 )
            A Scanner Darkly was the only film on your list that I went to see in theaters. None of the theaters around here were showing it either, so I had to see it about one hundred miles away while visiting family. I'm selective about what I go to see in the theater, which usually amounts to one movie every year or two. And not just because of the outrageous prices, but the atmosphere as well. It bothers me to no end to hear people laugh at things that aren't funny or to gasp at things that aren't shocking. Let's
            • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
              There are certain movies that I always go to see in theaters...movies like Cloverfield of Lord of the Rings are a good example...just go either to a super early showing, or take a couple hours off work and go in the middle of the afternoon.

              Other movies (namely slasher flicks and the like) I like to goto midnight showings on opening night. The remake of Ju-On (The Grudge) was not scary at all, and frankly rather bad. However, my buddy and I went to see it opening night at midnight...the entire theatre was
              • by morari ( 1080535 )
                When I do go nowadays, I tend to go on Mondays. Late morning/early afternoon. At best, there are perhaps five other people in the theater then. ;)
                • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
                  When I was younger and went to the movies with my dad, he had what he called the "herring" defense.

                  That's right. We would sneak in a jar of herring and chow down. We didn't have ANYONE sit near us:-)
          • by morari ( 1080535 )
            Oh, and The Fountain! How did I miss that one? That was, actually, one of the better films I've seen in quite a while. Darren Aronofsky continues to impress me with his efforts. I just wish I could persuade more people to watch it. Pan's Labyrinth came out about that time as well, which I also can't persuade anyone to borrow because they "don't want to think". One because of subtitles and the other because of content. People watch films to turn on, tune off, and drop out.

            Of course, I'd suggest the LSD bef

            • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
              Whenever someone asks me what I think about The Fountain, or if I'm trying to convince someone to watch it, this is what I say:

              "Don't watch the trailers or read the synopsis that you would normally find...it is very difficult to describe this movie in that kind of way. The only way I have found to describe it is that it is like watching a movie from the future. The Fountain feels like it was made 10 years in the future."

              Now, I don't know what I will say about it in 10 years, but I will worry about that la
              • by morari ( 1080535 )
                That's an interesting tactic. After reading it, I would even tend to agree. For me, a lot of The Fountain was actually reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I don't just mean the sci-fi visual either, but the overarching meaning and perhaps even tone. I only mention this because 2001 still feels ahead of its time in a lot of respects.
                • by Pojut ( 1027544 )
                  I had actually never thought of that (The Fountain -----> 2001) but that is actually a good point...it did have kind of the same "feel" to it, eh?
          • by DAtkins ( 768457 )
            Shoot 'em Up was the only good movie in the last year.
          • I'm afraid the 60% of the movies you have listed that I have seen, I would rate them 'great' at absolute best, 'ok', 'passed the time in an amusing fashion' or similar, not 'amazing' by any stretch of the imagination.

            Sadly right now I'm struggling to remember the last western made movie in the last 5 years I genuinely thought was amazing, though I clearly don't have mainstream tastes, most of the films I've been really impressed with recently have all been Asian, and mostly anime. It's been nearly a decade
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Why? becausethe BluRAY and HDDVD discs I can buy are NOT IN HD on my HDTV. I have a HD set with component only and all HDDVD and BluRay players will NOT output HD on the component outputs if the "copy protection flag" is set on the disc... which it is on everything I touch.

      so my only choice is to violate the law by ripping the BluRay disc to remove the copy protection and play it on a media PC in HD.

      the MPAA has told a large number of us HDTV owners to go F ourselves. So we do what we can. Ps. a BluRAY di
      • You're not downloading anything; you're just ripping the contents of the discs you bought and paid for. I have no argument with what you're doing, since I myself rip CDs that I've bought in order to put the music on my iPod, and also rip the DVDs I buy. Sure, it violates the law. I refuse to give a shit. I bought it, it's mine, and the MPAA can discuss their objections with the Devil down in Hell.

        I was asking about the w4r3z kiddies who insist on wasting disc and bandwidth downloading bootleg media that t

        • Actually they do me a favor by skipping that whole step of me wasting my time trying to figure out how to get the video off the disk and onto my backup server.

          I can't think of the last thing that I downloaded that I didn't already purchase.
        • Simply put: some of our media is an entry barrier of our culture.

