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RIAA/MPAA: the Greatest Threat To Tech Innovation 278

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the where-have-i-heard-that-before dept.
TAGmclaren writes "The Harvard Business Review is running an article stating that it's not India or China that are the greatest threat to technological innovation happening in America. Rather, it's the 'big content' players, particularly the movie and music industry. From the article: 'the Big Content players do not understand technology, and never have. Rather than see it as an opportunity to reach new audiences, technology has always been a threat to them. Example after example abounds of this attitude; whether it was the VCR which was "to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone" as famed movie industry lobbyist Jack Valenti put it at a congressional hearing, or MP3 technology, which they tried to sue out of existence.'"
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RIAA/MPAA: the Greatest Threat To Tech Innovation

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  • The VCR? No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:12AM (#35708344) Journal

    The printing press was/is the greatest threat. That's where it all started. The first "Bertamax" case..

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eggled (1135799)
      "Bertamax" has me picturing a muscle building product whose spokeswoman is a large german woman...

      BertaMAXX!
    • Huh? You kidding?

      The printing press owners were pretty much what the "big five" and hence the RIAA are today: The ones controlling the publication. Copyright was never intended to protect the original author, it was since its inception about protecting the one owning the "right to publish", which were (at least for more interesting works) always one of the big printing presses. It has been a tool to keep the profits where they 'belong'.

      • Re:The VCR? No (Score:4, Informative)

        by log0n (18224) on Monday April 04, 2011 @12:19PM (#35709184)

        Something tells me history isn't your strong suit. At it's inception, the printing press stood as a tool about as un-RIAA as was possible to be. Check out Johannes Gutenberg (of Project Gutenberg fame :) ).

      • In ye olden days, it was the writers guilds that was the "RIAA" of the time. The printing press was a scroll "ripper".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AlecC (512609)

        You are looking from the wrong end. Eventually, when a technology is commoditized, the Big Players adopt it - and 400 years is long enough to do so. But when printing first appeared. the Big Players of that time - the Church, the Monarchs - were horrified by this new technology and did their very best to control and restrict it. In England, all publishers has to operate from St Paul's churchyard, and every volume had to be approved by the King's censors, on pain of penalties on both publisher and printer. O

  • Simplistic view (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:15AM (#35708366)
    These corporations are not a threat to tech innovation: Voter apathy is the threat. In every country where intellectual property concepts have been strengthened by legal precident, it has done so because the issues are too complex for the average person to understand. They are uninformed, and unable to feel any sentiments towards what is happening one way or another. They may vaguely understand that it is wrong, but being unable to form a cohesive argument against it, they shrug and move on. It's intellectually dishonest to place the blame on a handful of individuals and corporations for this situation. If you really want to drill down to the root cause of this, it's our poor public education system and a lack of training on using critical thinking skills that has caused this, and many other, social ills. And that's true globally, not just in the United States. Wherever you cut back education and voter participation falls, corruption grows and corporations become more powerful.
    • ...corruption grows and corporations become more powerful.

      In place of "corporations" or "government" (redundant terms actually), just use the term "authority". Authority is a direct function of corruption.

    • And you think many politicians are interested in this issue? What happens if they stand for some other more important issue that you agree with? Voter apathy is bound to happen when there are no candidates you completely agree with.

      • I'm not sure - I think the threat of Felony Misclicks is just about the top of the list! Just grab your beverage of choice and work through the results. Especially see your sig - that will be Trolling 3.11 and just might be the flip from web 2.0 to Web 3.0.

        Think of the Social Network sites and what they are made of. An UltraTurfer sends you a link - but since it's not the one and only copy by the original producer, it's Illegal streaming. Lights out!

        Job Applications: "Have you ever been convicted of a felon

    • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:34AM (#35708608)
      I wouldn't call it voter apathy. I would simply say most voters are more concerned about whether or not they will be able to afford rent or the mortgage next month, or have enough money left after taxes to take their kids on that vacation, or even just be able to put good, healthy food on the table for them. When ordering priorities for a lot of people, being able to listen to music in any format they want or being able to stream the newest episode of whatever TV show online falls pretty low on the list.
      • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Interesting)

        by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:48AM (#35708776)

        I wouldn't call it voter apathy. I would simply say most voters are more concerned[...]When ordering priorities for a lot of people[...]falls pretty low on the list.

