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Piracy Businesses The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

You Will Never Kill Piracy 516

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-ask-louis-ck-how-to-do-things dept.
scottbomb writes "This is perhaps the best op-ed I've read about the whole SOPA/PIPA controversy. The author challenges Hollywood to re-think their entire business model. It will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, for now. But sooner or later, they will have no choice but to adapt. From the article: 'Now that the SOPA and PIPA fights have died down, and Hollywood prepares their next salvo against internet freedom with ACTA and PCIP, it's worth pausing to consider how the war on piracy could actually be won. It can't, is the short answer, and one these companies do not want to hear as they put their fingers in their ears and start yelling.'"
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You Will Never Kill Piracy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:35AM (#38926577)
    http://takedownpiracy.com/2012/01/another-one-bites-the-dust/ [takedownpiracy.com]
    The guy has made it his job to DOS sites with DMCA takedown notices till they shut down
    If more people like this start infiltrating private torrent sites, it could cause a major issue
  • by dingen (958134) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:41AM (#38926611)

    ...it is that tremendous progress has been made in the field of anonymous file sharing technology. If the folks from the music/movie industry hadn't pushed so hard to prevent piracy, we would still be on Napster. But instead we now have very advanced things like the BitTorrent protocol, equipped with encryption, magnet links, DHT and PEX. And it's not just the geeks who are using these advanced file sharing technologies either, it's ordinary people. All in all quite an achievement.

  • Not so sure. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:42AM (#38926613) Homepage

    Sure, they will never make it so that it is completely impossible for a few people to do.
    But they have more then enough lobbying power to make the consequences of being caught so severe and the internet so monitored that piracy is so underground that 99% cannot find it and would not take the risk if they did.

    It might not help their profit margin to do this as much as they think, but they are mega corporations and they at least have a chance at doing whatever they want.
    While they might not be able to do so in any reasonably free and fair society or under current US law, but that will not necessarily stop them.
    Hell, I would not bet against them if they launched a coup to physically take over the government and impose a tyranny in the US and put the current administrations heads on spikes outside of the whitehouse.

  • by _LORAX_ (4790) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:42AM (#38926619) Homepage

    Studios live on a strong distribution model where they control the vast majority of the content and the distribution channels. Any tool that is viable for "piracy" is also viable by independent distributors as well. While I don't condone copyright infringement I think studios are more interested in their long term viability than to protect their content from "piracy". I expect similar behavior from the major publishing houses in the next couple of years as ebooks break their hold on the distribution channels.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:49AM (#38926659)
    If it's possible to make a movie and sell it cheaply online, with no DRM, and still make a profit as the article suggests why hasn't anyone done that successfully?
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:51AM (#38926675) Journal

    If it's possible to make a movie and sell it cheaply online, with no DRM, and still make a profit as the article suggests why hasn't anyone done that successfully?

    It's the distribution channel, my friend

    Tell me, currently what are the distribution channel for movies, and how do they distribute them?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:53AM (#38926691)

    You Will Never Kill Piracy

    These copyright laws are not about protecting artists from piracy, they are about expanding the for-profit prison industry.

    Let's not full ourselves, the "piracy" issue is just as stupid as believing that the War on Drugs stops people from smoking marijuana.

    These copyright agendas use the same principals as Microsoft's "embrace, extend and extinguish" corporate mantra. It's all about one class of people dominating another class of people.

    References:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrections_Corporation_of_America [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=867 [corpwatch.org]
    http://mediafilter.org/MFF/Prison.html [mediafilter.org]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish [wikipedia.org]

  • Sure you will (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:54AM (#38926695)
    Most piracy is based on poorly implemented encryption due to slow processors. Next Gen hardware will be able to run encryption algorithms that don't have a gazillion assembly optimization in them. The XBox, PS3, current gen TVs & Blu Ray players couldn't. Once that happens, pop. No more piracy.
  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:56AM (#38926707) Homepage

    They ain't gonna change because none of the pirates posting on Slashdot have ever elaborated a credible alternative for them. Kodak was killed by superior technology - digital was clearly a better way of taking photos and Kodak just failed to make the leap. But what, exactly, is the superior alternative for Hollywood? Give everything away for free? The financial physics of that don't work. Maybe they should pay for movies entirely out of popcorn sales.

