Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Visual Effects Artists Use MPAA's Own Words Against It

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the your-daily-schadenfreude dept.

Businesses 131

beltsbear sends a story about the struggles of visual effects artists against the Motion Picture Association of America. The VFX industry in the U.S. has been slowly dying because movie studios increasingly outsource the work to save money. The visual effects industry protested and fought where they could, but had little success — until the MPAA filed a seemingly innocuous legal document to the International Trade Commission two weeks ago. In it, the MPAA argues that international trade of intellectual property is just like international trade of manufactured goods, and should be afforded the same protections. This would naturally apply to visual effects work, as well. Thus: "[E]mboldened by the MPAA’s filing, the visual effects workers are now in a position to use the big studios’ own arguments to compel the government to slap trade tariffs on those studios’ own productions in high-subsidy countries. Those arguments will be especially powerful because the MPAA made them to the very same governmental agencies that will process the visual-effects workers’ case. Additionally, the workers can now take matters into their own hands. ... If visual effects workers can show the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission that an import is benefiting from foreign subsidies and therefore illegally undercutting a domestic industry, the federal government is obligated to automatically slap a punitive tax on that import. Such a tax would in practice erase the extra profit margins the studios are gleaning from the foreign subsidies, thereby leveling the competitive playing field for American workers and eliminating the purely economic incentive for the studios to engage in mass offshoring."

cancel ×

131 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Karma is a bitch! (5, Funny)

adamchou (993073) | about 7 months ago | (#46350587)

That's what you get MPAA

Re:Karma is a bitch! (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46350787)

That's what you get MPAA

All it means is that they'll increase their lawsuit damage claims by the adjusted amount. After all, the member companies have never made a profit on a movie.

Re:Karma is a bitch! (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46353343)

And that means what to whom? You and the shill-slash-idiot and the 3 others who moderated you up is the "whom", I guess.

The results of a successful prosecution have fuck-all to do with what is asked for in most cases that I have read. I have not read all of them, but I have read what appears to be the larger awards. And they don't take the dollar amount requested into consideration. The amount awarded is calculated as the result of the evidence presented at the trial, and is deliberated upon by the jury and judge (the judge can adjust the amount if needed). And the appeals court can adjust up or down based on the findings of law.

If you see some correlation between the requested amount and awarded amount in intellectual property suits, for fuck's sake let us know what you have found. Because I'm not seeing it. And you sound like a disillusioned cynical idiot who thinks that the way they understand the world to work is how it actually works. And it's not.

Lawsuit math is hard, and generally can't be predicted by anyone who hasn't been in the courtroom for anything but the entire suit. And even then, the jury has to argue for a bit to come to a conclusion, so it's not entirely predictable other than within a very wide range.

Data, please. Support your comment, unless you are just another cynic hiding behind ignorance.

Re:Karma is a bitch! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46354835)

All it means is that they'll increase their lawsuit damage claims by the adjusted amount.

If your "insightful" argument is correct there would have been no economic incentive to outsource in the first place.

Any argument that effectively reduces to "they will simply raise prices" doesn't understand pricing. If a company could charge higher prices they would already be doing so. There's no reason to find a "need".

Re:Karma is a bitch! (1)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#46355143)

"They will raise prices" is a fair argument if something affects all competitors in a given market. The prices at your local gas station will rise if the price for crude oil rises. It will also work if we are talking of an oligopoly whose prices are heavily influenced by public opinion or influence.

Re:Karma is a bitch! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350859)

No, I'm pretty sure karma would be the MPAA being sued into oblivion by the RIAA over distributing a movie from the 1930s that happened to have a short music clip they failed to license properly. This meanwhile is a bit of pointless protest that will, at least on the record, show just how obviously corrupt the system is that favors MPAA because of its lobbyists and will show no sign of respecting the VFX artists.

Re:Karma is a bitch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46352901)

Karma would be IRS going after them both.

Re:Karma is a bitch! (-1, Offtopic)

walidben finance (3553579) | about 7 months ago | (#46351147)

"IMPORTANT-IMPORTANT-IMPORTANT!!!!: To ensure your safety and to show you the credibility of WALIDBEN FINANCE, you do not have money to pay in advance before receiving the transfer slip. The transfer slip is a witness that the tranfer was actually made on your account. Mr. Al-Walid ben Talal Al Saoud , Saudi businessman and chairman of Kingdom

Nothing Will Come of It (-1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46350591)

The VFX shops don't own the IP of the shit they work on any more than American factories own the brand/design/etc. to whatever they build.
Work will be farmed out as usual, and only those with $BIGBUCKS$ will control the flow of work.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (5, Informative)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 7 months ago | (#46350655)

Read the submission. It is long and the meat is at the end.

