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Digital Watchdogs Widen Anti-Piracy War

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the coming-soon-to-a-youtube-near-you dept.

The Internet 119

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is covering a new focus by companies like Warner Bros. on consumer attitudes towards media consumption. The last few years have seen media companies concentrating on pirated materials sold in marketplaces and downloaded online. Increasingly, the expectation of content for free is what is worrying these same companies. 'Missteps made today could have grave consequences for the future, particularly when it comes to consumers' willingness to pay for movies and television shows online ... Warner and other entertainment companies are moving cautiously ahead, but their interests are divided. All want to share their content online with consumers but are, at the same time, imposing constraints that risk alienating a younger, Web-oriented audience.'"

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Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571577)

They've been doing this for ages. Just because Warner decides to join in does not make it news. The anti-piracy war is ongoing and the companies will always side with each other against the consumers.

Re:Not new (0, Troll)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571607)

its not a matter of being against consumers, its a matter of making consumers realise that entertainment products cost serious money to make, and that investment needs to be recouped. This was never a serious problem before the web, people knew that movies cost millions, they bought tickets and went to see them. If you have a whole generation growing up thats used to taking those movies for nothing, you are describing the death of an industry.
You might not like the big media companies, I don't much like them either, but I *do* like top quality films, games, software and Tv shows, and I know they cost money to make. I certainly don't want to live ina world where mass piracy has eliminated commercial entertainment and we have to rely on home-made movies dont by people in their spare time. I'm not sure what a $100 version of Lord of The Rings looks like, but I'm pretty sure it's not as cool as the version peter jackson made.
DRM is like Democracy. Its a terrible solution, except for all the others.

Re:Not new (2, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571635)

I certainly don't want to live ina world where mass piracy has eliminated commercial entertainment and we have to rely on home-made movies dont by people in their spare time.

I get where you're coming from - but I think even in a world where mass piracy predominated, there would still be craploads of commercial entertainment.

Business models will change, but the entertainment industry will continue to thrive, LOTR-like movies will continue to be made.

Re:Not new (5, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571641)

Maybe movies wouldn't cost so much to make if they didn't have to pay "famous" actors tens of thousands of dollars for showing thier overexpoed faces on camera for 90 seconds.

Call the new situation an attempt at a "Market correction." The movies are no longer worth to the customer what they once were, so maybe those overpaid crybabies will be replaced by someone who doesn't expect to make the GDP of a small country for 6 months of work.

that's exactly what's going to happen (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572409)

movies will still be made. they just won't have a budget of $100 million. and they will be just as good, and just as entertaining: when was the last time you saw a movie that cost $100 million and put you to sleep? how about a movie that cost $10,000 and rivvetted your attention?

amount spent != quality

no one loses in the readjusting financial dynamics of the media world except anyone expecting to spend and/ or make a lot of money making movies. and that's what this entire ip fight is all about: the "right" of some assholes in hollywood to rake in and lay out big bucks. it's not about morality, it's not about right or wrong, it's not about criminality, the only thing going on with drm is "hey, where's my cash?"

guess what hollywood studio asshole: you don't deserve to make cash anymore. the internet came, it destroyed your business model. that's the beginning, and end, of this entire story. deal with it. the golden age is over. go ask the aztec and incan royalty if it was fair some spanish guys showed up in some fancy boats with some fancy boomsticks and some fancy turtle shell hard shiny clothing and destroyed their empires. history happened. because the incan and aztec nobility didn't like what was happening didn't change the fact they lost their empires nonetheless

same with you hollywood assholes: technological progress is being made. you lose. nothing is going to change that. adjust to your lower importance and less income. because us, the consumer, we're certianly not going to suffer for your lowered sense of entitlement, no matter how much you want us to and tyr to make us

movies will still be made. all that will happen in that hollywood as it is, a giant orgy of cash, will die

good fucking riddance. we don't need you. you need us

never forget that hollywood

Re:Not new (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18574119)

They don't have to pay those actors.

It just turns out that the majority of the world would rather see movies if they include those actors.
So, the actors actually are worth that much.

A movie 'starring' George Clooney is going to make (at least) $50m more than a movie 'starring' Steve Buscemi. It's that simple. So why shouldn't George be able to demand a cut of that profit? The alternative is that some rich guys behind the scenes (who already make as much, or more than, the guy who puts butts in seats) make even more money. How is that a preferable outcome?

Your overarching point is correct: most movies cost too much compared to what people would like to pay for them. And the industry is definitely suffering under this correction.

But why you want to bury that point under slander on those who have the audacity to demand wages commensurate with their market worth is beyond me.

Re:Not new (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18575671)

A movie 'starring' George Clooney is going to make (at least) $50m more than a movie 'starring' Steve Buscemi.

The unstated part here is that the movie makes an additional $50m only because movie tickets cost $9 or whatever these days. These prices were set so high because actors cost more (among other things). And actors demand more because profits are higher, etc: it's a positive feedback loop.

That said, the problem is a system-wide one which cannot be fixed by any individual actor; it would take the intervention of the government OR the industry OR perhaps the development of a new, parallel theater industry. Thus it isn't fair to blame George Clooney for demanding his cut, although I would like to hear some actors speak out for lower ticket prices. (Has anyone done this?)

Re:Not new (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18574167)

I agree with you in principle, but I've seen some movies in which no-name actors deliver really lousy performances. Even slobs like Keanu Reeves usually don't *detract* from the movie, so I have to say that these big-name actors and the money they make are justified on some level.

Re:Not new (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571643)

I certainly don't want to live ina world where mass piracy has eliminated commercial entertainment

Rest assured that decades of evidence have shown this won't happen.

Re:Not new (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571647)

This was never a serious problem before the web, people knew that movies cost millions, they bought tickets and went to see them. If you have a whole generation growing up thats used to taking those movies for nothing, you are describing the death of an industry...

The reason it costs millions to produce movies is because, until the web came around, the producers had basically a monopoly cartel over a captive audience AND Distribution channel COMBINED. The producers and distributors traditionally made lots more money than the artists.

When every other business adapts to changing technology, why can't the content providers do likewise? Why should ALL internet users.. including on corporate networks.. be subject to this ridiculous persecution just because someone suspects them of stealing their so-called IP?

Adapt or perish... please don't advocate screwing the PC industry and the Tech industry to protect the seedier elements of the so-called Media industry.

Re:Not new (3, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571895)

No, it costs millions to make movies because the rendering farms used by pixar arent cheap. having 500 extras in period costumes in a built-from scratch set isn't cheap. Hiring the best experts in cinematography, lighting, editing, costume and set design is not cheap. This stuf is tehcnically hard. Copare LOTR to a you-tube vid. that is the difference.

