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MPAA Goes After Home Entertainment Systems 402

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the jokes-that-some-people-just-wont-get dept.
philba writes to tell us that home theaters may become the new jurisdiction of our MPAA overlords. The MPAA is lobbying to make sure that home users authorize their entertainment systems before any in-home viewings. From the article: "The MPAA defines a home theater as any home with a television larger than 29" with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theater would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown."
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MPAA Goes After Home Entertainment Systems

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  • by linuxci (3530) * on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:24AM (#17013586)
    It's a disgrace that the MPAA are doing this, who says it's up to them to control what we do in our own home. Does it matter if we're watching it on a 14" screen or a 40" screen or even on an iPod?? The MPAA have gone too far with this, I'm packing up and moving to a country where this can't happen. I bet Microsoft will support this move.

    Oh wait, it's satire :) Still, these sites shouldn't give the MPAA any ideas.
    • by davidmcg (796487) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:25AM (#17013602) Homepage
      Oh wait, it's satire :)
      That's what they want you to believe! Actually the MPAA only chooses ideas that the satire sites have rejected due to the idea being too crazy to be believed.
      • Of course the BBSpot piece is a satire but did you know that this was basically the way they intended things to go when VCRs were first invented?

        The story is retold in one of Lessig's books -- The Future of Ideas, IIRC. Someone invented a videotape with a lock, so that to watch it a second time you had to pay (someone) again and get them to rewind for you.

        As I understand it, an MPAA exec rejected the design, because there was no way to tell how many people were present at a given viewing. They wanted a

    • by Anonymous Coward
      At http://www.mpaa.org/Public_Performance.asp [mpaa.org], it says:

      "Suppose you invite a few personal friends over for dinner and a movie. You purchase or rent a copy of a movie from the local video store and view the film in your home that night. Have you violated the copyright law by illegally 'publicly performing' the movie? Probably not."

      and

      "The Federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the U.S. Code) governs how copyrighted materials, such as movies, may be used. Neither the rental nor the purchase of a movie carries wit
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 72beetle (177347)
      Compared to some of the bon mots that the MPAA has dropped on us in the past, this satirical piece is totally plausible - the best gags are the ones that could actually be true, and the MPAA has given us more than enough reason to think something like this would be legit at first glance.

      Still, well played, BBSpot.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by plover (150551) *

        Still, well played, BBSpot.

        Too well played, I believe. Their site is not only being Slashdotted, but I think millions of gullible people are frantically sending each other emails right now saying "OMG, Dave, they want to charge you $50 for your big screen TV!!!" Their site is going to take a looong time to recover from this one!

        Past experience suggests that I'll get this exact link from a well-meaning relative sometime in the next two or three months.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by glindsey (73730)
          Playing devils' advocate... couldn't this be a very good thing? If enough people believe this truly came from the MPAA and start screaming about it, the MPAA will have no choice but to put out a press release denying it, and it is bad press for them to even need to do such a thing.

          Doesn't matter if the article is true or not; if it is believable enough, it'll still have power. Whether it is right to fight FUD with FUD is another question, of course.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ravenshrike (808508)
      *cough* TV licenses in the UK*cough*
  • Wow. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Somatic (888514)
    This would be funny, if the government didn't listen to them half of the time.
  • yawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by rm999 (775449) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:25AM (#17013600)
    Bbspot is a satire site. This story is not real. I would have more of a sense of humor about it if the story was actually funny.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by weicco (645927)
      Satire site? You must be kidding! If this isn't true then I don't know what is!

      http://www.bbspot.com/News/2000/4/MS_Buys_Evil.htm l [bbspot.com]
    • by Cordath (581672) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:08AM (#17013882)
      I don't understand the MPAA. In ways they're even more idiotic than RIAA. Let's take an example...

      I'm sure most people have come across MPAA's anti-piracy adds. For example, there's that one that starts out by saying:

      "YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR..."

      Now, let's just stop for a moment and consider the one segment of viewers who are 100% guaranteed to see this ad: Legitimate customers. What is the car-world equivalent of legitimate customers? Car owners. When was the last time you got into your car and saw a big sign saying "YOU WOULDN'T PIRATE A MOVIE!" spraypainted across your windshield? What about the candy equivalent? How often do you buy a Coffee Crisp only to open it up and find, drizzled onto the top of the bar in iridescent-green super-sour gummy, "YOU WOULDN'T POACH ELK OUT OF SEASON...". Does IHOP serve pancakes with motor-oil drizzled on top of them to spell out "YOU WOULDN'T EAT YOUR NEIGHBOR'S KIDNEY WITH A NICE CHIANTI AND SOME FAVA BEANS..."