        I think the distinction is academic. Whether you don't care, or don't care enough the end result is the same: Inaction. Now, I'm going to come dangerously close to Godwinning the discussion here, but I feel an excerb from Elie Wiesel's speech The Perils of Indifference sheds some light on this distinction. Keep in mind that what he was discussing was many orders of magnitude more severe than what we are talking about, but the principle is the same.

        What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means "no difference." A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.

        What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary at times to practice it simply to keep one's sanity, live normally, enjoy a fine meal and a glass of wine, as the world around us experiences harrowing upheavals?

        Of course, indifference can be tempting -- more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person's pain and despair. Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless. Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest. Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction.

        [Source [historyplace.com]]

        • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Interesting)

          by postbigbang (761081) on Monday April 04, 2011 @12:35PM (#35709376)

          The ostensible 'inaction' really has nothing to do with the core problem. The music industry has an evolved business ecosystem, and can blithely ignore whatever technology you want to throw at them.

          They fund the band, they control the media and also who the 'stars' are going to be, they do the tour promotions, link to the ticket companies, edit the fan pages, and so on. This is an ecosystem. You have to kill most parts of it and re-do it to make indie music work. I have friends and relatives that are in the indie business. They compete with huge wads of cash and a set of walls at each turn of the road to riches. Their fans just want the music; they'd just like a little money to keep from starving.

          In the motion picture industry (sounds old, doesn't it?) it's the same set of characteristics. Studios, producers, theaters, TV, syndication, stars stars hype stars. The indie film makers have their own festivals, but at the root of their desire is artistic expression and oh, gotta pay the bills. At each turn of the road, they, too, face an entrenched set of business ecosystems. To fight this, you have to replace the ecosystems, 'cause people have to eat and get paid. Lacking that, you're fighting windmills.

        • That's great and all, but tell me then which things I shouldn't be indifferent to? Should I fight global warming with all my energy? What about crime? I can't care about everything. I don't have the time. I suspect many people are indifferent because there are too many issues competing for our attention, and they do not have the time, energy or knowledge to make a choice about any of them.

          Yes, the voters are indifferent. If we could make them care about something, who chooses what that something is? If we c

      • by Kjella (173770)

        And probably just as much that there isn't an obvious difference in the parties - least not the big two. The democrats have their list of what they are that the republicans aren't and vice versa. Even if voters do care, you'd still need a choice.

        • There's a red vase with a hole in the bottom and a blue vase with a hole in the bottom, but you have the free choice which one you want to buy.

          • There's a red vase with a hole in the bottom and a blue vase with a hole in the bottom, but you have the free choice which one you want to buy.

            Our "2-party" system doesn't work like that. There are actually plenty of other vases around, but you only get the vase you want if enough other people buy that vase, too.

            It's a system of fear, where you are asked to pick the lesser of two evils, and are told that if you pick one of the "other" options, the greater evil will win.

            • No, it's just free market. Since there are not enough people that want green vases, purple vases or black vases (with or without holes), they simply ain't manufactured. They would, if enough people requested them, but since most are happy with the blue and red vase (despite the hole, seems people enjoy pouring water into a bottomless pit), they simply ain't made. Why bother if the old vases sell well enough?

      • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Monday April 04, 2011 @12:28PM (#35709294)

        I wouldn't call it voter apathy. I would simply say most voters are more concerned about whether or not they will be able to afford rent or the mortgage next month, or have enough money left after taxes to take their kids on that vacation, or even just be able to put good, healthy food on the table for them. When ordering priorities for a lot of people, being able to listen to music in any format they want or being able to stream the newest episode of whatever TV show online falls pretty low on the list.

        +1

        In addition to those very fine reasons, I'd add that many people rely upon the news media for an update on "what's important," while it has historically been in the same news media's interest not to discuss IP laws or copyright reform. It needn't be malicious intent, either; discussion on COICA or other complicated topics may simply not "sell" as well as the current local/worldwide disaster. Many topics are worthy for discussion, but there's only so much time in a day.

    • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Labcoat Samurai (1517479) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:38AM (#35708674)

      These corporations are not a threat to tech innovation: Voter apathy is the threat. In every country where intellectual property concepts have been strengthened by legal precident, it has done so because the issues are too complex for the average person to understand. They are uninformed, and unable to feel any sentiments towards what is happening one way or another. They may vaguely understand that it is wrong, but being unable to form a cohesive argument against it, they shrug and move on.

      In my experience, inability to form a cohesive argument doesn't stop people from having strong convictions. I won't politicize this with examples, but there are a lot of people out there who are very passionate about issues despite having incoherent, nonsensical rationale.

      It's intellectually dishonest to place the blame on a handful of individuals and corporations for this situation. If you really want to drill down to the root cause of this, it's our poor public education system and a lack of training on using critical thinking skills that has caused this, and many other, social ills. And that's true globally, not just in the United States. Wherever you cut back education and voter participation falls, corruption grows and corporations become more powerful.

      The problem is that they don't care, though. I'm not sure how you can educate the apathy out of them. I remember school, and I remember that people were apathetic then, too. If it wasn't something the directly impacted their priorities, they tuned out and couldn't give a shit. What's unfortunate is that there's not necessarily anything about this issue that *does* directly impact their priorities, so provided you can't change that thinking, there may be no way to get people to care. At least no way to get them to care enough to research and critically examine these issues themselves.

      Also, I'm not even sure it's a skill you can teach everyone. I've run into some staggeringly irrational people, and I'm skeptical that it's all because their school didn't do its job.

      • Also, I'm not even sure it's a skill you can teach everyone. I've run into some staggeringly irrational people, and I'm skeptical that it's all because their [government-funded and -controlled] school didn't do its job.

        Maybe it's because the school actually did its job too well [csusa.org].

    • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Insightful)

      by __u63 (65413) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:44AM (#35708736)

      Voter apathy is merely a symptom of a larger problem -- a legislative system that decentralizes decision making so much that elected officials are accountable only to their local constituencies and large campaign contributors and a legal system that is focused on the minutiae of rules and processes and that is all too content to lose sight of the bigger picture. We should accept low voter turnouts in the US as a given for the time being and try to work out a system that will optimize responsible decision making on the part of elected officials.

      Re the subject of this article -- until IP law is revised, the RIAA/MPAA will basically have free reign to do silly things. US IP law is badly broken, something we've been complaining about on Slashdot for years. It will not be revised until there is sensible campaign contribution reform and an organized grassroots political movement.

    • Re:Simplistic view (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gravis777 (123605) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:55AM (#35708862)

      I think the problem is more along the lines of ignorant politicians. The USA is not a truely democratic society - ie we do not vote on every law that comes down, but instead we are a representative democracy. You really cannot vote for someone on a certain issue of none of your candidates understands the issue. In the few cases where a political party emerges that does understand (like the Pirate Party or something), they normally only have strong convictions about technologies and copyright. While that is all important, a politician with no major party backing, who has no clear cut agendas on things such as the economy, healthcare, education, enviornment, or any of the other hot topics, is probably going to recieve little votes.

      Sadly, in the way the US government is setup, about the only way that progress is going to be made is if Party leaders come out, set forth guidelines of where the party stands in matters of copyright, get current politicians behind them, and then see where the votes lead. A half-dozen Congressmen who understand copyright and technology issues are probably going to have a hard time pushing reform through Congress if the other 400 members don't even know what an iPod or an MP3 or bittorrent even is.

      • ...a politician with no major party backing, who has no clear cut agendas on things such as the economy, healthcare, education, enviornment, or any of the other hot topics, is probably going to recieve little votes.

        You say that like there actually IS a politician who'd give you anything concrete about his opinion on controversial topics...

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Apathetic and lack of education.

      Go and ask 20 people RIGHT NOW if they own the DVD's that they have in their home. 19 of them will tell you, "Yes I OWN those." They do not understand that they did notbuy a DVD but purchased a limited viewing license that is revokable at any time. the RIAA and MPAA are allowedto use Illegal false advertising in hiding this fact to consumers. All their ad's say "OWN your copy today" and this is false advertising.

      it starts with education, then they will care.

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        it starts with education, then they will care.

        I think that education needs to start with you, since you are the MPAA's wet dream.

        The MPAA wants you to believe that you are buying a license when you buy a DVD, but both the written laws (17 USC in the United States) and case law shows that you truly have made a purchase. The only thing you are generally not allowed to do with the DVD is to distribute copies of it to other people.