    Please. This kind of 24/7 "piracy is freedom fighting" crap tires me. The linked article is worthless and adds nothing to what precious little debate there is. He claims the problem is "massively overpriced" works. He then ignores the fact that the easy and cheap rental services he asks for already exist (eg, iTunes, Netflix, Apple TV), and oddly enough, if both are as easy as he claims the free alternative will still always win. The guy practically admits he breaks the law constantly and doesn't care, which isn't surprising because he has demonstrated the kind of reasoning skills I'd expect of a small child.

    How about the police check his computer then throw him in jail for a bit? That won't stop piracy but it might stop stupid articles about it from clogging up the internet.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:57AM (#38926717)

    And no one rational says it is. But even though you can't stop rape and murder you only punish the culprits, not the taxi driver that gave them a ride. Not the guy that rents them an apartment. Not the store that sold them a butcher knife. You don't make everyone wear a RFID tag and track them 24/7. You don't put cameras in every room of every house. No, what you do is you catch the culprits and punish them. The problem with the anti-piracy people is that they seem to think it's okay to take away everyone's freedom on the internet instead of doing actual investigation and punishment of those who actually commit piracy.

  • by Tom (822) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:00AM (#38926753) Homepage Journal

    We are making the mistake that many losers in many conflicts have made: We think our enemy is stupid and not seing the obvious.

    What if they are?

    Imagine that Hollywood is as smart as us and knows everything we know. And still they are doing what they are doing. Why would it make sense?

    One, it gives them time. They may know they need to change business models, but like all humans, they are risk-averse and they need time to adapt, to test out various strategies, to find the most profitable approach. At the same time, they want their revenue to continue coming in. Delaying the inevitable is sometimes a smart move, if you can use the time inbetween.

    Two, making everything else illegal guarantees that they can take down the competition before it emerges. Many of the illegal online services like Napster or Megaupload were toying with the idea of going legit, because they realized that you can only get so big and so much exposure before the guys with the guns come knocking. A legal service that competes with the studios (instead of working with them, like iTunes) could emerge out of those. Can't have that, better to shut it down while it's still clearly on the illegal side.

    There are probably more good reasons. Don't assume they are stupid without proof.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:03AM (#38926767) Homepage

    Here's an article for you [techdirt.com]

  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:03AM (#38926771)
    A Steam like service for movies and TV shows for a start, which works on an international level (including the sales,etc of the Steam business model) should be a start
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:16AM (#38926869)
    I'll give you a third reason: to stay relevant. The RIAA and the MPAA know and have known for a long time that the Internet and the widespread availability of computers are a death sentence for their industries. Copyrights just do not work when consumer electronics can make large numbers of perfect copies of any data, and without copyrights the RIAA and MPAA have no business model at all.

    What they want is for computers to be consumption-only devices, and for the Internet to be a fancy broadcasting system. Everything they have been pushing for over the past 15 years is designed to chip away at the P2P nature of Internet communications and to put consumers back in their place. There is a grand strategy at work: kill the Internet, rebuild it as a fancy cable TV system.

    That is the nature of the enemy here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:30AM (#38926963)

    Piracy rose to popularity because the sailor who did all the actual work were treated worse than unskilled farm laborers, and they could be pressed into the navy before they even got paid from their merchant ship tour, or just cheated out of their pay by the merchant captain. Serving a privateer promised at least a share of the plunder, but it was one share for the sailor compared to 14 or more for the captain. The famous pirates you hear about ran in democratic packs, electing their captains who only got one additional share, and voting on all important decisions. For many a life of piracy was better than the legal alternative. At least for a while.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:48AM (#38927089) Homepage

    "The fiber just got laid 10-15 years ago, we've barely managed to start rolling out IPv6 (I'd equate IPv4 to square rigging...), piracy will be around for quite awhile, but it will eventually be marginalized just Jean Lafitte and his like have been."

    That is the single most foolish statement ever made on Slashdot.

    The reason Sea "pirates" dont have a chance is because they dont have Trillions of dollars to have massive balttleships built and they typically are low IQ types. If they had any brains they would get their hands on some old WW-II submarines and utterly own the US navy. a WW-II torpedo will take out a US ship easily. We are just lucky that the pirates out there are simply opportunists that are nothing more than petty thieves and muggers of the sea.

