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Director Attacks MPAA Piracy Claims 417

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-think-about dept.
dipfan writes "Alex Cox, the writer/director of cult classic Repo Man and punk movie Sid And Nancy, writes today in The Guardian's media section that the movie industry's real pirates are the Hollywood studios and the MPAA - for squeezing out independents. He rejects the widespread claim that Spider-Man suffered from widespread net piracy, and asks: "Are [the MPAA's] claims of lost billions even credible?" (In a strange coincidence, Cox has another article in the same newspaper today, where he defends using 35mm film rather than digital cameras a la George Lucas, saying digital cinema gives too much power to the distributors and studios because the technology is less portable than 35mm.)"
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Director Attacks MPAA Piracy Claims

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  • by roXet (95005) <jasondewitt.cp-tel@net> on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:20AM (#3590793)
    They think that spiderman *suffered* from internet piracy? Jeezy Creezy how many box office records did it break?

    Until a "sure thing" like Spider Man or Attack of the Clones sees *wide spread* piracy on the net and then flops like a Michael Bay crapfest, they have nothing to say. Maybe then they can cry foul, I have no sympathy for a movie's suffering when it was the fastest to hit $100 million (!!!!) *ever*.
    • They think that spiderman *suffered* from internet piracy?

      If I'd had the opportunity to preview Spiderman on the Internet, I wouldn't have wasted the time and money to see that worthless, interminably boring piece of crap.

    • by sien (35268) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:53AM (#3590921) Homepage
      If you look at the simultaneous global relase of AOTC I think you can actually see a reaction to *wide spread* piracy.

      Episode I was released in the US months ahead of the European, Australasian and Asian releases. The result was that a demand was created, and fulfilled, for high quality pirated net copies were available within 24 hours of the initial release. I was in Europe at the time and faced with waiting for 3-4 months for a release and watching a lower quality film, the lower quality easily won out.

      In the European holiday belt from Spain to Greece, pirated videos of Episode I ran all summer before the official relase.

      The film presumably did quite well at the box office regardless, but it is interesting to wonder if the altered release for Episode II was designed in part to combat piracy, and in particular internet piracy.

      • Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sulli (195030) on Monday May 27, 2002 @12:46PM (#3591087) Journal
        Staggered releases around the globe are simply, in this day and age, stupid. There is no reason not to release everywhere at once now. If the studios can't handle it, tough shit! The market (legal or illegal) will make up for their errors.
        • Subtitling takes time.

          (Not everyone in the world speaks English...)

          Cheers -
          Jim
          • If people are pirating a movie that the studio hasn't released a subtitled version of yet, then either:

            They are content to watch it in English, so an English version should have been released.

            One or a few fans, working independently, subtitled the movie before the studio could, in which case it's tough shit for the studio. Perhaps they should hire the subtitlers so they're not so slow next time.

            • Re:Not always true (Score:3, Interesting)

              by wirefarm (18470)
              I watched a pirated copy of Episode 1 subtitled in Thai on a VCD from Bangkok well before the official version was in the theaters here in Tokyo, so I guess your second assumption might be more true. (The titling was pretty crappy, too.)

              The studios can't very well release a badly-subtitled movie, or release in English-only first, followed by the subtitled version later.

              Plus, before the internet, it didn't matter - the movies (and all of the hype) just followed a few months behind.

              Living here for a few years, I really have little idea about what movies are playing in the US - when they finally show up at my video store is usually when hear of them - since I'm usually disappointed with the movies, I don't feel particularly deprived.

              Of course, the big movies you do hear about - AOTC, LOTR, Spider-man, but they get pushed through the dubbing/titling process faster, so the lag time is less.

              Cheers,
              Jim in Tokyo
          • Subtitling takes time."

            I watched Spider-man (why did they hyphenate it?) in Brazil a week after it came out in the USA. It was subtitled.

            Subtitling really doesn't take that long. You have a 90-minute long movie with people speaking from a script. They could have had the subtitles done before the movie was ready for release.

          • You have a script before you start shooting, correct?

            You spend months (or years) producing the movie, correct?

            Once the script is in hand, hand it off to the subtitlers and let them spend months (or years) working on it.

            If the script changes during production, hand the changes off to the subtitlers.

            In short, I don't see subtitling as a barrier.

            Besides...who cares about the dialog in a typical action flick? =)
          • Re:Not always true (Score:3, Informative)

            by Pig Hogger (10379)
            Subtitling takes time.
            (Not everyone in the world speaks English...)
            Dubbing takes even more.

            Yet, by law, in Canada, films must come out dubbed in french AT THE SAME TIME as they come out in english.

            And, despite that "delaying" factor, movies come out at the same time as they do in the US.

            So the argument that it is the subtitling/dubbing that retards the release elsewhere in the world (especially that the delayed releases are often in english) is simply not true.

    • But there have been many 'sure thing' hits which have flunked in the past. here [tripod.com] are 10 movies which lost over $30 million each, and all of them are before the Internet could have made any difference. Even if a movie flops, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't have flopped without any internet unauthorized copying.
    • Piracy only fueled the need to see it in the theatre. I saw the movie in the theatre w/in 2 weeks of its release (I never have money when it comes time for something important ;) but I had already seen it on the computer.

      The quality was eh. I saw it, I knew what it was, but I wanted to see it again.

      My roommate not only saw it on the computer, he also saw it *twice* in the theatre.

      Movie piracy is working just like music sharing. Same results.

      Fuck you MPAA/RIAA.
  • Do those DLP projectors have firewire outputs? Hmm.. Let's see, grab a couple of 100G firewire drives, a powerbook and final cut pro... Maybe I'll go get a job in a theater.. :) Heck, even S-video or composite would do.
  • Bud: Intellectual Property is a sacred trust, it's what our free society is founded on. Do you think they give a damn about their Intellectual Property in Russia? I said, do you think they give a damn about their Intellectual Property in Russia?
    Otto: They don't have Intellectual Property in Russia, it's all free.
    Bud: All free? My ass! What are you, some kind of commie?
    Otto: No, I ain't no commie.
    Bud: Good. I don't want no commies in my car. No Christians either!
  • by NetRanger (5584) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:25AM (#3590812) Homepage
    This is exactly what the real problem is. The MPAA wants it both ways: it wants to shove anyone who isn't big and bad enough to pay for their Jaguars out of the way, yet it wants everyone to love them and play exactly by their rules.