        You can make as many backups of the DVD as you want, as long as you don't distribute them to other people. You can change the

    • You cant educate everyone about everything, the time when the world was that simple has long passed, if it ever existed.
      A solution to this is specialized political parties, which are very common in more enlightened parts of the world.

      With 2 parties that basically spend their energy tearing down what the other built the previous term, you are screwed.

    • That's kinda like saying women who don't know martial arts are to blame for rape. And we all know that wouldn't fly in the court.

      Nor it should. And while it's true that training people to resolve this issue would help (how much is debatable) the truth is that there are a million issues like this and people can't be informed and in *all* of those topics and care about them simultaneously.

      So I think it is fair to accuse those directly involved in the matter as they can understand and care about the subject, a

    • It's partially voter apathy, but it's also a huge amount of regulatory capture.

      I may feel very strongly, but I really have no money and have other things to deal with day to day.

      As an industry with an agenda, I have a dedicated staff to doing nothing but lobbying and deep pockets behind it. A lone individual also lacks the "credibility" of an industry insider. Regardless of what the industry says, they live it so they "must know the issues." It's not necessarily correct, but that's how it works.

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Poor public education. Seems to me the education system has been manipulated to such extent. Was a time you actually learned in school. The shift happened during the time I was in school. Somewhere between Middle School and High School I realized that they weren't teaching us anything. They were simply rehashing what I had already learned.

      Short is, stupid people are easier to control than those that can think for themselves.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Voter apathy is the threat.

      More likely voter ignorance. No one knows enough about every subject (and how every congressman really feels about every subject) to vote appropriately according to their desires. Apathy is a symptom of the vastness of politics and the futility people feel about it, not a cause.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:17AM (#35708386) Journal

    The **AA singlehandedly turned the net from a fun place to mashup stuff into a hush zone where soon if they get their way a misclick will send you to jail! Even the usual patent games don't hold a candle to that!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The net is already in a state where a misclick can send you to jail. Examples:

      1) Accidentally hitting a web page that contains images that are considered child porn where you live.
      2) Accidentally downloading copyrighted content that was illegally posted (like watching a youtube video, which has been prosecuted in some countries).
      3) Buying something online. Perfectly legit. Except you may now owe use tax to your local government, and will not be informed of this until several years later when the interest

  • by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:17AM (#35708388)

    I assumed this has been well known for a long time, at least among the /. crowd. Other examples I can think of off the top of my head.

    1) Mobile Cassette player
    2) CD-RW drives
    3) iPods
    4) Youtube
    5) bittorrent

    do you expect anything less from these people. They rather sue to support their dinosaur of a business model than inovate and keep the status quo.

  • by imgod2u (812837) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:19AM (#35708402) Homepage

    Treating all IP in every industry the same way is flawed to begin with and the barrier to entry to stake a claim on an idea is way too easy.

    The whole point of IP is to encourage innovation by providing incentive for the inventor. Today's IP laws are a flimsy shadow of that. Studios and IP troll companies collect the rewards and inventors are relegated to idea-generating grunts.

    There is no inherent morality to ownership of an idea; it is something granted by the public to individual holders of IP for the benefit of the public. If at any time, said laws are detrimental to the public, it should be repealed.

    Of course, that would require a government that isn't bought and paid for and a populace that's at least decently educated and informed.

    • by Old97 (1341297)
      Right. I was going to post separately complaining about how software and business concept patents are a bigger impediment to innovation. Your comment throws them all together as an IP problem and I agree with you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      No, the whole point of IP is to create another commodity, ripe for speculation. It's just business.

      • by xnpu (963139)

        Indeed. People should realize that how it was sold to them was not necessarily how it was intended. Which is a common "problem".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:33AM (#35708586)

      Why cant there be a property tax on it?

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You sir are a genius.,...