      Only the MPAA is insane enough to take the one thing they have to offer a customer and deliberately vandalize it in a way that only their legitimate customers are likely to see. The scary thing is that these morons have enough money to lobby the government for stuff nearly as crazy as in the linked spoof. Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if people did pirate movies a little more so that the MPAA didn't have quite so much money to throw around in Washington.
      • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:14AM (#17013942) Journal
        Ironically, I hate those ads so much that it's rather put me off buying DVDs. I guess that means at least I'm not going to copy it.

        A friend of mine simply copied all her discs to her PC to circumvent it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pubjames (468013)
          Ironically, I hate those ads so much that it's rather put me off buying DVDs.

          Ironically, I copy the movies off DVDs just so I don't have to watch that crap.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gibsnag (885901)
          Same here. I find it amusing that they're giving this Anti-Piracy shit to the people who've either bought their DVD or are watching their movie in the cinema... I've already paid for your shit! Leave me alone!

          On the other hand I could download a ripped copy (for free), with no ads what-so-ever and watch it on my computer without having to arse around. Hrm... it makes me want to pirate more just to show them that their little advertisement scheme isn't fucking working.
        • by rikkards (98006)
          I just rent and rip using DVD Shrink to get rid of the extra fluff anything I want to keep.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Yeah. What's with all the "introductions you can't skip" crap lately?

          I don't need to watch a copyright statement in ten languages, and which has questionable if any validity in my jurisdiction anyway, before getting to the main menu. Neither do I need to watch five minutes of trailers for other DVDs from the same distributor.

          Like the parent poster, I now find myself looking up any DVDs I'm thinking of buying, and I don't bother if they have too much crap associated with them. Given the limited amount of

      • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:47AM (#17014114)
        Actually the funny thing is, that those ads probably are one of the major factors why moviegoer numbers are steeply declining. First of all there are the ads, then the insults and then the trailers. I guess the insults pushed it over the top for many. If I look into my own surrounding, there used to be a lot of people who went to the theatre once a week. Nowadays it is only twice per year, and it basically was due to the ads, and the insults. I recently went with them into a movie, after 10 minutes of constant ads we were close to walking out, the following piracy insult basically did it to ruin the experience entirely! Needless to say, no theatre visit anymore for the following months by anyone of us!
      • by simm1701 (835424) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:00AM (#17014176)
        Every time I see those adds I want to report them to the advertising standards agency for making false claim and accusations.

        How I understand it making a private copy of a dvd, or downloading one (ie piracy by their definition) is breach of copywrite, which is a civil offense, not a criminal offense.

        Since it is not a criminal offense then it cannot be described as a crime (by the definition of the word).

        Since the advert says it is it is suggesting that people who may or may not be commitinga civil offense are criminals which seems to me is slander...

        But then again IANAL, though I would find it ratehr amusing if the ASA banned their trailers in the uk til they changed them (same for the ones about TV licenses for those that don't have or want TV but thats a completely different rant)
      • No, I wouldn't steal a car.

        But if someone could invent a torrent for a Ferrari F355, I'd certainly download one.

        I don't download movies, but I sometimes really wish I could skip all that crap. I just put the disc in and let it play through before turning the TV on. So the recent ones insist on a few button clicks to get past. Bastards.
      • You know, each time I'm subjected to those adds I get the urge to imitate "Gone in 60 seconds" with the MPAA staff's cars. Now that would answer their rethoric question.
      • It's this bad the world over. I used to like Warner DVD's for not having these accusatory ads, but they've fallen to the Paranoia as well. Universal's Germany release of Firefly also made me not buy Serenity, since I hate their paranoid "you could go to jail!" blurb that you can't skip, as well as their lame navigation on the DVDs themselves.

        If anything, they've gotten me to stop simply consuming and to draw and write more of my own entertainment.