Movies arent knocked up in 10 minutes, have you never watched a behind the scenes program on how modern movies are made?
If you think you can do it better, cheaper, go do it! Blair witch did exactly that. There is no law preventing you creating your own IP tommorow. In fact, the harry potter novels showed how Billion dollar IP can be created by a single person with just a laptop. Go do it, write the next lord of the rings, or the next harry potter, there is NO law to stop you doing so.

We have a whole generation of people who think that copying a movie is the same as making one. How on earth do you expect that to be good for the creation of new entertainment?

The funny thing is, the pirates who are always posting download links to movies get VERY upset if people don't 'thank them for their work' (by which they mean the uploading to a warez site. Ironic, given their flagrant dismissal of the efforts of the hundreds of scriptwriters, editors, actors, set designers, carpenters, painters and model builders who make the actual movie. There is never any thanks (by way of actually buying the movie) handed their way.

Re:Not new (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571915)

"No, it costs millions to make movies because the rendering farms used by pixar arent cheap."

Very few companies make completely CG movies. Even with Pixar, I suspect you'll find they spend more money on actors' salaries than render farm time.

And, frankly, I'm tired of movies that put more effort into CG than story. So what if there are no more $200,000,000 FX blockbusters? Who'll really miss them?

Re:Not new (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572027)

all the people who go to see them in their millions?
Just because YOU might not like big budget movies does not mean nobody on earth does.
And I've given plenty of examples of the other cost involve in non-CG movies. How cheap do you think it is to make a movie like 'Pride and Prejudice?'
hint: it's mroe than the hundreds of dollars you could spend on a free movie.
of course, you might prefer to hve ad-supported movies to make up the losses due to widespread piracy. In that case, we can enjoy jane austens film about Elizabeth Pepsi and Mr Darcy in his best Nike sneakers.

Re:Not new (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573241)

of course, you might prefer to hve ad-supported movies to make up the losses due to widespread piracy. In that case, we can enjoy jane austens film about Elizabeth Pepsi and Mr Darcy in his best Nike sneakers.

Or the state can subsidize more arts. In France, for example, the French government has long given generous subsidies to music (think of IRCAM and Cite de la Musique in Paris), but has not made any demands of artists, letting them produce whatever they wish in complete freedom. The government can just up funding of filmmakers, and there would be no need to fear product placement.

Re:Not new (1)

C_L_Lk (1049846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573833)

So in essence, you're saying we should pay for our entertainment through our tax dollars? Well, perhaps that's one way it could be done - however it wouldn't seem to be a very equal system - every one of us would be paying for entertainment whether it interests us or not. I haven't myself been to the "big screen" in probably 5 years. Movies don't really interest me. I have never "downloaded a torrent" nor "ripped a DVD copy". I am not a movie watcher. I'm not really a music listener in the consumer sense either - I listen to the radio for 30 minutes each morning - about 25 minutes of that is listening to DJ's chatter and the morning news and local advertising - they may play one or two songs. My entertainment is in outdoor sports and activities. I prefer to spend my money on sailing, fishing, boating, mountain biking, camping, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and skiing - I find that takes up 95% of my entertainment time and budget - so should my tax dollars go to supporting movies, music, and the arts - since the consumers of those mediums have come to expect that they will be provided for them at little to no cost? I guess it's one way we could go, perhaps not the worse way, but I wouldn't mind seeing the government subsidize the local ski resorts, fishing tackle shops, snowmobile camps, etc. to an equal amount as well - after all my entertainment is important too isn't it?

Re:Not new (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573933)

Many philosophers would claim that art is essential to the life of a community in the way that other forms of entertainment are not. By that argument, your outdoor adventures are a luxury, while music, painting, film, etc. is a necessity. Therefore, it would be appropriate that the government fund that, while individuals can choose whether to spend what remains of their salary on less vital entertainment. Now, you may disagree with that, but it is an argument that has been strongly defended for a few thousand years now, and it does direct government spending in many countries.

Re:Not new (1)

chazbet (621421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18575719)

What we're talking about is getting a revenue stream to content makers (not merely providers like MPAA or RIAA companies but actual creative people) not just to make it worth their while to produce new work, but also to fund the costs involved in putting together work that is capital intensive (e.g. a movie or theatrical production). Your preferred types of entertainment are experiential--it matters that you are the one participating in sports, just watching isn't enough, so its easier to make you pay for part of capital costs (equipment). But someone has to pay for maintaining the venues for your sports: hiking trails, lakes and streams, etc. Maybe we should think of the costs of putting together a big budget movie like the costs of keeping the Grand Canyon open. Although people invest in the capital of playback equipment, like DVD players, people are paying less and less of the costs of content because technology makes it easier to copy. Maybe we need to fund the revenue stream for art by incorporate the costs of experiencing art, music, movies, like the British fund the BBC by putting a tax on TVs.

Re:Not new (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18574685)

Good plan. someone in the Bush govt should approve the funding of all new movies.
I can't see 'an inconvenient truth' getting far under your state-control system.

Re:Not new (1)

greenbird (859670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18574601)

all the people who go to see them in their millions?

That's fine with me. They can pay big bucks to go see the big budget soulless, storyless special effects orgies while I pull the cheaply made high quality movies off the net for cheap.

Unfortunately that's exactly what terrifies the MPAA and their ilk and is exactly what they are trying to make illegal and technically difficult.

Re:Not new (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572927)

I just recently bought a shiny, new HDTV. So, mark me down on your list of who'll really miss them.

Re:Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18574343)

You're confusing copies with movies, the very same thing you accuse the parrots of.

Movies are expensive. Copies are cheap.

A granny with five minutes, a $100 computer and a $20 internet connection can send a copy to every person alive in a month, at a total cost of $120. This gives $120/6e9 as the value of a single copy. That's $20e-9, or a billion times less than a DVD's price. The competition is undercutting your prices by a factor of a billion, what do you do?

Re:Not new (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571653)

The problem is not that people wouldn't want to pay for their movies. I sure as hell would. But I am not going to buy a DVD that forces me to jump through hoops before letting me watch what I paid for. IF I may watch what I shelled out my dough for 'cause the region code doesn't fit or the DVD has some copy protection scheme that my DVD player doesn't like.

And since studios don't make DVDs the way I want them, I don't buy them. Simple as that. If a product does not match my requirements, I don't buy it. It's my money and I put it where I want it.

Re:Not new (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571721)

"its a matter of making consumers realise that entertainment products cost serious money to make, and that investment needs to be recouped."

Most of the 'serious money' that goes into making a movie goes to pay tens of millions of dollars to actors, director, etc. The reason that movie companies can afford to pay that much money to people to work for a few weeks is because the copyright monopoly allows them to recoup their money from distribution.