The Obama administration refused to use laws related to subsidized imports to stop off-shoring. Now the visual artists have some real legal ground to stand on to compel the administration to stop or tariff subsidized overseas work.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46350841)

Now the visual artists have some real legal ground to stand on to compel the administration

The Obama administration does what it wants, laws are no. If there is no law, they give an executive order making one. If there is a law they don't like, they give an executive order ignoring it.

Obama (as with most Democrats) benefits tremendously from Hollywood. You do the math on what will REALLY happen.

Goodbye, VFX workers.

Re: Nothing Will Come of It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351117)

Laws are no...they are? Who knew?

Re: Nothing Will Come of It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351229)

Who new laws are no!

Re: Nothing Will Come of It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46353875)

Hoo new.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (5, Insightful)

thoth (7907) | about 7 months ago | (#46351159)

Please, this is hardly about politics, as far as Democrats vs Republicans - as if the GOP would have done things differently. And if libertarians were in charge, same thing.

Everything in U.S. politics is about protecting corporate profits. The outsourcing in this story is about profits, the MPAA exists to help protect profits, the administration not doing anything about it is likely due to private lobbying (to protect profits).

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 7 months ago | (#46353529)

Corporate profits reflect individual spending, or collective spending by the government.

Are Chevron, Mobile, Exxon, GM, and Ford evil because consumers spend money on them? Walmart is, clearly. Is Apple? Maybe there is room in the "corporation" epithet for good guys and bad guys?

Whether the Administration is doing anything is irrelevant. This is a case where the MPAA, who obviously employs visual effects artists (indirectly), can make legal arguments in one case that undercut arguments that will either be made in another case, or will try to make conflicting arguments. That is the entire point here. There is no consistent argument the MPAA, or its members, can make, without sounding completely idiotic. Or, more seriously, without setting some sort of legal precedent for the other case.

The legal strategy is the topic, not corporate profits.

In this case it is (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 months ago | (#46354489)

Please, this is hardly about politics, as far as Democrats vs Republicans - as if the GOP would have done things differently.

In any other industry, I would agree.

In the case of Hollywood/Democrats, there is a clear link and it simply does not exist with Republicans in the same way.

And if libertarians were in charge, same thing.

Brother, you do NOT know libertarians. Or Rand Paul in particular...

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (-1, Offtopic)

walidben finance (3553579) | about 7 months ago | (#46351213)

"IMPORTANT-IMPORTANT-IMPORTANT!!!!: To ensure your safety and to show you the credibility of WALIDBEN FINANCE, you do not have money to pay in advance before receiving the transfer slip. The transfer slip is a witness that the tranfer was actually made on your account. Mr. Al-Walid ben Talal Al Saoud , Saudi businessman and chairman of Kingdom Holding Company ( Riyadh — Saudi Arabia ) and WALIDBENFINANCE . Offering a loan within 48 hours . To increase the number of his activities, he gives personal loans for all who want or have financial difficulties. We offer cash loans until (at least € 5,000-250000000 € maximum) rate of 1% per year. You can learn more about Al-Walid ben Talal Al Saoud , we are recognized and can be checked on google NOTE : Those who contact us will surely have the loan . Try Walidben finance and you will be totaly satisfied. do not hesitate to contact us by e — mail: walidbenfinance@laposte.net"

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (5, Interesting)

pr0t0 (216378) | about 7 months ago | (#46351463)

I'm going to go ahead and call Shenanigans.

American politics is theatre, a drama, a mummer's farce...total fiction. It has organically grown to keep people divided and warring over the insignificant, while matters of import are settled behind closed doors. I believe that many politicians get into the profession for benevolent reasons...wanting to make a positive difference...regardless of party affiliation. The nature of the game though is eat or be eaten; say what you have to say and do what you have to do to maintain your position. Of course, this is all fueled by money and power. There's really simply nothing else. We're all greedy. At this point in our development as a species, it is still more natural for us to want more than our neighbor than to make them our equal.

DC is little more than a circling colony of vultures, and we're all lost in the desert. Evangelize your politics if you really feel the need, but to me you'll just look like someone who is kind of simple. After paying attention to how this game has been played over the last few decades, I give up. I prefer my fiction with spaceships and aliens, probably because I want off this rock.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46355041)

Given all the warring, bias and divisiveness it's more like "pro-wrestling". The audience keep supporting either Team A or Team B. And then some stupidly wonder why the show doesn't really change that much.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Trixter (9555) | about 7 months ago | (#46351681)

The Obama administration does what it wants, laws are no.

It took me about a full minute of staring to realize you meant "laws or no(t)." What did you do, dictate your post?

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (0)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46352473)

Are you being an ass on purpose or is this your day-to-day attitude?