        Tax all IP at a low 8.9% if you OWN specific IP, then pay up. Use the RIAA's claims in court to set a price... It solves the budget problem, and makes the RIAA scream like a hot chick in a slasher movie.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Dear Congress,
      I don't know this IP thing you are talking about, it would be nice to have a nice definition about what constitutes a copy, a transformed work, a derivative work, an original work, if possible by using the very convenient notions that information science brought us during the last century.
      Please understand that as they are today, "IP" objects only exist within the range of the reality distortion field of big lawyers teams. Us, computer scientists, have no way to objectively discern between
  • consumers are obviously better off without mafiaa

    it is my belief artists are better off without mafiaa. the evil communist business model in question is... the same business model as good ol' radio from the 1950s: give your content away for free. should we dig up senator mccarthy and tell him wolfman jack was endorsing a communist business model? make cash in related ways: gigs, ancillary revenues, advertising, endorsements, etc. on the internet, you are giving away your digital content for free, for free advertising, exposure. then you capitalize on that

    of course, not all artists will take that route. that's fine. i think copyleft content will take off regardless as a valid zone of content that pays dividends for everyone who is not the beetles or the rolling stones. because really, with the mafiaa, unless you are the beatles or the rolling stones, some middleman is making cash, not the artist. they write the contracts in such a way you're screwed as an artist unless you have clout

    so we just need to reach artists, and rather than confront IP laws directly, just route around them with a new generation with a new understanding: artists who want exposure more than anything else

    • Even "copyleft" is a license. The entire bureaucracy has to be demolished.

      • i'm sorry, but you need some SOME sort of legal framework

        anarchy only works in the minds of the young, the dumb, and the drugged out utopian. although... it would work for punk as a sales point for their core audience i guess: "steal this song! down with the system!"

    • Music video's were originally used to advertise a new album, then a new single, then they were sold to Music TV, then to the Customer ....

      We are buying adverts for products ....

  • by pablo_max (626328) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:24AM (#35708466)

    No need to understand technology when in addition to having piles of money, you understand that buying law makers will keep your current system safe. This way you don't have to do anything different and you still make money.

    Even as close as a few years back, I had the impression that Democrats somehow had the people interest in mind more than Republicans. I finally realized that both are the same. They simple represent different segments of industry which sometimes have competing views. One thing both can agree on, we are the enemy.

    Off topic, I know but it still makes me sad. To think I wasted 6 years in the military to defend an ideal that doesn't exist anymore. You try to do something about it and everywhere you run into these stupid American hicks saying, if ya dont like'it git'out.
    Well, you know what hick, I did get out. I have moved to Germany. Sure, I cannot have a gun without a really good reason, but at least I can laugh at you will all the people around here...even though it still breaks my heart to see what is happening to my old home.

  • by InsurrctionConsltant (1305287) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:29AM (#35708532)

    1. It’s great to see this coming (finally) from a well-respected business source. The Lessigs, Doctorows and even Nissons of this world are potentially dismissed as impractical ideologues; not so Harvard Business.

    2. The things that really makes me sad and angry is the continuing complicity of the US government in the RIAA & MPAA’s money-grabbing, price-fixing, collusive monopolistic ransom-holding of contemporary cultural output. From the anti-democratic secret ACTA treaty shenanigans to Joe Biden’s White House lunches with the Big Content and law enforcement, even Obama, by far the most technologically forward thinking president ever, has completely failed to comprehend the nature of the problem, despite excellent books on the subject, notably Lessig’s Free Culture.

    I thought Obama would change this, because his election campaign was funded by crowd-sourcing and he railed against the “Special interests” in public debates.

    It’s the public’s interests vs. those of a business elite with a powerful lobby. Guess where the Administration’s placing its support. Change we can believe in, indeed.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      And if the sheeple wouldn't reward politicians for spreading FUD and deliberately breaking the process we might someday get change. But as long as you've got people punishing the government for acting in their interest it's unrealistic to expect anything different. The President tried change, and was rewarded by the people by taking away his majority in the house and most of the seats necessary to get anything done in the Senate.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I still basically "support" Obama –whatever that means, being from the UK. How anyone even slightly left of Bill O'Reilly could favour the alternative, the Cavalcade of Crazy currently coming from the Republican side is beyond me.

        Still, I don't agree with your assessment that "The President tried change, and was rewarded by the people by taking away his majority in the house." I just didn't see the evidence of him "trying change" –the secret ACTA negotiations and white house events for the MPAA

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          His majority was a mess of idiots anyways... they had 2 YEARS and could not pass anything except a massively watered down Healthcare bill, to make the special interests happy. Real changes that would have made real improvements like a public option were taken away because of whiny selfish bitches. none of the Dems could pay attention long enough to vote together...