    On the internet, a 13 year old kid has as much technology and power as the entire US government has. This scares the shit out of the governments of the world and big business. Even after IPv8 has been in place for 20 years and quantum processors have been in the iPad 12 and iPhone 47 a 13 year old that has been studying technology and the internet will STILL have as much power as any government on this planet when on the internet.

    The internet is nothing like the physical world where it takes a lot of money and resources to build something.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:53AM (#38927139) Homepage

    " Slashdot have ever elaborated a credible alternative for them"

    you must be blind then.

    Every single time the pirates state.. "make it playable on what I want to play it on and a reasonable price."

    that means 30 minute TV shows are $0.25 1 hour are $0.50 and Movies are $1.99

    But the rampant obscene greed from the MPAA refuses to even think of that. Sorry, that TV show you broadcast free over public airwaves is NOT worth it to me to pay $1.99 to watch it on my apple TV or other device.

    I'll even give you $5.99 for first run just out of theater for the first 4 weeks. But a 1985 movie that made it's money 10 times over? it had better be very very cheap for me to watch.

    That is a very viable and REASONABLE alternative. it's just that the people with very low IQ's or are blinded by pure greed refuse to see it as a reasonable response.

  • by paimin (656338) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:07PM (#38927247)
    He doesn't ignore the existence of Netfix or iTunes at all, he champions them. And he's not arguing that anyone give everything away for free, he's arguing that a reasonable business model is the best way to counter the threat of piracy.

    Maybe try actually reading the article.
  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:28PM (#38927425) Homepage

    The whole "victimless crime" thing is a distinction between IP theft and theft of physical goods. Just what constitutes IP is a far more ephemeral construct than a bar of gold or barrel of salted pork.

    I was referring to the "gallant nobility" of Jean Lafitte, or Robin Hood, or any of the old (mostly romanticized and false) stories of persons operating outside the law as a manner of making a living. For a more realistic depiction of what it meant to operate outside the law in the "good old days," see: The Bounty [imdb.com]. Today's Somali pirates are certainly a much smaller fraction of the global commerce picture than the Privateers were 200 years ago.

    As the internet, and the nodes that interface to it, mature with another century of experience, it will become increasingly difficult to freely trade "protected" information across it with impunity. A global consensus definition of "protected information" is one of the things that will have to develop before intellectual property will become more difficult to "steal" using the global network, but, even if there never is 100% agreement about just what is IP and what protection it deserves, you will see "blowback" from the interests that feel wronged against both the little guys who can't defend themselves and the big flamboyant pirates like Kim Dotcom [rollingstone.com].

  • Unsafe is safe (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#38927533) Homepage Journal

    Let's stop protecting all our crops from pests and thieves and see how that turns out.

    Protecting good, going overboard on protection bad. Makers of recombinant herbicide-resistant crop seeds have gone overboard; Roundup Ready soy just leads to Roundup Ready weeds [iastate.edu]. Everyone outside the entertainment industry realizes that copyright has gone overboard, and some people posting here claim that the concept of copyright itself is overboard.

    Let's just accept that people are going to die in road accidents and ignore all traffic laws.

    Taking away road signs has been shown to improve safety in some (I admit anecdotal) cases. See for example unsafe is safe [spiegel.de].

  • by WillyWanker (1502057) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:52PM (#38927647)
    This. Piracy is an indicator of a broken system and pissed off people. The only way to quell the piracy is to give the people what they want -- a good product at a fair price and at least the impression they are being treated fairly and are important customers. And since that's unlikely to happen, I don't see anything changing anytime soon.
  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:01PM (#38927737)

    They ain't gonna change because none of the pirates posting on Slashdot have ever elaborated a credible alternative for them. Kodak was killed by superior technology - digital was clearly a better way of taking photos and Kodak just failed to make the leap. But what, exactly, is the superior alternative for Hollywood? Give everything away for free? The financial physics of that don't work. Maybe they should pay for movies entirely out of popcorn sales.