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351009)

Read the submission. It is long and the meat is at the end.

The Obama administration refused to use laws related to subsidized imports to stop off-shoring. Now the visual artists have some real legal ground to stand on to compel the administration to stop or tariff subsidized overseas work.

Yeah, right. Legal ground. That works really well with Obama.

Statutory deadlines for Obamacare? Hey, Obama's got a pen and a phone and he can just ignore them.

Congress still in session? No biggie, he'll make "rescess" appointments not subject to Senate confirmation anyway.

As if Obama's going to go against an industry that has him bought and paid for [opensecrets.org]

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46351097)

Read the submission. It is long and the meat is at the end.

The Obama administration refused to use laws related to subsidized imports to stop off-shoring. Now the visual artists have some real legal ground to stand on to compel the administration to stop or tariff subsidized overseas work.

Read my post. It is short and the meat of it is in your face.
Those with the cash will control the flow of cash. Taxes, tariffs, laws, etc. mean nothing. If some agency or politician tries to do something about it, they're simply outspent by those with the cash.
For reference, see all the jobs the US has bled away to 3rd world nations over the past century, and where all the profits went.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (2)

The Cat (19816) | about 7 months ago | (#46352493)

Those with the cash will control the flow of cash. Taxes, tariffs, laws, etc. mean nothing. If some agency or politician tries to do something about it, they're simply outspent by those with the cash.

When you're done with your fatalistic douchebag routine, look up Standard Oil.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 7 months ago | (#46351553)

The Obama admin is a wholly owned subsidiary of the MPAA. What makes you think they'd ever do anything against their wishes?

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (4, Insightful)

netsavior (627338) | about 7 months ago | (#46351881)

And Bush before him, and Clinton before him and Bush before him, etc etc. Lets get real, corporate ownership of government is a wholly bi-partisan endeavor.

Oo, you missed it -- (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | about 7 months ago | (#46352305)

And Bush before him, and Clinton before him and Bush before him, etc etc. Lets get real, corporate ownership of government is a wholly buy-partisan endeavor.

Given the money in politics these days, that's not just a fun turn of phrase, it's the truth.

:-P

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#46352443)

Read the submission. It is long and the meat is at the end.

The Obama administration refused to use laws related to subsidized imports to stop off-shoring. Now the visual artists have some real legal ground to stand on to compel the administration to stop or tariff subsidized overseas work.

Look, a casual filing with the FTC on a low-level unrelated matter does not change the law.
It doesn't constitute "Legal Ground".

Its just a letter of opinion on a specific issue.
Nothing compels the MPAA to hold a consistent opinion in other (tangentially related) matters.

The letter under discussion involved importation of movies/music for sale to the public.
That's a far cry from Work for hire, which is what Visual Effects work is.

Mountain, Mole Hill.
Straws grasped at.
Its not the same thing.

And, no, I'm not an MPAA shill, hate the bastards as much as the next guy.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350675)

Huh? What does IP ownership have to do with it? The idea is to put a tariff on the outsourced work so it's more expensive, thus eliminating the financial benefit for the MPAA..

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350947)

If I was a company that was offshoring VFX to save money and the damn government slapped tariffs on it to equalize the price with workers in the US, you can bet your ass I would .... still offshore just to spite the pricks who presume to deserve to be paid more than they're worth, and who think artificially inflating prices is a good idea, ever.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 7 months ago | (#46351069)

Hi your spitefulness, I think you skipped the part where the foreign workers were subsidized by their government, and the tariffs were intended to negate said subsidy.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

c-A-d (77980) | about 7 months ago | (#46352381)

As someone from BC, I would like to indicate my displeasure that the film industry here is heavily subsidized. That means that I'm paying, through my taxes, to keep someone employed. And I'm not sure if that's better than paying them welfare, through my taxes.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46351847)

If the Chinese government is subsidizing solar panels, they are tarriffed and talks start about blocking them completely. If Ewe Boll is subsidized by the German government or Peter Jackson is subsidized by the NZ government, why is the US failing to enforce its stated import rules against those works?

What, are we dispensing with all pleasentries now and just fighing a war with our "most favored" trading partner, China?

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46355295)

But artificially deflating prices is a-ok? If the workers at that 3rd world country can survive with the money they get, it doesn't mean the workers at USA will survive with that same amount. What are you a fucking moron? Do you think you are worth more than your workers? Fuck off dildo.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46351189)

Huh? What does IP ownership have to do with it? The idea is to put a tariff on the outsourced work so it's more expensive, thus eliminating the financial benefit for the MPAA..