          The best thing that can happen is a stalemate where nothing get's passed. both sides are full of idiots and if they cant get anything passed t

    • I thought Obama would change this, because his election campaign was funded by crowd-sourcing and he railed against the “Special interests” in public debates.

      It’s the public’s interests vs. those of a business elite with a powerful lobby. Guess where the Administration’s placing its support. Change we can believe in, indeed.

      I knew all along he wouldn't change a thing about that. After all, Biden is the one who wants you to go to Federal prison for downloading mp3s. Someone who supports the idea of copy-left and new media technologies doesn't pick Biden as a running mate. I knew it and I still voted for Obama like a dummy.

      Now look at us, we've got a former senator running MPAA, and Obama hasn't done a damned thing about the level of control corporate lobbies have in the government. Couple that with ACTA, the third middle ea

      • McCain wouldn't have been any differerent. Copyright is one of the issues on which both parties agree, and because they agree neither even feel any need to mention it in campaigning.
  • by rabun_bike (905430) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:30AM (#35708544)
    That is akin to the "what about the artists?" statement the industry always uses. What about the artists? They make most of their money from live performances since they don't have to pay the record industry to perform their songs live (usually). "Artists are paid royalties usually somewhere between 3% and 25% of the suggested retail price of the recording. Exactly where it falls depends on the clout of the artist (a brand new artist might receive less than a well-known artist). From this percentage, a 25% deduction for packaging is taken out (even though packaging rarely costs 25% of the total price of the CD)." The US Supreme Court recently refused to hear the Eminem/Universal case upon which the lower courts had ruled in Eminem's favor that he should receive 50% of revenue from downloaded songs versus the 3 to 5% he was receiving based on CD licensing agreements. That's a big deal and really does put money back in the artists pocket. If the record industry was really concerned about the poor artists they would not be fighting to keep their 95-97%. http://www.prefixmag.com/news/supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-eminemuniversal-case/50487/ [prefixmag.com]
  • by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward,j,reddy&gmail,com> on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:30AM (#35708556) Journal
    Michael Geist, Canada's copyright law guru and law prof at the University of Ottawa, posted an interesting observation about the copyright fight a lot of these organizations like RIAA and MPAA engage. It's marketing failure [michaelgeist.ca], not bad behaviour that is the cause of piracy.

    Meaning, it's RIAA and the MPAA failure to properly price their products at a reasonable level that makes the consumer believe that the purchase is reasonable. I mean, if a movie to buy was $1 or $2, would you purchase it or DL it? If a music CD was $3, not $20, would you own your own copy? Or if they offered monthly subscriptions, like the Netflix model, would you subscribe or pirate?

    Not only are they missing the boat and stifling innovation, they're attacking and going after consumers who don't believe the purchase is worth the money and then lobby governments to put in CRAZY laws that illegally downloading a movie can cost you $250,000 + 5 years in jail if you're charged and found guilty. Yet get in your car drunk and kill a family of 5, spend 2-3 years in jail + $50,000 in legal fees.

    Is it me, or does the who copyright debate sound complete like corporate sheit they've bought and paid for and then rammed down our throats?
    • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:34AM (#35708596)

      Not only are they missing the boat and stifling innovation, they're attacking and going after consumers who don't believe the purchase is worth the money and then lobby governments to put in CRAZY laws that illegally downloading a movie can cost you $250,000 + 5 years in jail if you're charged and found guilty. Yet get in your car drunk and kill a family of 5, spend 2-3 years in jail + $50,000 in legal fees. Is it me, or does the who copyright debate sound complete like corporate sheit they've bought and paid for and then rammed down our throats?

      The moral to this story is that when a piracy crime is worse than a murder charge, you should simply kill anyone threatening you with a copyright lawsuit and get away with a slap on the wrist. Shakespeare's "But first let's kill all the lawyers" has never made more sense than it does now.

      • I'd love to see that in court.

        "Defendent, why did you drive over the lawyer?"
        "Simple economy. It costs less."

    • I mean, if a movie to buy was $1 or $2, would you purchase it or DL it? If a music CD was $3, not $20, would you own your own copy?