        And yes, it is hard to laugh at this satire because it hits t
      • by jasontheking (124650) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:37AM (#17014362)
        if someone does a movie parody , I'd love to see a fake add that says

        "you wouldn't doctor your books to get zero profit as a tax dodge"
        "you wouldn't offer unsuspecting people the chance of a percentage of non-existant profits"

        and so on.
      • by fotbr (855184) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @10:29AM (#17015880) Journal
        I've seen that commercial exactly once. I bought the DVD of Office Space, got home, saw that, and went right back to the store to return the movie. Amazingly enough, walmart WILL take opened DVDs back, for a refund (not "another copy"), if you claim it is defective and are patient enough to wait while they find the store manager. I explained that I had expectations of seeing the movie I paid for, not a 5 minute insult that I couldn't skip, and therefore the product was defective as designed, and another copy would not be acceptable.

        I will not be buying any more DVDs. I already don't go to theaters. I just wish I could find contact information for Fox Home Entertainment to tell them WHY their anti-piracy insults have now hit their bottom line (even if it is only a few dollars / year).
      • I'm sure most people have come across MPAA's anti-piracy adds. For example, there's that one that starts out by saying: "YOU WOULDN'T STEAL A CAR..."

        Oh, those ads were very effective in my case. After I saw the first one, I started stealing cars, purses and DVD's off the shelf at the store, too.

    • Good satire (Score:4, Informative)

      by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:07AM (#17014534) Homepage
      It seems to pass the first test of good satire, it is close enough that some people mistake it for reality. Obvious satire is pointless and boring.
  • Joke (Score:2, Redundant)

    by pubjames (468013)
    This is a satirical news story, isn't it? It certainly reads like one.

  • Satire? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ddent (166525) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:26AM (#17013614) Homepage
    This is satire, right? Right? Please say its satire.
  • From their about [bbspot.com] site:

    Called "the world's greatest tech humour site" by The Register, BBspot creates entertainment for the geekier side of the world. BBspot produces a variety of features like fake news stories satirizing the tech and political worlds, the BBspot Mailbag which pokes fun at the Believers (people who believe our fake news) and much more.

    Aren't there any editors around here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by strider44 (650833)
      Wow. So glad that you've told us and the editors that - I'm sure they feel really silly. Some people just won't get those jokes.
  • by GoNINzo (32266) <GoNINzo@ y a hoo.com> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:27AM (#17013618) Homepage Journal
    You know, you really should warn us of the site you're sending us to in these kinds of cases. Because I wouldn't put this past the MPAA for reals.

    And the newly elected congress might be just busy enough to say 'sure sure' and pass something like this through.

    I prefer the other MPAA story they have on their site though: MPAA to Thwart Pirates By Making All Movies Suck [bbspot.com] (It would be funnier if it wasn't so true.)

    • by Saib0t (204692) <saibot@hesp e r i a - m u d.org> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:34AM (#17013682)
      You know, you really should warn us of the site you're sending us to in these kinds of cases.
      "from the jokes-that-some-people-just-wont-get dept." and the foot icon "it's funny, laugh" should be more than enough for everyone. Except the blind ;-)
      • by Duds (100634) <dudley&enterspace,org> on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:24AM (#17013994) Homepage Journal
        Heaven forbid people actually expect "News for nerds, stuff that matters" rather than "Fucking retarded email joke of the week."

        What's next? Zonk posting "I'm getting $10million for Nigeria"?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MightyYar (622222)
          They only do this once a week max. Just don't click on the stories with the Monty Python foot.
      • by Barny (103770)
        Nono, blind interpreting software would read all that out, so even blind people would understand its a joke.

        As for the "wtf, this is a news site why is this here", last time i looked into it (about 5-6 years back, when slashcode was readable before breakfast), its a communal blog with a comment system.

        I like getting a funny every now and again, even newspapers have cartoons in them ^_^
    • by linuxci (3530) *
      The foot icon is meant to indicate humour and also look at the heading of the article:
      Posted by ScuttleMonkey on 9:22 Tuesday 28 November 2006
      from the jokes-that-some-people-just-wont-get dept.
      So I'd say you had been warned, if they made it too obvious that it was satire then it'd be less funny (whether it was funny to begin with is subjective of course).
    • News submissions like this are very bad for /.'s credibility. I'm starting to see why people laugh when I talk about national security issues and, when asked where I'm reading about these things, I say "slashdot". Editors please make sure the site is legit.
      • by MightyYar (622222)
        Yes, because the New York Times is often derided for its comics and crossword.

        The giant Monty Python foot, or the alt tag "It's funny. Laugh." makes it obvious enough for me.
    • Yeah wasn't obvious at all.

      RTFP(ost)
  • by Travoltus (110240) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:27AM (#17013624) Journal
    Your deadline for getting that law signed, passed on November the 7th.