The point is they have no power.
The movie studios own the golden goose (the IP). If US VFX shops cry foul, so what? If tariffs are put in place, so what? The price of a movie ticket will simply go up to ensure movie studios get the same profits until such a time that the movie studios draft their own legislation and buy enough of their own congress critters to get the situation back under their control. The same thing has played out in every industry we've shipped over seas. Those in control kill off American jobs because American labor is too expensive. Regulations, taxes, tariffs, whatever don't do anything to stop it because once they actually become effective, the industry bribes politicians to get shit dialed back a few notches.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350815)

They aren't arguing that they own the IP. They are arguing that if IP has the same protections as real products then there should be a tariff because the out-sourcer is being subsidized by their home country to make the work cheaper for international customers then domestic. I don't know the validity of that argument so don't flame interpreter.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46351241)

They aren't arguing that they own the IP. They are arguing that if IP has the same protections as real products then there should be a tariff because the out-sourcer is being subsidized by their home country to make the work cheaper for international customers then domestic. I don't know the validity of that argument so don't flame interpreter.

The point is that they can cry all they want, they are completely dependent on the movie studios for their continued existence.
The movie studios would rather deal with paying tariffs (and fighting and bribing to get them reduced or removed) than they would deal with American VFX shops.
American VFX shops have zero leverage, just as manufacturing jobs for all American industries had zero leverage.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351985)

I wonder if this might give birth to another "United Artists"? There's enough talent out there to start another artist-owned studio or production company.

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (1)

Eric Bacus (2942717) | about 7 months ago | (#46351453)

I fail to see how the ownership of the intellectual property in question would have any impact related to the taxation of imported goods. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it as cut and dry as "if the IP was produced outside of America, it gets taxed punitively"?

Re:Nothing Will Come of It (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 7 months ago | (#46352039)

The VFX shops don't own the IP of the shit they work on any more than American factories own the brand/design/etc. to whatever they build. Work will be farmed out as usual, and only those with $BIGBUCKS$ will control the flow of work.

The issue on the table is the current (surprisingly large, for something with no obvious benefit to the host nation) pools of 'incentives', tax-breaks, and subsidies that you can score by handling parts of your movie in various countries that are suckers like that(and even by the standards of cynics, it's a trifle surprising [bloombergview.com] how much you can wring out of an allegedly competent nation state...)

If the argument being made here holds, those subsidies suddenly stop hiding in magic-cultural-product-land, and start facing the same anti-dumping rules that apply to boring stuff like steel and cars(and the rules, they are numerous and taken very, very seriously).

Doesn't mean that the VFX peons won't still be recruited from the cheapest and most desperate outfits the global economy has to offer; but they won't get all that and a tax break from whatever place they end up sourcing them.

Cognitive dissonance bites greedy capitalists... (5, Funny)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 months ago | (#46350609)

Visually stunning film at 11.

Re:Cognitive dissonance bites greedy capitalists.. (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46350779)

Correction for topic:

People point out hypocrisy of major corporations, major corporations ignore the criticism and keep on trucking.

Re:Cognitive dissonance bites greedy capitalists.. (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 7 months ago | (#46352357)

With any luck it will mean they start spending money on storyline instead of VFX.

Re:Cognitive dissonance bites greedy capitalists.. (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 7 months ago | (#46354879)

With any luck it will mean they start spending money on storyline instead of VFX.

There are only so many basic plots. If you're starting to see rehashing it simply means you've been around long enough to notice. Stories always get rehashed and always will.

Here's the basic hero-story plot:

  • - Hero has a simple problem and tries a simple solution.
  • - The solution fails and the hero learns the problem might be a little more complicated
  • - Hero tries a more complex solution. It also fails for unexpected reasons.
  • - Hero now realizes he's in big trouble and has no choice but to attempt a drastic solution with catastrophic consequences if it fails

  • - Solution is on the brink of failure when at the last moment the hero overcomes and saves the day.
  • - Finally, some other character declares the problem solved. This is the "He's dead, Jim" line. Even though we all know its over, it's incomplete without this.

How many stories and movies fit this model? Hundreds? Thousands?

Fuck 'em (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350633)

Grab each and every single rat bastard associated in any way with the MPAA, line 'em up against a wall, and keep shooting until they get the message.

Mwahaahhahahahaa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350885)

...then go after their kids and make sure they get the message

Re:Mwahaahhahahahaa (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 7 months ago | (#46351047)

What ever happened to "women and children first"?

Re:Mwahaahhahahahaa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46352085)

They're still first. It's just these days, they're the first to get thrown under the bus. xD

Proteccionism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350651)

Nothing but mercantilist-style proteccionism of incompetent workers.

Re:Proteccionism (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350719)

Nothing but mercantilist-style proteccionism of incompetent workers.

Too bad we can't do something about incompetent spellers.

