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MPAA Fights Pirates with Gentle Threats 537

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.
  • by bsharitt ( 580506 ) * < minus language> 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.

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

    by LordK2002 ( 672528 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:22AM (#7816959)

    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.


  • by dhowells ( 251561 ) <> 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.

  • by bsharitt ( 580506 ) * < minus language> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:23AM (#7816964) Homepage Journal
    I think I worded that bad. Not ones that you rent and the file expires. I think this is what kind of things they have right now.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:No shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:41AM (#7817015)
    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 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?
  • Re:Read a review. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordK2002 ( 672528 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:48AM (#7817030)
    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 broadcasting concept, with the added bonus that viewers could choose what they wanted to watch (and hence be exposed to more films that they might possibly want to buy). It's a winner all round.


  • 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.
  • Re:Why we "steal" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by USAPatriot ( 730422 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:50AM (#7817040) Homepage
    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.

    That option, though not free(TINSTAAFL) has been here for over 20 years. It's called rentals. You know, blockbuster, netflix, etc.??

    Stealing is stealing, even if you "delete" them later. You've already obtained something that you have paid for.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • by rking ( 32070 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:55AM (#7817060)
    Computers are just not the best way of playing a movie

    Sounds like you don't have a decent projector :)
  • Re:Why we "steal" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:58AM (#7817070)
    because we don't want to pay

    That's all you had to say, because that's damn sure what you meant.
  • by svanstrom ( 734343 ) <> 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 ;-).
  • 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.
  • Re:price (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Citizen Kaine ( 689940 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:07AM (#7817102)
    Time cost is not a factor at all, and neither is bandwidth cost really, and here's why: My computer and internet connection are on 24 hours a day, whether they are downloading or not. The cost of downloading a movie is nothing more then a minute of my time to start it. Whether I watch it tonight, or a couple days later is immaterial, because I have still had full use of my computer during that time. (for the record, longest I ever spent on one torrent, 6 days. But then it was nearly 11 gigabytes of data.)
  • 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?
  • Re:No shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by inQ ( 581778 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:17AM (#7817151)
    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.
  • by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <> 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.

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

    by ratamacue ( 593855 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:24AM (#7817183)
    The point was that this law is redundant and unnecessary and serves only to increase the scope of criminal law. It was already perfectly illegal (breach of contract) to do this.

    But since you asked, I personally don't care for movies and I haven't seen one in years, so I have no interest in obtaining "0-day screeners". What I am concerned with is the expansion of government.
  • 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
  • Re:Why we "steal" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bender647 ( 705126 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:28AM (#7817207)
    Blockbuster and other rental places would obviously object. Actually, I think Blockbuster and the rental places should become hosts for the digital content download. They could set the market prices better based on the local costs of bandwidth, demand, etc. You didn't see all the VHS rental places go out of business when DVDs came out, right? Evolve your business strategy or go under...
  • 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.
  • Re:Two points: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alphanos ( 596595 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:44AM (#7817276)
    [...] 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 rueger ( 210566 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:13PM (#7817377) Homepage
    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 some monolithic entity - say a company churning out thousands of bootleg copies of LOTR each month - they might be right. They could sue them and shut them down.

    The problem is that they instead are battling hundreds of thousands of tiny operators in dozens of countries. They are battling hundreds of clever programmers who don't really care about the money, preferring instead to be one more nail in the coffin of the multinationals.

    As Napster begat Gnutella begat Freenet, we can reasonably expect a fast, easy to use and totally secure P2P network to evolve very soon. And if that is defeated, we can expect a successor.

    What could have been a simple marketing challenge has evolved into a near guerilla war.

    What the music companies have not understood is that it is very, very hard to defeat a guerilla force, especially one that has widespread popular support.

    Of course the ultimate absurdity is that they could have stopped this dead in its tracks. Maybe three in five MP3s that I have downloaded were of decent quality, or complete, or even the song they were titled.

    A buck a tune is still too much to pay for a file that comes hindered with all the current DRM restrictions. If I could buy an un-crippled copy of a tune for 25 or 50 cents I would never waste my time messing with Kazaa or any other P2P client.
  • Re:Camcorder Law (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:22PM (#7817414)
    Government has a legitimate interest in protecting the public from low-quality counterfeit products...

    Really? But I don't see anyone protecting me from low-quality official products. I suspect you're wrong, in other words.

    Governments are there for many things. Running a military, to defend the country. Running a police force, to catch thieves, murderers, rapists, and similar. In civilised countries governments also provide education, healthcare, and basics like water, electricity, and transport, to those who can't afford to buy it for themselves.

    What governments have no business interfering with is commerce or competition.
  • by nurbman ( 659852 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:26PM (#7817422)
    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 away at the Mona Lisa. (which is now under several inches of special flash proof glass)

    Not sure why they would ban camcorders unless they figure someone would use a light on one or have the same autofocus stuff for still shots.

  • 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.
  • Stupid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @12:51PM (#7817505)
    "it's obviously theft.."

    No, its not "obviously" anything besides carrying a camcorder.

    Ironically, it would be legal to bring a gun into the theater in many places, but a camcorder.... why that could lead to "copyright infringement".

    Oh the horror.

    (rolling eyes)

    I think people lack a sense of perspective.
  • 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".

  • Yeah same old (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @01:12PM (#7817582) Journal
    There are certian levels of threat that i would respond to, but in the end, if i couldnt share online i would just do it the 100% untraceable way (with much faster data flow) i.e CD swapping with friends. DVDs can be ripped and swapped easily so can CDs and obviously there is nothing they can do about it (if i can see it i can copy it theory). People will continue to pirate/share whatever you want to call it - look at drugs, they have a much higher criminal risk yet they are practically as availiable as if they were on the shop shelves around the world.