    And like the author said: if Spider-Man is losing lots of money to piracy, the box office numbers sure aren't showing it.

    How much longer will we have duped (or more to the point, paid off) Congressmen who let these big IP holders walk all over the rights of the American people to own recording hardware?

    My God, if these people had been around 100 years ago, they would have made the ball point pen illegal since it can be used to copy books.

    I seriously think that this issue will not be solved until there is a Constitutional Amendment that guarantees fair use rights for all media.

    • by kadehje (107385) <erick069@hotmail.com> on Monday May 27, 2002 @01:55PM (#3591342) Homepage
      Here's something really scary that I found in Senator Kerry's (from Mass.) reply to a letter I sent him shortly after the CBDTPA reared its ugly head:

      "I believe that particular attention must be given to the writers, artists, and other creators of copyrighted material whose works are entitled to protection from piracy in the digital age."

      My response to this: these parties already have this protection, and have had it much longer than four years (when the DMCA was enacted). It's called (oh, the irony!) "Copyright Law." It's already ILLEGAL to take that xxAA-produced "artistic work" and offer it up for public distribution on a P2P network, a Web site, a rare record shop, or a street corner.

      The point behind the DMCA, CBDTPA, and other legislation down the pipeline is not to protect "Attack of the Clones" or "Oops! I Did It Again" from "piracy"; the five year jail sentence and $250,000 fine that pre-1998 copyright law provided for this action already is ample punishment for this regard. These laws rather instead attempt to limit the range of works that can be "pirated" (i.e. distributed) to only those with licenses to the "copy protection" technologies. Yes, the BSA, RIAA, and MPAA are trying desperately to prevent the "piracy" (i.e. appearance) of Linux, garage band MP3's, and independent films on the Internet. They don't give a flying fsck whether someone can see Spiderman over a low-quality connection, install Office XP gratis or download recycled Top 40 hits on the Internet; if they really cared about this, thousands of Napster users and Web hosts would have already been convicted of felony charges and be serving the hefty penalties mentioned above.

      Until we can convince people that this battle is not really over licensing the use of content as opposed to licensing to create it, we have no hope of winning the battle to keep laws like the DMCA and CBDTPA out of the U.S. code.

      Unfortunately, Senator Kerry's response to me indicates not only don't they accept our arguments, they appear to not want to hear them. I haven't even heard back from Sen. Kennedy regarding this letter. In November, I will be voting for the first time and making sure that I select anyone else but Kerry's spot for the Mass. Senate seat. Unfortunately, it will be four years before I get a chance to do the same thing to Kennedy.

      One more thing regarding Constitutional Amendments mentioned in the parent post: the one you're looking for is not one regarding fair use rights; it's one where corporations have their right to "contribute to campaigns" legislators removed. All donations must be limited to a set dollar amount and come from an individual's finances. Period. Corruption in government created by campaign contributions has created more substantial problems than the inability (legally) to view DVD's on a Linux box. By far the biggest of these is the lack of integrity in the finance industry. What would be your bigger gripe: being legally harrassed for distributing DeCSS code; or having your entire life savings wiped out by your employer's corrupt management with no recourse or defense against their actions (i.e. Enron), not being given a fair chance to make some of it back (by the less-than-enthusiastic enforcement of anti-discrimination laws including those regarding age discrimination), and knowing (albeit after-the-fact) that the management will be walking away scot-free as a result of the favorable legislation and enforcement policies they (along with bigshots at other Fortune 500 companies) bought in the past 10 years. I certainly think the latter is a bigger injustice, and it's that along with other injustices Mainstream America can deal with that are going to give us a much better chance at getting part of this country back than any cry of "Free Dimitri!"
  • Vinyl trumps CDs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:26AM (#3590821) Homepage
    Bad technology sometimes beats out good. Consider the triumph of VHS over Beta, of CDs over vinyl, of the Microsoft operating system over the Mac. In each case, inferior technology triumphed

    What is this washout smoking? Who in their right mind considers CDs an "inferior technology" to vinyl records? I know of a few passionate nostalgics who subjectively prefer the sound of vinyl over CDs, but even they aren't stupid enough to claim that the technology is superior. You can't put data on vinyl. You can't play vinyl in your car, or while you're jogging. With this one, ridiculous comment, the author has lost all credibility with me, and has exposed himself as just another angry outsider who is upset that the Big Boys won't let him play with them.

    • Re:Vinyl trumps CDs? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SirSlud (67381)
      Scientists have documentented that your body 'hears' sounds your ears do not, outside of our normal audible frequency range. These hi and lo frequencies interact with your body, thus affecting how you 'hear' the audible frequencies. (Not sure how, but I believe it .. you know how your own voice sounds different than how your friends hear it. Same kinda deal.)

      Anyhow, records, as far as I know, can produce a far wider range of frequencies than the CD, who's 'inaudible' frequencies are lopped off the top and bottom end of a CD's audio data (i'm sure somebody else can provide the actual freq. range.)

      So, if you're searching for the recording that most closely resembles the original recording (including frequencies your ear cannot detect), which some may contend is the sole purpose of a recording, leaving aside such issues as media size and portability, there is a grey area in which you could contend that the CD is the superior medium.

      It's a tenuous claim, I'd say; if anything, most of the above mentionned technologies proved that media quality and experience alone doth not technological-adoption make. He's certainly correct in stating that the technical capabilities of a technology can easily take a second seat to factors such as product awareness, non technical factors (form factor, durability, copyability), and context (such as VHS winning over Beta due to Sony's attempt to keep pronographers from distributing content on Beta).
      • Er, I'm an idiot.

        .. there is a grey area in which you could contend that vinyl is the superior medium ..

        Thats what I meant to say. Sorry for the confusion.
      • These claims are all interesting, but as a technology, CDs, which never (*) degrade into pops, skips and crackles is superior, IMHO.

        (*) You do get the occasional scratch on a CD that can induce problems, but it's many many orders of magnitude less of a problem as when compared to vinyl.

        • If you don't have a contact with the vinyl disc, it's less likely to degrade- no different than a CD. Now, a laser based turntable's not cheap, but when you start looking at things that way, the Vinyl record starts winning to at least some extent.
      • Anyhow, records, as far as I know, can produce a far wider range of frequencies than the CD...

        The CD's can reproduce frequencies up to 20 kHz. Past that, the speakers won't respond anyway, regardless of the reponse of the recording device...