          One may not want to watch it, or not care too much, but to blend with "normal" people, one needs to watch some of the movies/music to connect to many people.

          Does one have to watch everything? Of course not. However, I do believe that there is some minimal amount of material one has to know about to blend with other normal people.
        • by aclarke ( 307017 )
          OK, what's your take on this situation? I pay $60/month or whatever it is for satellite TV service (Star Choice in Canada). That includes a whole bunch of HD channels. However, none of the HD receivers I can buy (without spending $700 for a hacked one) let me output a high definition feed to my computer, which runs my PVR.

          Now, let's say I want to watch a program in HD, which is available on the satellite service for which I'm paying. Since I can't do that, even though I'm paying for it, my only optio
      • Why didn't you do your research and determine that the current inception of the HD goods are "infected" by the very problems you describe?

        Our household has not went with HD yet because of these glaring problems. We will go with HD when we have full access via component or dual-dvi ports, hdmi be damned.

        And, TV just isn't that important in our household. We watch about 4 series at most, along with some news. We're on the net more reading news and stuff.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lumpy ( 12016 )
          you are correct, 6 years ago when I bought my set I should have consulted a medium and a witch to determine what the outcome would be. Nothing predicts technology like chicken blood, coffee grounds and eggs mixed with the bone of a wild cat.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Even if you are of average intelligence (which I assume that you are higher, considering where we are), the constant barrage of anti-copying and zoning "technology" should have made you weary on what to buy, regardless of chicken bones and coffee grounds.

            You know, past performance determines future behavior and all..
        • by psmears ( 629712 )

          We will go with HD when we have full access via component or dual-dvi ports, hdmi be damned.

          You need to be careful: HDMI is just a connector—roughly speaking, HDMI = DVI + SPDIF (in a single, smaller, connector). HDCP (the copy-prevention protocol) runs just as happily over DVI as over HDMI, as the two are electrically identical.

          On the positive side, of course, that means you don't need to rule out all products that come with HDMI ports, as it's quite possible for a device to use HDMI without being "evil".

          • Technically, that is true, however, I am yet to find a DVI device with HDCP.

            Finding a HDMI setup with HDCP these days is rather easy... until you rule out devices with buggy firmware
            • by Winckle ( 870180 )
              Sorry to butt in, but there are a few devices, such as nvidia graphics cards which have HDCP over DVI. I'm not sure of the technicalities such as whether you need vista, or other things. So, whilst i'm saying that DVI output from a HD disc player is very probably not there, under certain circumstances you can get HDCP DVI output.
    • by Otter ( 3800 )
      Alternatively, one might wonder why w4r3z kiddies whose lives, self-importance, and reason for living revolve around stolen Hollywood music and movies feel the need to insist on how horrible said music and movies are, and how they wish that the producers of said music and movies would go out of business leaving the field to the producers of freely-distributable crap in which the w4r3z kiddies don't have the slightest interest.
    • If there's one thing I'd like to know about the P2P controversy, it's this: why would people bother to waste bandwidth and disk space downloading bootleg copies of most of the garbage that the MPAA (not to mention RIAA member labels) attempts to foist upon the public? If anything, the MPAA should be paying people to watch garbage like Meet the Spartans and Untraceable.

      The MPAA does have some redeeming content. The What the Bleep series [whatthebleep.com] is good example of this.

    • which allows the MPAA and RIAA to brand these people easily.

      Its the old and stupid "Get back at the man" mentality. Its vindictive and childish. As such the people who act this way are the least likely to be able to do anything rationale meaning their "plight" if prolonged. Prolonged until they get supplanted by people who do things with maturity.

      Right now its this face that the RIAA/MPAA presents as its opposition, a face that the public can easily ignore as something it wants no association with. Wher
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BuckaBooBob ( 635108 )
      What I would love to see is some of the torrent sites (Or other P2P sites) Poll people downing movies as to why they didn't go see it in theaters or buy it on dvd. And publish them so the MPAA might start to realize just because a movie was downloaded 50K times it doesn't mean they lost 50K sales. a Poll might look like this.

      a) I am a Collage Student and my choice was not eat for an entire day so I could pay to see this movie.. or Download a crappy version off the internet.
      b) All the reviews said the movie
    • ... people actually have varying tastes, which means they might like different movies and music to you. They never "foist", they offer. They give you the opportunity to pay money to see the movie, or listen to the music that they (as an organisation) created. If it's not to your tastes, that's absolutely fine. The problem is those who find those movies/songs to their tastes, but decide they'll skip their end of the deal.
  • "Can't we all get along and play nice and respect each other?"