    *writes letter to Congresswoman Matsui JUST IN CASE*
  • by Armagguedes (873270) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:28AM (#17013634) Homepage Journal
    Seriously WTF. Not to doubt BBSpot's credibility, but i can't believe this is real. If it is (and we are royally screwed), what's the source then. YHBT?
  • This is satire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bakerstreet (136889) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:31AM (#17013660)
    Come on... folks... when you get this quick to outrage it just makes YOU look silly...
    • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:49AM (#17014430) Homepage

      Yes, it's satire. But that fact that no one would be at all surprised if the MPAA was really being that retarded speaks volumes about them.

      I have an issue with "dirty work" organizations. Microsoft and other companies don't want to get their hands dirty suing customers so they fund the BSA. Record labels don't want their name on enforcement actions so they fund RIAA. One of the best things Congress could do for the consumer is strip away the ability of companies to hide behind their mafia inspired enforcement organizations. I don't think it would stop Sony from suing people for using file sharing software but it at least they take the PR hit for doing it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You can't spell Lawyer without layer. The answer is to simplify the legal system, not add on yet another veil for the powers that be to pierce and misuse.

        The fact that you need an advocate to find an advocate to talk to a representitive who may be able to help is stupid.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:33AM (#17013668)
    That some people don't get the joke or that I can understand well why they don't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ComaVN (325750)
      Indeed. It's not crazier than cabdrivers having to pay for putting on the radio.
  • The quotes in the article has to be fake, or are they really that bat-shit crazy?

    I undestand that they want to protect profits, but the underlying problem - digital information can be reproduced, which removes the concept of scarcity (except for storage, network bandwidth and consumer time) is not going to go away. They are going to have to keep coming up with more and more draconion countermeasures, accept a certain amount of piracy, or move to another business.

    What is next, chopping down the world's trees
  • by kraada (300650) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:34AM (#17013686)
    "Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn't give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too", Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA (FTA).

    Now, I really want to know this: So, what rights do we get for buying a DVD? The right to watch it by my lonesome? Should each family of four have to pay for four copies of a movie? If I want to watch a DVD with my girlfriend, should I have to buy two copies? If I could get four copies worth if I had a familiy, why couldn't a single guy invite three of his buddies over to watch the film? Am I really supposed to believe that buying a DVD merely allows ONE person to watch the DVD and no more?

    Because, to be perfectly honest, 75% of the reason I buy a DVD is to show it to friends that haven't seen it already. My DVD library is a collection of movies I think everyone should see (and I wouldn't mind watching repeatedly). If I were "not allowed" to buy DVDs with this express purpose, I don't think I would buy any at all. I don't rewatch movies all that often on my own; when I want to see a movie -- especially alone -- I want to see something new.

    In short: This is ridiculous. I wish there were an effective way to do something about it.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:39AM (#17013720)
    There is something that's worse than the MPAA regulating home theaters. And that's Slashdot posting a link to an obvious satire piece and a great many of its readers (and possibly a certain editor) not having the intelligence to realize that its satire.

    P.T. Barnum was right.

    • by pryonic (938155) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:45AM (#17013746)
      They did notice, it's from the "jokes-that-some-people-just-wont-get dept" if you look at the header of the article. Just a bit of humour.
    • by MightyYar (622222)
      Think of it as an opportunity to fill up your "foes" list. Anyone who replies seriously obviously did not read the article, or has a serious problem with the whole reality vs. fantasy thing. It's message board Darwinism.

      The editor DID notice the humor, since it has the "It's funny. Laugh." Monty Python foot.
    • by shish (588640)
      I wouldn't fault /. reader's intelligence (in this case), but the mpaa, for making news like this become an everyday thing that people accept as perfectly realistic without thinking twice...
    • There is something that's worse than the MPAA regulating home theaters. And that's Slashdot posting a link to an obvious satire piece and a great many of its readers (and possibly a certain editor) not having the intelligence to realize that its satire.

      Is it not having the intelligence to realise that it is satire or that many people wouldn't be too surprised to see the MPAA actually trying to do something like this? After all when I heard that the RIAA was suing a dead grandmother ( http://www.betanews.com [betanews.com]
  • Actually, the site in question has a lot more satirical (and IT-oriented) funny stories.

    Perhaps not on the BOFH level, but still they have some pretty witty stuff, like God Going After Bible Pirates [bbspot.com], or Sony's Self-Destructing DVD Player(TM) [bbspot.com] Most of these skits are several years old, but still very relevant today.