        ...the CD, who's 'inaudible' frequencies are lopped off the top and bottom end of a CD's audio data (i'm sure somebody else can provide the actual freq. range.)

        I'm not sure if you are refering to the "frequency warping" (aliasing) which caused problems on early CD, but the problem's been fixed a while ago with better oversampling.
        • "The CD's can reproduce frequencies up to 20 kHz. Past that, the speakers won't respond anyway, regardless of the reponse of the recording device..."

          Speak for yourself :) Actually most high grade speakers will respond in the 22khz+ range, albeit not as loud as lower frequencies. Now just how much difference this makes in percieved sound is a matter of some debate.
          • Re:Vinyl trumps CDs? (Score:3, Informative)

            by DickBreath (207180)
            Speak for yourself :) Actually most high grade speakers will respond in the 22khz+ range

            22 KHz is the same as 20 KHz. A teeny tiny difference. You have to double the frequency just to gain one additional octave. The difference from 20 KHz to 22 KHz doesn't even get you one single note higher in pitch. How could it possibly make any difference?

            [What I'm saying is sort of like this: strike the highest note on a piano keyboard. Now if there was one note higher available on the keyboard, the difference from 20 KHz to 22 KHz would be less than this single note difference.]

            Even 30 KHz just gets you about half an octave higher. (About 6 half steps.) So if I could add six additional possible notes on the high end of the spectrum does this really have any objective or subjective effect?

            If your body cuold "hear" anything that your ears cannot, I would expect it to be in the low frequencies. Your ears are specially designed/evolved for detecting what we refer to as sound.
      • Re:Vinyl trumps CDs? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        These hi and lo frequencies interact with your body, thus affecting how you 'hear' the audible frequencies. (Not sure how, but I believe it

        This is a debated matter. Somes test indicate it does make a difference, some tests do not.

        you know how your own voice sounds different than how your friends hear it. Same kinda deal

        No, that has nothing to do with frequency response outside of hearing. Your voice occupies a pretty narrow band of frequencies. What it has to do with is that the sound generation unit (your vocal cords) is attached to your body. You hear a good deal of sound that resonates through your skull. Put your head on a speaker sometimes, it'll sound different than sitting in front of it.

        Anyhow, records, as far as I know, can produce a far wider range of frequencies than the CD, who's 'inaudible' frequencies are lopped off the top and bottom end of a CD's audio data (i'm sure somebody else can provide the actual freq. range.)

        Again, no. At the bottom end, CDs are far superior. They can produce frequences straight down to DC. At the high end records do have a theoritical higher end (they can theoritically go as high as the equipment allows) however as a parctical matter, even good turntables rarely outperform CDs. There are practical limits imposed by the turntable electronics.

        So, if you're searching for the recording that most closely resembles the original recording (including frequencies your ear cannot detect

        Fine, if that's your intrest, use Sony Direct Stream Digital. It is, by far, the most accurate represenation of sound to date. CD is not the be all, end all of digital, there are far better solutions out there. Oh, and SDSD fits on a small disc too.

        The real issue with CDs orignally (all digital audio for that matter) had to do with the limitations of the analogue to digital and digital to analogue converters. They suffered from several problems that lead to a very harsh sound. Well times have changed a lot, and new converters have cleared all that up. They still aren't perfect, but they have cleared up the digital harshness and give a very smooth, natural sound.

        A real life example: Dunlavy Audio Labs, makers of reference grade speakers, has a test they do. They record a string quartet to DAT (a digital tape with the same basic specs as CD) in an anechoic room. They then place the quarter in the centre, and flank them with their flagship SC-V speakers. They then have trained listeners come in and try to identify which is the real quartet and which is the reproduction. They cannot do so reliably.

        This is not to say digital sound is perfect, SDSD has shown there is clear improvements ot be made over CD, and there are probably still improvements to be made over that, however CDs long ago eclipsed records in quality.

      • .. you know how your own voice sounds different than how your friends hear it. Same kinda deal

        No, how would any of us possibly know that?
    • He's a writer. Consider that writing is an art. So he's an artist. Artists are wacky. So he thinks vinyl is better than CD. I know artists who think barbeque tofu is better than pulled pork shoulder.

      Maybe it's the crowd I run around with, but nearly every thing I see that doesn't make sense or is confusing can be resolved in three words. They're an artist.
    • by Saib0t (204692)
      With this one, ridiculous comment, the author has lost all credibility with me

      [Karma burning session]
      Just because I think many people in here keep making statements such as that one, I'll offer you an analogy:
      If you had read Einstein's words at the time he wrote them, you'd see he wrote about a cosmological constant. You'd be the kind of person to yell "Who in their right mind would be stupid enough such a thing as the cosmological constant exists. That Einstein guy lost all credibility to me". And you'd have been very wrong...

      I don't care why the person wrote that, I'll just mentally note that that part of his argument is wrong, but you seemingly see the world in black and white with no shades...

      Because someone says one thing bad/wrong doesn't mean that all things that person say are bad/wrong. Everyone does make mistakes you know, I do, you do too... Don't be so fast at labeling people...

      [/Karma burning session]

      • [Karma burning session]
        ...
        [/Karma burning session]


        By using square brackets rather than greater and lesser signs to represent HTML, you've lost all credibility with me.
    • The unspoken, but insistent, assumption of all the digital hype is that "it all looks the same", and that audiences cannot tell the difference. In fact, the aesthetic issues of digital production and protection versus celluloid are far from being resolved.

      Vinyl is better, the clipping of the digial does not go away with filters. Just be cause you do not notice it does make it un-true.

      AotC in digial sucked. I think Lucus is needing glasses to think to the digial is better.

      The biggest problem is resultion. When you blowup a picture to size to of the big screen (now only two stories - was 6 for the true star wars) you see squares for people in long shots, with fast moving hands - fingers become disjointed. And the light sabures... Comedic.

      Ebert came out with digial better for AotC but not becuase of digial as that sounds to imply. But because the original was filmed in low res digial, but take a film transfer to digial (hi to low res convertion) nice, but take digial and go to film (low to high) fuzzy junk.

      If you want to se digial AotC go to a small theater and sit in the back. Then it will like TV (an even lower res).

      Remember Star Wars: A New Hope was filmed in not 35mm but 70mm - 4 times the res! must likely more than 16 times the res of AotC.