If they're now going to get less money from distribution, the solution is simple: stop paying actors forty million dollars (or whatever) for a few weeks work.

Re:Not new (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571757)

its not a matter of being against consumers, its a matter of making consumers realise that entertainment products cost serious money to make, and that investment needs to be recouped. This was never a serious problem before the web, people knew that movies cost millions, they bought tickets and went to see them. If you have a whole generation growing up thats used to taking those movies for nothing, you are describing the death of an industry.

Some of the greatest achievements of film, like most of the work of Ingmar Bergman and other auteurs, was done on small budgets with state subsidies or private patronage. Profit by the masses going to the film was not a necessary result for the film to be seen as a success.

I'm not sure what a $100 version of Lord of The Rings looks like, but I'm pretty sure it's not as cool as the version peter jackson made.

Well, if you think that "a good movie" means a film with poor acting and more attention paid to flashy special effects and Hollywood tropes than meaning or atmosphere, I guess the future may suck for you, but I'm sure films that stand the test of time will continue to be paid.

Re:Not new (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571769)

Bollocks.

If none of the studios in Hollywood ever made another movie again, the average quality of films would go up -- a lot. What do we get from Hollywood? Spoiled brats playing with expensive toys. Predictable plots, usually based on terrible science and movies that are little more than 90-minute advertisements. And then they have the gall to keep on relentlessly milking a movie with sequel after sequel. Hollywood actresses, actors and directors are all overpaid -- there are no two ways about that. Nobody, and I really mean nobody, needs more than £100 000 a year to live on.

Maybe the major studios need to die. Go to your local independent cinema sometime -- there's one on or near every university campus -- or watch sky 315, and see what's possible without big budgets.

Re:Not new (1)

freedomseven (967354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573501)

Yes, of course, that is correct. If you broadcast video signals for free, eventually people will expect it for free and you will never get them to pay for it. Just look at how much trouble the cable companies are having making money with those evil broadcast networks just giving it away for free. Those naughty naughty boys.

Get real, all the media companies have to do is bring a better product and the world will clamor to pay them. In the 70's people said the cable companies were crazy if they thought that people would pay for a product that they could get for free over the air waves. Heck in the 80's I thought that people who said that bottled water would become an mainstream product were on crack. Now bottled water is a staple in construction workers ice chests.

Stop force feeding us the drivel that Hollywood has been pumping out, give us random access to the media products that we want and make it easy to manage and you will be surprised at how much people will pay.

Kids, pay attention (3, Funny)

daranz (914716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571583)

FTA:

Missteps made today could have grave consequences for the future, particularly when it comes to consumers' willingness to pay for movies and television shows online, she believes. To illustrate the point, she tells of her niece's fish, named Mortimer, who one day leaped from his bowl, flopped on the table and gasped for air.

"Mortimer took the leap to freedom," she said. "He said, 'I'm free, but I'm dead,' " said Ms. Antonellis.

That's right, kids. If you watch movies illegally, you'll drown after jumping into the nearest pool!

Re:Kids, pay attention (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571601)

Better to die free than to live in chains.

Re:Kids, pay attention (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571827)

If you're dying in a struggle to free others, where you're sure that your death will have an effect for the best, then that may be acceptable. If you are dying just because you don't want to live in chains yourself and think you'd be better off dead, then that's something that nearly all of the religions of the world would agree was suicide and morally unacceptable.

Re:Kids, pay attention (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571951)

Ok, then I'm not fitting any religion. Works for me, I never accepted any gods besides myself.

Snide comments aside, that's simply my view of life and my values. Liberty or death. Living in chains just ain't worth it.

I find religion morally unacceptable. (3, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572047)

Come on, all those bullshit promises? Yeah right! If I'm really considering suicide, the possible prospect of a magical sky-daddy who's gonna keep me alive forever in a perfect place, is so ludicrous that I doubt it would convince me to put the razor down.

Re:Kids, pay attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571615)

So the intewebz pipes are acutaly a single fishbowl?

Re:Kids, pay attention (2, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572151)

So the intewebz pipes are acutaly a single fishbowl?

No, that's a web server.

Re:Kids, pay attention (1)

onion2k (203094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571651)

Why should we believe a woman who thinks her niece's pet goldfish spoke to her from the afterlife?

Re:Kids, pay attention (2, Insightful)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571747)

It's definitely silly to trust the goldfish medium. We need to consult someone who speaks directly to the gods. To the whitehouse!

Re:Kids, pay attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572643)

Of course, it has AIDS.

Free as in Fish (3, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573089)

It's a great story, isn't it? I love how carefully the analogy maps onto the expecations and experience of a music listener:

The fish is the listener.
The bowl is -- I think -- The established media powers. The fish cannot get out of it without risking its life.
The water is the filthy sludge that the bowl (see above) has immersed the fish in.
Youtube is the air, in which the fish cannot live.

The analogy breaks down on this point: the listener is actually not a fish, and can live just fine in the air.

alienate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571589)

What, alienate customers? The music industry? naaah....

Organize yourself: only buy music from the artists themselves!

Re:alienate? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571629)

Organize yourself: only buy music from the artists themselves!

Great idea! Now would you by any chance know how I can contact Tupac Shakur?

Re:alienate? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571723)

He said "artist". How does Tupac fit in there?

Re:alienate? (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571935)

He said "artist". How does Tupac fit in there?

Please be modded a troll.

Re:alienate? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571997)

I predict that this posting might be the first to be 20% insightful, 20% interesting, 20% funny, 20% troll, 10% underrated and 10% overrated.

Now imagine this was about Justin Timberlake...

No wait. There are no female /. readers...

Re:alienate? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572301)

I rather predict that it will be the 17,964,378th comment to not be modded.

Re:alienate? (1)

Builder (103701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571825)

Just hang out at the studio where, as I type this, he is recording his next posthumous album. That man is more prolific than most _live_ people :)

Re:alienate? (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571839)

Try a Ouija board. In fact, make a video of the séance and post it on YouTube.

"Is anybody there? Knock once for yes, twice for no"
*knock*
"Is that Tupac Shakur?"
*knock knock*
"Well, can you fetch him?"
pause ..... *glass rattles then begins to spell out a message*
H..E..L..L..O..M..Y..N..A..M..E..I..S..T..U..P.. A..C..S..H..A..K..U..R

"Have I your permission, in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1998 as amended, to make one copy of each of your albums for personal use?"
Y..E..S..M..A..K..E..A..S..M..A..N..Y..A..S..Y..O. .U..L..I..K..E

They'd have a job arguing with that .....

Gem comment (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571591)

I find it hard to believe Ms. Antonellis' nephew had a pet golddish named Mortimer, who illustrated her point so badly:

To illustrate the point, she tells of her niece's fish, named Mortimer, who one day leaped from his bowl, flopped on the table and gasped for air.