    Never heard of merchandising? Hollywood makes as much through merchandising as they do from the movie itself. Wanna know why that Mickey Mouse tshirt costs 30 bucks and a parody tshirt costs 10 bucks? The licensing fee per shirt the manufacture has to pay to Disney. It costs what, 25 cents to make that Transformer lunch box. Why's it cost 29.99 in the store? Licensing costs to the studio. This business model has been around for a long time. Back in the 60's when I was a kid, the big thing was The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the show was a bigassed hit, and the stores were filled with the lunch boxes, the toy guns, the posters, everything. The studio made a killing on that shit, and you can get big bucks for a lunchbox on eBay.

  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:04PM (#38927759) Homepage Journal
    The Walt Disney Company is entitled to be recompensed for Tangled, I'll grant for a moment. But why should it be entitled to be recompensed for decades-old short films like Plane Crazy, The Gallopin' Gaucho, and Steamboat Willie, the original Mickey Mouse trilogy? And why should it be entitled to be recompensed for movies that it chooses not to make available at all, such as Song of the South? And why shouldn't the Shakespeare estate (or the estate of some earl [wikipedia.org] according to some looney [wikipedia.org]) be entitled to be recompensed for performances of Romeo and Juliet?
  • Re:watermarks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:24PM (#38927965) Homepage Journal
    According to the opinion of the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the opportunity for fair use is one of the few things keeping copyright from violating the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press. Legal protections for any watermarking scheme that outright prevents fair use copying might result in a successful challenge on constitutional grounds.
  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:32PM (#38928041) Journal

    And I hope for his own sake that he manages to keep anonymous, as the pro-piracy activists play really dirty, possibly worse than the anti-piracy lobby which at least mostly sticks to the legal channels.

    Hmm. Pro-piracy activists, worst case: Illegally access your computers and make you look like a fool on the Internet. Anti-piracy lobby: Put you in prison for 5 years, bankrupt you, and leave you unable to make a living once you get out (thanks to that felony conviction -- good luck getting the AIDS drugs for the case you picked up in prison). All legal. Still think the pro-piracy activists are worse?

  • by AgNO3 (878843) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:04PM (#38928331) Homepage
    Why do you think charging 1.99 will change anything? All piracy does it take money out of the hands of the crews that work on movies that work harder and longer hours then you I am guessing. It makes it harder to to get the content because they are not going to give up. If you dont' like what they provide then dont' watch it but now one can make the claim that they should get it all free cause they dont' like how they sell it. When did entertainment made others become a Human right? I want to know why its ok for yo to pay for Electricity and not pay for the movies, tv and Games. You can by pass the meter. You can use magnets to affect its operation. Hell those boxes are crazy easy to hack. Its not taking something away from anyone. Its a victim less crime. Im curious what you do for a living lumpy? Supporting you family? or just living in mom basement? I have a $125,000 education that I PAID FOR. No mommy payment plane. I then BUSTED MY ASS to get to the level I am at doing my job. To which I make just more then the median salary in LA. I work more hours then a chinese factory worker this stuff and you think its a victim less crime. Im sorry that you think everyone that works on this stuff makes millions of dollars. They don't. I love this robin hood bullshit. Rob from the middle class worker to give to the spoiled kids plan. NICE. Probably why I had to spend the past 2 years of my life living in hotels in foreign countries to do my job in VFX. One of those being China. So you go ahead keep thinking its ok to Pirate movies and put a lot of people out of work because it will all go to china and india accept for the talent who do make millions of dollars. It won't affect them at all. It just affects every one below the line on the budget sheet. There are a lot of things the MPAA does stupid but that doesn't justify killing the jobs of all the people behind the scenes when they just start making all the movies in China and India and flying the Talent to those place to make the movies. MORON.
  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @02:27PM (#38928497)

    Hi, I've been commenting elsewhere (bitchily) on the thread and I'm a commercial artist and work in Hollywood [imdb.com].

    A number of people have proposed alternative systems for compensating artists, but instead of giving serious consideration to those proposals, we simply ignore them and continue to pretend that copyright is a form of property.

    Many of my friends who direct and produce have absolutely been giving serious consideration to these other funding models:

    - A friend of mine from school produced an entire very well-made scifi short [scificool.com] many years ago, funding it with donations on his website, long before Kickstarter even existed. It's a great short and he got a lot of attention, and it won a lot of awards at several festivals. Aside from producing another friends feature, however, Jason's paying gig remains an editor-for-hire on E! cable shows of the "100 Craziest celebrity moments" variety. If he wasn't making money from those he would never have been able to complete his short; he was able to raise money to just make the thing with friends, and nowhere near enough to pay himself for the time it took to develop and produce the project, or pay anyone their actual market wages.