    • You can't put data on vinyl

      Ah, children these days, they don't remember the computer magazines of the 1980s that had computer games on free flexidiscs. This was a bit before CDs became popular.

    • What a leap of logic you have made, all of it bad. To summarize your vulgar post: Cox is an idiot because he prefers vinyl to CDs, therefore he has exposed himself as ignorant about film making and distribution. The second assertion does not follow the first and both are silly. It's nice that you can build up a set of standards for yourself and that you know why you prefer CDs, but your inability to see another's view point is pig-headed. What that has to do Cox's experience as a film maker escapes me. How many international film productions have you got to your credit? Oh, I see.

      Try to pay attention to Cox's point: That new laws are bending digital production into something less flexible and useful than film, while paradoxically COSTING MORE! The very real issue is the use of encryption and propriatory bullshit to control what theaters actually play and when. This will remove the ability of theater owners to chose what they will play and make them even more subservient to the big publishers that already yank their chains. What this means to you and me is that we won't be able to see what we want as easily.

      Things are bad enough now. The only theater in my town that has any kind of diversity to it's listings is at the State University. The rest of the theaters have the same big bullshit. I see the film listings in New York city from the New York Times and know that there is better stuff in the world. Sometimes that better stuff gets into the university theater. "City of Lost Children" (French with English subtitles), "The Red Ballon" (Farsic with English subtitles), are examples of great films woth seeing on the big screen. Sometimes I can get it on video, surely with a big chunk of the revenue going to the MPAA, but it's not as good and I feel cheated.

      Someone reading this post may be to blame. The bottom line is that the big movie makers are preparing for international competition by installing anti-competitive equipment. Software people have helped them achieve this and should be aware of their guilt. To those that would further the aims of the anti-publishers [slashdot.org] I say, there are better ways to earn a living. Someone put the pieces together with intent. A great shame on them.

    • Gez, with some CDs, just a little bit of plastic on plastic rubbing in a CD drive will fuck 'em up.

      Plus the tiniest scratch on the back (that foil like layer that has the track underneath), so you can see through it if you put it in front of a light, totally fucks it. Whereas you can scratch away at the B side of a record to your hearts content & the A side will still work fine.
    • "I know of a few passionate nostalgics who subjectively prefer the sound of vinyl over CDs, but even they aren't stupid enough to claim that the technology is superior."

      The "nostalgics" you speak of aren't "nostalgics" they are people who know what they are talking about...

      There are facts that support their claims. You sir just pointed out a bunch of things that are somewhat ridiculous.

      Data has been put on vinyl. Vinyl could be played in your car and while jogging - the technology that lets you do this with a CD is called... you guessed it "anti-skip" technology.

      At it's basics the tech is almost the same. I know I'm going to get flamed but:

      needle = laser
      bumps & grooves = pits

      The only point you could have made is that these two technologies never competed. Tapes, IIRC already took over...

  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:27AM (#3590822) Journal
    I agree with his statement...for now. Right now the digital projectors are extremely expensive, and only the largest theatres in the US and Canada can justify the expenditure to install them. However, as time and technology progresses I think that DV is the way to go. This generation's output is vastly superior to something even 2 or 3 years ago. Shows like Enterprise and movies like Dancer in the Dark don't suffer for the technology. The costs of startup are great, but you save a ton in the long haul. I think his concerns stem from the distribution mechanism for DV...the studios fund the theatres, and then become a single point of entry for new releases. Kindof like bands working with Ticketmaster to get the best venues as Ticketmaster has exclusive contracts. Also DV is a bit scary because if the DCMA is ever expanded it's much easier to cripple digital technology with required encryption and protection schemes than analog devices. Not that the encryption schemes would work in the long run, but it would act as yet another barrier to entry for the indie film maker...
    • EXACTLY, the technology is young, but the MPAA is fighting the wrong battle. They think that piracy is terrifying, but it seems they have NO CLUE who their real threat is: Technology

      Think about this: Eventually, some time in the future, home video cameras are going to equal that of the pros. Sure, the pro cameras will have more features/control, but some time down the line, I think it's going to be hard for people to notice the difference in the final output.

      THIS is what is going to eat into the profits of the MPAA. Special effects that cost millions now will be easily replicatable via home computer/DV in the future. Actors could be generated, animated, and placed in a home-made movie (a la Jar Jar, *shudder*, bad example).

      When EVERYONE has this ability, what's going to separate the MPAA movies from the up-and-coming independants?

      We can already see this happening with all the great independant films coming out these days and their incredibly low costs (Blair Witch Project, Momento, etc).

      The hardest part will be finding good voice actors and script writers. Will people still prefer the plotless (market researched) drivel that the MPAA makes 90% of it's profit from? Or will they go after the new comedy that's been floating around the net that EVERYONE wants to share via Outlook?

      It seems to me that the only thing the MPAA has got going for it is the theatres and a giant marketing budget... But if there were enough independant movies coming out, there would be a market for more independant theatres and an even bigger market for community-driven niche websites.

      I guess I'll just sit back, relax, have some popcorn, and enjoy the show.
  • Ok is Alex Allen's [lugos.si] brother or is he Courtney's? [webcs.com]
  • ...I cant be the only one who is getting sick of things like this...
    they have virtually no content and give no new angles on a problem that we've known about for weeks - if not months...
    they only appear here because they have been written about in a "proper" newspaper

    Worst of all, this particular article barely touches on facts - it is someones opinion, which appeared in a newspaper
    • by DrSkwid (118965) on Monday May 27, 2002 @12:07PM (#3590958) Homepage Journal
      Worst of all, this particular article barely touches on facts - it is someones opinion, which appeared in a newspaper

      Hehe. The angle here is that it is someone's opinion. And that person is Alex Cox. Respected film director and critic, who used to present the BBC2 cult film show back in the 1980/90s (the name of which escapes me) bringing independent films to the small screen. So for us 30 somethings his opinion is both relevant and interesting.

    • The problems are two fold, really...

      One: News media in the US is owned largely by MPAA corporations, thus, an extremely biased source for news... Case in point, the Episode 2 releases in Asia where they claimed that DVDs were being sold for less than $2 apiece (anyone who knows what DVD-R media runs for can immediately point out the utter BS in that news piece)...