Re:Proteccionism (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#46350743)

"an import is benefiting from foreign subsidies"

Re:Proteccionism (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 7 months ago | (#46350837)

Protectionism doesn't work and we Aussies would appreciate it if the US stopped protecting is farmers.

Re:Proteccionism (3, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 7 months ago | (#46351151)

"Protectionism doesn't work and we Aussies would appreciate it if the US stopped protecting is farmers."

How about AU do the same? Bananas in particular are outrageous. Y'all pay many times the market rate and the Bananas while fine are in no way superior to the far less expensive products our good friends in Peru keep trying to send you...

Re:Proteccionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46352125)

You may be right about bananas, but our protection has a large component of "disease-free" driving it. We simply don't want to risk importing diseases that would devastate the local industry. Major importers are all "it's fine, we check it all and fumigate blah, blah, blah" but it only takes one shipment of diseased fruit and we're stuffed. Sure there are cheaper products to be had from overseas (although I don't agree that they're just as good, given given the lead time of getting them to my supermarket - fresh fruit and vegetables start to deteriorate the moment they're picked, and bananas from Peru just aren't going to stack up against bananas from Nth Qld). Our farmers aren't subsidised to nearly the same extent as many in other countries, and our produce has a generally outstanding reputation in foreign markets. I'm NEVER going to buy imported bananas, or any other imported foodstuff where the local item is just as good, even if it costs more.

Re:Proteccionism (1)

Arker (91948) | about 7 months ago | (#46354891)

"You may be right about bananas, but our protection has a large component of "disease-free" driving it. "

That's one of the scare-tactics used to drum up political support for it.

In reality while I cant discount this entirely I am very skeptical that the diligence of your customs service would delay the onset of a new Panama Disease by more than a year or two at most. When and if that happens, there might be a small benefit. Every day until it happens your people are paying truly staggering amounts of money to keep a handful of banana planters who would otherwise have liquidated and reinvested in something profitable years ago right where they are.

The irony of someone mentioning they were aussie and criticizing the us for protectionist farm policy was too thick to ignore.

"Major importers are all "it's fine, we check it all and fumigate blah, blah, blah" but it only takes one shipment of diseased fruit and we're stuffed. "

Exactly my point. It wouldnt even take a commercial shipment. A ship full of iPods could bring it just the same. Unless you are ready to wall yourself off to all importers and tourists the idea that you can physically prevent the entry of a disease like that is dangerous illusion.

I know how diligent aussie customs are. They confiscated my almonds of all things!

Yet they and I both missed a bag of banana chips. Go figure.

How many tourists pass through Oz each year? And forget that, let's assume we have complete control there and nothing will ever get through. Let's talk about commercial shipping, dockyards, sailors, fishermen.... yeah.

If another Panama Disease hits Australia will have to deal with it right along with the rest of the world. You might gain a season or two but it wont last long.

"Sure there are cheaper products to be had from overseas (although I don't agree that they're just as good, given given the lead time of getting them to my supermarket - fresh fruit and vegetables start to deteriorate the moment they're picked, and bananas from Peru just aren't going to stack up against bananas from Nth Qld)"

If you want super-super fresh you always want to go farmers market anyway, of course. But the standard grocery store bananas in SE Qld were not dramatically better than what I am used to, they just come with astronomical price tags. It's my understanding in either case they are mass produced, picked green, transported in a controlled environment, then ripened in a controlled environment before sale, so it's hard to see how there could be too much difference.

Fresh tree-ripened fruit are a different matter of course but that is a market that does not require protectionist laws to protect it. It would fetch similar or even better prices here if it were available for purchase.

Re:Proteccionism (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 7 months ago | (#46351521)

What do you mean? Are not the Aussies farmers getting hurt?

Re:Proteccionism (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46351897)

When the Aussies play fair with their imports, they'll have a leg to stand on when dealing with others. NZ fruit, South American fruit, if Australia makes it, they over-tax the import. The US should do the same, but an Aussie asking for it is rich.

Protectionism works fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46353655)

and some Aussies are more than happy for their country to be more than a giant quarry. By the way, AWA just filed for bankruptcy. Go and have a look at their history and see why this might be a bad thing.

Re:Proteccionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46354825)

It wasn't that long ago the some senator was demanding that the US start putting tarrifs on dairy products from New Zealand, because we apparently are the head of some anti-US global conspiracy.

TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a union (2, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#46350721)

TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a union!

Re:TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a uni (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 7 months ago | (#46350863)

If we had a Union, we'd have to learn a thing or two about being fat and sitting around during down time! (sarcasm)

Re:TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a uni (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 7 months ago | (#46351093)

TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a union!

Please, no union.

I'm perfectly able to negotiate my own bill rates and job conditions. It isn't that hard, you just have to have a little backbone and learn some people skills.

