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Harry Potter and the Entertainment Industry

michael posted about 11 years ago | from the potter's-field dept.

Entertainment 402

VoidEngineer writes "In a surprisingly insightful article entitled Harry Crushes the Hulk, Frank Rich discusses how "Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix" beat out "The Hulk" and goes on to offer some insightfull and interesting comments on demographics, digital media piracy, file sharing and p2p networks, the iTunes store, and more... His conclusion? "[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment -- if the quality is guaranteed and the price is fair."

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402 comments

Again? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323915)

Another Harry-themed article? My God! He's infecting us all! Run!

that strategy won't work (5, Funny)

DarkSkiesAhead (562955) | about 11 years ago | (#6323918)


[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment -- if the quality is guaranteed and the price is fair.

Sheesh, what dunce claimed that? Clearly consumers are more willing to pay if you threaten and sue them. Duh.

Re:that strategy won't work (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323938)

Clearly consumers are more willing to pay if you threaten and sue them. Duh.

Ahhh, I remember school, such happy days.

Re:that strategy will work (3, Interesting)

seamus_waldron (304343) | about 11 years ago | (#6323947)

Quality at a fair price will work. I have two eBooks of the latest Harry Potter and I read the first paragraph only.

Frankly, I'd prefere to read the book than the ebook and I am even willing to by the hardcover as opposed to waiting for the softcover to come out in several months time.

As for iTunes, I've spent about $15 so far. 15 songs I would not own otherwise from 15 albums I would never buy.

Without even reading the article.... (5, Insightful)

TallEmu (646970) | about 11 years ago | (#6323922)

... I would certainly pay for accessible, reasonably priced, good quality music and video.

I don't have an Australian Drivers licence, and my local video store requires *australian* photo ID. So, that counts me out as a video consumer. The last time I bought a CD was for *one* song I liked. I'd use ITunes if it were available out here.

Sadly, I doubt that the companies will wake up and smell the coffee...

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1, Offtopic)

SlashChick (544252) | about 11 years ago | (#6323986)

"I don't have an Australian Drivers licence, and my local video store requires *australian* photo ID."

I have no idea what the government options are in Australia, but here in the U.S., if you don't have a drivers license, you can get a government ID card. (California information [ca.gov] )

One of the main reasons for getting an ID card is exactly the reason that you stated above -- so you can do business with stores/companies that require a valid government ID. (In the U.S., you can also use a military ID instead of a drivers license.) Perhaps Australia has something similar...

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1)

TallEmu (646970) | about 11 years ago | (#6323994)

I should get myself an Aussie drivers licence. However, I am on an English licence at the moment, so when I drive overseas it's like diplomatic immunity :) Hire Car in switzerland, speed in France and then back to Oz with my English licence :) :)

There's an RTA proof of Age card which is frankly silly for a 29 year old. The easiest option is just go to another video shop.

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1)

Veroxii (51114) | about 11 years ago | (#6324079)

I don't know which Australia you're living in, but I was able to use any type of "official correspondance", such as a phone bill or home rent agreement which had my name and address on it. And I didn't have an Aussie license yet either back then. (2 years ago).

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1)

TallEmu (646970) | about 11 years ago | (#6324093)

I'm living in the Australia where there's a dickhead schoolkid at the local video store that wants two types of Australian Photo ID :)

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1)

Veroxii (51114) | about 11 years ago | (#6324120)

lol! Point taken!

Re:Without even reading the article.... (2, Informative)

inflex (123318) | about 11 years ago | (#6324072)

There's the 18+ card for Australians - no need for a licence.

Re:Without even reading the article.... (1)

fishmonkey (301785) | about 11 years ago | (#6324145)

those bastards trying to validate your address so it's harder for you to steal their videos from them!#@

consumer aye? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323927)

consumer indeed

I'm boycotting all RIAA products (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323928)

until they stop suing everyone and bribing my congressman

(the fact that their stuff is overpriced crap makes this easier)

Re:I'm boycotting all RIAA products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323931)

I've gone even further, and put up all the CDs I bought from them on ebay.

Re:I'm boycotting all RIAA products (4, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 11 years ago | (#6324019)

I agree with your point, but IIRC Bloomsbury Ltd. is not a member of RIAA. And I wouldn't exactly describe the latest Harry Potter as crap, and am happy in the knowledge that my dollars were well spent on a hardbound copy.

Re:I'm boycotting all RIAA products (2, Interesting)

Lysol (11150) | about 11 years ago | (#6324131)

Unfortunately, I think then, you'll be boycotting them forever.

That said, there's plenty, plenty, of good non-RIAA stuff out there. The indie/underground/non-corporate/etc scene has always flourished and always will.

Hmm sounds familiar (5, Interesting)

prockcore (543967) | about 11 years ago | (#6323932)

"[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment -- if the quality is guaranteed and the price is fair."

That sounds familiar.. where have I heard that.. oh yeah, now I remember, that's how all the other industries work.

And I would be willing to pay... (-1, Offtopic)

LX.onesizebigger (323649) | about 11 years ago | (#6323935)

...for a Slashdot subscription if three-line summaries contained less than three misspelled words.

Re:And I would be willing to pay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323940)

I only counted two spelling errors. Both related to insightful. You think they'd know how to spell their own moderation terms.