      If I could make copies of those CDs and DVDs without having my own equipment kick and scream, and without having to worry about patent violations, then sure. $1 for a DVD? Absolutely.

      However, keep in mind that there are already plenty of people who will spend a lot more than that on a movie. Those people are feeding the MPAA and creating an environment where $1 sounds far too low.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      There's a lot of albums I'd like to own, but can't buy without breaking my boycott of the RIAA. It's a shame because a lot of those albums are quite good, but rewarding an industry that rips its own artists off even as it attacks pirates as stealing from the artists is a non-starter.

      Personally, I refuse to pay more than $6 for an album by a major label, for indie groups I'll go higher than that, but I rarely if ever hear an album or song by a major label which is worth even $10.

      Mind you that's for an actual

    • Marketing failure indeed, but, at least for me, it's not the price tag. It's the problem with the medium and the cram-down-my-throat ads.

      I have a server that is connected to my TV and is able to record and stream videos. Now, of course I would love to buy movies on DVD, copy them to my server and archive that DVD somewhere where I don't have to worry whether I find it every time I want to watch that movie.

      No can do.

      First of all, I cannot copy it. Thou shalt not copy this DVD. Second, before I get to watch m

  • We should outlaw wax cylinder voice phonographs! They will put all music-halls out of business and destroy music forever!
  • With widely available downloads, people do pirate A LOT of content. Yes, the industry should take an "embrace and control" approach before things get out of hand, but when you see your movies and music freely available online that makes it hard for some to see the big picture. I know lots of people who brag about having not bought a CD or DVD in YEARS because they can download what they want for free. And, it's so easy now even the technology-challenged can do it.

    But, this is Slashdot so anyone trying to

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      The problem is that while this is true - companies are still making a ton of money. Its not like they've collapsed or something.

      What the companies should do is adapt by giving 'bonuses' that other things don't. Cinemas are still popular around here, because you get to see things on a giant screen with surround sound, which is an experience most people don't get.

      They should offer more incentive to get the music/film legally. Less stick, more carrot.

      • The problem is that they're doing the exact opposite: The value for a customer is higher on cracked and copied content.

        With legally bought content, you get a copy protection mechanism that keeps you from putting it on your server or otherwise shifting media, it might not work at all if you dared to buy it abroad, you might be forced to watch or otherwise "enjoy" content don't want to "enjoy" before you're allowed to use the content you paid for... all that and more does not exist when you copy it.

        Usually, w

    • But, this is Slashdot so anyone trying to protect intellectual property is a fascist.

      ... Why did you have to end a pretty interesting post with this blatant baiting?

    • I brag that I haven't bought a CD or DVD in years because I pay for my content via things like Pandora and Netflix. My desire to posses media via media purchase or pirate ended around 2002/2003 and as such I haven't bought or downloaded anything since then. In many ways I'm the MAFIAA's worst nightmare because they simply can't dream of a world where their product (and to be clear their product is not music or movies, it is entertainment) is not a limited quantity over which they have dominant market cont

  • by LWATCDR (28044)

    Frankly the content companies are a disaster of run away greed. As the cost of creation and distribution have gone down and the volume of consumption have increased they want to matain not just their margins but their price! It is like the world can now all want computers and they cost only a $100 to make and then try to sell them for $20,000.
    A great example are cable box DVRs.
    Take a look at the size of a ROKU box sometime. There is no reason that a cable box needs to be any bigger. There is also no need fo

  • by Bobzibub (20561) on Monday April 04, 2011 @11:45AM (#35708750)

    Big Oil is why you fight wars.
    Big Insurance is why you can't have the health care you want.
    List goes on.

    In the end, it is that Big has too much sway in the political system. They pay little tax yet have a disproportionate amount of influence.

  • "to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone"

    dont you like how lobbyist whoresons mesh in 'public' with NO context whatsoever to fool the ignorant masses.

  • ...when he said the VCR was a much a threat to the movie industry as the Boston Strangler was to the woman home alone.

    The Boston Strangler was an overblown threat which got a lot of press (as such crimes always do) and which whipped people into a panic. He ended up taking 13 lives, which while tragic, is pretty insignificant statistically. There are far greater threats bigger dangers than falling victim to a deranged killer.

1 + 1 = 3, for large values of 1.

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