    Yeah. Good luck with that.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:10AM (#22221544)
    And MPAA and RIAA officials ... should acknowledge, respect and strongly support the continuing efforts of campus officials to address copyright issues, in part by ending the public posturing that portrays colleges and universities as dens of digital piracy.

    The MPAA and RIAA aren't interested in anything except changing the publics' perception of their "plight". By recognizing their flawed research and statistics it would mean that their campaign to flood the eyes and ears of the uninformed via the media outlets, who are hungry for trash, would possibly end.

    They are currently winning the war over parents and the majority of educational administrators who are worried that those they have jurisdiction over are doing things that someone told them was theft. They don't want to have others look poorly on them and they are going to spend an inordinate amount of time ensuring that they are doing everything they can to stop this horrible threat to our youth! Unfortunately, that comes at a serious cost in an arena that is notoriously short on funding and which should honestly have a lot more important shit to worry about.

    What is the most tiring is that the media outlet continue to eat what the MPAA/RIAA are feeding them and the parents don't sit down to think about anything other than how to "talk to their kids about drugs" errr, I mean "stealing"! I guess because many of us who are either just becoming parents or aren't planning for kids for at least a few more years have sat through the majority of the Nancy-period and the bullshit anti-drug messages, we are more immune to being bombarded with this crap. Unfortunately, the rest of them are all caving to the media pressure. "Don't let this happen to you!"

    I wish that more higher education institutions had the ability to pull off what Harvard did but the financial funding just isn't there to fight it in the short term but instead, wasting resources and funds over the long term is. The MPAA/RIAA knows exactly what they are doing and how to exploit those they are attacking and it sucks, bad.
    • by zakone ( 1227236 )
      The MPAA and RIAA are getting more larger than life than the artists they are trying to protect. The collective licensing thing seems a good way to get rid of these self righteous hypocrites whom seem to do little other than sit around on their arses and pull up kids using p2p at home and colleges. Why they'll go after the ISPs next, for being accessory to theft and IPR infringement.
    • The MPAA/RIAA knows exactly what they are doing and how to exploit those they are attacking...

      I'd have to disagree. Using the RIAA as an example, their member-companies are watching sales continue to decline. Sure, some will blame piracy but those of us with a clue know that a failure to adapt to the new digital age in a timely manner and a continued trend of releasing a sub-par product at an inflated price has done more to harm their bottom lines than "piracy" ever could. So, forgive me if I think the M
      • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @12:07PM (#22222144) Homepage

        OTOH, you could view it as them playing the long game. They know that their business model is shot to hell, and that today there's nothing that they can do about it because general purpose computing devices ultimately treat all bits equally, so they've lost their cartel monopoly on high quality distribution.

        However, look at what they're doing in response: sowing FUD, reframing the debate, and buying politicians. I believe that their long term goal is to put the genie back in the bottle and outlaw general purpose computing devices that treat arbitrary bits as copyable by default. Perhaps it's not a credible goal, perhaps its even risible, but bear in mind that they've already got Redmond in their corner [wikipedia.org], so it's not completely beyond the pale.

        Don't write off the ??AAs. They are rich, powerful, they consider that they they enjoy a right to be profitable, and they are utterly without ethics or effective oversight. I suspect that eventually we'll be relying on Europe to prevent a Intel/Microsoft/??AA super-cartel from forcing a computing monoculture on us where arbitrary bits are uncopyable by default.

        Laugh if you like, but first consider who the next President is likely to be, and her unabashed view that Washington actually should be run by lobbyists and corporate interests.

    • by CSMatt ( 1175471 )
      What parents? I don't know nor have ever heard of a single parent who cares about copyright infringement, at least with regards to file sharing.