      Two: The cattle like herd mentality of the general public... If it doesn't get them laid, get them cheaper beer, or guarantee them cheaper gas for their SUVs, they aren't going to care because they don't believe it directly or indirectly affects them... Even if you can convince 1 out of 10 otherwise, it won't make a difference due to the overwhelming numbers of mouthbreathers who consider it better to side with the majority, as long as they don't have to think about it too much...

      Hell, Max Headroom pointed out these facts(and risks therein)on a mainstream network almost 20 years ago, and look what happened to that show...
  • War of the worlds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:31AM (#3590838) Homepage Journal

    From the article "Most of the rights to the book - including all US rights - had long ago fallen into the public domain. Only the British rights appeared to be privately held: by a former rock musician who hoped to turn Wells' story into a travelling stage musical along the lines of Blood Brothers or Fame."

    It is amazing to me that literature as old as War of the Worlds is still unavailable for the public (at least in Britain). I mean, I used to listen to the original radio broadcast on reel-to-reel when I was a kid. The amount of quality work that has been abandoned due to continuously extended copyrights has to be non-quantifiable. Tragedy, because, although he didn't get to make his picture, the large studios bought out the rock-star and are now making it with Tom Cruise. I want to cry.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gorf (182301) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:33AM (#3590849)

    By Sunday, it's obvious that Correlli has tanked, and that Beckham is a hit. Naturally you yank Corelli from the larger cinema and put Beckham in there. The studios hate this, but can do nothing about it. However, once the new technology is installed, Corelli will be beamed direct to screen one for the duration of its scheduled run, and will play to empty houses.

    Why, exactly? The argument about this that I've always heard is that it's the other way round. With a digital projector, there's no problem with running out of reels; it is technically far easier to copy bits that replicate a reel.

    Of course, DRM may prevent the cinema from doing this, but surely it's acceptable for them to pay more for showing the film to more people, seeing as it's the ticket (and food) price that pays for the film in the first instance?

    And if the cinema has a shortage of digital projectors then that's irrelevant; it's just the case of the new technology maturing and becoming more widespread. Preventing progress because new technology isn't deployed widely enough is no argument at all.

    • What Cox is effectively saying - but he doesn't use this terminology because his background is film not computers - is that 35mm is an open standard whilst digital shows all the signs of becoming a proprietary one controlled by a Hollywood cartel (a la DVD).

      Think Microsoft's domination of the desktop applied to cinema projection.

      Whilst one reason Cox is against digital projection is because he doesn't think it's currently as good aesthetically. The reason he's expounding here is Open Standards versus Proprietary ones - something I would have thought most Slashdotters could understand and agree with.
    • Theaters are also able to project one copy of a flim in multiple theaters, as long as they stagger the start times by around 15 minutes. It's fairly easy, and really common now. Saturday night they could easily move the popular movie into an additional theater and remove the horrible film with no problem. However, if they have no control over the digital film (you think they would ever let them copy it to a different projector?), they would lose that ability. If you go up into the projectionist booth at a theater, you'll see how they do this.
    • As I understand it, studios make money from the ticket sales, but the cinemas themselves, do not; they make money off of the concession sales.

      Question - do the studios make money from the film reels themselves - e.g. do they charge a profitable amount of money from 'renting' to the cinemas, or is ALL their profit from the ticket sales?

      If all their profit is made from ticket sales alone, then that's a HUGE incentive for the studios to go to digital. No film reproduction costs (biggest reason no switch to higher than 24fps has happened in the movies - higher film reproduction cost), no shipping costs to thousands of theaters every week for heavy film reels, no shipping insurance costs, then there's the REshipping and insurance on the way back. No film storage costs, etc. Damage to the film from crappy projectors, etc.

      If they make money from the cinemas aside from the ticket sales (like, $10,000 per week per film reel, whatever), then someone will have to calculate the expenses and see which is more cost effective, but I'm sure digital will still win out.

      Another cost issue is the cost of doing digital in the first place - both for studios and for cinemas. The studios have to buy a lot of new equipment, as do the cinemas. Plus no way in hell are all cinemas going to go all-digital anytime in the next 50 years, so the studios are going to have to keep on producing at least SOME films in film format for the non-digital locations.

      Then there's the studios that own big-ass cinema chains - part of their draw will be 'all-digital', so to have their cinemas make more money, they'll have to be converted, so they get hit twice by digital conversion.

      Now let's look at quality in digital versus film. I've read that Attack of the Clowns was filmed in 1080p (1080 pixels progressive - not interlaced). This is pretty schweet as far as High Def film goes - I've not heard of better, but when this is projected onto a gigantic movie screen, well, let's just say I'm still skeptical. I've not had a chance to see a digitally-projected film, but the bigger the screen, the worse this is going to be. With cinemas making larger and larger multiplexes, with some screens being absolutely huge, 1080p is simply not going to cut it, I feel sure. And how many digitally-filmed & projected movies will be done in 1080p? Most are being recorded in substantially LESS resolution, at least, the independent moviemaking pioneers aren't using equipment like Lucas uses, that I know for a fact. And 1080p is pretty high for current standards - are the digital projectors out there in the cinemas capable of doing 1080p, or only 1080i or 720p? That's a question I've not seen anyone address, and it's hugely important.

      If you compare digital vs film in the world of, say, 35mm photography, you'd find out that 1080 lines of vertical resolution per frame is completely laughable - absolutely pathetic! There are film scanners out there you can buy for under $2000 that can do 4000dpi, and drum scanners can do even better. Many of these digital images are never intended to be blown up past poster-size, much less a giant cinema-size screen. So, quality? If you're getting the best image out of film (which you never do - bad projectors, dirty lenses, dirty projection room window, scratched film, crappy projector screen with gum and popcorn 'butter' on it), then yeah, digital may have an advantage on small cinema screens. If your cinema's digital projector doesn't have the same specs as Lucas' 1080p film, which I doubt many do, then I doubt you'll be getting as much out of it.

      What does it all add up to? The answer is - it doesn't matter. You'll get what the studios want to give to you, no matter what, so you might as well relax about it.
  • From the article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Theodore Logan (139352) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:34AM (#3590851)
    When the MPAA complains that it is losing billions to piracy, my first reaction is, so what? The Hollywood studios are already hugely wealthy

    The MPAA is evil alright, but this is not the kind of objection against war on piracy that anyone will take seriously. You cannot expect any industrial body not to take up a fight when they are losing money just because they are already "hugely wealthy."

