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MPAA Wants Filmmakers To Pay Licenses, Not Rip Blu-rays (torrentfreak.com) 81

An anonymous reader writes: Late last year several filmmaker groups asked the US Copyright Office to lift some of the current DMCA circumvention restrictions, so they can rip and use clips from Blu-rays and other videos without repercussions. In the US, people risk bypassing DMCA's anti-circumvention when they rip a DVD or Blu-ray disc. (There are some exemptions, such as educational and other types of fair use, but the line between legal and illegal is not always clear, some argue.) Not everyone agrees with this assessment though. A group of "joint creators and copyright owners" which includes Hollywood's MPAA, the RIAA, and ESA don't think this is a good idea and point out that filmmakers have plenty of other options. The MPAA and the other groups point out that the exemption could be used by filmmakers to avoid paying licensing fees, which can be quite expensive.
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MPAA Wants Filmmakers To Pay Licenses, Not Rip Blu-rays

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  • Fuck the MPAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @12:52PM (#56200847)
    But why do film makers need to lift so much footage from other films? Does this happen a lot outside of stock footage situations? Documentaries sure but there's an exemption for that it seems.
    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @01:18PM (#56201055)

      But why do film makers need to lift so much footage from other films?

      For things like the Transformers movies. I think there's only been two actual movies filmed and all the other ones are clipped together from them.

    • It's not a question of the amount of footage. Even taking one frame from a Blu-Ray movie to use in a review of that movie is a violation of the DMCA because you have to break the encryption to get hat frame.

      The group is asking for an exception to allow decryption for clips that would be legally usable under fair use laws if they weren't encrypted.

    • "But why do film makers need to lift so much footage from other films? Does this happen a lot outside of stock footage situations? Documentaries sure but there's an exemption for that it seems."

      An exemption that cannot be used without ripping a Blu-ray, that's sort of the point of this article.
      Where else could you get a scene in high quality for free?

    • There are also educational uses beyond documentaries. For example, I have a podcast analyzing films and in the shownotes will often post short videos and screencaps pointing out and detailing various aspects of filmmaking. Plenty of youtube channels do this same idea as well. I can imagine also wanting to use it for preproduction of a film where I'm trying to communicate with my team what I'm trying to accomplish.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      There can be a lot of uses.
      1. An other movie is an element of the plot. Think Home alone, where Dirty Harry (or some gangster movie) was shown, and replayed to scare the bad guys into thinking they were being shot at.
      2. A movie at the time was shot on site, Now it is decades later and such landscape isn't available anymore. Pre-2001 New York City, Las Vegas nearly every year... A movie clip could help set the scene for the period of the movie.
      3. Having to reuse the same effect. The Wilhelm scream comes to

      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepplesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @08:57PM (#56202062) Homepage Journal

        1 is probably not fair use, as the production could instead produce an original film and have the characters watch that film. In fact, "Angels With Filthy Souls" in Home Alone is exactly that.

        2. The production can instead build a replica set. That's how it'd have to be done anyway for movies set before color motion picture film became widespread.

        3. Star Trek Generations and Star Trek VI share a distributor. Licensing is a doddle in such cases.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      Documentaries sure but there's an exemption for that it seems.

      No, such an exemption is what they're asking for.

      Also, the amount of footage is 0% relevant. Accessing two seconds of video, or even a still, is just as illegal under DMCA as accessing two minutes.

      That all fair uses are illegal unless explicitly exempted, and the tools are illegal regardless of whether the use is legal or exempted or not, are among of the reasons DMCA should be repealed.

  • Fair use, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @01:06PM (#56200941) Homepage Journal

    I'm a little shocked, shocked! the film makers want to be exempted from copyright they rely on to derive revenue from their work, so they can apparently use other film makers' work for free.

    Why could this be wrong? Well, first, fair use is the proper exemption. Of course it could apply, unless of course there is profit involved. I'm guessing they want to use clips in place of stock footage, or perhaps real world event clips to fit plot, or even steal outright clever stuff.

    Let them eat cake.

    • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @01:23PM (#56201087)

      The problem is that the fair use rights (which you admit are the proper exemption here) are blocked by movie studios using encryption on released video. The use of the clip may be legal, but the decrypting the video to get the clip is illegal under the DMCA.

      • That's not quite correct. If your use of the clip falls under fair use, you are free to decrypt the video to obtain the clip. The DMCA specifically says [pddoc.com], "Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title." So the DMCA provisions and punishments do not apply if your use of copyrighted materials is fair use.

        What the DMCA has done is make creation and distribution of the tools needed decrypt the video illegal.
    • Fair use is fair use even with a profit motive. As long as you're making your actual profit from the commentary and not as a way to see the copyrighted content, it's legal fair use.

    • in film critique, e.g. reviews, which last I heard was fair use.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Why does film critique require displaying an excerpt of the original motion picture in a quality greater than that achievable by camcording a licensed TV connected to a licensed player? Reviews in newspapers get away with not displaying the motion picture at all.

    • unless of course there is profit involved.

      This is not a problem. Modern movies use accounting practices that ensure they do not make a profit.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't need to read it. If the MPAA wants it, then it is by definition bad for consumers. The same way that anything Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, etc. want is automatically something we should be against.
  • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @08:34PM (#56202002)

    When Taika Waititi was announced as the director for Thor: Ragnarok, the New Zealand native known for indie comedies seemed like an odd choice. That collision of two different filmmaking worlds is made clear by Waititi's story about how he put together the film's sizzle reel.

    This sizzle reel, a cut of clips to convey tone and concept to the higher-ups before the movie was officially greenlit, has been discussed before, by Waititi and Kevin Feige himself, who called Waititi's Ragnarok reel, scored by Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song "amazing."

    But that sizzle reel, which may have gotten Waititi the gig, was not made by the most, ah, legal means. "There was no story when I went in, they didn't have a story or any ideas, really," he told Canadian radio station CBC Radio. "So I cut together little clips and shots. I, uh, basically illegally torrented and downloaded clips from a bunch of different movies."

    https://www.gizmodo.com.au/201... [gizmodo.com.au]

I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning. -- Plato