      And no, the Warner Music CEO doesn't count.
    • The MPAA/RIAA knows exactly what they are doing and how to exploit those they are attacking and it sucks, bad.
      Hmmm...maybe the answer is to incite the MPAA/RIAA into attacking Scientology thereby drawing them into a long and bitter legal fight with an equally exploitative and ruthless opponent and occupying both organizations for the better part of a decade. Perhaps then the rest of us could have a bit of peace.
  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:11AM (#22221562)
    If anything, the MPAA's constant announcements that rabid P2P use among high school and college students was a major concern only fueled the fire for more kids to pirate movies.
  • by biscon ( 942763 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:11AM (#22221574)
    Detective: This is the home of Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica. [they approach a bush] Look. There's Lars now, sitting by his pool. [he's seen sitting on the edge of a chaise longue, his face in his hands, softly sobbing]

    Kyle: What's the matter with him?

    Detective: This month he was hoping to have a gold-plated shark tank bar installed right next to the pool, but thanks to people downloading his music for free, he must now wait a few months before he can afford it. [a close-up of Lars sobbing] Come. There's more. [leads them away. Next seen is a small airport at night] Here's Britney Spears' private jet. Notice anything? [a shot of Britney boarding a plane, then stopping to look at it before entering] Britney used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now she's had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like you chose to download her music for free. [Britney gives a heavy sigh and goes inside.] The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think downloading music for free is no big deal?

    Kyle: We... didn't realize what we were doing, eh...

    Detective: That is the folly of man. Now look in this window. [they are at another mansion, and they look inside a picture window] Here you see the loving family of Master P. [He's shown tossing a basketball to his wife while his kid tries to catch it] Next week is his son's birthday and, all he's ever wanted was an island in French Polynesia. [his mom lowers the ball and gives it to the boy, who smiles, picks it up and drops it. It rolls away and he goes after it]

    Kyle: So, he's gonna get it, right?

    Detective: I see an island without an owner. If things keep going the way they are, the child will not get his tropical paradise.

    Stan: [apologetically] We're sorry! We'll, we'll never download music for free again!

    Detective: [somberly, dramatically] Man must learn to think of these horrible outcomes before he acts selfishly or else... I fear... recording artists will be forever doomed to a life of only semi-luxury.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:19AM (#22221640)
      You're buying into exactly what the RIAA wants you to think - that musicians make lots of money from selling albums. They don't. Musicians make their money from touring, from playing to audiences for money. The people who make lots of money from selling albums are the record companies.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser ( 49529 )
        Which is exactly why 'artists' like Metallica and U2 shouldn't help support that fallacy.
      • actually gp was quoting south parks mockery of the RIAA's claims that artists make lots of money from album sales.
      • I was reminded of that particular South Park episode (Faith+1) after reading the summary (no of course I didn't RTFA, this IS slashdot afterall ;) about how they want to educate college students about the dangers of piracy. The reason I posted that transcript is because I think it is rather bizarre that educational institutions must educate their (presumably piss poor) students about piracy, inorder to save some already ultra rich assholes obsolete business model. I agree that corporate parasites are the
      • by Noren ( 605012 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @01:00PM (#22222976)
        That's not QUITE true. The small number of artists who have been popular for a long time, with consistent sales, actually do make quite a bit of money from album sales. This is because they were in a position to renegotiate favorably with recording studios after the lengthy initial contract.

        Which is why long established bands like Metallica and U2 are the only musicians who care enough about piracy to speak out on it- they are the rare exceptions of musicians who actually are getting paid for album sales.

        See this Courney Love essay [salon.com]. (Yes, Courtney Love wrote an informative essay on the topic. Who knew?)
      • Musicians make their money from touring, from playing to audiences for money.

        It's not that cut and dried.

        In general:

        1. Huge artists make their money from selling recordings, and lose money on their extravagant tours because of their expensive touring lifestyle and their very expensive shows. The manager of U2 told me that on one of their tours, U2 lost $100K per show, but that they more than made it up in the boost to CD sales.
        2. Medium artists make their money from touring. Even the biggest bands in some of the more niche genres, like metal, fall into this category.
        3. Small artis
    • I loved this! Says it all!
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
      South Park already did it!
    • Neither are flat earthers or creationists. Because it's only a lie if the person saying it knows it's not true.

      When head of the MPAA a couple of decades ago Jack Valenti said "the VCR is to the movie industry what Jack The Ripper was to women".