    I am all for MPAA-bashing, but I wouldn't expect anyone not already in the know to care about an article the stamps some entity as evil without provding any real arguments why this is so.

    • by RatFink100 (189508) on Monday May 27, 2002 @01:15PM (#3591192)
      Cox isn't saying the MPAA is evil, he never uses the word.

      He's merely putting the claims of lost millions in perspective.

      His argument in a nutshell

      - the studios are crying wolf over money lost to piracy
      - they already make millions whilst independent film-makers struggle to get finances to get movies made
      - the measures they want to put in place to counter piracy will hurt the independents even more. In effect they'll be barriers to entry in the market.

      I thought it was a well-written thoughtful article.

  • by Darth Paul (447243) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:36AM (#3590855)
    In this article [news.com.au], the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe "conceded that piracy helped drive the popularity of the original PlayStation console".
    piracy on the PlayStation had delivered some unexpected benefits, providing a "sampling value" similar to listening to music free on a radio station with the possibility of buying it later. "Some people were able to get access to some games that they either didn't know about or weren't sure were worth it," Mr Deering said.

    Furthermore, he gets that one pirated copy != one lost sale.

    ...if people buy something, make a copy of it, and give it to a friend, the friend uses it once and doesn't give it back, that's piracy.

    "Is it piracy? Really? Would that person have bought that? He might have just borrowed it for a day."

    Still, I wouldn't expect Sony to allow copying anytime soon. Or even to rollback their laughingstock copy protection, for that matter. But it's nice to see somebody high profile talking sense once in a while.

  • by Slashamatic (553801) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:39AM (#3590870)
    We have had a stockmarket crash since last year, well maybe not a real sudden crash but between the dot-bomb of last summer and 9/11, the markets haven't been doing well and people aren't spending money (Retail figures are down). In Europe, the Euro has proved a useful excuse for everyone including the main cinema theatre chains to pump up prices.

    If I produced any non-essential in such an environment, I would expect sales to be somewhat depressed. Sorry guys [mpaa.org], Cinema isn't an essential. Produce a good movie, such as Spidey then we will probably go and see it. Unfortunate the industry distrubutes a lot of rubbish. I say distributes advisedly because some good stuff is produced (even ocassionally inside the studio system). However, it often doesn't get out unless it fits the business model of the season.

    I want more creatives like this guy to stand up and say where the MPAA is getting things wrong when it tries for ever more content protection.

    Some people may have heard about the much trumpeted Spidey raid [theregister.co.uk] in the UK. What was being (expensively) copied onto DVD? The only version I have seen listed would fit into a small part of a CD and as someone else commented who has seen it, the quality was barely worth the effort of watching. Maybe the industry itself has problems with higher quality masters escaping?

    Last point in this ramble, the Gruniad article made the very good point that having a secure digital chain between distributor and projector is a great way of locking other content producers out of the theatre.

  • by MsGeek (162936) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:47AM (#3590897) Homepage Journal
    Thank you, Alex Cox. We'll be forever in your debt for "Repo Man" but that's another story altogether. It's a shame this appeared in the Guardian rather than in the LA Times or some other place where it will do some good.

    I know I have made a big deal about "Dogtown And ZBoyz" and Sony Classics' being the distributor, but damn, man...could it have only seen the light of day if one of the distributors owned by MPAA signatories had released it? I mean, probably "Revolution OS" didn't have that kind of backing, but it didn't go into fairly wide release like "Dogtown" did.

    If the movie theatres are 0wned by the MPAA, then where do the truly independent filmmakers go to show their work? I am hoping that somehow or another technology will come to the rescue as it has several times in the past. The RIAA had DAT neutered and the DAT portastudio killed because it feared indie musicians with the ability to create really good sounding independent recordings. Guess what? Thanks to cheap, huge hard drives and computer technology getting cheaper and cheaper, you can go to Sam Ash and get a portastudio with a HD capable of storing hours of 16-track audio for $500 or so.

    OK, so digital filmmaking on a massive, Episode 2 kind of scale is out of reach of indie filmmakers. You can still get Digital Video cameras for a grand, a Mac "Quicksilver" minitower for 2 grand and Final Cut Pro for another large bill and have the ability to make a movie, then send it to DVD-R for distribution. I still am talking Large Bucks but it's certainly not as expensive as it used to be to make movies on film. And if you opt instead for a big-ass Athlon MP system with a firewire card and a Pioneer Superdrive, Windows 2K and Sonic Foundry Vegas Video 3, you can bring the price of the computer down a fair amount and shave a few bills off the price of software. If it is not practical now to do this, it will become practical in a few years. Right now CD-RW drives and DVD-ROM drives are selling for only $10 or $20 more for the increasingly hard to find CD-ROM only units. I can see a day coming in four or five years where CD-RW and DVD-ROM will be universally replaced with DVD-R/RW (or DVD+R/RW depending on which standard wins) and you only save a pittance by going with DVD-ROM and/or CD-RW.

    Of course, if the Senator From Disney, Don Valenti's Made Man himself, Sen. Hollings can get one of his horrible bills passed, this all might be moot. If all computers have to have an RIAA/MPAA-approved DRM OS running and hardware copy neutering, you won't be able to do much with that newly cheap DVD recordable drive. I kinda hope that technology will figure a way to get around it, just like the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it; and instead of DAT Tascam and Fostex used hard drives to create a digital multitrack recording device. But when computer technology itself is chained...I shudder to think of the consequences.

    And actually Alex has a point...watching a movie in a theatre is way different than watching a movie on a computer monitor, on your TV, or on cable. If the MPAA has that all locked up, we are that much poorer culturally. So even if we win technologically, we lose an unique experience to the multinationals and their slaves in public office.

    Millione di grazie, Don Valenti. Pardon me if I don't kiss your fsckn ring.
    • If the movie theatres are 0wned by the MPAA, then where do the truly independent filmmakers go to show their work?

      Great question ... here is your answer:

      Search for the indie theaters in your area. [indiebin.com] I live in ultra conservative Texas and Dallas has three well known really good ones [The Magnolia [magpictures.com], The Angelika [angelikafilmcenter.com], and The Inwood [landmarktheatres.com]].

      There are many other smaller true independent theaters where local tallent can show their stuff. Think gateway to the above listed. Start by attending a local film festival [def2.org] or even a local video festival [videofest.org] and see where that leads you.