    - Another friend of mine [daniellelurie.com] has been raising money for her project [indiegogo.com] for several years now on IndieGoGo. Several years now. Luckily she has means and is able to supplement her income with writing gigs on Big Hollywood Movies.

    Basically none of the proposed funding models work without either (1) Hollywood paying everybody the 10 months out of the year people aren't working on their crowdsourced project or (2) abandoning the concept of the professional artist. As I said in another post, your median open source developer doesn't live on donations, they make their money at day jobs working for Evil Corporations that Sue People for infringing IP. Open source is a "marginal time" activity, it doesn't satisfy material needs. Open content is only so far a complement to the copyright model, it can't replace it.

    Crowd sourced funding promises a lot of things: the idea that people will reward good work with more money, or that new work that is "suppressed" by the old system will emerge. In practice, however, these things haven't materialized and I don't think they ever will, I just don't think entertainment works that way. People want a casual experience they can take or leave, they don't want their entertainment experience turned into an advocacy enterprise where they have to band together with people and raise money and attract friend networks and go through all this bullshit just to see 20 minutes of mumblecore.

    Kill copyright and you threaten to kill everything that stands on top of it, like a lot of open source software developers, and any artist that isn't willing to whore himself out to rich patrons. That's what the world was like before copyright: there were artists and there was art, and it was whatever a rich guy said it was. With copyright everyone gets a say in who is rewarded, and they vote with their pocketbooks. Ending copyright, wether that is right or wrong, would unquestionably jeopardize this.

  • by brit74 (831798) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @03:57PM (#38929099)
    > The RIAA completely misunderstood Napster. they saw money being lost not a chance at making more money. It took 6 years and one billion itunes downloads before they realized just how badly they fucked up.

    The music companies were always screwed - it didn't matter what choices they made. Music revenues have done nothing but decline in the past 10 years. Saying that iTunes did it right is missing the fact that digital music sales have not compensated for the loss of physical sales. Mathematically speaking, for every $100 decline in physical music sales over the past ten years there has been an $18 increase in digital music sales. It's not a winning strategy. At best, it's making the best of a bad situation.

    (Sorry, I get annoyed when people like to explain the music industry's decline as a result of "not moving to digital sales" when it seems like the real culprit was always what the music industry thought it was: a fast, global internet combined with piracy. The music industry was not wrong about Napster.)
  • by AgNO3 (878843) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @04:04PM (#38929143) Homepage
    UMM those residuals pay for their retirements plans with the unions. Or you are anti union also? Don't think they should have those plans in place? If you think that then you are right. The should except Netflix and BlockBuster don't charge you $2-$5 do they.
  • by hitmark (640295) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @05:54PM (#38929887) Journal

    Odd thing is, a lot of people create entertainment for free during their spare time (a very modern concept in its own right). Consider the amount of time people have contributed to the *nix ecosystem simply because they have the time, knowledge and a itch to scratch? Also, why do the creator need to take on debt? Consider Kickstarter, where someone can put up a draft of what they hope to make and provide a means for a group fundraiser. Afterwards the production costs have been covered, the creator have created what he hoped to create and can then put it up for download for anyone interested. The cost of creation 1000 extra copies once the master have been finalized is basically zero these days, with torrents or similar it is the downloaders that are fronting the cost once a swarm is properly formed. It used to be that corporations have very specific task to perform and was dissolved once that task was performed. As such, the recording labels and studios are an artifact of a time when distribution and duplication was a very mechanical undertaking. This is no longer the case. Also, i wonder how many of the current generations have no familiarity with the backlog of creations that sit in some vault because the copyright duration have been continually extended. I keep finding as much in the decades past as i find in the present, but i am forbidden to legally partake because of the duration of a certain law.

  • by Killjoy_NL (719667) <slashdot@NOspaM.remco.palli.nl> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:08PM (#38929971)

    Not just that, but if they are in so much trouble, why do I keep reading about new moviegoer record sales every year?

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