      In short, they're not liars. They're just stupid.
    • Unfortunately, in many situations, this is not the case. For example, see:
      Courtney Love's 2000 speech [salon.com]
  • Ummm (Score:4, Informative)

    by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:17AM (#22221618)
    Shouldn't it be the 200% error? The number they gave was 300% of the new one, but they were wrong by 200% in the same way that 110 is 110% of 100 but only 10% wrong.
    • Shouldn't it be the 200% error? The number they gave was 300% of the new one, but they were wrong by 200% in the same way that 110 is 110% of 100 but only 10% wrong.
      So he committed a 50% error then?

      Don't be so harsh, after all he also was 50% right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 )
      Yeah... people aren't so sharp when it comes to percentages and numbers. An old manager at my work once said that productivity had increased 200%, not realizing that a 200% increase was in fact equivalent to a 3-fold increase. What she meant was 100%, or that people were being twice as productive. But, the numbers were all BS anyway, so people just nodded and smiled and laughed on the inside.
    • by Alsee ( 515537 )
      Don't blame Slashdot...
      they were wrote up the story on an old Pentium PC.

  • Unfortunately, the MPAA has yet to release the actual reports that generated either the 44 percent or 15 percent claims about the role of college students in digital piracy; the public data are limited to PowerPoint graphics in PDF format on the association's web site.
    MPAA Secretary: I'm almost done authoring the report on college file sharing piracy ruining the movie industry, sir. I just need to know what number the researchers found in their study.
    Dan Glickman: Researchers? We're an organization of lawyers, not scienticians! We make the numbers, not find them. But it can't be too high or it will be unrealistic and people will ask questions but the higher it is, the more blame we can put on it.
    MPAA Secretary: 50 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Too high, go lower.
    MPAA Secretary: 30 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Higher.
    MPAA Secretary: 40 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Higher.
    MPAA Secretary: 45 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Lower.
    MPAA Secretary: 41 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Higher.
    MPAA Secretary: 42 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Higher.
    MPAA Secretary: 43 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Higher.
    MPAA Secretary: 44 percent?
    Dan Glickman: Ding ding ding!
    MPAA Secretary: But sir, that's a lot of money, what if they ask questions?
    Dan Glickman: Oh, grow up, it's in PowerPoint! PowerPoint is never wrong. Rocket scientists don't even question what's in PowerPoint [nasa.gov]! What is your problem?

    In all seriousness though, I've drawn up solutions on green engineering paper in the middle of meetings with pencil and everytime my boss hated it. But if I went back to my desk and made a box with a computer pointing to another box full of fecal matter in PowerPoint, management gobbles that right up without asking any questions.
  • If you look down the weekly box office totals, you see numbers like 40 million for #1, on down to 1 million for #10. Even if the take was only 100 million for a week, that's still not a shortage of cash to any business I know about. How many industries gross 100 million per week?

    I'd think that if downloading were really having a huge impact, that number would be more like 10 million a week total for the box office top 10 movies.
    • Don't look at the grosses alone. 40 million for Evil Dead II is a huge profit. 40 million for The Golden Compass would be a humiliating loss for the studio, prompting firings and fervent prayers to the dark lord Shabranigdo that the film makes more money on DVD/merchandise sales and foreign releases.
  • It always seems those that try to practice game theory in real life always seem to neglect that being nice to each other has advantages in the game as well; and that being mean can offset any of the apparent gains had from following a skewed model that would ignore human emotion.

    The *IAAs just need a bit of lovin' :(
  • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:30AM (#22221748) Homepage Journal
    ...if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

    Ooops, sorry, insta-Godwin.

    But we see the same tactics from the RIAA all the time - persistently referring to copyright infringement as stealing (maybe I should redefine "RIAA executive" as "sex offender"? I'd love to be able to change the meanings of legally applicable terms to suit my preference), persistently telling us that "piracy" loses a magical $X billion from the economy every year, that it supports terrorism/drug dealers/the mafia/anyone else seen as "bad". Lies. More lies. TFA (a good, polite rant) is just a catalogue of their lies and, occasionally spin-tastic back-pedalling. And yet such an organisation is not only allowed to exist, but to get in bed with the government too? And now they want to get their greasy paws on every privately owned internet connection in the US?

    Sorry, no. I think my insta-Godwin was half-warranted in the case of these capricious fucks.
    • What a lot of people don't realize is that Hitler's Minister of Propaganda had taken lessons from the Woodrow Wilson administration, especially George Creel. There were some incredible lies told to bolster support for WW1 in the US which were revealed in the 1920's, which was a major reason why the US public did not want to get involved in another European war.