      If you don't know of any in your area then play around with Google [google.com] for a bit, you'll be amazed at what you find.
    • You can still get Digital Video cameras for a grand...

      And this is what they're really scared s*itless about: loosing control over both distribution and content. Distribution is the cash cow for the MPAA, but control over content is where they really get their power jollies. Ego and hollywood are deeply intertrined, and the idea that some people from East Podunk Nebraska can live their dream, make a film, and make it equally accessibly to the viewing world at large frightens the bajeezus out of them. It simultaniously cuts off their stream of manna and exposes them as the unnecessary, wasteful, anti-creative, soul-sucking culturemongers that they are.

      watching a movie in a theatre is way different than watching a movie on a computer monitor, on your TV, or on cable. If the MPAA has that all locked up, we are that much poorer culturally.

      I don't know... multiplexes have been getting more and more impersonal for years. I remember when i was a kid there used to be an intermission in a lot of films. It was a lot more like the theater: you talk with people (sometimes *gasp* strangers) about what you're seeing and generally turn your attention from the screen to your fellow human beings.

      This is the total bugaboo of it all. Corporate dominated american consumer culture is built on a platform of unhappiness. The widespread sense of social isolation and inadequacy indisuputably fuel the consumer urge. Ask anyone in advertising. The basic message is alwyas, "there's something wrong with you, and our product can fix it." Now, there's a lot of money standing on all this anomie, and it doesn't like being disturbed. It's been proven: when people connect with eachother in meaningful and fulfilling ways, they perform fewer empty consumerist experiences. And by god we'd better keep people lonely and isolated. What would happen to the economy?

      Hopefully digital projectors will get cheap and easy just like the cameras have: I'll open my own f'ing cinema, with beer and coffee and social functions.
    • by krmt (91422)
      And actually Alex has a point...watching a movie in a theatre is way different than watching a movie on a computer monitor, on your TV, or on cable. If the MPAA has that all locked up, we are that much poorer culturally. So even if we win technologically, we lose an unique experience to the multinationals and their slaves in public office.
      This reminds me of an event I was going to go to, but never got the chance. There was an ad in the LA Weekly (free paper with all the latest happenings around town) for a pirate movie. The movie itself was legit, but the way they were showing it was almost like a rave, where they would have a secret location every week, like a parking lot or something, where they would show the film. In order to find out where the location was, you'd call up a phone number listed on their website and then go there at the appointed time.

      It sounded like an interesting idea that would have been fun to go to, but my friend couldn't make it. Still, it was an intriguing way out of the problem you're describing.
  • Oh. My. God. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday May 27, 2002 @11:47AM (#3590898) Homepage
    • MPAA executive Fritz Allaway told Bobbie Johnson, "We have seen our future, and it is terrifying." I - like a lot of other independent directors and producers - would like to see the future get much more terrifying for Fritz and his pals; with a radical reform of copyright and patent law, and a curbing of behemoths such as AOL/Time/Warner, News International/Fox and Vivendi/ Universal/UIP.
    • Over the past 20 years I have attended a number of "demonstrations" of digital video technology. Often the video images produced are of outstanding quality. But, in spite of all the speeches, the brochures, the white wine and the canapes, I have never seen a video projection, analogue or digital, which looked like projected film.
      In the case of Attack of the Clones, quality may not matter much since (a) almost all the shots are special effects shots done mainly by computer, and (b) the film is shite.
      But try to imagine Citizen Kane shot on digital video (in colour, naturally), or Amelie, or Moulin Rouge. If its promoters are serious about the quality of their technology, let them put it to the test against the best work of contemporary and classic cinematographers - not against the worst.

    My only regret is that we don't have the medical technology to give me a womb so that I can bear this man's children. I have never read such clear, plain spoken and informed articles about the MPAA agenda in a mainstream forum before. It makes me begin - begin - to hope that it's not too late to turn the tide of distributors controlling the very copyright laws that were originally and explicitely written to limit their ability to screw both creators and consumers. Alen Cox, I salute you.

    • by Tottori (572766)
      My only regret is that we don't have the medical technology to give me a womb so that I can bear this man's children. ... Alen Cox, I salute you.
      Woah there horsey! Be careful you don't have Alan Cox's children by mistake!

      Come to think of it, that'd be a pretty good consolation prize. But bearded kids would frighten the neighbours.

  • by Comrade Pikachu (467844) on Monday May 27, 2002 @12:17PM (#3590989) Homepage
    He wrote an article [volksmovie.com]. on the future of digital filmmaking a couple of years back, and echoes some of Alex Cox's points regarding quality. Ebert goes on to describe a new film-based technology called "MaxiVision48". It is essentially a process designed by film-makers (not studios) which looks much better than standard film or digital projection at a much lower cost.

    MaxiVision48 can switch on the fly between 24 and 48 frames-per-sec and uses a new film advance mechanism to eliminate jitter. The result is a super clear rock-solid picture. I wonder what became of it.

  • by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Monday May 27, 2002 @01:08PM (#3591169)
    is it just me who read this wrong the first time ???
    • Not just you, I read it wrong the first time and had a double-take on the name.

      Of course, after reading slashdot for so long (and other forums also) I was translating loose=lose and vice versa.

      (sigh)
      .
  • Boy.. I think he has some issues with distribution. Perhaps if his stuff was more readily picked up by studios and given more mainstream viewings, perhaps he wouldn't be singing the same tune.
  • Most people here feel that piracy *helped* spread the word on various companies products. MS windows would be nowhere as popular as it is if it hadn't been for rampant piracy. Someone further down pointed out that Sony admitted that piracy helped the PlayStation1 to become as hugely popular as it is. Most people point out that Napster gave them the opportunity to hear songs of CD's that they later bought, as opposed to Napster today that simply has no market left. I for one saw a pirated release of the Matrix at the company where I was working at the time the day after it was released in the States, but that (I should say "of course" but some people don't see the point) didn't stop me from seeing it in the cinema. I could go on.

    Society is very much obediant to the physical rule that for every force there is a reaction or counterforce. You can try this out by standing in a doorway and pressing hard against the frame - it presses back. The same is true for increasingly repressive large corporations trying to avoid the obvious changes that technologies are forcing on them. Society is reacting like that dorr frame - it is pressing back. If the large greed corporations are violent enough to repress society enough that that hypothetical doorframe breaks, they are left with no door so to speak. There will simply be no market for their products and we will be left with a kind of neo-fascist society a la Orwell's 1984, where it will be illegal to even complain about the repression that said corporations are forcing upon us.

    This is not to say that the tendancy to produce ever more expensive movies with ever more technical effects, or operating systems with ever more gimmicks, or ever more technically polished albums will stop. The problem with these things is that they are like heroin. Society builds up a tolerance level to them. More is NOT better. This is why a cheap film like the Blair Witch Project succedes but it's commercialised sequels do not. A huge technical effort and restrictive laws do NOT encourage creativity. They kill it fairly effectively. Is anyone else out there thankful that there never was a sequel to Blade Runner?

    If they carry on the way they are, they will lose, even if we do nothing. The way I see it is that their only chance of survival is to "go with the flow". I for one, naive or not, am going to mail the RIAA, the MPAA and point out these things to them. Will you?
  • The problem with 'on-line piracy' isn't that people are stealing money away from studios, the problem is that it will force the MPAA to use a more ethical business model.

    Think about it, you pay for the movie BEFORE you are satisfied with it, and you really don't have a whole lot of choice if the movie sucks. (Yeah, you could get your money back, but how often does that happen?) Just about any other business gives you a 'satisfaction guaranteed' policy. Don't like your video card? Take it back within 30 days. Was your burger at McDonald's cold? They give you a card for a new sandwhich at a later time. Don't like a movie you bought on DVD or saw in the theater? Tough shit. You already had your service provided.

    The 'on-line piracy' that the MPAA is worried about gives people the chance to discover if the movie sucks or not, and decide not to go see it. I mean, think about it: There is no possible way that you can recreate going to the theater in your own home. I don't know many people who could fit a movie screen that large. And I don't know about you, but I like seeing a movie with an audience, particularly if it's a comedy. There is always value in seeing the movie in the theater.

    If the movie's good, people will go see it even if they have seen a VCD version of it. The theater is a far superior version of it. On top of that, you may want to drag your friends to see it! Frankly, I think the piracy mentioned in this article is likely to make the good movies get more money, and the bad movies make less. This means that Hollywood will have to seriously raise the quality of what they are creating. Heh, you'd think with the >$100,000,000 budget of a lot of movies that quality would be of the utmost concern.

    In short, what I'm saying is that the MPAA will be forced to use a 'Best Buy' style business model in order to maintain customer satisfaction. Until they do that, they will just have to learn to live with people wanting gratis advance copies of movies. Pity though, I'd be willing to pay half the cost of a movie ticket to see a 320 by 240 version of a movie off the net, particularly if I'm cautious about whether I'll like it or not.

  • I was in Cannes on Friday, at a panel session organised by Wired mag, on the effects of broadband on the entertainment industry. Wim Wenders made the same points (more thorough writeup at www.59tv.com [59tv.com]). Directors who are not slaves to the machine are starting to point out the obvious - that the status quo doesn't necessarily suit everyone, especially when the MPAA and other organisations like it are using their power and position to artificially maintain the status quo. Digital Cinema, in particular, offers a way to break these bonds and open up distribution - if cinemas can be brave enough to install digital screens, and accept for viewing tapes from people off the street.
  • The big lie. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lonath (249354) on Monday May 27, 2002 @03:59PM (#3591940)
    Let's talk about "THE BIG LIE". The big lie is a lie so big that gets repeated so often that people start to believe it. If you're talking about how piracy won't be stopped by these laws or how the movie companies are making lots of money despite the piracy, you've bought into the big lie.

    The truth: It isn't about piracy. It's about competition.

    These giant companies have had a long run of huge profits because it is so expensive to make a movie or a record. Technology can change that.

    Cheap high-quality digital recording equipment can eventually be made, and massive bandwidth will mean that those things that are recorded can be sent all over at very little cost. It can happen.

    However, if this happens, the movie studios and record companies can lose out, because people might be willing to pay less for good indie things. It could end up like the open-source movement where eventually an entire industry of hobbyists starts making extremely high quality movies and songs. (Although it would also create al ot of crap...also like the OS movement.)

    Therefore, they have to stop the introduction of high-quality recording and editing and distribution equipment (unless it's under their control).

    Fortunately, The same equipment you can use to copy the content of the current regime is the equipment you will eventually be able to use to make cheap high-quality alternatives to the products the current companies.

    That means they can attack their real enemy: "competition" by setting up a straw man: "piracy".

    You might be wondering why they don't just go after the "competition" angle directly and state that they're scared of the possiblity of people making high-quality movies and distributing them without the blessing of the big studios. They're scared that there might be too many choices out there that are good enough that people aren't willing to give money to the mega companies anymore.

    To understand this, you have to ask yourself a question:

    If we eventully live in a world where it is possible for creative people to make and distribute high-quality movies and record cheaply, this technology (hinder/not affect/promote) the progress of the useful arts?

    Pick one of those three. I say it will promote the arts. I admit, although the vast majority of things that get created will be crap, there will be more gems than there would be if the reation and distribution channels were still tightly controlled by the studios and record companies. So, I say

    allowing technologies to come into existence that let people create and distribute high-quality art cheaply will promote the progress of the useful arts.

    That may be an odd way to look at things, but it's actually the only way that counts. You see, there is no moral right of authors or companies to benefit from their works. Copyright only exists to "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

    That means taht you can't use copyright to hinder the progress of the useful arts.

    Therefore, you can't use copyright to prevent new technologies that will promote the arts from coming into existence.

    But, as I said before, fortunately for the big media companies, the technology that you could use to make illegal copies of their content is the same technology that could be used to promote the progess of the useful arts by giving cheap easy access to creation tools to more people.

    So, that is the problem: The thing they fear is something that they can't attack directly. They cannot use copyright to hinder the progress of the arts. But, fortunately for them, they can attack the technology for being used to pirate their works and get the same effect without going against the Constitution and the only reason that copyright even exists.

    So, please in your discussions of the various laws and **AA's don't mention piracy anymore and how these laws won't stop it. If you do that, you got suckered into believing THE BIG LIE and you're fighting on their turf.

    Instead focus on the loss of creativity and expression that will occur if they don't allow the technology to exist. The key is to expose the big lie for what it is and repeat the truth enough times so that other people can see through the big lie.

    PS: All they care about is money, so please stop going to the movies/renting/buying movies and CDs and tapes. If you're giving them your money, you're helping them. :)

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