"Mortimer took the leap to freedom," she said. "He said, 'I'm free, but I'm dead,' " said Ms. Antonellis.

Re:Gem comment (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571623)

Not to mention how communist and anti-american her anti-freedom comment sounded.

Re:Gem comment (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571657)

And what about this?

"We were criticized for not being aggressive enough," she said. "At the same time, we can't be faulted for being radical in our approach."
Uuuuuh? Not agressive enough?

Re:Gem comment (1)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572065)

It's taken out of context.

Charles Manson was quoted as saying "If anyone ever downloaded movies of mine without paying me, I'd rip out their liver, and gouge out their eye balls."
The industry responded with:
"We were criticized for not being aggressive enough,"

Re:Gem comment (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572209)

It's taken out of context.

By me or the NYT? (or both I guess)

What really happened (2, Funny)

DMNT (754837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571695)

The thruth is that the MPAA boys came over, confiscated the bowl and threatened to sue the whole family if Mortimer wouldn't confess it violated the copyrights of Pixar by swimming like Nemo. Mortimer under desperate situation, confessed and saved the family. Now seriously in debts he had no alternative but to commit suicide.

Don't believe the MPAA propaganda!

Re:What really happened (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571967)

The RIAA then proceeded to ask the judge if they could get the computers for inspection from:
  • The fishes wife
  • The dog (the cat told the RIAA that they saw the fish and the dog together, since he hates the dog)
  • Kitekat, they found some Kitekat [kitekat.co.uk] around dog's computer

This is very insulting, but is it true? (0)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571597)

These guys are concerned that people are going to expect content for free. Realise what this is saying. They are basically admitting "most of our customers are too uneducated/stupid to realise that we don't produce huge reams of professionally made content for free." They're essentially claiming that most of their audience don't know that it costs money to produce movies, or music, or software-- that people will come to "expect" such content for free.

This is very insulting, but is it true? Are most people that dumb?

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (2, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571617)

They're essentially claiming that most of their audience don't know that it costs money to produce movies, or music, or software -- that people will come to "expect" such content for free.

So how come these knowledgeable content providers are providing Free Rootkits that cost lots of money to produce? Customers aren't stupid - they don't mind paying fair price for their CDs - they just hate all these Encumbrances, and being made to jump through hoops, and being spied upon like criminals.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (3, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571649)

They're essentially claiming that most of their audience don't know that it costs money to produce movies, or music, or software-- that people will come to "expect" such content for free.

It's not because it costs money that you have to pay for it. Do you expect to pay for your Yahoo! Mail account, your Google searches or your MSN conversations? No? It's not brought to you at no cost tho, they have developers to pay, sysadmins, thousands of servers, marketing departments, and much more, but you still don't have to pay a thing.

Why couldn't it be the same for mmmh.. TV shows? Oh wait, that's already the way it's always been on TV! Now why do they want you to pay a couple of dollars on each episode of their show you download on iTunes? Cause they can! Why distribute yourself your content on internet for free with some commercials in the middle to get your money on as you do with TV when you can get the viewers to pay what they normally don't pay for?

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (3, Insightful)

grrrl (110084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571775)

You're exactly right - TV is ALREADY free. Perhaps the cable culture of the US is a little different, but in other parts of the world, the latest TV shows are ALL FREE ALL THE TIME over the air, even in digital. The latest series of Lost in Australia is only about 6 weeks behind the US and it is FREE for everyone.

Why would anyone want to pay to download TV shows? There are certainly some reasons - convenience, being up-to-date (not even 6 weeks behind), having it to watch more than once, having it to watch at your own leisure.

BUT the 'TV is free' culture is already highly ingrained in my mind. I would find it hard to justify paying for content unless it was DRM-free, high quality and affordable (even $2/ep is not affordable).

Do I think it costs nothing to make music or TV? No - but if I already get TV for free, music on the radio for free, radio music over the internet (no ads) for free (except for ISP costs) I am not in a position to want to suddenly START forking out huge sums of money to enjoy the wide variety that I already enjoy.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571991)

You never heard about something called TV licence ? or TV taxes ? That's what people who live in their own pay to have TV ...

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572083)

TV licenses only apply in the UK.

There is no tax or license for TV in Australia.

Some federal funding goes to the ABC network, but it is not separately levied and is simply a portion of standard income tax.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572337)

You never heard about something called TV licence ? or TV taxes ? That's what people who live in their own pay to have TV ...

Well, in my country (France), the TV tax goes only to public channels like France 2, 3, 4, 5, and the most succesful channels like TF1, M6 or Canal+ (but the latter is a bad example) don't get a dime from this tax.

So yeah, a TV channel you don't give a dime to can survive and become actually huge and rich.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

Tenebrarum (887979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572389)

"I think it is ok for authors (please let's not call them "creators", they are not gods) to ask for money for copies of their works (please let's not devalue these works by calling them "content" ..."

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572855)

"I think it is ok for authors (please let's not call them "creators", they are not gods) to ask for money for copies of their works (please let's not devalue these works by calling them "content" ..."

Well, not our fucking problem, that's something between them and whatever media will broadcast their works. And that still doesn't mean we (the viewers) have to pull a dime out of our pockets.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (3, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571737)

Well people are dumb enough to believe that piracy is damaging profits http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/106698/technology-boos ts-movie-industry-box-office-sales.html [pcpro.co.uk] - and will soon destroy the industry, unless drastic measures are taken to prevent it.
In the UK decades ago they said that 'home taping of radio shows is killing music' and actually got the government to change the law to outlaw taping radio shows. It didn't stop the practice and music is not dead.

The music and film industry has always complained about piracy and yet they go from strength to strength.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572469)

Yes, and I would think most people don't know that "free" things still cost money.

Why are TV shows free? How do all those websites offer so much content for free hosting all that bandwidth?

It still costs money, whether people pay via donation, credit card, or just out of the pocket of the creator's limited pocket, but mostly, these things come from advertising.

So to get music and movies as "free" as the above, you'd have to settle for advertising throughout it. The more attention-grabbing the advertising, the more the advertisers will pay for "free" music and movies in return. Which also makes it more annoying.

This isn't a trade-off everyone wants to make, they download TV shows to skip commercials. They use Adblock to stop internet ads. How many people watch commercials because they want to pay the show back? I think most people really do want these things for free without realizing that it still costs money.

If there's more ad-circumvention, there's less eyes are on those ads, giving that adspace/time less penetration. So less money will be paid to the shows you like to keep them going.

Something important here is that it's ok though. Even though most people don't know these things aren't free, the advertisers know that. Like the comment you're referencing. The consumer's behavior in this regard would be factored into the advertising paid for that show, and if the show can't support itself on that model then it will be replaced with one that can. This exchange between the consumer's eyes, the tv show, and the advertiser will self-correct. The fact that advertisers are still paying for TV to keep it free means that they are still getting their money's worth and that system is working.

Social websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18572937)

They have LOTS of content that is free and produced and distributed for nowt.

It may not be of the quality of "Lord of the Rings", but such things as "In the Pirkinning" (free) or even "Blair Witch" or "Shawn of the Dead" (produced for so little that they could have been funded by a tip jar) show that the biggest "cost" that is avowed is the distribution one.

If we pay for cable access we can distribute for free.

So why is a trillion-dollar market being controlled by a billion-dollar one?

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18573681)

Its no different than when you flip the channel when the commercials come on to go check the sports on your hockey/football game.

What the content providers want to do is to FORCE you to watch these ads. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, the consumer has become sick of being saturated with ads 24/7 and if and when they can turn them off they damn well will. I dont know how many advertisments I pass on the way from my home to school since I havent bothered to count because I try to ignore that crap.

When I'm on the internet I used to get a lot of banner ads and/or images for people hocking hoodia get bigger longer erections in 10 days or increase your cup size by rubbing this cream on your boobs... I'm sorry but I dont want this shit, if I want to buy something *I* will look for the company and/or the advertisements, I dont want them to be coming to me.

If instead of getting spam mail or ads on the TV that you got a phone call and/or someone knocking on your door trying to sell you something wouldnt you start calling the cops to end the harassment and/or getting a shotty to blow the next salesman that knocked on the door in the head.

Re:This is very insulting, but is it true? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572965)

"The second part is the consumer; we have to do a better job of explaining why promoting creativity, promoting songwriters, promoting not only the people who write the songs, but the people who bring the songs to us -- that has to be appreciated."

Stupid consumers. They're sharing culture with each other because we haven't fully explained to them how and why people create music [and movies, and TV shows, etc]
(from Artists for File Sharing [a4fs.net] )

There's an alternate explanation: people are starting to realize that they are connected to each other directly, and no longer need the middlemen and middlewomen in order to figure out (amongst themselves) how to fund the things they enjoy.

Free content or free rootkits? (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571599)

Customers would like the media they purchase to be free of encumbrances.

Content providers .... the only thing they want to supply free seems to be rootkits.

If that's the attitude the content providers take... I say, let us have stage plays again, and ban all recording devices during performances... let's see what market size we're talking about for such 'content'.

Re:Free content or free rootkits? (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18575361)

Technically, there's a huge market for live theatre, and recording devices in theatres are considered harmful, but the business models for live performing arts companies are entirely different from the business model for shrink-wrapped crap^H^H^H^Hentertainment. You typically deal with much lower margins, a great many much smaller target markets, and much higher sunk costs - unless you're doing a touring show or something that's playing well in London/New York/Chicago/Las Vegas, which still has the sunk costs problem.

So, shrink-wrapped or live-performance-only, they would still have the same problem - a flawed business model.

Re:Free content or free rootkits? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18575927)

Content providers .... the only thing they want to supply free seems to be rootkits.

Which really shouldn't suprise anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of economics. Content costs money to create.

Time to Update the Old Business Model 1.0 (2, Insightful)

elysiuan (762931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571605)

When a large population of your consumers has been driven away by mediocre content and increasingly predatory legal action perhaps this issue should not be one's sole focus.

In a more general sense, of course content providers should be paid. Its even more of an issue with movies which take vast amounts more capital to create and market than a typical music album. The question is that if a) Radio has made it for 100 years on a free content delivery system, and b) Television has done much the same, why can't a movie distribution plan also be worked out?

Doubly perplexing to me is why there is any form of resistance to broadcasting television shows online. Update your advertisement payment systems for heaven's sake. Its a huge market that they are trying to quash. I don't think anyone reasonable is saying there shouldn't be advertisements in free content.

Off the top of my head I could say a two-tiered approach working for online video content. Tier 1 would be like broadcast television without the FCC censorship issues (at least if you're in the US). Free, with commercials to offset the cost. Tier 2 would be for those who are willing to spend either a subscription fee (per show, per network, per episode, whatever) or a one-time fee to watch the program with no commercials.

If you allow downloads, digitally watermark them so you can trace where they came from.

You are NEVER going to stop determined people from cracking your drm and infringing on your copyright. But most people just want to watch their favorite content, in the time and method they choose, and would prefer a sane and legal method of doing so.

I know I would. Sign me up.

The ultimate outcome (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571611)

Which makes me wonder, what will be the outcome? Will we ultimately all get used to getting stuff for free and go towards a general acceptation of piracy as something morally OK and ultimately bend the law/the IP holders towards accepting it too, will we rather get more and more used to pay for stuff we download or will the situation indefinitely freeze and there will always be people who like to pirate, people who prefer to pay and the IP holders who try to make more people from the first group go into the second by all means?

The big problem with "restricted" content (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571613)

The key problem the industry has is that DRM devaluates the product.

When I buy a piece of hardware (computer related or not), I have an advantage over stealing it. I have warranty, I have access to discounts, I get free or cheap spare parts, I may even get additional goodies, coupons or trade-in options, if there is a flaw I can return the product and so on. All that and more is no option if I buy it off the van in a shady alley or steal it outright.

With content, it is exactly the other way 'round: Stealing it increases its value. There is no region code, no mandatory previews to watch, no annoying FBI warning, no copy restriction, in the case of software, no need to keep the CD at hand and insert it when you want to play or a dongle to plug in (and render that port unusable 'cause whatever else you might want to plug in won't work), no unwanted spyware installed with your content, no restriction drivers that interfere with other software or even harm your hardware, nothing of the ever increasing pests that clog the movies and software of today.

It's not (just) that stealing content is cheaper. The main problem is that the stolen content is actually more valuable than the bought one.

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (2, Insightful)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571675)

You nailed it -- paying for the entertainment cartel's "content" is like paying for ones own shackles, when the DRM/rootkit/spyware/"trusted computing" stripped version is a .torrent away.

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571707)

I'm not saying that I wouldn't pay for content. I'd be very happy to pay for content and the convenience of having it on a nice DVD with a nice cover, in a nice box that I can put onto the shelf. I don't think anything one could burn can come close to that convenience and tidyness. I don't consider browsing through stacks of DVD spindles a good start for a movie evening.

It is not the content that's not worth the money. It's the way it is packaged.

A movie is not just 2 hours of moving pictures. It's a feeling. It's an experience. And this can be severely ruined if the DRM breaks the movie in ways that can't be fixed.