      No insta-Godwin for you...

      • Thanks for the Creel reference, I'd never seen the name mentioned before (but was aware of the misonfirmation campaign during Woodrow Wilson's administration); it's generally only the european side of WW1 that's common knowledge over here. Some interesting reading coming up :)
        • by IvyKing ( 732111 )
          You're quite welcome, glad it was of interest.

          A good book to read on what happened in the US during WW1 is Barrie's 'The Great Influenza'.

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      From Wikipedia: "Godwin's law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions. It does not apply to discussions directly addressing genocide, propaganda, or other mainstays of the Nazi regime."

      Given that this article is directly about propaganda, you get a free pass in comparing them to the Nazis.
    • by mpe ( 36238 )
      I'd love to be able to change the meanings of legally applicable terms to suit my preference), persistently telling us that "piracy" loses a magical $X billion from the economy every year, that it supports terrorism/drug dealers/the mafia/anyone else seen as "bad". Lies. More lies.

      Whilst the loses undoubtedly is an outright lie the claim that piracy (where actual money changes hands) funds all sorts of bad things probably is true. Just that the amount of money involved is trivial compared with that from o
  • people will trade movies online. for free. without any limitations. they just will, get used to it. no matter what laws anyone passes. end of story, there really is no alternative to that future

    movies will still be made for $100 million. the studios will just make their money only in the theatres. there just will be no more online/ dvd/ vhs aftermarket

    oh yeah, remember the vhs? that the studios fought tooth and nail in the 1980s because it was going to kill their movie business? which they now count as a huge cash cow? and which they now vigorously defend? pffft. yeah, like those guys understand a damn thing about what they are talking about

    people announced the death of the moviehouse in the 1950s. why? television. this was two decades before "Jaws" and the birth of the summer blockbuster. some genius prognostication there, huh? same with those predicting the internet, and the hdtv, and all of that will kill the theatre. uh, no. history repeating itself. the theatre business is secure, really

    studios will still make lots of money, people will still jam movie houses, no matter what a bunch of asocial slashdotters in their parent's basement say. watching anime on a 17 inch monitor by yourself in your basement is NOT a threat to people going to the movies on dates, in families, in groups, to see the blockbuster first, etc. no matter what technological advance is made. seriously

    hollywood: you're just going to have to wean yourself of the dvd aftermarket. there will be nothing online to match that cash cow, and the internet is going to kill that cash cow. go ahead and pass a bunch of laws, pay off some congressman, step up in enforcement. doesn't matter in the least. that cash cow is going bye bye, nothing is going to replace it. deal with that, nothing is changing that fact

    just put yourself in your 1980s "the aftermarket is going to kill the movie business!" point of view, you'll get used to the change

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )
      The asocial slashdotters are already watching those movies
      in their living room on a 60" TV or using some sort of projector.
      Your characterization is wildly out of touch with reality.

      Take a $1000 projector, about 12 feet of throw distance and
      add a well setup surround sound system and the MPAA is f*cked.

      This is what the non-asocial non-slashdot reading types are
      all doing in the suburbs. What do you think they do with all of
      that gratuitous space in t
      • tv didn't kill the theatre in the 1950s. the theatre kept growing


        they did studies. it's sort of a post-modern church. psychologiclly, people go there to feel like part of a community, the other gasps, laughs, etc. in a movie house heighten the experience. yes, dorothy, that effect is taking into account the crying babies, the asshole with the cell phone, etc.

        seriously: the hdtv, internet movies, etc. will not alter the money made at theatres. because its a controlled venue, a must have experience. its p
    • The VHS situation is different than the internet situation. VHS video recorders could copy a movie, but they could not be used to search for a movie, whereas nowadays every digital item is two clicks away.

      The real problem with MPAA is not that piracy is not theft, but its motives. The real motive behind MPAA is not that "piracy is bad", but that "we are not as filthy rich as we could be if you did not copy our data". So, since the rich don't play fair, it's only justified to copy a movie for personal use (n
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:45AM (#22221884) Homepage
    According to this Ars Technica article ( http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060505-6761.html [arstechnica.com] ), the $6.1 billion that the MPAA claims is lost to piracy is a highly inflated number. Ok, I'll pause while everyone says "Well, DUH!".... ... done? ... ok, good. Let's proceed.