Re:And I would be willing to pay... (1)

LX.onesizebigger (323649) | about 11 years ago | (#6323951)

Pheonix?

Re:And I would be willing to pay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323964)

Ahh very true. My eyes must be getting as bad as Michael's. Must be all the Goatse [goatse.cx] lovin'.

You know what I realized (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 11 years ago | (#6323937)

prices on entertainment goods aren't nearly as bad as I thought. I'd been complaining about how expensive it was being an anime fan boy, and saying I'd happily pay $5 bucks an episode for my anime. Then along comes the Nadesico Box set for $60. That's $2.30 an episode. At prices like that it's not worth the trouble of pirating it.

And yeah, I paid $30 for Morrowind, but it'll be months, if not years, untill I'm finished with it.

On the other hand, music goers into the lastest American stuff are still getting gorged. Then again I got John Arch's A Twist in Fate for $10 bucks, and lots of the stuff I liked when I was a kid (Judus Priest, King Diamond, Early Fates Warning, The Ramones, the list goes on) is getting released on the cheap.

It's funny, but we fan boys aren't getting screwed nearly as bad as we used to. Anyone who paid $35 for 2 dubbed eps of Ranma 1/2 knows what I'm talking about. If the trend carries on like this, I'm gonna have to shut my mouth and start buying more stuff :).

Re:You know what I realized (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | about 11 years ago | (#6323957)

Certainly true. Back when Babylon 5 was new I used to buy the incredibly expensive VHS releases every now and then, just to get a head start of the TV schedule. I could get the DVD releases for at least a quarter of the price now...

Re:You know what I realized (1)

I Want GNU! (556631) | about 11 years ago | (#6323981)

Well some things aren't overpriced (I saw a DVD of scifi classic Logan's Run advertised for $4.95) but many are. I like The X-Files but each season costs $100-$135. That comes to about $5 per episode. They made 200 episodes. So that's $1000 to watch the whole series. Also, music is generally overpriced, thanks to their illegal market practices (fixing prices, acting as an oligopoly, etc).

Re:You know what I realized (2, Interesting)

darien (180561) | about 11 years ago | (#6324035)

So that's $1000 to watch the whole series.

It's $1,000 to own the whole series. If you just want to watch them once, go to the video shop. Or wait until they're repeated.

Re:You know what I realized (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | about 11 years ago | (#6323990)

"and lots of the stuff I liked when I was a kid (Judus Priest, King Diamond, Early Fates Warning, The Ramones, the list goes on) is getting released on the cheap."

Okay, so all we have to do is wait a decade and then, when everything sounds dated and not quite as good as we remember, we can get it for the prices we should have been getting it for today!?

I guess that works (somehow), but I'd much rather pay a decent/fair price now for the new cd my fav. artist is putting out than wait until it isn't as pertinent to my life. Thought I do remember $35 for Ranma 1/2. Glad my friend was buying them and making copies for me :P

Spelling? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323939)

Spell much?

In a surprisingly insightfull article...

Sad: Someone actually spelled insightful as "insightfull."
Worse: The so-called "editors" don't even bother to correct this idiocy.

Must be nice to draw a paycheck for clicking "ACCEPT" or "REJECT" a few times a day.

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323953)

very important stuff. I think his censorship goes against the Open Sores (tm) way. Anyone clearly wants to see everything. Including the kiddy porn made by gay murderers from Freenet.

Anyways, I think it's very important that we hear about the truth. That we are all slaves to CmdrTaco's big fatty check book.

You forgot 'Pheonix' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323970)

Amazing how some people are unable to spell this simple word right -- can't they see 'Eo' is a really different sound from 'Oe'?

I see Pheonix all the time... now Phenix is an acceptable alternative spelling, but Pheonix is just a sign of your not paying attention in class.

Lazyness is not an excuse, it's everyone's responsibility to try and spell words correctly. If you are unable to do this, get a spelling checker.

(Disclaimer: unlike most of the people making these errors I am not a native English speaker, and therefore may make occasional spelling mistakes -- but most of those are due to confusal with terms in my own tongue. Yankees have no such excuse.)

Re:You forgot 'Pheonix' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324004)

I was going to jump on you for "lazyness", but then you said you're not a native English speaker. You're excused.

But yes, I did miss "Pheonix", however I had posted my comment right after the first "insightfull" and hadn't read any further. I also noticed insightful was spelled incorrectlly twice, implying that's how the submitter actually thinks it's spelled. Sad.

Re:You forgot 'Pheonix' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324032)

Ah, thanks for that!

I had forgotten the 'y' becomes an 'i' when used in mid-sentence. Duly noted ;)

Spelling and spellcasting... (1)

J_DarkElf (602111) | about 11 years ago | (#6324005)

Now this is one Slashdot article where it may pay to make the distinction between a 'spellchecker' and 'spelling checker'...

'Abutor recte'... as you might see in Rowling's books ;)

Brilliant (0, Troll)

The Bungi (221687) | about 11 years ago | (#6323941)

"[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment -- if the quality is guaranteed and the price is fair"

Give that man a cee-gar. Billions of $$ spent on focus groups by Big Media and he figures out that we like to pay for what we like, and that sometimes we pay because we're just bored to death.

Meanwhile, in our next story (which subscribers can already see!), a researcher in Australia has determined that most mammals cannot stand the taste of Clorox.

Re:Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323965)

Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

Re:Brilliant (5, Interesting)

Llywelyn (531070) | about 11 years ago | (#6323983)

Its odd, but sometimes the most obvious solutions are the ones that are almost blatantly ignored in marketing (and in many other fields, I would imagine).

For instance, my International Political Economy professor at one point was on a plane heading for Brazil (he was studying something or other while there) and sat next to a guy who worked in the marketing department for the lab that produces and develops Mallox (or was it Alka-Seltzer?).

They got to talking and it turned out the guy was going down there to help figure out this problem they were having in sales. In some areas their product was selling very well, but in other areas it wasn't selling at all. Marketing had spent billions of dollars (litterally) and said "people in those areas like products that are from the US, so we should put a little American Flag on the packages" and he was going down to do something of a feasability check on this.

My professor turned to him and said, evidently without missing a beat "your product isn't selling well in those areas because your product provides relief for over-eating and the people in those areas are starving!"

The guy's face dropped and shortly thereafter was taking down contact information and writing notes.

You would think this would be obvious, but sometimes that is exactly the solution is hiding.

Re:Brilliant (1)

40000 (445957) | about 11 years ago | (#6324025)

It might only take a minute to download a song with DSL but it takes even less to pick up a CD in the store and walk to the checkout.
Sometimes people will pay because they have the money and want something that minute, because they're bored. That's why people will keep buying CDs and DVDs.
Then there are books and CDs bought as presents. How many people would really want a text file of Harry Potter on a second hand floppy disk as a Christmas present?
Where is the money going that isn't being spent on entertainment media because of piracy? It's going into new technology in general, if you spent all your money on music CDs, would there be any reason for them to improve the format?

Meh... (2, Interesting)

syberanarchy (683968) | about 11 years ago | (#6323942)

Clearly consumers are more willing to pay if you threaten and sue them. Duh.


Good news: The **AA's of the world now realize their respective business models are obsolete.

Bad news: Their new business model consists of the following:


1. Scan Customers' ports.
2. Lawsuit
3. Profit!

In all seriousness, I really do think that these guys are deluded enough to believe that this could work - we can't make up our lost revenue because our product is not as culturally relevant as, say, video games; so let's make up said revenue with repeated lawsuits! Even if only a fraction stick, we'll still make our money back!

Old plan: throw shit at consumers, hoping they would buy it.


New Plan: throw shit (lawsuits) against a wall, hoping they will stick.


It's official - The RIAA/MPAA seem to have a scat fetish :(

Re:Meh... (1)

daniel23 (605413) | about 11 years ago | (#6324046)

> The **AA's of the world

**AA is **Association of America
makes me wonder how many Americas bearing **AA we currently have on this planet.

Re:Meh... (1)

inaeldi (623679) | about 11 years ago | (#6324137)

Around here, there's the BCAA (BC automotive association). I always knew they were up to something...

Bottom line (4, Insightful)

Jarlsberg (643324) | about 11 years ago | (#6323943)

The entertainment industry loves 15+ kids for their spending power, but loathe them for the grand scale theft of music and videos. However, they will pay for quality, ie. the fifth Harry Potter book, but won't spend the same kind of dough on an album with one hit and a lot of fillers. It's nice to finally see journalists getting the point so many in the Slashdot crowd have been trying to make for some time.

Re:Bottom line (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324018)

Bullshit. They'll pay for Harry Potter because it's harder to pirate.

Re:Bottom line (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | about 11 years ago | (#6324031)

No, it's not. I've seen rips of the text already. It's actually pretty easy to do, I could do it on my computer if I wanted to.

I have a scanner with text recognition software. It works wonders with printed text. I could do it in about a day. If I really wanted to.

Re:Bottom line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324102)


No, it's not. I've seen rips of the text already. It's actually pretty easy to do, I could do it on my computer if I wanted to.

I have a scanner with text recognition software. It works wonders with printed text. I could do it in about a day. If I really wanted to.

Playing an MP3 on your PC or music player is almost the same as playing the official CD. Reading text on screen is very different from reading a book. How many kids are going to print out 800 pages at home?

Re:Bottom line (4, Insightful)

sebi (152185) | about 11 years ago | (#6324118)

No, it's not. I've seen rips of the text already. It's actually pretty easy to do, I could do it on my computer if I wanted to.

I tried reading a e-book copy of a book once. Stephenson's 'The Diamond Age' wasn't available at any local bookstores so I downloaded it. It was horrible. Plain-text is really bad for large amounts of text. So I layouted parts of it myself and that was a bit better but I still had to read it on a computer screen. Sure--you can print it out, but a stack of loose pages is a lot less comfortable to handle than a bound book. That is the big difference between books and other forms of entertainment. With books the package is important and not easily recreate-able at home. Films, games and music can be burned on any old blank. With 'The Diamond Age' I read the first couple of pages and then ordered it.

From the article:
By the next year, The Times would have to bend to Harry's will and initiate its first separate weekly children's best-seller list, lest adult fiction get crowded out by the Rowling juggernaut.

That is kind of unfair, isn't it? After all people of all ages read the books.

Re:Bottom line (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324138)

Wouldn't it be fair to say (in the case of the book), that they are willing to pay for something where the pirated version is qualitatively different (in a significant way) from the 'original'?

When you buy a CD or DVD, you experience the data it contains in exactly the same way as you would with the pirated version; the same speakers, the same screen.

A book is quite different - while the data may be identical, most people would far prefer the experience of reading from a bound dead-tree version than from a CRT/LCD etc (not to mention the portability factor - not everyone has a laptop).

As for the 'quality' of the fifth Harry Potter book; well, thats another argument altogether, and theres enough flamebait in the world as it is.

I have been arguing this with the wife all day (2, Troll)

westyvw (653833) | about 11 years ago | (#6323946)

I read CS Lewis stories when I was a kid. They were fascinating. But why is this new thing sooo cool? I dont get it. My wife says its aimed at a lower grade audience, so why does she read it? I have read a few chapters of the HP and find it near tripe. I am not a fan of fiction anymore, I am an adult, and find the story to be a waste of time.

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (1)

bj8rn (583532) | about 11 years ago | (#6323987)

Sometime in the winter, an ethnology professor from Germany gave a lecture about Harry Potter in my university. She was so into Potter books, and she explained that it's because of all the mythology in there. And how Rowling has done an awful lot of research etc. Maybe it's the reason why adults read it. But I doubt if the children get even a quarter of the stuff she talked about (the phoenix is a symbol of rebirth and Jesus Christ and so on, it's named Fawkes after Guy Fawkes etc.). Made me even want to re-read these books - though I hate all those black and white characters and how good guys always beat the bad guys (but I can't stand most sci-fi either, for the same reason).

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (1)

darien (180561) | about 11 years ago | (#6324055)

Things are getting a bit less black and white in the more recent books. Unfortunately, to get to the good stuff you do have to start out by getting through two and a half kids' books. But I reckon it's worth it.

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (1)

guybarr (447727) | about 11 years ago | (#6324001)

HP has many layers (moreso than narnia, IMHO), and I advise reading the first 3 books at least before passing judgmennt; the story and associations get darker and more adult.

Also, try reading it looking for transformed existing mythologies .

That said, If your time is currently so precious (or reading slow) that you cannot read ~1000 pages "just" for trying a new hobby, don't read it, wait for a better time .

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (0, Funny)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 11 years ago | (#6324013)

Well naturally, if you're not a fan of fiction, you're not going to like these books...

I'm a fan of the books, I think their appeal lies in them being smooth reading, but with believable, likable characters, in an interesting setting.

For instance, in the latest book, while reading about Harry's necking and "reaching third base" with Cho, readers can be reminded of their first sexual experience (or not, this is the /. crowd). When Ron accidentally kills his best friend Hermione while she's disguised as the double-agent Professor Snape, J.K. Rowling really shows the agony and regret Ron feels, how he tries to express their deep friendship as she lies dying. Later, when Harry is shown to unknowingly be the dark lord Voldemort, you can really appreciate Harry's mixed feelings, compelled to attack the school he's spent the last 4 years attending (and making friends, and gaining recognition).

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was perhaps more intelligent, and a more consistent world than Harry Potter. However, I admit I didn't care for all the proletyzing, and the characters were more likable, and at least in Harry Potter nobody gets sent to hell (well not until the last chapter of the latest book, anyway).

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (1)

darien (180561) | about 11 years ago | (#6324062)

+1, Evil

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324073)

NICE SPOILER FUCKHEAD.

Parent contains evil spoiler for 'Phoenix'! (1)

J_DarkElf (602111) | about 11 years ago | (#6324090)

Don't read it unless you already know the book. :/

No, it doesn't. None of that stuff happens. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324136)

Either the grandparent post was joking around, or was quoting from the profuse number of full length HP:OoP fanfics out there. Either way, there is no spoiler, that stuff does not happen in the book.

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324140)

MOD PARENT DOWN!
Damn spoiler! Evil spoiler ! So that's the dead character...
*weep*

Yeah, you'll be a real barrel of laughs (1)

Moderation abuser (184013) | about 11 years ago | (#6324098)

to live with.

People read fiction for the same reason they watch movies.

Re:I have been arguing this with the wife all day (1)

Lysol (11150) | about 11 years ago | (#6324141)

You find it a waste of time because you are an adult. Haven't you figured out that all the kids stuff sucks by now?!? ;)

Seriously, times change, people change. What was hot with kids in 1903/1953/1978 isn't necessairly what's hot in 2003. Jesus I'm getting old...

misquoted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323952)

"[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment - if the quality on IRC is substandard."

Re:misquoted (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | about 11 years ago | (#6324022)

Agreed, i think this is the real point. Piracy of current release feature films has skyrocketed, thanks in most part to much higher quality being available. If you could read harry potter in a pleasing book form without much effort, there would be a ton more piracy no matter what the price of the book was. In a way, perhaps its very smart to keep publishing books as is and not getting consumers used to ebook format... if they really got used to it then they'd be in the same position films & music are now.

Said another way, is it really the high cost of products driving piracy, or is it the quality of pirated goods and the ease of attaining them that causes us to believe they are worth less?