    . Thanks for posting this!

    Z.
  • that berates the MPAA needs to read a bit and deserves a flame!

    I must admit I came in too post agrily... and read that it was satire.

    This is one of those RTFA times for sure.
  • by ChrisZermatt (892665) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @05:52AM (#17013796)
    You guys have missed the best part of the site -- the menu link on the left side of the page: http://www.bbspot.com/toys/slashtitle/index.html [bbspot.com] which creates (incredibly believable) stories to post to /.
  • Great idea! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I actually think this is a GREAT idea. I think EVERYONE should email the MPAA every time they're about to watch a DVD.

    That should probably be per person viewing, in fact.

  • Home theatre? Is it even possible with Betamax? :)

  • "Inch" is legally a slang term, without an official meaning in a court of law (unless the measurement is given primarily in official units, with an inch translation in brackets). So my TV set is smaller than 29 inches -- nas long as you consider an inch to be 36mm. or more. Problem solved!
  • I can't believe anyone didn't realise this was humour within the first couple of seconds. How many clues do you people need? I've been to a few sites like this lampooning Bush, Christians, whatever and the amount of posts from people who take the stories literally is quite honestly frightening.
  • This is absolutely stupid. If you are not making any money off the movie, it isn't commercial, and thus private use. Since you already paid for it for private use, then that is just.

    Furthermore, so what if you invite friends over to view it? Are you making a profit off of them? Does that really prevent them from simply going out and buying a personal copy for themselves? How many people here saw a movie in a theatre, at a friends house, or on a charter bus, and went out and bought it later on?

    By the way, I
  • by digitalhermit (113459) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @06:14AM (#17013924) Homepage
    ...don't you have the tiniest fear that someone in MPAA headquarters isn't reading and thinking, "Great Scott!! It's brilliant!"
  • This isn't funny. I am sick and tired of satire sites being posted on news sites. There is a place for satire, and it is called on the satire site itself.

    Any slashdot admins reading this, whenever satire is submitted, please make the tag so huge no one can mistake it for actual news.
    • by BenjyD (316700)
      Surely no one reads Slashdot for news any more? There are far better places to get nerd news, Slashdot is just a tech community comment site, whatever the slogan says.
    • by MightyYar (622222)
      You mean like, say, a giant Monty Python foot icon next to the submission with the alt tag "It's funny. Laugh."?
  • I got off it really quick. I found the article funny as hell once I realized it was bogus. But, it seems now the humor department link is in the article. There must be bonuses for captcha viewing impressions. Cuz, I sure dont' see many ads... Captchas can become Gotchas...

    Captcha: "analyze"

    (well, in THIS case, it could be anal-ize considering the unnecessary vitriol and anger that quickly popped up...

    Or, anal-eyes, since it seems weird stuff gets put up, as if well, impressions are in vogue or something...)
  • ... somewhere an MPAA director is going "Hey, why didn't I think of that?"

  • by DikSeaCup (767041) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:39AM (#17014374) Homepage
    In spite of all the warnings (tags, dept header), it was hard not taking this seriously. I would not have been surprised if this had been a real news item - and I'm sure we'll see something just as crazy before too long ...

    Thing is, when you say "they want $50 for any home theater system," I got the image (to borrow from Robin Williams) of two guys with the middle name "the" showing up at my place and knocking on my door (like "Jimmy the Fish" or "Johnny the Shark"). Because let's face it - the *IAA is just the new Mob, specializing in extortion using the legal system, whose lawyers should have the middle name "the".

  • by unts (754160) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @07:46AM (#17014418) Homepage Journal
    The problem with satirical articles about the MPAA is that they have to get well beyond the realms of reality before they stop being believable.

    Don't forget that here in the UK we have TV licensing. Home Theatre licensing isn't so far fetched from that.

    Satire? Looks like they're just giving the MPAA more great ideas... We're doomed!
  • by AlHunt (982887)
    Sadly, the antics of the **AA make this one just a bit too close for comfort. Who wants to bet that we'll see something along these lines sooner rather than later? Maybe a tax on home theater equipment similar to Canada's tax on recordable media? Or maybe a tax on comfy seating for 2 or more people?
  • Errr... :-/ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday November 28, 2006 @08:08AM (#17014542) Homepage Journal

    When I realized that this article was from BBSpot, I didn't know whether to laugh or be relieved...and that's a frightening thought.

    Seriously. We have to do something about these media cartels before articles like this stop being satire.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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