Imagine Christmas. I bet everyone here remembers getting some battery powered toy. You unwrap it, you want to turn it on, and then you find that little slip "batteries not included". And no fitting ones in the house. And no way to get any on Christmas morning. The present is ruined. Sure, 2 days later, you get that batteries and the game works, but it just ain't the same. The game isn't "new" anymore. The experience would have been a completely different one if it would have worked just the way it should.

It's the same with movies. You finally get that cool DVD in the mail and you unwrap it, you slip it in the player and ... wrong region code (or whatever reason why the crap doesn't play). The experience is ruined. And no matter what happens, your first memory when you think of that movie will be how it didn't work and how it ruined your evening.

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571791)

Indeed. I returned Shrek 2 because it had a sodding unskippable advert for Madagascar. I don't mind trailers but I don't want an unskippable and irritating advert I have to watch every time I watch the disc.

(By the way, I know that it's possible to fast-forward through these 'featurettes'. I just don't see why I should need to)

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571699)

Hear, hear!

I've got several thousand pounds worth of music software that I bought over the years. But the versions that I actually use day to day are all cracks as they're so much less trouble.

I fully agree with supporting software authors by paying for their creations but I'm simply not going to put up with dongles/CD authorization or any other such other crap thankyou very much. Heck when significant new versions comes out I even pay for upgrades before finding the equivalent crack.

So I've got the original software CDs, complete with dongles, all sitting boxed up on my shelf whilst the cracked versions do the actual work. Crucially though I've got actual printed, annotated, manuals which sit next to my mixing desk.

Funny old world innit.

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572007)

It stops being funny when the crack actually works BETTER than the original. Anyone who's ever used Cubase for more than just ripping the sound part out of a video might know what I mean.

Warner seems to get this, at a certain level (1)

supersat (639745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571829)

A choice quote from TFA:

"The term D.R.M. is steeped and mired in its legacy definition. Today, call it something else. I dont care what you call it. Get rid of it. But we need to make this work so we can get a deal."

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (3, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571869)

With content, it is exactly the other way 'round: Stealing it increases its value. There is no region code, no [etc]
And no condescending and insulting anti-piracy advert/propoganda whenever the ******* DVD starts up. I just paid you for the **** thing, and you shove this crap in my face? Nice irony that this sort of anti-piracy BS can be removed if you break the copy protection and make pirate copies.

This was a Warner video, by the way. It also came with a leaflet that attempted to link piracy with the case of the 21 Chinese illegal immigrants who drowned whilst picking cockles in Morecambe Bay. [bbc.co.uk] The reason was when they searched the gangmaster's houses, "they found over 4000 counterfeit DVDs and computers containing counterfeit material". I'm sure that they also found milk in the fridge, but so what?

Yeah, they'd argue that the message was that some nasty people are involved in DVD piracy, and we shouldn't support them. Fair enough, but the style of the leaflet was pure propoganda, attempting to associate the deaths of the cocklers with piracy in general; as if supporting piracy had encouraged their deaths, or that the illegal immigrants wouldn't have been out there if pirate DVDs hadn't been bought, or..... whatever. I can't really argue against it because, being propoganda, there wasn't any real substance as such, just a nasty and underhand discussion-bypassing attempt to smear DVD piracy with another tragic incident in thoroughly exploitative manner.

Anyway, I've scanned the leaflet and put it online, here (side 1) [imageshack.us] and here (side 2). [imageshack.us]

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18573041)

Except when whoever ripped the disc used a crap encoder or they didn't get the resolution or aspect ratio right :-(

That's why I prefer to rip my own.

But in general, I agree with you - DRM encumbered files; music which can only be played on windows or downloaded using a windows application has zero value to me. Like PlaysForSure, I know that, even if I were able to play these files today (which I am not), after a few software upgrades and reinstalls the files will be unplayable. The DRM has become a kill switch for the content - one day it will simply stop working and it will be gone.

And yes, that annoying FBI warning bugs the crap out of me. Is it because I know I'm going to rip that disc sometime soon, and I feel a guilty conscience? No, it's because I can't skip the damn thing. When I get in my car, I wouldn't put up with having to sit through an advertisement telling me not to steal cars. When the FBI warning comes up my family all complain that it can't be skipped. I tell them "relax, when I rip the disc that won't be included". So I don't think it's guilt I feel. The advertisement must be doubly annoying for somebody who doesn't rip or download anything.

Hello, MPAA and RIAA ... here's your free clue. I've said it before and I'll say it again:

  1. Remove the encumbrances. No CSS, no region coding, no DRM thanks. No unskippable propaganda or other advertisements between inserting the disc and watching the movie.
  2. Price Point. Stop charging like wounded bulls. We know when you're ripping off the consumer and ripping off the artist. We can tell.
  3. Convenience. Make it easy to download and pay for it; make it easy to buy. No more artificial scarcity thanks. Resurrect the artists' back catalogues. People will buy if the artists are any good. But you've got to make it easy to do. Add previews - full album rips at a lower bitrate, or chopped-up samples.
  4. Add Value. Add indexes - link artists to all albums, discography, reviews, wikipedia. Link artists to their musical influences. Give bulk purchase discounts. Good concert seats. Add some god-damn value to the product.

Re:The big problem with "restricted" content (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18576209)

With content, it is exactly the other way 'round: Stealing it increases its value. There is no region code, no mandatory previews to watch, no annoying FBI warning, no copy restriction, in the case of software, no need to keep the CD at hand and insert it when you want to play or a dongle to plug in (and render that port unusable 'cause whatever else you might want to plug in won't work), no unwanted spyware installed with your content, no restriction drivers that interfere with other software or even harm your hardware, nothing of the ever increasing pests that clog the movies and software of today.

There's also a lack of geographic restriction. The "pirate" version can easily be available months/years before any offically blessed "release". In some situations it may be the only version which is ever going to be available in certain places.

Not just young people (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571619)

TFA:

Warner and other entertainment companies are moving cautiously ahead, but their interests are divided. All want to share their content online with consumers but are, at the same time, imposing constraints that risk alienating a younger, Web-oriented audience.

Mention of the younger, Web-oriented audience tries to dismiss the shift to online content as a fad for young people. In my house we don't bother with TV any more. My wife and I are both over 40. Our son is 5. We have three laptops, broadband and wifi. A lot of our entertainment (news + movies and music) comes down the line, and some movies we rent from the video shop.

Warner could put the video shop out of business if they let me get movies on bittorrent. If they make it cheap enough to download when I want to watch, as opposed to keeping a copy and watching it later, then it won't get pirated much because I would have to keep the stuff around, cluttering up my system.

Re:Not just young people (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572283)

In my house we don't bother with TV any more.

Hear hear! My daughters told me I might as well unplug the cable TV because there was never anything on it worth watching (took me by surprise, but they're smart kids). That was two years ago; have watched less than 2 minutes of TV since then, total, amongst the whole family.

Of course they spend all their non-study time playing WoW, which is a total waste of time. Some day they'll have the maturity to go beyond that, and waste their time in a more productive and satisfying way -- playing Vanguard like their parents.

Sorry about the SOE reference, but certain online games are worth putting up with Windows and Sony Online Entertainment. But there ye go, I'm too old to be that moral any more.

Also, my Demicanadian Battle-Felon is level 41 now, I'm so proud... http://www.progressquest.com/ [progressquest.com] Stop reading this and go have fun.

Today? (2, Insightful)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571625)

Missteps made today could have grave consequences for the future, particularly when it comes to consumers' willingness to pay for movies and television shows online...

I think you mean "Missteps made ten years ago". It's a little late to be worrying about people expecting movies and TV shows online to be free.

That's what I call a movie (1, Funny)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571631)

she tells of her niece's fish, named Mortimer, who one day leaped from his bowl, flopped on the table and gasped for air. "Mortimer took the leap to freedom," she said. "He said, 'I'm free, but I'm dead,' " said Ms. Antonellis.
I wouldn't pay to see it though. Anyone got the YouTube Link?

mo0d down (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571667)

Ill tell you what their "concern" is (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571701)

They are freaking hell from the fact that they will have to sell "content" for lower prices than the hellishly inflated ones they used to :

Digital distribution cuts costs to phenomenonally ridiculously low rates per "piece" of content.

One would think they would adjust their distribution system and prices accordingly, and adapt to the new amenities.

But they dont want to do this. They want to sell stuff from the prices of the previous decades, where the final price was justly high due to the costs involved in production of the medium carrying the content and distribution of it.

Hence, they will pocked the 200-400% rate profits per piece sold - old prices, minus the new pathetic cost of distribution.

This is what they are concerned about. Its not about "piracy" or "content distribution" (heh), "protecting rights" or "intellectual property"

Its totally about being allowed to screw the public en grande, or not.

One would think that they would have understood that piracy is going to go on as long as they try to screw people over. But apparently they did not.

Then piracy will continue.

It's too late (1)

ApoptygmaBerzerk (1008161) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571731)

They should have done it earlier, now its too late.

Media companies are too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571735)

I'm and everyone else is already used to get stuff for free from sites that have adsense as business model.

Media companies and their business models are too late and don't fit into this picture anymore.

the funny thing is (4, Insightful)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571745)

I wouldn't shell out for a movie or software, but I would make donations to people who write OSS.

Somehow the people who don't want to grab all the money seem more deserving.

Re:the funny thing is (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572615)

but I would make donations to people who write OSS.
 
Well, what is stopping you then?

Too bad they couldn't preserve the Gen X attitude (3, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18571871)

Too bad Big Media engendered cynicism by withholding online sales during the dot com era, encumbering with DRM when they finally caved, took so long in shutting down Napster, bribed the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act through, and started suing their customers. Otherwise maybe the boomlets might have had the same positive view of copyright that I, as a Gen X'er had. (I still like copyright, but now I advocate the 1790 version [wikipedia.org] of 14 plus 14 years).

A reprise of a Slashdot comment [slashdot.org] I made two years ago:

Prior to 1980, it was expected that when you went to a movie you might not be able to ever see it again. And it was expected that your records would get more and more scratchy and skippy with age, and maybe even break.

Not me. My teenage years were in the 1980's, where I was able to purchase -- legally -- "perfect" quality CDs and high quality (for NTSC, anyway) LaserDiscs, both free of copy protection. Both CDs and LaserDiscs were touted to last a lifetime, and even though that's not true, the lack of copy protection enabled lifetime chain copying to preserve the recording for personal use.

I grew up accustomed to, after hearing or seeing something I liked, purchasing it, and playing it back at any time for one of two purposes: a) reflecting upon its content, b) recalling the time and place where I originally heard or saw the recording, for the purposes of sentimentality.

I've said it many times, and almost always get modded down, but I'll say it again. I consider it a form of mind control for a publisher to present something for my consumption, and then be able to at a later date forbid me from reviewing that material in the time, place, and manner of my choosing.

As I said, I believe this attitude of mine is due in part to my Gen X demographic. Baby boomers and older -- those presumably running XXAA -- grew up not expecting reviewing capability. Baby boomlets grew up expecting stuff for free via P2P. Gen X'ers are in the position of expecting lifetime reviewing capability, and expecting to pay a reasonable one-time fee for it.

But demographically, there aren't as many Gen X'ers as baby boomers and baby boomlets. And no one seems to care that books after 1924 are rotting away. So DRM and short memories it will be from now on.

Buggy whips and paradigm shifts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18571977)

I'm sure that, in their day, the buggy whip manufacturers lobbied congress and their local legislatures to ban the horseless buggies. But just like any other business when a major paradigm shift occurs, they had to adapt or go under. The motion picture industry had better take a look at adapting.

$5 a pop (2)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18572593)

C'mon it's simple really. Sell your movies online at $5 flat. No advertisements. No bullshit DVD menus to slam through with your remote. Absolutely no DRM. Just a professionally encoded xvid file at around 1.2-1.5 gigs in size. Offer it on a site with a fast connection that puts the often snail's pace of P2P to shame. There's very little that I'm not willing to blow $5 on. Seriously. I'd be buying movies all the time. As it is the few DVDs I do buy ($20 a pop is fucking overpriced in such a novelty-driven culture anyway) I immediately rip the movie of the disc b/c I don't feel I should sit through gimmicky menus and obnoxiously forced previews of totally irrelevant flicks I'd never want to see or already know to be shit. Previews are only good for the first week you own the damn dvd, nothing dates a disc like old previews. Movie tickets made the most sense at around $5. This is essentially the same thing. No solid product being sold, just bits of light and sound xferred through the ether. If you're worried people will be expecting things for free why not just try cheap instead. There isn't much of a howling chasm between free and $5. Hell hire John Kricfalusi to voice Ren for your ad campaign. There's something about how an asthmahound says "five bucks!" that makes the amount seem at once trivial and yet an exciting deal. My monday morning coffee is taking me to strange places.

Re:$5 a pop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18573083)

$5 for a crappy bitrate xvid encoded film? You must be joking. Even ripping down to DVDR can leave the video quality in a somewhat undesirable state. $5 for an unencumbered level of 720p or higher, maybe.