Re:misquoted (1)

cyrax777 (633996) | about 11 years ago | (#6324040)

I dont think ebooks took off becouse atleast with digital media ie mp3 and such you could still play it in your car. Holding a e-book reader just inst the same as flipping thru the pages of the real paper printed book.

Books are tangible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323954)

Devils advocate time:

Bookws are more tangible then dvds or cds. You can flip the pages, feel the texture of the paper. CD/DVDs you put in a player. Its harder to pirate books, sure you could scan it, but who wants to read it on a computer. Also theres photocopies also a unlikely way of pirating.

Though alternatively, people are buying this book when its avaible to the largest fair use system of them all, the pub library.

Re:Books are tangible (1)

zakezuke (229119) | about 11 years ago | (#6324119)

Can we say ebook or PDA?

In case you don't know, there is an ascii edition and a pdf edition of the newest book floating about. While it may be somewhat harder to actually scan in a book, it's far easier to propigate once scanned, esp if it's just ascii. I for one am PERFECTLY happy reading a book using either vanberg's list on the pc, or less under linux. Lets face it, text is easy to compress and faster to transmit.

How could it get in the net so quickly? Well, it may be a 800+ page book, but if the task was divided among let's say 8 people, that's only 100 pages of scanning a piece. Far less daunting task. To be honest, I don't have a clue, but it's there.

Dispite the fact that it's out there, it's still doing well as far as sales go... demonstrating that piracy doesn't nessicarly affect the bottom line. Should we consider p2p an online amature library it a criminal organization bent on doing harm to copyright holders.

So... something that is easier to pirate and reproduce is selling better then "Hulk" [unsure of the correct title], well probally because harry potter is entertaining, and the hulk is just recycled stan lee stuff. I'll admit, I downloaded a copy of "Hulk", but bought a copy of harry potter. I'd rather have bought an ascii edition, but that's not an option presently, not that i'm aware.

How about labeling crippled protected CDs... (5, Interesting)

navig (683406) | about 11 years ago | (#6323958)

I would love to be able to pay for my favourite songs but last week I found one of my latest CD purchases was copy protected.

It was the Amélié Soundtrack CD I bought in Australia. Sadly the CD did not even mount in the Linux or Mac boxes I tried it on. :-(

Both the original and replace CDs I tried worked on standard players but could not be mounted on a CD drive. Typical nasty BMG copy protection.

I got my money back but even the store techie was surprised they had not mentioned the protection scheme on the packaging. He mentioned it was required in Oz. Is this true?

Annoying because I want to show my support for a funky French film and was willing to put my money where my mouth was.

If iTunes was available in Australia or the UK, then I would be buying that album online just to avoid the CD protection.

From a consumer who actually pays for music...

Re:How about labeling crippled protected CDs... (1)

Charm (313273) | about 11 years ago | (#6323988)

He mentioned it was required in Oz. Is this true?

No but it probably sounded good at the time.

"protected CDs" != CDs (1)

J_DarkElf (602111) | about 11 years ago | (#6324068)

They may make use of the same medium, but they are NOT CDs as defined by the original standards.

Customers should take care not to buy CDs without the official CD label, and make use of their right to return defective disks that illegally carry this label.

I have returned the last disc I bought, (and got a cash refund I may add) since it was one of those annoying 'protected CDs', was NOT labelled as such, and refused to play on my Pioneer system. I'll have to get the tracks through Kazaa now, and burn them on a disc myself, since the official distribution is incompatible with my sound system.

Re:How about labeling crippled protected CDs... (2, Informative)

inflex (123318) | about 11 years ago | (#6324081)

Well, I found that my new Sarah Brightman CD "Harem" is 'protected' - supposedly it works fine in Computers and such until you attempt to rip it - Yes well, I can still hear the glitches! In the end, I ripped the CD, eliminated the glitches and now experience a better quality playback (perceived) than off the CD.

Pay... (4, Interesting)

somethinghollow (530478) | about 11 years ago | (#6323963)

"...insightfull...insightfull..." Do you think he thought it was "insightfull"?

Pay for just "good quality" and "fair price"? I wouldn't. I want good quality and fair price, yes, but fair use is just as important (if not more). If I pay anything for it, I want to be able to use it to it's fullest, whether that means ripping it to listen to on my MP3 player, burning a copy for my car, or putting it in the microwave. Then I'll buy it if I decide I want/"need" it.

One disappointing comment in the article... (3, Insightful)

SlashChick (544252) | about 11 years ago | (#6323966)

Overall, a good article, and it draws some interesting parallels. However, I found one piece of the article to be very disappointing...

"The question is: How do all those lovely entertainment-seeking kids weaned on 'Harry Potter' grow up to become thieves? Surely, they know that stealing copyrighted songs and movies is akin to shoplifting sweaters at the Gap."

How can an author who is obviously intelligent enough to write an otherwise-interesting article sneak that in? Making a copy of music is NOT the same as stealing the original. Now, if I went to the Gap, bought one sweater, and then used my home cloning machine to make 50 more and ship them off to people on the Internet for free... that would be a fair comparison. However, "pirating" music (ugh, I despise that term) is not equivalent to stealing a physical good. If I steal one Gap sweater, that's one less sweater that the Gap has to sell... but if I make a perfect bit-by-bit copy of a CD and hand it to a friend, the original is still completely intact and able to be sold, used, or traded.