Re:TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a uni (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 7 months ago | (#46351295)

Well, it is not a union that is necessary in the field I believe. It is statistics. Detailled statistics of what gets paid here or there and for different kinds of seniority or field of application could definitely boost workers leverage during negociations.

A union will do that statistics for you, but with lots of other things that might or might not be good.

Re:TIme for IT to do the same if only we had a uni (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351709)

Perhaps a guild, then.

Engineers (and actors, oddly enough) typically join a guild, not a union. Unions are for unskilled laborers. Guilds are for skilled workers. The main difference is in how bargaining works.

For unions, bargaining agreements cover everyone and provide a fixed scale based on "time served" (for lack of a better term), not on actual skill or even experience. And at a certain point, you max out and could potentially do better without the union.

Guilds bargain for minimums and scales, but then allow individuals to build their own pay grade from there. As an apprentice, you get base pay. You can try to negotiate more, but it's unlikely. As a journeyman, you'll easily get base-plus-scale for your experience and skillset. As a master, it's up to you to demand compensation beyond that level. If you're worth it and they need it (whatever "it" is), they'll pay. Put your people skills to work and make more money. Or sit back, relax, and rake in high-experience, high-skill "scale" (which puts to shame just about anything a labor union ever bargained for).

Dream on! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350821)

If visual effects workers can show the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission....

No, they won't be able to because the MPAA with all their money will put a kibosh on anything the workers want. They may even pull the bullshit that tech companies pull and say that they can't get qualified Americans or some such lie.

The little people have no chance in America. The middle class is disappearing. Upward mobility has disappeared and we're in a downward spiral to the bottom while the spoils go to the very top.

We're no longer told the lie that if we work hard enough, we can get to the top too. Now we're told that we should be grateful that we're not in India. Well, we're on our way to have lifestyles like theirs.

Fools!! (4, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | about 7 months ago | (#46350933)

The law does not apply to the lowly masses, except when it is useful to suppress them or steal from them!

This is not TV Tropes [tvtropes.org] , and you cannot turn the law against the ones who created it! [tvtropes.org]

Re:Fools!! (1)

Mortiss (812218) | about 7 months ago | (#46351995)

Thank you so much for those TV Tropes links. There goes any chance of any productive work this evening.

They took our jobs... (1)

Stonefish (210962) | about 7 months ago | (#46350949)

This is pure protectionism, effectively there are people elsewhere who will do the work cheaper of better. The way to compete against this is to lower your overheads rather than trying to get the government to be your friend.
The problem is that people are too busy trying to create companies which create millionares rather than actually do work. Accept that fact that a VFX company doesn't really have much net worth beyond the capabilities of its employees and adjust margins accordingly.

Where are the VFX millionaires? (5, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46351269)

The problem is that people are too busy trying to create companies which create millionares rather than actually do work

Where are you seeing the millionaire VFX artists?

While I have no doubt that the very top of ILM et al are living a reasonably cozy life, the bottom ranks - be that the modelers, riggers or rotoscopers - are almost all jobhopping between studios not because they enjoy it, but because the studios themselves can ill-afford to pay them. And they can't ill-afford them because they're too expensive, but because the studios themselves see very little in return for what is done.

I encourage you to check out the very recently (today) released short documentary Life After Pi [youtube.com] . It's more of an industry look at the problems being faced, but is based on the story of the VFX studio behind the effects work in Life of Pi - the movie that so far has a gross of $609M on a $120M budget (boxofficemojo numbers) and won the Academy Award for visual effects - Rhythm and Hues, and their ultimate demise.

It is one of several documentaries being made on this subject - along with several protest actions calling attention to the issue (if you've ever seen people's profile pictures be a blank green square, odds are they're in VFX).

Note that I don't disagree with you - in the end VFX jobs can be outsourced, so they will be outsourced. But that is just shifting the problem of extremely skewed compensation between various elements behind a movie from one geographical location to another.

Payment as ratio to box office performance is something that the industry direly needs - and despite popular opinions that artists should just get paid once for their work created and not charge royalties, I think the other popular opinion that Hollywood Accounting is screwing everybody but the big wigs (the heads of production studios, distributors - the actual millionaires) over could bring some reasonable debate to the floor.

Re:Where are the VFX millionaires? (1)

mattyj (18900) | about 7 months ago | (#46355227)

There is no longer a 'very top' of ILM. The place was decimated last year.

Another related part of the problem is one the VFX industry created on its own. Throughout the late 90's and early 2000's, new studios were popping up all over the place and got into an arms race by undercutting each other to get the work, thinking that maybe on the next show they'll charge the movie studios more based on the awesome work they were doing. Instead, they trained the movie studios to expect low-cost, high-quality effects work, and everyone is now losing out. The VFX industry has not been profitable for ages.

When the US VFX houses got to the point where they couldn't cut any more without going out of business (or they did go out of business), cheaper labor abroad started to get hired. Talent is everywhere and the movie studios just want cheap labor. Labor has always been cheap overseas but the US VFX industry now finds itself in a place where it has to compete globally, and they're hurting for it.

And anyway, all the big movie studios have overseas subsidiaries that they'll just funnel the money through. I think the US VFX workers have their heart in the right place, but they'll still end up getting squashed.

Re:They took our jobs... (3, Informative)

Quila (201335) | about 7 months ago | (#46351339)

This is pure protectionism, effectively there are people elsewhere who will do the work cheaper of better. The way to compete against this is to lower your overheads rather than trying to get the government to be your friend.

The American VFX artists are getting the government involved because the foreign VFX artists are being subsidized by their governments up to 60%. RTFA

Re:They took our jobs... (1)

mattyj (18900) | about 7 months ago | (#46355247)

The over head for most US VFX shops is already razor thin, it is not a profitable industry as it is.

Most of the overseas, subsidized countries are emerging economies that are trying to kickstart their tech industries. It makes sense for them to subsidize as their economies grow. To subsidize in the US, it means that we taxpayers will be the ones subsidizing, and I find it hard to believe the general population of the US is going to have any sympathy for the lowly VFX artists and go along with subsidizing their industry. We barely supported the car industry when it collapsed, and that is arguably a more American rah-rah-rah industry than VFX.

I don't like it or agree with it, but that's the reality in the US.

Re:They took our jobs... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351627)

You are assuming that is realistic for workers in one country to compete with those in another country with very different economic conditions.

Also, even assuming equal cost of living in the US vs whichever country we wish to outsource to, "lower your overhead" is no solution if the government in that country is subsidizing their local businesses. Even if you argued that the US should provide similar subsidies, the layout of cities and suburban areas coupled with the price inflation of property in many large cities would still cripple our ability to price these services competitively.

The US's duty to our citizens should really be primary over our duty to industry, so, while you throw around "protectionism" as a dirty word, a certain incentive to keep a minimum amount of work within the country is undeniably necessary.

Re:They took our jobs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351823)

This is pure protectionism, effectively there are people elsewhere who will do the work cheaper of better.

Wow. Talk about knee jerk. Even the summary says this is about foreign subsidies, not people who will work for less.

The way to compete against this is to lower your overheads rather than trying to get the government to be your friend.

And how do you compete with someone who's getting a government subsidy?

The problem is that people are too busy trying to create companies which create millionares rather than actually do work.

You lost me there.

Accept that fact that a VFX company doesn't really have much net worth beyond the capabilities of its employees and adjust margins accordingly.

What does this have to do with anything?

Re:They took our jobs... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46351953)

It's not about others working for less, but others working for more. If Peter Jackson gets paid by the NZ governemnt to have Weta do the sfx for LoTR, then the US should tax the imported product to even the playing field. Same with Ewe Boll in Germany (though it looks like cg is beyond his ketchup budget). It's about foreign government paying people to move jobs out of the US. The US should object to that, and tax accordingly.

There is one argument that will counter all of thi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350955)

... but ... that's different. So there!

America getting pathetic? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46350969)

If someone else in the world is better than you, the USA way used to be to open your borders and hope they would come in.

Today the borders are closed and people want tariffs to protect themselves from poorer harder working foreigners... The American way is now partitioning the government to protect you from the free market.

It doesn't serve anyone to pay above market rates. It creates a protectionist market which will be more expensive and less competitive. Think about how illogical it is: you want the government to ban companies hiring harder working people? How unamerican can you get?

Also they key point being missed is foreign subsidies. I doupt they exist. The 'right' to a tariff already exists if there is foreign subsidies, doesn't have anything to do with mpaa shooting themselves in the foot.

This changes nothing (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 months ago | (#46350991)

Wow, an online-only newspaper caught an instance of the MPAA being somewhat hypocritical, I'm sure that'll change everything! Hoo-wah, I'm going out to buy me some stocks in the company that makes Green Screens!

Re:This changes nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351135)

Wow, talk about an ad hominem, dismissing their argument because they don't print on dead tree.

Re:This changes nothing (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 months ago | (#46351835)

Be honest, blogs have less influence and lower journalistic standards than a dead-tree journal like the NY Times.

A real publication:

a) Wouldn't have been so partisan in favor of VFX companies
b) Wouldn't have overstated the importance of this revelation.

Frankly, this news article isn't even news. It's like somebody took a particularly idiotic anti-MPAA post from Slashdot and made it longer.

Yeah.... sure..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351041)

Not going to happen. It'll be ignored or overruled. But by all means, if that makes you happy, go with it.

