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MPAA Fights Pirates with Gentle Threats 537

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the kindler-gentler-tactics dept.
Gillious writes "Wow! It seems the MPAA has learned from the RIAA's mistakes. It seems we aren't going to get mass-lawsuits for grandmothers and 12-year-old kids. I find this quote most interesting: 'The movie industry, he said, has to ask itself what the music industry should have asked years ago: 'Why do they want to steal from us?' The answer, he said, is simple: 'Because you won't sell them what they want.' The technologists say that what went wrong with the music industry can easily go wrong for movie companies, too.'"
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MPAA Fights Pirates with Gentle Threats

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  • price (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:11AM (#7816932)
    the cost of a DVD is several hours pay where I am. You can figure it out.
    • the cost of a DVD is several hours pay where I am. You can figure it out.
      So how's things fellow american?
    • Re:price (Score:4, Funny)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:58AM (#7817069)
      the cost of a DVD is several hours pay where I am.

      Here's a photo of the poster [pquinn.com]
    • Re:price (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Robber Baron (112304) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @01:24PM (#7817639) Homepage
      What, you can't afford a DVD, but you can afford a computer and broadband internet access?

      Seriously, the relatively low price of a DVD, coupled the hassle of finding a quality rip of a movie I want to see and the nuisance of waiting hours (or days) to DL the rip is one of the reasons I continue to prefer buying DVDs and watch movies in theaters. I've had plenty of opportunities to DL ROTK, but I'd still rather see it in the theater first and buy the DVD later. Keep the quality of the product up, and that won't change..a lesson the recording industry still hasn't learned. Dling movies is still just a curiousity, not a preferred method of aquisition.
      • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Zone-MR (631588) <slashdot&zone-mr,net> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:17PM (#7818069) Homepage
        "What, you can't afford a DVD, but you can afford a computer and broadband internet access?"

        You are comparing the price of a *single* DVD with the price of a months subscription to a DSL service?

        Personally, I like to watch two or so films a week. If I am to rent these DVDs, it would cost me 20/month + inconvenience. If I was to buy them, it would cost me 100+/month. My other alternative is to download them, from a 18/month connection, which I have and need anyway.

        So price-wise, downloading movies is cheaper. It may be immoral, illegal, etc, but you can't argue that people who can afford a DSL connection can neccessarily afford to buy all the DVDs they would like to watch.

        So how about convenience?

        "Seriously, the relatively low price of a DVD, coupled the hassle of finding a quality rip of a movie I want to see and the nuisance of waiting hours (or days) to DL the rip is one of the reasons I continue to prefer buying DVDs and watch movies in theaters."

        My experiences differ. Downloading a movie is as easy as typing it's filename into emule, doing a jiggle search to verify it's filename, and adding it to a download queue. I usually watch movies on weekends, and set them to download a few days earlier.

        I don't mind waiting 2 days (avg) for a movie. I set it going, and forget about it. There are perhaps 1-2 movies/year which I feel the need to see the very day they are released. In the majority of other cases, I can wait. And the majority of older movies are difficult to find in stores, yet trivial to find on emule/equivelant.

        Until recently, movies were often released in US cinemas MONTHS before they appeared in the UK. This meant I could often get a HQ dvd-rip before I had a chance to see it legally. I guess the MPAA has wisened up recently, but there are still exceptions.

        At home, I have an LCD projector, and 5.1" sound system. Coupled with good quality telecines or dvd-rips (verifying quality is easy - glance at the filesize, and check oppinions at vcdquality), the video/sound quality I get at home is perfectly adequate. Given the chance, I PREFER to watch movies at home than I do at the cinema. Yes, the cinema has a bigger screen and better sound system - but I also have to contend with 100 other people - some will inevitably be noisy, some phones will go off, people will interrupt me by walking in front of me so they can get to the toilet, etc...

        Downloading movies is wrong and illegal - but I still do it. Not because I want to rebel, or because I feel like saving money at the expense of the artists. I do it because I have no legal alternative which would match the *convenience*. If the movie industries were to provide me a means of obtaining movies in the same format *legally*, for a reasonable price, things would be different.

        And perhaps another annoyance...

        Renting movies costs 2.5. Buying DVDs costs 15. I watch the majority of movies once. Sometimes I will re-watch the better movies after a year or so. Renting would seem the better option. Nethertheless, I like to *collect* movies, so that on occassion I can watch them again, or play a fragment during a conversation about them. Paying 6x the ammount of rental, just for the privellage of being able to watch the movie again sometime in the future seems ridicioulous. Driving to blockbusters and back everytime I get the spur-of-the-moment idea to view a movie again, only to find they aren't renting it anymore, doesn't appeal to me either. A computer-based collection of video files seems perfect. It would be perfect if I could do this legally. Unfortunatly the powers that be prefer to rip off the infrequent movie-goers, rather than produce something remotly affordable for people like myself.
  • by bsharitt (580506) * <brandonNO@SPAMsharitt.com> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:14AM (#7816937) Homepage Journal
    They need to come up with something like iTunes for movies that will let you buy movies, not just rent them and the file expires. And have just enough DRM to stop most people from copying. I think if the RIAA would have done this earlier in the game, they wouldn't be in the mess they are in now.

    • Multi-GB downloads that expire? I'd look elsewhere for my movies. HMV sales are a good start.
    • by pvt_medic (715692) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:21AM (#7816958)
      give it some time. Two factors that will lead to that. 1) long term sucess of such services as iTunes, and 2) Higher precentage of people with fast internet connections. While both of these are moving towards a reality, i doubt that you will see any movie service in the next year or so. Computers are just not the best way of playing a movie. And while I am sure that there are some people who here who have their monitor hooked up to some big tv or something like that, most dont. Things like movies on demand where you can order them and play them whenever you want on your cable box are whats going to happen in the near future. But eventually they will be
      • Well my monitor is bigger than my TV, so I like to use it for DVDs more.

      • Computers are just not the best way of playing a movie

        Sounds like you don't have a decent projector :)
      • by svanstrom (734343) <tony@svanstrom.org> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:59AM (#7817071) Homepage
        give it some time. Two factors that will lead to that. 1) long term sucess of such services as iTunes, and 2) Higher precentage of people with fast internet connections. While both of these are moving towards a reality, i doubt that you will see any movie service in the next year or so. Computers are just not the best way of playing a movie. And while I am sure that there are some people who here who have their monitor hooked up to some big tv or something like that, most dont. Things like movies on demand where you can order them and play them whenever you want on your cable box are whats going to happen in the near future.


        350 MB is enough for very good quality episodes of your favorite "1 hour" series, like Stargate, Star trek, Andromeda and so on; and 350 MB is easily downloaded even using basic ADSL.

        I'd rather view the all new episodes on my computer (well, I do have my computer hooked up to my tv) when they are released, than not being able to watch it at all (until it's released on DVD).

        I'd gladly pay 5 USD per episode if I get it the day it's released, and combined with a BT-ish way of downloading it won't kill their servers (too much, just a little ;-).
      • Two factors that will lead to that. 1) long term sucess of such services as iTunes, and 2) Higher precentage of people with fast internet connections.

        3) Agreements with cable companies to stop cutting off users for burning too much bandwidth.

        It was not long ago that Slashdot had an article about people being cut off from their ISP because they were told they were using too much bandwidth. How does the MPAA expect to be able to get people to use their services unless they coordinate with the cable industry

      • Try Korea (Score:2, Informative)

        by null etc. (524767)
        In Korea, there are several subscription services where you can download and watch full movies (ex. www.cineko.com). I guess it helps that nearly every household in Korea as a T1.

        God, it sucks to be in a backwards country ruled by the obsolescence curve. In Japan, the free cell phones that come with plans are better than the phones we pay $299 for with a 2-year plan.

        Can you hear me now?
      • Precisely the same reasoning used by some several years back, to tell us that mp3s would never go anywhere.

        "Computers are just not the best way of listening to music. And while I am sure that there are some people who here who have their computer hooked up to some big stereo or something like that, most dont. Things like music on demand where you can order it and play it whenever you want on your stereo are whats going to happen in the near future."

        Instead, people found their own way to do it, and mp3 gre
    • 'Because you won't sell them what they want.' Would this be more nude gratuity in movies? I remember movies like Porky's, the slasher flicks (Friday the 13th/Halloween), where all I cared about was a cheap thrill, now I've just stooped as low as making Jenna and Chasey what Julia Roberts and Demi Moore are to most, my heavy hitters. On a personal opinion note though, all you have is toddler-filtered crap.

      Porn industry makes billions on low budgets imagine if you had Carmen Electra running around losing her
      • Again let me clarify, when i say, buy movies, not just rent them and the file expires, i mean for them to not rent them and the file expires, not for them the make the file expire when you buy them, they already tried this.

        • i mean for them to not rent them and the file expires, not for them the make the file expire when you buy them, they already tried this. And again let me point out someone will still try to circumvent this just for the sake of hacker-fu-ness. Aside from that, if I rent something out and watch it at home, now say I have a two day rental, sometimes I bring in vids late, what makes you think I would pay for something I may not be able to watch where I otherwise would normally be able to, on my late return day
  • Camcorder Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Adolatra (557735) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:14AM (#7816938) Homepage
    Am I the only one who was a little miffed at reading the offhand statement that it is now illegal to carry a camcorder in a movie theater? Is there any reason the movie distributors couldn't have just used their clout with the theaters to get them to crack down themselves on bootleggers? Why is a state law necessary? Seems to me policemen have much better things to do than try and help a private establishment such as a theater enforce its own house rules.
    • Re:Camcorder Law (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:27AM (#7816975)
      The scope of the "house rules" preventing individuals from bringing along camcorders stretches farther than the individual theater. We can easily imagine a renegade theater allowing camcorders and thus serving as a supplier for hordes of so-called pirates. Arguably the movie industry believes that individual theaters should not be able to make this call.
      • The scope of the "house rules" preventing individuals from bringing along camcorders stretches farther than the individual theater. We can easily imagine a renegade theater allowing camcorders and thus serving as a supplier for hordes of so-called pirates. Arguably the movie industry believes that individual theaters should not be able to make this call.

        But even then, the movie industry could easily yank the leash back on any "renegade theater" by simply refusing to supply them with new movies. It's quite

      • We can easily imagine a renegade theater allowing camcorders

        Well, I can't easily imagine it. I think it's a bit of a stretch. I'm with the parent posting. I think law enforcement has better things to do that this.

      • Re:Camcorder Law (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Nurgled (63197) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:28PM (#7818120)

        Stelios Haji-Ioannou [stelios.com] opened a cinema [easycinema.com] (aka movie theater) in Milton Keynes, England which offered movies at very low prices by forcing customers to book in advance online. This cuts down the staffing costs. They also, initially at least, didn't sell refreshments and food and encouraged customers to bring their own food purchased elsewhere.

        The movie industry saw this and, noticing what Stelios had done to the airline industry with his previous company EasyJet, refused to supply the EasyCinema with the latest releases to prevent them from creating a precedent forcing a decrease in prices at other cinemas.

        EasyCinema is still around, which perhaps takes some clout of of my post, but it just serves to demonstrate that the movie industry is able to hurt cinemas which don't play along with their rules without requiring laws. EasyCinema still, to my knowledge, does not get movies on their day of official release, but I don't live in Milton Keynes so I don't pay that much attention! :)

    • Well, even though a movie theater is a private establishment, who can say "no camcorders allowed" and then just boot people out, calling it trespassing because you've violated your "license" to use their premises, if you enter with a camcorder...

      There are some people who just won't take that. They will blow up, and get all nasty, and then try to sue the movie theater, or whatever.

      I can't even IMAGINE bringing a camcorder into a movie theater. I already thought it wasn't legal... as it is, it's obvious
    • Re:Camcorder Law (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ratamacue (593855) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:50AM (#7817041)
      Why is a state law necessary?

      Simple: Because it expands the cost and scope of government. As government gets bigger and more powerful, the people who control government increasingly view their roles not as protectors of individual rights, but as business executives whose purpose is to increase revenue and expand market share.

      This is just another example of pork barrel politics: expansions of government designed to further empower the people who control government, at the necessary expense of the people.

      • Re:Camcorder Law (Score:5, Insightful)

        by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:42AM (#7817259) Journal
        Well... as long as you live in a democracy the people can easily take back the power.
        The problem is that, from where I am standing (the other side of the pond), it doesn't look like the people are interested in taking back the power.
        How many people vote in the US?

        You shouldn't bitch about the politicians or the companies who try to take as much power as they can for them selves... that is like complaining about a force of nature.
        People will try to become powerful, face it.... stop whining about it.

        What you can whine about however, is people who don't vote, or people who don't take the time to figure out who's the right person to vote for.
        It takes more time than the 30 seconds you need to watch a tv commercial, and politics is more complicated than for or against terrorism.

        I praise my self lucky to live in a country with a 90% voter turnout.
  • man that's fast (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ejaw5 (570071) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:18AM (#7816948)
    The movie industry, by comparison, estimates that it has at least 18 months before high-speed Internet access and high-capacity hard drives make grabbing a movie almost as quick and easy as grabbing a song.

    Do they mean there will come a day when one can download a 700MB Linux iso in less than 5 minutes? If my math is correct that's a 2333.3 kbps download speed!
    • Re:man that's fast (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LordK2002 (672528)

      2 Mbps is not all that much nowadays. I am sure it won't be that long before commercial broadband offers this sort of download rate.

      K

      • Re:man that's fast (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        700MB in 5 minutes = 2.3 megabytes/sec
        Speed offered by broadband = ~2 megabits/sec

        1 byte = 8 bits.

        You figure it out.
    • make grabbing a movie almost as quick and easy as grabbing a song

      everything is relative
    • Once connections are fast enough to STREAM movies, and P2P clients have their stabillity/reliablilty issues worked out, downloading movies will be easy enough.

      There is no point in downloading a movie in 5 minuites, I'd be just as happy if it would download in 120 mins and allowed streaming.
    • Re:man that's fast (Score:5, Informative)

      by muffen (321442) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:51AM (#7817306)
      Do they mean there will come a day when one can download a 700MB Linux iso in less than 5 minutes? If my math is correct that's a 2333.3 kbps download speed!

      There are many countries where this is a reality right at this moment... South Korea, Japan and Sweden are three that I can think of...

      In Sweden, they are now offering 100MBits to your house, with a DL cap of 300gigs (scheduled to go live in January or April, cant remember exactly). 10 and 26 MBits (bi-directional) is more or less standard in the larger cities in Sweden, and it all costs less than 100dollars a month (10Mbit is less than 50dollars a month, uncapped).
      • Re:man that's fast (Score:3, Interesting)

        by theefer (467185) *

        If my math is correct that's a 2333.3 kbps download speed!

        There are many countries where this is a reality right at this moment... South Korea, Japan and Sweden are three that I can think of...

        In Switzerland, they just upgraded the 512kbps cable connection to 2000kbps and they reduced the price you had to pay for it ! In other words, you have a connection that is 4 times faster than before and you pay less. Sounds a fair bargain to me.

        So yes, this is reality in more countries than one might first th

    • Back in the heyday of Napster, most people were on 28.8 modems, some on 56. An album of music encoded to a decent quality is at least 60mb. So what you're saying is, you find it unlikely that someone can get an internet connection at 11x the speed of a dial-up account (700/60).

      Oh, you're being pedantic about the word "song"? Fine. I've had 4mbit cable internet access since 1998. Canada rules :)
  • No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eggplant62 (120514) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:20AM (#7816957)
    'The movie industry, he said, has to ask itself what the music industry should have asked years ago: 'Why do they want to steal from us?' The answer, he said, is simple: 'Because you won't sell them what they want.'

    Gee, who'd'a' thunkit?? We're looking for music we can play on our pc's, our stereos, in our cars, on our little mp3 players. We're looking for movies that will play in similar devices, some more portable than others. Limiting access to a shitty little scratched up disc that only cost the companies $0.05 to make for $17 a pop is rape, plain and simple, especially when you consider there's one good song on an album and 12 other terrible songs. Sell me a song I like for $0.50 and I'm a happy camper! Let me use that song in any way I see fit (as long as I'm not trading it around like a joint at a frat party) and I'm certain the RIAA/MPAA can make a buck and keep their customers from thieving their works.
    • Let me use that song in any way I see fit (as long as I'm not trading it around like a joint at a frat party) and I'm certain the RIAA/MPAA can make a buck and keep their customers from thieving their works.
      I don't get it. When we were kids we were told to share our toys and stuff. We were taught about not being selfish and stuff. And now they're telling us we shouldn't share?
      Could those grownups please make their minds up.
      • Re:No shit (Score:2, Insightful)

        by inQ (581778)
        We should only share what belongs to us. When we buy information-oriented things such as a CD, we don't buy all of it. This is very different from buying traditional, material-oriented things. That is, if we don't want to break the law.

        I often illegally download stuff, but they are so expensive or inconvenient to buy, that even if I can't download it, I won't buy it anyway.
    • Re:No shit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EnglishTim (9662)
      Limiting access to a shitty little scratched up disc that only cost the companies $0.05 to make for $17 a pop is rape, plain and simple

      Listen, if you want a big supply of 'shitty little discs' really cheap, I'll sell you as many as you want for $0.25 a disc.

      Wait - you wanted music on them?
  • by dhowells (251561) <slashdot@domhowells.com> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:23AM (#7816963) Homepage Journal
    More important than being able to buy what is currently the hottest shit like LoTR, is in my opinion having access to a whole load of old and `out of print' movies, continental film, television archives, etc.

    Im sure that such a thing could be implemented easily and would reflect very well on the industry from an academic and cultural point of view.

    Dom
    • by Yorrike (322502) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:55AM (#7817058) Homepage Journal
      What I want is content providers like Cartoon Network to sell me single episodes, or entire series of TV shows over the web.

      I would be MORE than willing to part with a couple of bucks an episode if CT could let me download every Samurai Jack episode, or every ATHF episode in a format I can either watch on my PC, via my PC, or have the option to burn to a CD or DVD to watch with my DVD player.

      Hear that content providers? As Samurai Jack currently stands, I'm willing to give you $100 right here and now. But alas, you seemingly don't want my money.

    • I would love to be able to get access to old and out of print "cult" films. Like old and forgotten slasher films from the late 70's and early 80's. Most are no longer available on VHS, much less DVD!

      Same thing with music download. There are so many out of print remixes of songs that I wish I can get access to. Unfortunately, I've only seen them available on P2P networks and not on legal download sources like iTunes.

      -B
    • This is a great point. I would love to have access to older movies and TV shows on-line. No way they should/could sell these at $17 a clip, but at $5 or under I would give them my business.

      Its the older "classics" like Starwars or City Lights that would pose a problem. Too good to sell cheap, to old to sell dear.

    • They've been doing a fair job of releasing stuff onto DVD, although the old nag of "intellectual property" is still an issue. I read or heard an article recently about the release of old TV shows on DVD, and the biggest obstacle isn't a willingness to release the DVDs, its often the music rights -- the rights were negotiated for broadcast only and not for resale, and some shows (Miami Vice was used as an example) have so much popular music in them that the music rights for the DVD make a set that might sel
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:23AM (#7816965) Homepage Journal
    Jeff also says that he does not make his own trove of movies available to the world as readily. "I just watch them and delete them instead of leaving it out there," he said. "I don't leave the network on 24 hours a day the way I used to."

    But Davis, the former song trader, has changed his habits. He dusted off his turntable, bought a new needle and started haunting the bargain vinyl bins in junk shops, where he has discovered some treasures for a dollar a record.

    "I'm really very excited about it,'' he said, "because there isn't much new to buy out there, is there?"

    Jeff's being a leech here. This is the sort of attitude of users that's bad for P2P networks and even the internet. If you download files off P2P networks, you should consider it your moral duty to give back to the network too. If you don't want to give back to the network, don't download either.

    Davis, on the other hand, is on the right track. If you don't want to download music off P2P networks, and support the RIAA, go for old music/second hand CDs. IMHO, even if you buy from iTunes/etc in one breath and curse the RIAA and the shit it churns out in the next, you're being a hypocrite.

  • Why we "steal" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordK2002 (672528) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:25AM (#7816968)

    ...because we don't want to pay money to see a movie that may or may not be crap. I only ever buy DVDs once I have already seen the movie and decide it's worth buying, and most downloads I delete after viewing without redistribution.

    Offering free previews (perhaps in reduced quality, but watchable) and an easy option to follow up with a DVD purchase may be the way to go.

    K

    • Seriously. It's not that hard to work out a system where you can work out whether a film is worth your time.

      What you're saying is that you want a system that allows you to watch a file for free and then lets you pay if you want to. Where do you set your bar? It seems to me you're ending up watching a whole load of films for free.
      • Re:Read a review. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LordK2002 (672528)

        What you're saying is that you want a system that allows you to watch a file for free and then lets you pay if you want to. Where do you set your bar? It seems to me you're ending up watching a whole load of films for free.

        There is one. It's called television. It works very well as a preview system, allowing people to watch films for free and then pay if they want to for a much better quality version with optional extras.

        Offering free preview downloads would be a simple extension of the television broa

      • Would you trust a review of say LotR written by this person? [nytimes.com]

  • Lawsuits do. Lot's of them. Fear of financial ruin and possible incarceration are effective deterrents against copyright infringement and theft. The people I know who jack movies and music off the net will never, EVER pay unless it's convenient, or they're scared into doing so.

    Sad but true.
    • Fear of financial ruin and possible incarceration are effective deterrents against copyright infringement and theft.

      It's also a great deterrent against paying customers. There will be some people that, after having suffered at the hands of the industry in the very way you describe, are unlikely going to give that same industry any more money. Remember that most people being sued are being sued for sharing files, not downloading them. Many of those people attacked by these lawsuits will continue downloading

  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@@@devinmoore...com> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:32AM (#7816990) Homepage Journal
    Maybe people wouldn't steal movies so much if cell phones, morons, etc didn't keep making noise in the theater, despite nearly 50 years of attempts to thwart their annoyance... there is nothing more annoying than paying $17 and being annoyed on a date.
    • I'd appreciate the screens not having crap shining out from behind them,
      loud flashy "previews",
      annoying anti cellphone messages where they play cellphone rings (am I supposed to beat up the projectionist there or something?),
      the bit from the RIAA about how a few clicks can download movies about buildings with many small explosives going off sequentially and cars flipping over and not killing annoying overexposed actors (but we really don't want you to get movies that way because of all the effort that they
    • It's not just noise now. When I watched RotK (a long movie) in a theatre, people kept checking the time. For some people that meant pressing the little "light" button on their watches, which was annoying enough. But it seems most people nowadays use their cell phones as watches. And the backlights on those phones seem designed to serve as emergency runway markers. It was very disconcerting to watch the screen and see all these blue, green, and white light sources in the corner of my eye. Come on people, if
  • Arg! (Score:5, Informative)

    by FrostedWheat (172733) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:39AM (#7817011)
    Copying is *NOT* stealing! It's "Copying". I've copied all my DVDs to computer to make it easier to watch them and keep the origial DVDs safe. Does that make me a thief? Nope. If I walked into a library or video store and stole a DVD or VHS then that is theft.

    It's quite simple, you'd think they'd get it right more often.
    • In Norway, it is not illegal to make security copies of DVDs and CDs that you own. It was one of the points made in the DVD-Jon case.

      If The Industry doesn't want me making security copies, then they shall provide them. If my CD or DVD got damaged, they should replace them for free. If I want a copy for the flat and one for the car and one for the gym, I should get these for free, as long as I paid for the first one. I really don't get why it would be such a big deal, except I'm not a greedy, unethical wea

    • How is a movie on your computer "easier to watch"?

      I have a pair of 21" displays, a nice chair and a fast computer, but its not easier than watching DVDs sitting in a *better* chair or couch, watching on a 42" screen *designed* for DVDs, with a superior sound system.

      Keeping the DVDs safe makes sense, but why not just make dupes and watch the dupes?
  • by D. Book (534411) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:43AM (#7817019)
    How about picking submissions that aren't so misleading?

    The article reports that the MPAA sends hundreds of thousands of e-mails and letters to movie sharers, threatening to track them down and serve them with lawsuits. And that, by their own standards, has been 85% effective in scaring off the sharers.

    They might not be launching high-publicity lawsuits yet, but the RIAA's actions have put the fear of God into many sharers, and the MPAA is taking advantage of this. Let the RIAA suffer the negative publicity while riding on the back of the credibility it lends to their own threats.

    As for the "Because you won't sell them what they want." quote, it comes straight from some sharing-network monitoring company which, based on the information at their own website, hardly represents the views of the movie industry.

    So where is the "wow" in this story?
    • but the RIAA's actions have put the fear of God into many sharers

      Makes me wonder... apart from the US, have they actually successfully taken anyone to court yet?
      All the stories I've read so far are people in the states getting sued. I've heard of letter being sent out in other countries, but not an actual trial.

      Does anyone know?
  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:48AM (#7817029) Homepage Journal
    'The movie industry, he said, has to ask itself what the music industry should have asked years ago: 'Why do they want to steal from us?' The answer, he said, is simple: 'Because you won't sell them what they want.'

    It's not that we don't want what they sell, it's that they over-inflate the crap out of their products pricing and they're not fooling anybody. Anyway...

    • Actually you're DEAD WRONG. I (for one) don't want what they sell. Not when it includes several minutes of "previews" that I cannot skip.

      Companies completely MISS THE POINT.

      I've PAID for this, so WHY do you think I WANT to see (even more of) YOUR ADVERTISING.

      If you want to give me 5+ minute s of previews, fine. How about SUPERBIT quality DVDs at $5 less than el-cheapo DVDs are going for currently, including a second DVD with "all the extras" that you'd normally see chewing bitspace on the primary disc?

      T
  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetDanzr (619387) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:48AM (#7817031)
    Because you won't sell them what they want.

    Nice that the MPAA acknowledges the problem. Too bad that some members still don't do anything to remedy this situation. They still didn't give me what I wanted:

    • Non-censored movies. For me, there's only two ways to obtain a movie, such as Blade Runner or Basic Instinct that has not been censored: I can either buy an European version and crack my DVD player to play all regions (oh no! The DMCA hounds are after me!), or I can download them.
    • Unavailable movies. Some movies, such as one of my favorites, 1492 - Conquest of Paradise are not available in Region 1 at all. Once again, my options are limited to getting the Region 2 version and crack my DVD player or download it.
    • Forced features. Dear Disney. I'm not interested in five minutes of previews that you force down my throat, preventing me from skipping them. And no, I don't feel like ripping the DVD myself; it's much more comfortable for me to download and burn the movie. Lucky for you, Disney, I still have the courtesy to download only movies thet I unwisely purchased from you.
    • I have a question. Why would somebody download a movie they already own?

      Not meant to start a flame, just curious... If I've ever wanted to use a copy of a movie I have, I could make a copy on my server (divx or what not) and I could trust the quality. It seems with computers as fast as they are now, it's not worth it to suck the cable modem dry getting a movie you already own.
      • Why would somebody download a movie they already own?

        I don't know about others, but in my case it's a combination of two factors. First, I have a low-end Win98 machine. I was told that ripping a movie, cropping it to what I want and burning it can take over a day. As a result, I never actually bothered to learn how to rip a movie (this is the second factor), and so it's faster and more convenient to simply download the movie overnight.

    • Nice that the MPAA acknowledges the problem.

      RTFA. That quote is from the CEO of a company that monitors filesharing networks and therefore has a vested interest in movie downloads continuing.

  • Two points: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by billsf (34378) <billsf&cuba,calyx,nl> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:49AM (#7817034) Homepage Journal
    They tried to use the DCMA and found out the law is as bankrupt as anyone suspected. They also learned that US law stops at the US boarder and that people mad enough can sue in US court for violation of US laws that apply to them as a US business.

    It should also be realised that unless you have some sort of Internet connection it can take days as opposed to a couple minutes to download a mpeg4 encoded CD of about 730MB. Even "less than" ADSL connections and cable connections can take several hours to days as opposed to minutes. For the time, the size of their product is on their side.
    • Re:Two points: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alphanos (596595)
      [...] unless you have some sort of Internet connection it can take days as opposed to a couple minutes to download a mpeg4 encoded CD of about 730MB.

      How do you download something at all without some sort of Internet connection:)?

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:54AM (#7817056) Homepage
    1. They're bigger, and with HDTV they're likely to become even bigger still. DVD players in general don't play DivX content, and full DVDs are many gb each. Of course, this reason is fading, but is still strong.
    2. Errors/corrupt downloads are much more annoying. I.e. you'd likely only see the movie once or twice, while you might listen to a CD track 100 times. Checking it once takes a lot more time, relatively. Still, integrity checking is improving.
    3. They're "one product". Unlike albums with single tracks, you don't get a bunch of crap you don't want thrown in.
    4. Typically you have only one device where you like to play DVD movies. As for music, you'd like them on your computer, home stereo, portable player, car player etc etc. Which makes it fairly OK to have just one copy in form of the original disc.
    5. They're relatively low priced. If you look at it cost-efficiently, it's smarter to download mp3s/warez/gamez and buy DVDs than the other way around.
    6. You really don't mind spending one minute to put in a DVD to watch several hours of entertainment, but you do mind doing the same to listen to that 3 minute melody you suddenly *had* to hear.

    Personally, the one thing I hate about DVDs is region coding. It's quite simply an abuse of copyright protection to enforce artifical market barriers and price gouging. Stuff like that is what can be their undoing, if they try to really enforce those (I think everywhere but the US multi-region players are common now).

    Kjella
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:59AM (#7817074)
    This shouldn't be compared with the RIAA as much. Downloading mp3's and burning them to a cd gives you a product that is hardly distinguishable from the real deal. But comparing a divx movie to a DVD is like comparing a hyundai to a lexus. You can say they both get the job done but we all know that the lexus is going to do it better. Divx movies are pretty bad quality compared to a DVD. MP3's are just a few megs which can be downloaded in a minute over a reletively fast connection. It can take hours on a fast cable modem to download a movie. Storage is another consideration. If you download a movie that will fit on one cd it will look like shit. Or you can break it into two cds and you have to change it halfway through the movie. Either way, it's a hassel. The movie industry knows it does not face the same problems as the music industry because it's product can't be recreated as easily.

    Now I have some movies on my hard drive and I only have them on there until I decide I want to cough up the $20 for a DVD. I have thousands of MP3s and I can hardly distinguish them from the cds I have sitting in a pile to my right. But in both cases, they're not shared on the internet.

    Downloading movies off kazaa is certainly no fun. I'd be lucky if I can find the movie I want and if I set it up when I go to sleep and I'll have it in the morning. I've had good luck with bit torrent for downloading large files (not movies) so I'll have to try that later.

    Anyway, computers have become high tech stereos, but they're not high tech televisions and they won't be for at least a few more years. The movie industry has a few years to figure out how to "handle" the internet.
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:08AM (#7817105) Journal
    From the story:
    "At the industry's urging, for example, California recently passed a law making it illegal to use a camcorder in a movie theater."
    I assume I'm not the only one who sees how disturbing and utterly useless this is?

    Why should the industry be able to push through nonsensical laws such as this? It is yet another defeat in the battle for the rights of the consumer.

    For one, this won't help prevent movie piracy at all. TeleSync releases are not generally recorded in crowded movie theaters. Instead, they use empty theaters and plug the camera directly into the sound source. If they didn't, you would hear all kinds of weird noises and heads moving in front of the screen, etc.

    This law is not only completely useless in that it won't help battle piracy at all, it proves that corporate interests are pushed with blatant disregard of consumer rights and basic knowledge about these things.

  • by rollingcalf (605357) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:12AM (#7817120)
    I went to an art museum this summer, and they banned camcorders and digital cameras, but allowed regular film cameras. Why? All the paintings there were over 80 years old and the artists are dead, so none of it was copyrighted anymore. And you can use a scanner to digitize an analog picture.

    What do they expect to gain by doing that?
    • Offtopic but .... Just a guess, but someone may have seen the way the latest digital cameras autofocus. The latest Sony V1 uses a laser and others shoot white/red/infrared for focus or redeye reduction.

      Not something you want shining on any painting with dye based pigments. (especially if the insurance company knows about it)

      This doesn't make sense though because the worst culprits are cheap film cameras that don't let you disable the flash. Go to the Louvre and you'll see lots of idiots happily flashing a

  • by stwrtpj (518864) <p...stewart@@@comcast...net> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:22AM (#7817173) Journal

    Everybody reading the article needs to read between the lines pretty carefully on this one. While the MPAA is seemingly offering the olive branch with one hand, look at the following quotes from the article:

    Along with the warning letters, the movie industry is paying for consumer education programs and technology research, and pushing for laws and regulations that executives hope will protect their wares.

    The most important thing for Hollywood to do now, Johnson said, is to move faster to develop the kinds of licensing agreements and protective technology

    The path to a successful service has to involve the kind of technology that protects copyright unobtrusively,

    Hand in hand with developing legal digital services, he recommends the kind of tough security that is built into satellite television equipment,

    This whole article reeks of DRM. They never mention it by name, but this is exactly what they have in mind, and some of the stuff highlighted above suggests DRM in hardware.

    So I don't see where the MPAA has learned a damn thing, other than the blatant tactics of the RIAA don't work so they're going to try more underhanded ones. The agenda of the MPAA has NOT changed one iota.

  • by Featureless (599963) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:27AM (#7817200) Journal
    ...or rather, an attorney from a major music company (hint: one of the top 3). It's a larger group of friends, but of course, I'm the software engineer, and he/she's one of the IP lawyers who works "The List," so someone inevitably brings up the "who will win" question.

    I hate that question. But it's true, I have an answer - my best guess is that ultimately the peer to peer networks will win, if the fight continues as it has, unless the Internet itself is radically changed (although "destroyed" would perhaps be a better word). And I've said as much many times. Keep in mind that I am not entirely unconcerned about the prospect of the Internet being radically changed to stop piracy, either.

    Meanwhile, the attorney has remained confident that between "public education," lawsuits, and "governmental relations," they will prevail within a few years. So who is right?

    I know they have very sharp techincal people. But those people are not the ones making decisions. This attorney has heard of Freenet, but doesn't actually understand how it works.

    So I try my best to explain the evolution of the "threat" of being able to share information economically.

    "You had your chance at the outset. Napster was centralized. They were the easiest to use. They were a ripe target - American, and sitting out in plain sight. You could have cut a deal with them, started slipping DRM and payment systems into the mix slowly enough and carefully enough that users wouldn't reject them en masse.

    "But this is like fighting disease, in that when you come down hard on top of it, it might seem like you win, but you never quite kill it all. And what's left is what evolved.

    "No one would have bothered with Fasttrack or Gnutella if Napster had lived - they are inferior from a user's point of view. But they are more decentralized. Their foreign. They're encrypted (at least, Fasttrack is). And they saw what you did to the first guy. So they're sitting in a bunker in Vanuatu.

    "But of course, they're not completely beyond reach. Fasttrack is the best one, and it's commercial. So maybe, if you're very, very good, you can nab them. And then, you can always infiltrate their network, and go after their users. And that's exactly what you're doing. Trying to wipe it out again.

    "Say you succeed and Fasttrack and Gnutella become a thing of the past - you shut down the networks, poison them, scare the users away by getting nastier and nastier with them. Maybe you finally lock someone in jail for sharing a song. What comes next? What's left over?

    "Freenet, and its various workalikes, are almost entirely decentralized, and what's more, they not only use "real" encryption, but the developers understand traffic pattern analysis. They can build a model that will make it near impossible for you to even determine who got what with certainty.

    "Oh, right now there's only a few of these guys. They toil in obscurity, their user interface is a joke, their network is slow... but when you kill Fasttrack, guess what is first in line for the attention and love of hundreds of millions of internet users, and hundreds of thousands of engineers, who until then had no reason to bother? The next step in our evolution.

    "And it's a nasty one. You'll have made the 'disease' so resistant that the FBI won't be able to track child pornographers who use it, and the CIA won't be able to track terrorists who use it. And you guys, the RIAA, forget it. You'll be history. You'll go down in the history books for finally achieving copyright anarchy. Or rather, copyright voluntarism, which is what will really happen.

    "Ian Clarke has pointed out that the choice between communication safe from anyone's observation and control is more important than the RIAA, the MPAA, and even the theoretical benefit of law enforcement's dream of eavesdropping on everything, everywhere.

    "He is right. For saying this, many will damn me. But why is that a controvertial statement: that I should
    • Fearless, you have summed things up very well.

      For the last couple of decades a culture has been nurtured which is founded on the idea that those with money will win over those who don't. And it can be argued today that those with the most money are also the ones that make the rules (like the DMCA, like the stupid camcorder ban).

      What the RIAA, MPAA and their ilk have been assuming is that their considerable wealth will still allow them to bully anyone who doesn't follow their rules.

      If they were battling s
    • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @01:06PM (#7817559) Homepage
      If there are no logs the RIAA can subpoena, there are no logs the police can use. You can't have that both ways, either you are anonymous, or not. Black and white.

      The second thing is that online, all is 0s and 1s. You can not separate between protected speech, libel, slander or kiddie porn until after a program has interpreted those data. Black or white.

      The core issue is that pretty much everything you do online is not anonymous today, in the form of various logs. It is only anonymous because there are legal protections providing checks and balances, lifting anonymity with warrants as the court sees fit *after the fact*.

      That is the final black & white, and the RIAA doesn't see it coming. The moment that changes, that what you do is anonymous to begin with, there can be no "checks and balances". It ends up with only two scenarios:

      White: True anonymity is allowed. Since you can't tell in advance what a message contains, everything from protected speech to mp3s and kiddie porn flows freely through the anonymous network. The only way you can not contribute to it is to not take part at all.

      It's basicly anarchy because noone can control anyone else's actions, or control any specific piece of information, like a copyrighted work. Nor libel, slander, racism, nazism, anti-semittism, terrorism (yes, Al-Quaida could put up a damn homepage and not get shut down).

      Black: There is no anonymity, no privacy. Everything is automatically monitored, controlled and logged to ensure that anonymity can be revoked, making 1984 look pale by comparison. Freenet, mixmasters, probably encryption itself is outlawed except for "trusted" programs with backdoors, less they would cloud the all-seeing Big Brother.

      Which would of course be ready to lift any anonymity whenever, for whomever it sees fit, without anyone knowing about it. After all, it's already sitting on the information. No need to subpoena it from anywhere. Total power.

      Pick the lesser evil. Usable anonymous networks are coming, it's simply a matter of time. RIAA may speed up the process, increase the user base, but it would none the less happen. At which point, we will have to make the choice. There is no third option to freeze time. I think many will actually look back on the time when the Internet was fairly civilized and call it the "good, old days".

      Kjella
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:29AM (#7817210) Homepage
    Here is one answer that the mpaa needs to get to work on immediately - internet distribution of movies and tv shows. Offer the people what we want - low cost entertainment. Strike while the iron is somewhat hot, even if the net speed isn't quite there yet. Offer content at lowest and highest quality initially, then fill in mid-range qualities as demand warrants. Have movies available as they hit retail dvd markets, and have a show suggestion/voting system setup so people can suggest what they want and others can vote for the show (this could dictate priority internally).

    Offer the content at different price-points for quality - a movie available in divx at two or three qualities (or simply VCD and SVCD qualities) with pricing relative to quality and available at one or two bit-rates able to burn onto dvd. Like with iTunes, the content would be protected by licensing and drm. Also like iTunes, the drm and licensing should be as invisible as possible. A cd/dvd burning app would be integrated to support licensed burns of cd/dvd downloads (allowing maybe five burns as dvd burning is still kind of 'iffy').Streaming content would be available only in addition to downloadable versions, and at a significant price drop.

    The drm should be as invisible as possible, while still protecting content. A burned dvd bought from the service might have the purchaser id mixed into the data (not impossible to defeat (recode), but the casual copier might not know-how/want to defeat). Same idea with s/vcd content. A divx content might also include this, but with one additional twist - low cost distribution. People (clients) could share the content amongst themselves. A client acquiring the content from another source could enable it to play at maybe 60% the cost of a download. The drm should be dynamic/random format/encryption so even if one form is cracked you don't lose everything. Anyone cracking the drm and/or illegally distributing the content would be punished harshly.
  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:53AM (#7817310)
    My brother in law always gets me BestBuy gift cards for the holidays. So since my bd is around this time of year to I normally end up with a couple of them. While shopping around I was going though the DVD section and saw all sorts of great deals. DVDs for ~15 USD and many even closer to ~11 USD. While some did get a little more costly they were all very reasonable for what they gave. A movie, which was produced at a rather high cost on average, some bonus material that is always fun to have, and lastly the knowladge that even though the silly DSS is there the quality of both the sound and picture will be quite good.

    Then I was looking around in the music area and the prices were at least +5 to +10 dollars on average higher than the DVDs! And some of the albums that they were selling for clost to 20 USD were quite old. Many had to actually come on 2 CDs due to the size. Also, while for the majority of the CDs I saw there was no real protection on them, the quality could be kind of iffy depending on the metholigy they used to make it. (AAD, ADD, DDD. Thanks for not telling us anymore!)

    So, after a bit of thought I game up with a few generalizations. I can buy a DVD with more content, the knowladge that this movie at some point had a lot of cash sunk into it (At least as much as it would take to record an album.), more than likely some extra stuff, and on average a better price. The only bad part is the DSS and the region but whatever. They are pretty trival to overcome if you care that much.

    On the other hand I can buy a CD that is old tech, for typically more money, of questionable quality sometimes, but with no real protection to speak of.

    Now maybe each respective orgnization can do a survay of what is right and wrong about each diffrent model and figure out how exist without continueally pissing people off but of the two I choose the lesser evil, the MPAA, as being able to survive. The RIAA is wayyyyy to far behind in the game to even come close to pulling their heads out of the sand.
  • The MPAA is smart enough not to kill the goose that layed the golden egg. Still a threat is a threat, and it must be backed up by the use of force. I have no doubt the MPAA is capable and willing.

    What's the difference between a murderer who said "Well I only used soft shoes when I stomped him to death." and a murderer who used an axe and chopped them to little bits.

    Cartels are evil and that is what the MPAA and RIAA are. Both can reduce piracy by not making it worthwhile to pirate. Reduced DVD & CD p
  • by Bruce J L (693697) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:32PM (#7817440)
    I don't mind previews. I actually like watching movie trailer at the theater. I enjoy seeing what new movies are coming out. I however do not enjoy paying 10$ to watch the same commercials I regularly see for free on TV.

    On my dvd's I can skip commercials, on tv I can skip commercial, on tivo I can skip commercials, at the movie I am forced to endure these advertisements. On downloaded copies I get no trailers or commercials, however I have a reduced quality movie for free.

    How about they add some commercials and let me watch for free? How about they lower the cost to 4$ and leave the commercials? Better yet, free soda and popcorn..well soda and popcorn is how the actual theater makes money. How about instead of trying to prevent something make the actual experience worth it again.
  • by mcpkaaos (449561) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @02:10PM (#7817814)
    How much of this has to do with the MPAA "learning" from the RIAA's mistakes...

    And how much has to do with the fact that a federal appeals court just ruled in the last few days that it is illegal for the RIAA to subpoena ISPs for customer information, thereby putting a quick end to any RIAA-styled tactics the MPAA might have employed?

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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