    Apparently, "bootlegging" costs them $2.4 million. This is typically "hard piracy" or a guy on a street corner selling a copied DVD for $5. Let's give the MPAA this figure.

    The next portion is $1.4 billion "lost" to illegal copying. Now this isn't someone putting Star Wars up on a P2P network. This is someone taking their Star Wars DVD and making a backup copy of it. Apparently, the MPAA feels that you should pay for backup copies and not doing so is costing them money. This is likely just a load of horse manure, but let's leave it be for now because the next one is what really interests me.

    Finally, they claim $2.3 billion in losses to "internet piracy". Since they claim that most of the losses are overseas (say, 40%) and 15% of the US Internet piracy happens on campuses, that's $138 million ($2.3 Billion * 0.4 * 0.15). Now, they also are claiming that each P2P copy downloaded is a lost sale. I disagree with that and think that the real "lost sales" figures are far lower. I'm willing to grant them a compromise, though, and assume that a one in three downloaded copies is a lost sale. This takes the losses figure down to $46 million. Finally, some of those "lost sales" would have been used copies, rentals, or other legal "reduced cost" methods. So let's assume that this takes reduces their revenue by 20% (again, being generous)*. This takes their Internet Piracy loss down to just under $37 million.

    So for $37 million lost annually, the MPAA wants severe Federal laws that would deny students a college education if someone else on the campus pirates a movie?

    * Ok, I pulled a lot of the numbers out of my behind, but so did the MPAA. At least my numbers are likely to be closer to reality.
    • by Wylfing ( 144940 )

      I think there is something like 16 million students enrolled in colleges & universities in the U.S. each year. Using your figures, that means $2.30 per student. So I guess they think it's fair that because you "took" $2.30 from them, they should take $100,000 from you.

    • by Alsee ( 515537 )
      At least my numbers are likely to be closer to reality.

      If we're gonna play horseshoes....
      I'm gonna toss a $zero out there for the win :)

    • Bearing a resemblence to reality doesn't make any sense in the RIAA universe. I think they're currently lobbying to make reality a punishable offence.

      As an aside, the RIAA don't just make this stuff up. You need to have had about a kilo of marching powder up your nose before you start thinking up numbers as big as that. Observe this example:

      Non-coked-up RIAA executive 1: So how much did we lose to downloading this year?
      Non-coked-up RIAA executive 2: Well, when you factor in the fact that most of what we cal
  • Wait for it....

    What the **AA still are not telling us is how and where they found what proof (if any) that P2P file sharing is hurting their business, nor have the quantified how the quality of their product taints that estimate. Remember that old adage about comparing apples and oranges?

    Now, factor in the damage done by Radiohead or NIN. How does that affect their bottom line, and tell me in dollars and cents because wild ass guesses are not good enough in a court of law where they are claiming dollar and
  • by Vengance Daemon ( 946173 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @11:54AM (#22221998)
    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against . . . We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt."

    Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  • And MPAA and RIAA officials ... should acknowledge, respect and strongly support the continuing efforts of campus officials to address copyright issues, in part by ending the public posturing that portrays colleges and universities as dens of digital piracy.

    For that to happen, colleges and universities will have to stop being dens of digital piracy. Everybody who's been to college in the last 10 or 15 years knows it's true. Slashdot it being ridiculous, ignoring well-known facts because they happen to di

  • colleges and universities are engaged in serious efforts to inform and educate students about the importance of copyright

    When I entered college in 2001, my college was engaged in a serious effort to show all incoming freshman a film depicting the trouble of over-indulging in alcohol and the risks of taking advantage of women while they are intoxicated. To me, this is a real serious concern because of the way lives can be ruined during only a single thoughtless night of events.

    I hardly think "copyright" should even be considered in the same ballpark as "rape". If the music industry really has a problem with college stude

  • Look at how much money they make! [the-numbers.com] if they even put 10% of that into buying politicians every law could be rewritten!
  • And MPAA and RIAA officials ... should acknowledge, respect and strongly support the continuing efforts of campus officials to address copyright issues,

    So that's why they (or at least some of them) are trying to force universities that do not have anti-piracy infrastructures (filters, monitoring, etc) in place to lose their federal funding? Wow, that does show a lot of respect.

    I think that the MPAA and RIAA should not be allowed to interfere with anything regarding universities, except maybe as cases to ana

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer