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Canada Responsible for 50% of Movie Piracy 459

Posted by Zonk
from the should-we-blame-the-government-or-blame-society dept.
westcoaster004 writes "Hollywood is blaming Canada as being the source for at least 50% of of the world's pirated movies. According to an investigation by Twentieth Century Fox, most of the recording is taking place in Montreal theatres where films are released in both English and French. This has led to consideration of delaying movie releases in Canada. Their problem is that the Canadian Copyright Act, as well as the policies of local police forces, makes it difficult to come down especially hard on perpetrators. Convicting someone is apparently rather difficult, almost requiring a law officer to have a 'smoking camcorder' in the hands of the accused. Hence, the consideration of more drastic measures."
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Canada Responsible for 50% of Movie Piracy

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  • Re:Delaying releases (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Firefly1 (251590) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:33PM (#17773716) Homepage
    Yes, 'brilliant'. Especially when one realizes that these delays represent in and of themselves a good incentive for bootleggers (I refuse to use 'pirates' to describe them).
    So, let's assume Hollywood decides to delay releases in Canada... what prevents the Canadian government from saying 'okay, fine; find somewhere else for your location shoots' and explaining to their public precisely why they took such a step?
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:38PM (#17773810) Homepage

    Presumably, the Canadian legislature will ask similar questions?
    Possibly, but like everyone else's government, ours doesn't always get it either.

    See, part of the problem is our copyright law incorporates fair use explicitly. Since the *AAs couldn't get that part repealed, they managed to get themselves a levy on all blank media to counter the 'theft' which they are a victim of. Now, all recordable media that gets bought causes them to get paid a cut. Nice little scam from out perspective.

    Many people in Canada have basically said "fsck it, if you're gonna charge me for all of my blank media, I'm gonna use some of it to make copies of your crap -- you're already getting paid, so I'm getting me a movie".

    Mostly though, I'm absolutely shocked that many people are interested in seeing a camcorder recording of a movie. When I see a movie, I want a good picture quality -- not some friggin' hand-held recording of the movie.

    Oh well, the vast majority of movies coming out nowadays are dreck anyway, and the ones I'm looking forward to, I'll go to/buy as soon as they're available to me.

    Cheers
  • what bs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by strobe74 (617588) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:41PM (#17773876)
    I have a hard time believing Canada pirates more than places like china. I'd like to know exactly how they measure that.

    I'm assuming they're using the "what unsupported accusation suits my needs best" method.
  • Yeah, to bad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Pizentios (772582) <pizentios @ g m a i l . com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:46PM (#17773960)
    To bad, cause a Canadian Judge ruled that file sharing isn't illegal in Canada. See http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-5182641.html [com.com] for more information. The greed induced coma that record and movie studio's are in now will successfully ruin (read: has ruined) the industry. I personally don't go to the movie theaters anymore because of the following reasons:

    1) I don't enjoy paying more than $10 so see a movie, and lets face it, i am too lazy to go out and get a movie rental card :-P
    2) I get a far better movie experience at home anyways, i have better sound/images and no jack ass sitting in front of me talking about what he thinks is going to happen in the movie next.
    3) Most of the movies that come out today are crap. Also a great deal of them are ether remakes of old movies, or sequels. I would rather watch the original version of the movie an certainly not the 3rd,4th or 5th sequels of the movie.

    Maybe if the industry would actually create something good, instead of shoving more of the same tired crap down peoples necks. I am so tired of seeing some pop culture icon (like jessica simpson, etc..) get a movie part. They aren't real actors. I don't find their lack of intellgence funny or cute. All they do is re-enforce the image that women should act stupid because it's cute.

    It's the same with the music industry. They have new bands every few months now, and rarely are they any good....just more of the same pop culture or indy music.

    As a consumer i have a choice. I choose to not spend money on crap. If i can get free crap and have a better experience in my own home, why wouldn't i take advantage of it? Maybe it's time to change the way you do business and actually create a model that inpires trust from the customer, in a way that will make them feel comfortable about buying something of yours and make them feel like they are getting something for that money.
  • Re:FOX (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PingSpike (947548) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:49PM (#17774006)
    Wouldn't delaying releases really screw hollywood a lot more? They'd have to spread their marketing budget over a much longer time to keep the buzz generated, otherwise people would say "I want to see that! Oh wait its not out yet..." then forget all about it before actually did come out.

    Not to mention the people that it would increase the demand for bootlegs floating around online.

    How about this, after they make a film, in order to prevent piracy they burn the master copy before anyone can see it. And shoot all the people involved in the production, so that they can't make another copy. Gotta catch 'em all!
  • Re:I'm Canadian. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kebes (861706) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:55PM (#17774160) Journal
    in Canada, it's not copyright infringement if it's for personal use

    Indeed, and that's what the U.S. movie industry so scared about. Quote from the article:

    But here's the catch. Under the Copyright Act, you have to prove that an individual camcording in the theatre is doing it for distribution purposes.
    Camcording a movie in Canada is not illegal (it could be for personal use). The illegal part is distributing the recording to others, but that is a completely separate event. Again from the article:

    We don't want to have to prove the economic loss from distribution. We want it to be a Criminal Code activity to be caught camcording. Period.
    Fantastic! Let's just assume everyone is a criminal if we even suspect that they don't support the status-quo monopoly!

    Personally I don't want Canadians giving up any of their freedoms just to maintain the current distribution monopolies. All Canadians in the audience should consider signing the petition against copyright extension: http://www.digital-copyright.ca/billc60/ [digital-copyright.ca].
  • Re:Problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BewireNomali (618969) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:56PM (#17774176)
    Wow, this isn't insightful at all.

    In fact, actors and execs in the film industry are only paid what the market will bear - and what previous box office success warrants. for example, to say that peter jackson isn't worth what he's being paid for the LOTR franchise and ensuing going forward is absurd - because that franchise is verging on 5 billion, if not billions more. I'd wager that Peter's take is in the area of 250 million. I'd wager he's worth more than his take and then some.

    infringement proves the opposite, actually - that the brands and content in question is of value that people are willing to take the moderate risk in STEALING IT.

    and your point about sticking to a 19th century business model is moot - everyone complains about the business model but no one offers a viable alternative that won't result in a significant contraction/reshuffling of the industry.

  • Re:I'm Canadian. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Egonis (155154) on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:57PM (#17774188)
    Agreed.
    And it's also worth noting that Canada has the highest percent per capita of High-End Home Theatre Systems and DVD Sales.

    I download movies, and decide whether I would like to own a copy. I own over 100 DVD's, and am not against purchasing a good movie I would like to watch again, and also to support the filmmakers who don't make typical garbage!

    FYI: You can find this statistic information on Industry Canada's Site somewhere, CBC had made a report on this about 8 months ago.
  • Re:Due South (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @03:58PM (#17774218)
    There's also the fact they have to pay a "piracy tax" on blank media, which they quite rightly resent. Of course it backfires by leading them to think "well, I might as well get my money's worth" which *AA execs were somehow too stupid to see would happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:06PM (#17774366)
    If this is anywhere close to being true, it is probably related to the fact that Canadians lead the world in digital download sales growth [michaelgeist.ca] but that we don't currently have any legal way to download TV shows or movies (for example, the iTunes Music Store Canada offers neither).

    More likely is that this is a planted PR press release that the Canadian media have uncritically fallen for. This "starting revelation" comes out at precisely the same time Canada's Heritage Minister is set to release sweeping new changes to the Copyright Right Act that perversely restrict user and fair use rights. Canada's current minority government is neo-con and pro-corporate, denied global warming until about three weeks ago, and only rose to power because the previous government had been in power for 14 years.

    In other words, no one should be listening to the government or the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Last year, the major Canadian indie labels left CRIA. In fact, according to documents recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, last year eleven professional organizations representing most Canadian copyright holders in the music industry, including songwriters, composers, performers, record producers, and publishers, wrote to Ministers Oda and Bernier to reject CRIA's new opposition to the private copying system.
  • Re:Problem (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:06PM (#17774368)
    everyone complains about the business model but no one offers a viable alternative that won't result in a significant contraction/reshuffling of the industry

    When did a business model become an entitlement? If the entertainment industry is significantly contracted and reshuffled - SO WHAT? Will the economy collapse? Will armageddon come? As a factor of the GDP the entertainment industry is insignificant and its influence is entirely out of proportion to its actual importance.
  • Re:Problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:19PM (#17774642) Homepage
    They're also implementing practices that are pissing purchasing customers off like crazy.

    I see at least 1 movie in theaters per week, often two.

    I pay $11 to sit through 5 tv commercials followed by 6 trailer commercials as well as about 8 studio commercials. Then i sit through a commercial telling me that piracy is illegal and that i could go to jail. This delightful process then takes up 30 minutes of my life that i PAID FOR. This isn't entertainment, this is crap that I don't want and am pissed of by it.

    To top it off ushers from the movie theater then walk up and down the isles during the movie with infra-red binoculars in order to seek out pirates with video cameras, which disturbs everyone in the theater.

    But hey, it's the pirates fault that the movie industry is losing profits, right? It clearly has nothing to do with the absurd practices put forth by the MPAA.
  • Re:Problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:19PM (#17774654) Journal
    Up front payment? Look at how TV shows are produced for inspiration. First, they make a pilot; a normal episode but without most of the effects, and with some bits missing. They then pitch this to studios. Why not cut out the middle man, and pitch it directly to the public? Put the pilot on YouTube (or similar), let people share it as much as possible. If they think it's worth funding, let them put some money into an escrow fund. Once this reaches the amount required to make the feature, the money is released and filming goes ahead. Afterwards, it doesn't matter how much the film is pirated, because it's already been paid for.
  • Re:Problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BewireNomali (618969) on Friday January 26, 2007 @04:43PM (#17775130)
    I disagree. People will steal anything if they can get it for free, regardless of the cost. That isn't an indication of whether or not the cost is something that the market can or will bear. Nor is it necessarily an indicant of the viability of a business model.