    I admire the MPAA in a very small way for taking this view but on the other hand i hate the fuckers and think its just a publicity stunt. Most film trailers i see i think "wow thats shit, but i wouldnt mind seeing that big explosion bit, i think ill download it - its not good enough to pay for" Make films that are good enough that i am willing to pay for them and i probably will. Make the same old shit and ill just watch it for free.
  • Re:price (Score:2, Insightful)

    by politicalman ( 692933 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @02:03PM (#7817780)
    Go to a store that sells DVDs.
    Take one off of the shelf and walk out with it.
    If/when they bust you tell them "the cost of a DVD is several hours pay where I am" - I am sure they will figure it out.
    Go out to dinner - a nice place - eat food until you've hit the cost of a DVD (or two if you're hungry).
    Then walk out of the place.
    If/when they bust you tell them "the cost of a meal here is several hours pay where I am" - I am sure they will figure it out.
    Walk into a movie theater without a ticket.
    When you are walking by the ushers to go sit down and watch a movie for free say to them
    "the cost of a movie ticket is several hours pay where I am" - I am sure they will figure it out.
    It seems to me you deserve whatever entertainment items you can't afford, why doesn't everyone else understand?

    Score of 3 for insightful - people must be looking past the promotion of thievery here and instead indicating that the prices should come down.
    Use the same logic folks - telling the waiter his $10 spinach pasta should really be $5 isn't going to work. Ordering the $5 burger makes sense.
    The same goes for the latest multi-million epic $20 DVD vs. the $9.99 bargain bin item or the $10 per ticket THX theater with plush seats vs. the $3 per ticket 3-month past release date and spit wads on the screen type theater.
    People do not have a right to the best entertainment items just because they don't have much money - insightful - HHHHmmmmmmm wake up people.

  • 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?
  • by svanstrom ( 734343 ) <> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @02:47PM (#7817973) Homepage
    Either we get it without paying using (P2P)filesharing, or we pay for it directly to them... sooner or later someone will realize that they'll make a lot more if they get the money directly from us, not to mention that they could include ads for their other stuff (series, t-shirts etc).

    It'll happen within the next 3 years that one of the high profile companies will release something this way; it might not be a complete series, but it'll be something (maybe a spinoff independent miniseries/movie).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7818028)
    I think if the RIAA would have done this earlier in the game, they wouldn't be in the mess they are in now.
    And now we have a whole generation (those under 20) who think it's normal and legal to pirate, especially when it comes to commercial music. For giving "intellectual property" a bad name (despite its being in the Consitution, with its original intention to help rather than hinder the small inventor/creator), for corrupting U.S. youth, and for other reasons, the DOJ music industry antitrust investigation [] should have proceeded.
  • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zone-MR ( 631588 ) <> 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.
  • Re:No shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:21PM (#7818095)
    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..

    I must take issue with the above statement.

    Rape, "plain and simple", is the brutal act of forcing unwanted sex on another person using violence and the threat of murder and disfigurement.

    Monopolistic business practices that allow massive disadvantages to the buyer of luxury goods is not rape. Calling it rape is a poor choice of metaphor.

    Speaking on behalf of the women of Slashdot, I implore you to consider a less offensive choice of expression. I also suggest that you avoid using the term 'rape' as a metaphor in your everyday conversation, as this could seriously decrease your chances of winning the affections of the young ladies who are listening to your opinions.

    Thank you,
  • by Imperator ( 17614 ) <(ten.reknehsremo) (ta) (2todhsals)> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:18PM (#7818312)
    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 you have somewhere to go, check the movie length before you choose a showtime; otherwise, just sit back and enjoy it!
  • Re:price (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:32PM (#7818410)
    The United States of America is the only country in North America that has "America" in its name. In fact, I don't think that there are any other countries on either American continent that have "America" in their name (I don't know that I remember all of the official names of the countries in Central and South America). So is the problem that you don't want to be called "Canadians"? Or you just don't have the votes to change the name of your country?
  • by Featureless ( 599963 ) on Tuesday December 30, 2003 @12:39PM (#7835721) Journal
    I'm actually pleased to read your response, and I think your cynicism is well warranted. I have these discussions with other friends and often it is I who have to play the devil's advocate.

    I don't know if the DMCA and PATRIOT comparison is valid. The vanishing point of encryption and obfuscation techniques, and thus secure peer to peer networks, is that a choice is forced about whether or not encryption and/or privacy in general is allowed. DMCA and PATRIOT each had qualifying themes, but ultimately, good engineering can force the rulemakers to eliminate the qualifiers and choose between either:

    *) outlawing encryption and/or privacy in general
    *) making data communications prohibitively expensive, and/or illegal

    The former will be more politically difficult than DMCA or PATRIOT - not that it hasn't been done in other nations! The latter will have economic consequences that may be too difficult even for our sad little government to ignore.

    I often raise the same point about wireless - that it is under the stifling control of one of the most pandering of federal agencies. Others have argued to me that there will be ways to deal even with hostile regulatory regimes, but this is outside my area of expertise, and I believe we should confront our present threats as though, in losing, we would lose everything.

    Even outside the analgesic dream of democracy, tyrants derive their power from cowardice. I wonder what you would have predicted as the future of our nation 150 or 100 or 50 years ago, as blights many times more menacing must have seemed far more impenetrable to the generations that eventually overcame them... I say this not out of complacency, but to point out that resignation seems silly.

(null cookie; hope that's ok)