It's disappointing that the author fell into the RIAA's trap on that point. However, the rest of the article is quite good. Good weekend reading...

He's a tool of the industry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6323985)

Frank Rich was the theater critic for the Times for years, and I think he reviewed movies as well. So he's naturally more sympathetic to them than the typical slashbot (or teenage movie fan).

Re:One disappointing comment in the article... (1)

steve_bryan (2671) | about 11 years ago | (#6324027)

Thanks for not allowing such an obtuse statement to go unchallenged. I wonder if the parroting of this sort of obviously inaccurate comparison actually undermines their case? Almost anyone can see the flaw which you point out and wonder about the legitimacy of a law with such a deficient argument used to justify it. I think they would be better served to argue the more difficult but also more accurate issue of copyright infringement.

I think an amusing side effect of all this is that some have reached the conclusion that analogous activities like the sweater 'cloning' you describe must be illegal. But it isn't since sweater style is not covered (yet!) by copyright law. There are issues of trademark but if there is no effort to deceive (e.g. using fake labels) there isn't grounds for complaint. I suspect certain industries in some states with a compliant legislature may try passing restrictive laws but they would have a hard time with courts.

Re:One disappointing comment in the article... (3, Insightful)

Espen (96293) | about 11 years ago | (#6324109)

As you can see from the included quote the author wasn't claiming it to be 'the same as', but 'akin to' (which is not the same).

Is it reasonable to claim that stealing music (by copying it) is similar to stealing goods? I would say it depends on which dimension of the act you are focusing on and why. As you point out above, the physical aspect of the act is very different, and the outcome for the victims is relatively different, but from the perspective of whether it is wrong to do it, that doesn't really make any difference does it?

Btw. a book might make for good weekend reading; an article is something you read while on the toilet.

Stating the obvous (1)

mlk (18543) | about 11 years ago | (#6323974)

People are willing to pay for quailiy (I could of borrowed Harry Potter from my 'ittle sis, and had download the PDF), I then went and bought it.

Next on Slashdot, people who own Linux are more likly to buy Linux based software then Microsoft.

Hype factor? Three years versus... (2, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 11 years ago | (#6323978)

however long they've hyped the Hulk. And the hype for Book5 was fan generated, not industry generated. The way Goblet of Fire ended, it's no surprise Harry fans bought up Order of the Phoenix. I'm sorry, with voldemort coming back from a near-death like state, cedric diggory dying and harry beginning to go nuts, you'd have your fucking underwear in knots too...

And it's been damn near 3 years since Goblet too. So this basically adds up to a giant cash cow as long as Rowling doesn't screw the proverbial pooch and writes a terrible book.

Is it as good as they say? (3, Interesting)

jericho4.0 (565125) | about 11 years ago | (#6323980)

"That's merely the short list of hard-wired assumptions that were short-circuited by last weekend's publication of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.""

This whole article asumes that Harry Potter is high art, and that it is a product that can earn 100 million while not being part of the hype machine.

I've never read any of the Harry Potter series. I think I'd probably enjoy them, though. But I'm _very_ aware of them. The Harry Potter phenom is well covered in the media, and I doubt they would be so popular without the involment of the media.

Re:Is it as good as they say? (0, Offtopic)

mlk (18543) | about 11 years ago | (#6324002)

Is it as good as they say?
Yeah, spend a few mins to walk to your local libary, and borrow the first ;-)

I doubt they would be so popular without the involment of the media.
It would be intresting to take a truely deadful book and hype it ;)

Re:Is it as good as they say? (4, Insightful)

GMontag451 (230904) | about 11 years ago | (#6324006)

I've never read any of the Harry Potter series. I think I'd probably enjoy them, though. But I'm _very_ aware of them. The Harry Potter phenom is well covered in the media, and I doubt they would be so popular without the involment of the media.

The media coverage of Harry Potter started *because* of its popularity, it didn't cause it. I will grant that the popularity of the fifth book has probably been helped along by the media coverage, but remember, the popularity of the series was already quite entrenched when the fourth book was being anticipated. The fact that little kids were lining up to be the first to read a 700 plus page book on their own was what made the story newsworthy.

Re:Is it as good as they say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324026)

good to see you've deleted your nazi journal, you fucking terrorist racist shit.

Re:Is it as good as they say? (1)

CashCarSTAR (548853) | about 11 years ago | (#6324041)

Yea, that's actually the first I heard of HP back then. The news reports of hundreds of kids lining up to read a thick book.

I was like..and still am...wtf? Has the world gone nuts?

On the other hand, I've read the books, and I'm not as surprised. They are very well done. His Dark Materials is a tad better, I think, but to each his own.

Downloading music akin to shoplifting? (1, Flamebait)

dido (9125) | about 11 years ago | (#6324003)

Very nice article, but Mr. Rich has stated something down near the bottom that is not quite true.

The question is: How do all those lovely entertainment-seeking kids weaned on "Harry Potter" grow up to become thieves? Surely, they know that stealing copyrighted songs and movies is akin to shoplifting sweaters at the Gap.

How long is it going to take people to realize that there is a very big difference? I steal a sweater off the Gap, the store doesn't have it, I do. I download a song from the day's equivalent of Napster, has the person I got it off lost it, or has the artist (or more precisely the record label) actually lost something in the same way? Of course not. The misguided promoters of this idea assume that every time I or someone like me obtains unauthorized copies of something that is supposed to be "theirs" means that I would have otherwise bought an original for the prices at which they are sold. This is, of course, not true in general. It is false and misleading to consider copyright violation the moral or even legal equivalent of theft.

fuck you! (-1)

cmdr_shithead (527909) | about 11 years ago | (#6324015)

fuck you!

qed

Kids these days (3, Funny)

somethinghollow (530478) | about 11 years ago | (#6324016)

"Here's what's wrong with kids in the digital age. They live in front of their TV and PC screens. They steal music online. Their attention span is zilch. They multitask on everything and concentrate on nothing except video games. They will buy any trashy product that the media goliaths can sell them, then drop it as soon as the next big hype comes along."

Isn't that the problem with adults in the digital age as well?

Re:Kids these days (1)

NBarnes (586109) | about 11 years ago | (#6324122)

"Here's what's wrong with kids in the digital age. They live in front of their TV and PC screens. They steal music online. Their attention span is zilch. They multitask on everything and concentrate on nothing except video games. They will buy any trashy product that the media goliaths can sell them, then drop it as soon as the next big hype comes along."

Isn't that the problem with adults in the digital age as well?


That was my major problem with that part of the article, too (aside from the fact that the article suddenly went from 'Books good, movies bad' to 'Piracy BAAAD' for no apparent reason). Yeah, plenty of the teen set use Kazaa, etc, etc. But isn't the major growth of P2P based on the usage among twenty-somethings? And, in any case, doesn't everything he say about teens also go for adults, if not in fact moreso for adults? I mean, teens are supposed to do dumb things. Responsible adults (like yours truly at 25) are supposed to know better, right?

There's an extent to which I don't like the way this article dumps this entire problem on teens. Definitionally, teens are not responsible for this behavior. At worst, their parents are. And if, as I suspect, teens aren't even the primary users and sharers of files on P2P networks, then why is this article talking as if they were?

Quality is guaranteed? (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 11 years ago | (#6324017)


That's the whole problem. The media companies want to invest their money in the sure sell, so we keep getting sequels and boy bands.

For media-based entertainment products, "quality" involves a bit of variety, a bit of risk.

WTF is up??? (0, Troll)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | about 11 years ago | (#6324028)

WTF is up with all these LOTR and Harry Potter stories? Are there any freaking computers in these movies? No.

Can I get an amen, or can someone please explain why this belongs on /.?

Thanks!

Huh? (1)

heneon (570292) | about 11 years ago | (#6324044)

Despite the huge fuss about Harry Potter books, I've never read any of them. However, when I saw the title "Harry Potter and the Entertainment Industry" I though "I think i want to read that book!"

Doh.

Heh... (0, Offtopic)

Pinguu (677142) | about 11 years ago | (#6324047)

His conclusion? "[Consumers] may well be willing to pay for their entertainment -- if the quality is guaranteed and the price is fair."
I just relised I prefer quality over quantity, having gone to the cinema to see 8 crap films in the last 3 weeks.

Adults who read Harry Potter (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324049)

show that they are thick, slow, hype sucking, bandwagon following, sheep. It shows that they cannot think for themselves.

ITS FOR CHILDREN YOU PATHETIC FUXKS!

Re:Adults who read Harry Potter (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 11 years ago | (#6324070)

I really should stop responding to trolls like this, but have YOU read any of the books?

Have you read any of the books? (1)

J_DarkElf (602111) | about 11 years ago | (#6324071)

I would bet not, so you are just calling them kids' books because that is what you heard.

I initially saw them as children's books as well, but when I did read them I enjoyed them. Sure it's not great literature, but it is amusing, well-written lecture.

It seems *you* are the sheep, for not even judging these books on their own merits.

Re:Adults who read Harry Potter (2, Interesting)

EvilCabbage (589836) | about 11 years ago | (#6324132)

.. aren't The Simpsons also for children? How about Burger King, Jack in the box, or Futurama? All relatively enjoyable things (no matter how bad they may be fore us) that are aimed primarily at children.

I'm definately not a fan of the HP series (saw both movies, just wish I could get those few hours of my life back) but my girlfriend has read them all, and seems to enjoy them. It hurts nobody, so how is it so wrong?

Time Line of the Book being scanned (5, Interesting)

Gryftir (161058) | about 11 years ago | (#6324061)

I watched the development of the 5th book being scanned for distribution over an irc book trading channel.

On Friday Night/Saturday Morning: First Chapter scanned and proofed. The whole book has reportedly been scanned, and is being proofed. Scans are available of both versions of the cover.

Saturday Afternoon (I wake up) Told the proofed version will be ready by 8 pm. Rough versions of all the chapters are available. people looking for the book are being send to a seperate channel. A website has been established where one individual has taken the rough chapters and has been proofing them himself, and posting them online.

Sunday Afternoon book has been proofed and is combined into a html file with the cover images. This is turned into a .rar archive and available for download.

This comment doesn't really have a point. I will say I purchased a copy of the book, and I was personally involved with the scanning. I just want people to be aware of the existence of scanned books, in the hope that it will enhance this discussion.

Gryftir

Doesn't seem to read much, does he? (2, Funny)

nagora (177841) | about 11 years ago | (#6324084)

He thinks the HP books are "quality" (as opposed to bland, if rather jolly, easy-reading) and the Matrix was a "burst of big-studio originality" (as opposed to a trawl through the last 50 years' of SF writing).

TWW

I confess (5, Interesting)

Dogun (7502) | about 11 years ago | (#6324085)

I actually hunted down a copy the new HP book online the day it came out; after failing to find it in bookstores. Then, I found it again online, the no-shipping variety, and finished the book before it even arrived last wednesday.
Though I'm sure the author would love to sue me for saying so, you don't lose too much in reading the electronic format. Unlike music or a movie, however, a book is something we don't always finish. A bad book we put down. When we finish a book, we know that it was at least readable.
I guess what I'm saying is that I've never finished an ebook without suffereing the immediate compulsion to grab myself a copy of the real deal. Movies, music, anime, tv... these things are more impulse buys. I would never buy them in the first place normally, but after being exposed to them in a way I wouldn't have been in the first place, I at least have a reason to purchase them.
A book is something I cannot avoid purchasing if I enjoy it. Don't ask my why, I don't know. But I suspect that I am not alone in this; I also suspect that as much as a mediocre amount of piracy can help music sales, it can probably be a great boon for the sales of a less popular book.
I'm not saying "Go forth and pirate books!"; I'm just saying that maybe having people get exposed to your book, no matter how it happens, results in drastically increased sales?

Thoughts?

Remeber baseball cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324089)

When you traded your card away, you got something in return but had to give something up. File trading is not the correct term. It's file copying. The RIAA should really rephrase what they are going after if they wish to win the "hearts and minds" of consumers. Nevermind the fact that these huge companies are going after some of their biggest fans.... the ones who care so much about music that they are willing to steal it (which is no excuse for stealing music). Apple (and the rest of the clones) might have it right, just as this article has it right. Who wants to pay to see Revenge of the Sequel Part 6?

Pff (0, Offtopic)

Pinguu (677142) | about 11 years ago | (#6324097)

...entitled Harry Crushes the Hulk...
Pah, The Hulk would kick Harry Potter's ass.

Guaranteed Playabillity for Games and Music! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#6324100)

but the problem is.. they CANT guarantee quality... Albums STILL come out with 1-2 good songs and the rest is GARBAGE hence ppl rather download it for free instead of paying full price.. just LOOK at Apple's recent success.. same goes for videogames.. u pay 40-60$ for a GAME either for PC or any console.. but they cant even give you a guarantee you'll like it for more than 20 minutes..and if u try to return it they deny you that right because you may potentially have copied it..several stores here offer 30day return policies but software is EXCLUDED from that.. and reading reviews doesnt always help much either as its the reviewers eyes that sees.. and tho you can download demos for PC that isnt too easy on a GBA for xample..

So.. unless price DROPS TROUGH THE FLOOR.. back to what would be a REASONABLE level.. AND they can GUARANTEE that I will like ALL the music on every album I buy equally much and that I will enjoy and bother to play whatever game I bought for at LEAST a set guaranteed number of hours........................it AINT GONNA HAPPEN!..

interpritas

Harry Potter and the Entertainment Industry (2, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | about 11 years ago | (#6324104)

Did anyone else think of that subject as the title of a new Harry Potter book instead?

Being on the NY Times doesn't make it true (3, Insightful)

nzyank (623627) | about 11 years ago | (#6324105)

If I had more than a few minutes or really cared I'd pick the article apart point by point, but the main point is that the Harry Potter series was no doubt very popular in book-only form, but would NEVER have sold $100M worth of books in a weekend without the HP movies and the media hype.

Normally I'd agree in the conservative estimate of 2 readers per book, but I think that a large portion of sales are driven by a 'me too' mentality. I'd put readership at more like .5 readers per copy. Really.

Would anyone care to bet against me that sales of Tolkien's LOTR and The Hobbit books skyrocketed because of the movies and not just because everyone suddenly, simultaneously and miraculously figured out that they're just really good books (which they are)?

Face it. These people (a lot of them) buying the new HP book are buying it because everyone says they have to and to get a preview of the next movie.

The Hulk just happens to have had fewer big-budget movie prequels than HP (not counting the low-budget Bill Bixby junk) and LOTS less media hype. The Hulk CG also sucks from what I've seen in the trailers. Hopefully I'll change my mind when I watch the DVD in 6 months.

Gawd I hate faulty (I think the word is 'specious') reasoning almost as much as I hate the knuckleheads who believe the faulty reasoning simply because it was written in the NY Times. Probably mostly the same knuckleheads who stood in line to but the latest HP book so that it could sit on the coffee table to show everyone how smart their knucklehead kids are because they can read.

sharing books (3, Funny)

BenjyD (316700) | about 11 years ago | (#6324134)

and, assuming a very conservative average of two readers per book, a larger audience as well.

People are sharing books! Quick, send in the licensing police. That's $100 million in lost sales. This new trend in book piracy must be stamped out before our book industry is ruined.

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