    Nothing is a reasonable price FOR EVERYTHING. Your argument in and of itself doesn't imply that the model is inaccurate. Every walmart in the world would be looted bare if there was little consequence to taking what you wanted and walking out the doors.

    What implies the model is inaccurate is that content providers haven't found a way to distribute instances of media without preventing other instances from being distributed in a manner that produces no value for the producer.

    quite frankly, the industry is built on those millions of instances of sales of the same content. without those instances, the industry contracts significantly.
  • Re:Obligatory (Score:1, Interesting)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) * <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:18PM (#17775810) Homepage Journal
    > Fix the damn problem in your own country

    That is not profitable. It does not lead to endless debate. It does not allow for endless dog and pony media releases. It does not provide a good background for daily finger pointing. It doesn't give rise to vigilante conquests or make use of the "hero of the day" methodology (eg. Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" and Tipper Gore's parental warning labels).

    All of the idiocy in the world can be explained very concisely and simply if one refactors everything to make the profit margin, from the point of view of the most influential and powerful (usually the ones behind the scenes) individuals, the most important attribute.

    The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--profit margin from multibillion dollar spending bills (taken from the taxpayers and given, preferentially, to the military subcontractors). The war on drugs, the insurance mess, the stock market, even the events leading up to and the subsequent media circus resulting from 9/11. It's all about profit margin and public perception.

    Now that you have been told the truth, dear citizen, please do not feel that you have any ability to do anything about it. The system is carefully designed to protect itself and prevent individuals, except those specifically ordained by the system, from being able to make any real impact. Go back to work, pay your taxes, accept your place in society.

    Is there any wonder why I'm homeless? This is my punishment for exposing too many pyramid schemes within the overall system. I'm supposed to be demoralized. I'm supposed to become dejected. I'm probably supposed to feel like a failure, or dishonored, and commit suicide.

    Instead I'm going to sit in one of the wealthiest communities in the US and raise a stink so terrible that heaven itself will have to come down to earth to heal it.
  • by ArtDent (83554) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:20PM (#17775844)
    Bring it!

    If they delay the release of their films in Canada, of course it will encourage illegal copying of these films here.

    But, that's not all. It's not just our movie theatres that our dominated by American content. We get all their crappy entertainment media as well. So, the releases will not coincide with the media hype, no doubt leading to reduced interest in their films altogether.

    Hopefully, this will result in more interest in domestic offerings. With any luck, we'll see more, and better, Canadian movies being made. Wouldn't that be fantastic?
  • Re:Due South (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OctaviusIII (969957) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:42PM (#17776240) Homepage
    Yeah, that's a motivation to drive to Montreal with a camcorder and record a movie, just so I can stick it to the man. I live in Canada so I know that if you ask nearly anybody about the tax they'd give you a blank stare. Canadians don't resent it and, even if they did, it wouldn't drive them to piracy in protest. That's just stupid.
  • Re:Taxes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MurrayMD (952223) on Friday January 26, 2007 @05:49PM (#17776348)
    I'm a Canadian and I resent that tax among other things. I now live in Texas.
  • Re:Problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sylvak (967868) on Friday January 26, 2007 @06:11PM (#17776752)
    I think that's not a bad idea.

    Another idea I could see working would be a movie service that would provide all movies downloads for like 1$ each. This system could also facilitate user feedback to track information like favorite movies, actors, directors, writers, and other people involved in movies. All the money collected could go towards the creation of new movies. As for who does what movie, we could use the collected feedback data and give first choice to the most popular people. If everyone loves a particular actor, let him decide which movie he prefers doing that year.

    I see this as the basis of an engine to promote the creation of art that is freely available in the public domain.

    As for people wanting to make big $$, they could just use the fame they acquired and do something imaginative with that. I'm sure they could figure it out (10000$ for special appearence at the tonight show, 50000$ for commercials, etc). Also, each movie could be available in 'platinum edition' with bonus material (posters, catalogues, extra content) at a higher price. So lets say I love the LOTR movie that I got in digital format for 1$, I could still go and buy the 40$ platinum edition. Then, the money from the platinum sales could go directly to the people involved in the movie, not the movie making body... therefore creating an incentive to making a big hit movie.

    Crazy idea, I know... but it could work. Anybody else want to add/change something?
  • Re:Due South (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Friday January 26, 2007 @07:12PM (#17777768) Journal
    Coincidentally (or maybe not...), Sweden has a very similar tax [copyswede.se] and is home to a very large BT tracker...

    Yeah, I don't understand the thinking behind these taxes either...

    The end result? No less than:

    1. People think it's more OK to copy copyrighted material, as they pay for it anyway.
    2. People purchase media in bulk from neighboring countries without these taxes, where shipping charges are not a problem.

    Result of #1 is increased piracy and #2 is economic losses for Swedish hardware retailers.

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