"...the federal government is obligated..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351113)

Ha ha ha ha! Please stop! I'm dying over here!

Enough money in the right pockets and the government will find a way to 'overlook' the violations they don't want to bother with.

Logical conclusion. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351197)

If trade in intelectual property is the same as trade in manufactured goods, then it must be effected by the same supply and demand relationships. This would mean that as the intelectual property is infinately reproducable at an infinitesimal cost, leading to a near infinite supply, then, as demand is finite, its value must approach zero.

C0Zm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351199)

for *BSD b3cause of the old going

Necessarily has to be. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351297)

In a grand sense we as the voters have to be the perpetuation of karma and bring about the best justice we understand.

I see (1)

slapout (93640) | about 7 months ago | (#46351343)

So that explains the SyFy channel movies of the week

Rage or applaud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351727)

I don't get it, am I supposed to be enraged, or applaud their effort to protect the American VFX community? I'm so lost, are we raging against the MPAA, or against them foreigners undercutting us? OR both? Please, help, lemmings can't think for ourselves!

Where is the +1 for this article? (1)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 7 months ago | (#46351773)

Am I right?

Hollywoods Ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351795)

On the topic of VFX dying - there's a lot of borrowing of a lot of loaded phrases going around. Case in point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lcB9u-9mVE

fuckbeta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46351999)

this is a bunch of useless text to bypass the lameness filter. all i have to say is in the subject line.

This will be funny. (4, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | about 7 months ago | (#46352227)

The MPAA doesn't care about right or wrong or looking stupid. They will stand in front of the exact same judge and argue the exact opposite of what they argued last time and do it with a straight face. There are no beliefs or moral guidance. No mission statement describing good things they want to do. The bottom line is making more money. They will campaign for laws that hurt competition or reduce their own taxes. They will destroy lives and anything that stands in their way to make more money.

how many productions moved overseas? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 7 months ago | (#46352485)

The VFX workers may eventually have to come to grips with the idea that if you can't do it better you can't charge more for it. And thus they will probably have to cut their rates to compete.

This is basically the end game of the guild system Hollywood uses. You can keep people from undercutting you within the country by requiring guild membership and declaring union shops (or productions), but then the production just moves overseas. How many films are produced overseas nowadays to mitigate labor costs?

No shame (1)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 7 months ago | (#46352589)

These **AA agencies truly have no shame, hopefully this little "oversight" lands a boot so far up the MPAA's rear that they'll think twice about their brazen and often completely false/misleading statements for decades to come. Sadly I'm not betting on it, they'll probably use some circular reasoning to "justify" why they can take advantage of off-shoring but others shouldn't, but one can always hope. At a bare minimum they've given the actual artists ammunition to use against them.

WTO will prevail, unfortunately (2)

Baby Duck (176251) | about 7 months ago | (#46352593)

If the MPAA loses here, they'll just appeal to the WTO to override US law. If the US doesn't comply, the WTO will slap even bigger penalties at the US.

But that'll kill the Simpsons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46352791)

And all the other animated shows from Korea.

fuck off beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46353189)

yes fuck off beta

incentives (1)

Kvasio (127200) | about 7 months ago | (#46353469)

Such a tax would in practice erase the extra profit margins the studios are gleaning from the foreign subsidies, thereby leveling the competitive playing field for American workers and eliminating the purely economic incentive for the studios to engage in mass offshoring

or ... to move entire companies abroad. Given that more and more movie content is CGI, it would be cheaper to fly movie stars to the set somewhere in Asia.

Re:incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46354733)

Movie stars don't really interact with VFX...nor do directors TBH. Sudios just don't see VFX as a per-hour employments as they do when they're on set (where the goal is to get all the shooting done as fast and efficient as possible which is why the director is there to make decisions promptly). VFX houses have to bid hard number contracts but open-ended when the work entails massive work hours but no financial allowance for changes or overages. To most directors VFX is a magic box that you throw 10 million dollars at without any real understanding of the amount of man and computational power is involved if you want to move simulated wave y to the other side of the boat.

former film biz worker here (1)

microcars (708223) | about 7 months ago | (#46353699)

There is a good possibility that all this is a moot point in the end thanks to "hollywood accounting".

take a look at the end credits of any movie. They are ALWAYS initially "owned" by a shell corporation, usually using the name of the movie + LLC or something.
There is a reason for this.
Once the movie is made it is promptly sold for a loss (or very small profit) to the "parent" company or any number of other companies in between before it gets to the top. It could also be sold (on paper) for a massive amount of money so that the "costs" are never actually recouped.
I can't really say with any authority because that is an area kept secret from the likes of me.
The point of this is obfuscation of actual ownership, costs, and rights for tax advantages at the very least.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>