Re:$5 a pop (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18574731)

And how big is that going to be? There is a limit to how much bandwidth/diskspace I'm willing to dedicate to a movie download. If you're talking about HD (which I personally won't be buying into for some time) then you're not going to get anywhere near the quality you're looking for at a reasonable filesize, go buy some blu-ray discs. HD isn't really the target market for this sort of thing anyway, those people have the money to drop on disc purchases and probably don't waste time d/ling pirate copies anyway. Xvid is perfectly fine for a cheap persistent-rental type strategy. If you really like the movie then you can go for a disc, maybe even at a discount. But really, do you see a widespread availability of the type of bandwidth one would need to create a market of HD downloadable movies? YouTube's shit bitrate is being speculated as a possible cause of an eventual catastrophic failure of the internet. No one is really ready to fully embrace HD in that way, in terms of bandwidth and actual equipment adoption. But xvid, that's what people are illegitimately trafficking in already. If you don't think there is a market for something with the somewhat diminished quality of xvid, how do you explain the widespread adoption of VCD for so long, particularly in Asia.

They're fighting a battle they can't win (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573623)

If I were in the business of selling music or movies right now I'd be getting the hell out fast.

The business model of selling physical media containing content to consumers is winding down. Get out while you can.

If you can't see it sinking, you deserve to go down with it.

Criticisms (1)

Fordiman (689627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18573781)

"Hollywood's attention shifts from bootleg DVDs made in China ..."

Always a good thing to address, always the wrong way to address it. More on this later.

"... to the problem of copyrighted television ..."

Which is, of course a problem; why shouldn't I be able to watch a broadcast whenever, wherever, and however I please. It's already been distributed to me.

"... and movie clips showing up on sites like YouTube and MySpace."

Ok, this particular focus is downright stupid. Piss on your free advertising, please. Douches.

"'People thinking it is O.K. to take this stuff for free on a worldwide basis has a bigger impact than anything,' said Ms. Antonellis."

Yes. Because people worldwide would much rather have their movies in lousy quality, tiny screens, and segmented into ten minute clips. Moron. People will pay for convenience. Give it to them.

"'Missteps made today could have grave consequences for the future, particularly when it comes to consumers' willingness to pay for movies and television shows online'"

Consumers will always be willing to pay for content. Having paid for content, they want to be able to use it in whatever way comes to mind. I'm directly addressing Vongo and ITMS' films. Drop the DRM, and the population will *flock* to your services. As it stands, people are willing to pay, but not able - your services don't fill the consumers' need.

"'Mortimer[, my neice's goldfish,] took the leap to freedom,' she said. 'He said, 'I'm free, but I'm dead,' ' said Ms. Antonellis."

I don't know how this even counts as relevant enough to be in the article.

"Russia is particularly difficult to police because of the vast amount of money available to finance the making and sale of black market DVDs."

This brings me back to physical infringement, and applies to China too. Contact the damned bootleggers, offer a low-cost licensing scheme. Reap some of the investment the Russians and the Chinese are making. Hell, take them on as the local manufacturing arm for your company and dismantle your existing one, providing the professional copying tools you've got, and lower the prices to match the existing economy. Piracy exists in those countries because your price point is too damned high.

"We are hopeful that social networks such as YouTube will put in place proper systems which will reflect our intellectual property and will facilitate legal offerings."

Translation: We hope they get sued out of existence so that we can force our own internet video service down the consumers' throat, or sued into submission so that they become lapdogs of our Industry.

"[Ms Antonellis] has won two Emmy Awards for her technical prowess."

Yes. An award for her specialized technical knowledge qualifies her to handle the PR for tech that's completely out of her field.

"'We share here a belief and understanding in new technology and that consumers want to experience our movies and television shows differently,' Mr. Cookson said. 'Darcy really understands the whole equation.'"

Then she wouldn't have assumed that even if people are getting something for free now, they wouldn't want to pay for it later were it more convenient. 'Understanding' the whole equation involves understanding human nature more than anything else.

"'We were criticized for not being aggressive enough [in our online sales approach],' she said. 'At the same time, we can't be faulted for being radical in our approach.'"

Yes. Yes you can. Your compatriot in the industry suing YouTube is pretty damned radical. Suing DVD Jon was fucking radical. I'm sorry, but as long as you allow yourself to be associated with the MPAA, any member company's actions are your actions, and being a huge entity in that respect, you each have a good amount of bullshit to answer for.

"'If we don't encompass the last piece in our thinking -- how consumers want to use content -- then we are going to miss it,' said Miss Antonellis."

It's good that she understands this, but with this bird, I worry about the danger of having a little knowledge. She may go on to think that something like 'interoperable' DRM is a Good Thing (tm).

"'Just think how consumer behavior has evolved in the last two years.'"

And how much more it will evolve in the next two. This is the best argument against DRM. DRM offerings take a remarkable amount of time to develop and deploy, and can't possibly keep up with the consumer demand for media interoperability. Dodge the question, go for unencumbered files, and you'll be surprised at how well your company thrives.

Free beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18574529)

Free beer is the best tasting beer, but illegal beer is a bitter draught.

The movie studios have been here before; before I was born, in fact. When TV first happened. It was FREE! Nobody paid a dime to watch TV; paying to watch television wasn't to happen for decades. When I was a young man, if you would have told me or anyone alive that you would PAY to watch TV you would heve been considered as crazy as if you had suggested that some day you would carry a telephone in your pocket.

TV was still an infant when I was young; but it was an infant for a long time [wikipedia.org] . "The first regular electronic television broadcasts began in Germany in 1935, using first an electronic system with 180 lines, followed in 1937 with an improved system with 441 lines." But when I was a small child in St Louis in the '50s, a rather large city, there were only two stations there.

But Hollywood was still terrified. It was FREE! By 1970 there were half a dozen stations in St Louis, all broadcasting feature length movies in "living color". FOR FREE!!!!

But Hollywood survived this "free content". It survived the VHS tape it feared even more, and as with TV it not only survived, but thrived with greater profits than it ever had.

In short, the movie industry is filled with short sighted, dimwitted cowards. YouTube and its ilk will greatly profit the movie industry, just as every other new tech it has cowered before has.

I have two words for the fools in Hollywood: Bottled water.

-mcgrew (sm62704)

Whose benefit is the Internet for, anyway? (2, Insightful)

kfogel (1041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18575343)

These exchanges always go the same way: someone in the industry (an executive, a production person, an artist) says "Without these high royalty rates, I couldn't make the living I make today!" This is true, but utterly beside the point. The question is, would art and music and writing still be produced if we abandoned the centralized, monopolistic distribution mechanism that DRM and modern copyright law currently enforce? The answer is obviously "yes". And artists would still make a living, just as they always have (since copyright royalties play no significant part in the economic lives of most artists anyway, with the exception of a few stars). Giant publishing conglomerates would make a lot less money from royalties, but that's not society's problem. After all it is not the job of government to enable one particular business model at the expense of other business models.

Spread the word: http://www.questioncopyright.org/ [questioncopyright.org]
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