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The MPAA and EFF Cross Sabers 401

Posted by Zonk
from the no-poking-eyes-out-now dept.
wigwamus writes "Motion Picture Association President Dan Glickman and Electronic Freedom Foundation co-founder Johh Perry Barlow lock horns, then knock lumps off each other over the movie business' attitude to the Internet. From the article: 'These are aging industries run by aging men, and they're up against 17-year-olds who have turned themselves into electronic Hezbollah because they resent the content industry for its proprietary practices.'"
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The MPAA and EFF Cross Sabers

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  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:23PM (#15503613)
    The bottom line is that if I can see it or I can hear it, I can find a way to copy it. If you make it too difficult to watch a movie or listen to a music, people won't buy it. They'll eventually figure out that they have more to gain by making things easy to use rather than creating ill will and incompatibiity by trying to stamp out casual copying.

    • by joe 155 (937621) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:27PM (#15503657) Journal
      that's a good point; although I'm going to pull you up on the "If you make it too difficult to watch a movie or listen to a music, people won't buy it." bit... It is already far too hard just to play DVDs that you own; you have to jump through hoops like watching "you shouldn't copy this" etc. and then on Fedora because of the copy protection it won't play strait off (you need an update from livna). And the copy protection means that I can't use my RIGHT to hold a copy of the material I have bought... which meant that when I lost one of my Futurama DVDs all I could do legally is buy another... they don't deserve to have any customers.
      • by Ironsides (739422) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:35PM (#15503722) Homepage Journal
        which meant that when I lost one of my Futurama DVDs all I could do legally is buy another

        I'd double check that if I were you. A few of the DVD manufacturers (Fox included, I believe), have a system set up so that if a disk fails, you can replace it for something like $5-$7. Basically, the cost of the media, processing and shiping.

        • by kesuki (321456) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:16PM (#15504104) Journal
          Just because you can use software to illegally copy music doesn't mean you're stealing from the industry. As I recall, the record industry has been doing pretty good with all the popularity of american idol. The record labels would be a lot better off in the long run if they moved ahead with the times.

          Right now I'm sitting on slashdot playing games all day, but you know what, i joined the columbia house record club many years back when i first learned you can rip CDs to mp3s I only had a 486 and i So knew 'this is the greatest thing everyone will love it! You don't have to steal from anyone just because you're using p2p software or cd ripping programs. I LOVE sourceforge because they have so many wonder applications like cdex.

          I really beleive the aging dinosaurs who don't learn how to play fair (sony, that means YOU) will get swollowed up by the forward thinking execs, like the owner of virgin atlantic richard branson who HAS got it right, and is trying his best to make a change. Sure he still profits heavily off musicians, and that makes me angry a lot, but at least he's trying to keep up with the times by finding new ways to draw artists and audience.
      • by sorak (246725) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:31PM (#15504206)
        that's a good point; although I'm going to pull you up on the "If you make it too difficult to watch a movie or listen to a music, people won't buy it." bit... It is already far too hard just to play DVDs that you own; you have to jump through hoops like watching "you shouldn't copy this" etc. and then on Fedora because of the copy protection it won't play strait off (you need an update from livna). And the copy protection means that I can't use my RIGHT to hold a copy of the material I have bought... which meant that when I lost one of my Futurama DVDs all I could do legally is buy another... they don't deserve to have any customers.

        Unfortunately, most people use standard DVD players, or their playstation 2, if they have one, and will never know or care about the pains of trying to play DVDs on a Fedora install. As for the FBI (or interpol) warning, well, originally, a selling point of DVDs was that you could skip past the previews and go straight to the movie. Now that VCRs are going extinct, the movie industry is designing DVDs that make you watch the previews anyway, and people are still sitting through it, to get to the movie. The point is that if they are willing to sit through five minutes of previews, then the FBI warning is no obstacle for them.

        The only thing they really care about is that they can't make backup copies of their stuff. Most people however, are more cynical than idealistic, and so they just assume that because most people do not make backup copies of their cds and dvds, and because most of the people who do copy them, give copies away, that it is fair for the industry to do whatever they can to protect their content. Point is, the grassroots resentment toward the MPAA/RIAA isn't getting any better, and most people will jump through whatever hoops they're given.

        I'm also wondering how long it will be before the RIAA comes up with a new media distribution format (a sort of super-audio-CD) that does something for the customer (maybe raises the sampling rate from 44k to 48k), and also uses a CSS-style encryption. Such a system would be cracked in no time, but the purpose of it would be to make mp3 rippers and unlicensed players illegal (through the DMCA ban on decryption software). Of course, they could then license the rights to microsoft and a few other companies to create software (some of it would come with WMP) that could rip the music into a heavily DRMed format, so that end-users would get just enough freedom to make them use the format. The funny thing is that Microsoft would warn people that they no longer support mp3 ripping of this new media because it is "insecure", and people would eventually stop using mp3 because they perceive it as an outdated technology.

        • I'm also wondering how long it will be before the RIAA comes up with a new media distribution format (a sort of super-audio-CD) that does something for the customer (maybe raises the sampling rate from 44k to 48k), and also uses a CSS-style encryption.

          You mean like DVD-Audio [wikipedia.org]? Last time I checked, it wasn't truly cracked. There's a software hack to use WinDVD to rip the audio, but those with alternative platforms are SOL until the copy protection is truly defeated.

          And this wasn't done quickly, either.

    • by GoatMonkey2112 (875417) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:37PM (#15503735)
      Eventually people who are not computer geeks posting on /. will realize that DRM is a pain in the ass. It could even be the downfall of Blue ray and HD-DVD. Eventually there will be a music/media player that is cooler than the iPod and people will realize why DRM sucks. All of the time spent in courts will eventually be a waste on both sides of the issue. Just wait and things will work themselves out naturally.
    • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:07PM (#15504503) Homepage
      sooner or later the industry will give in...

      I doubt that. The real battle is that the RIAA/MPAA style companies are in are to preserve themselves. What they are really afraid of, but you never hear them say so, is the destruction of their business model.

      These companies pretend to exist under the banner of "protecting" the artists and IP. In truth, they often take the IP away from the artists themselves, and take by far the lion's share of the profits. Nothing really wrong with that as it is just a standard business practice.

      However, with the advent of P2P technologies and the like, distribution is becoming decentralized, which is what the MPAA/RIAA specialize in. Their position as those who control the distribution of media is threatened, and that is their entire business model. If artists sell music directly to the public via P2P or similar technologies, the industries will have no revenue stream, and they will go out of business. The artists will get more revenue, and the distribution companies will get little to none.

      In the long run, artists will have more control over their work, and become wealthier for it. A free market for media is arising, and this is just what the distribution companies don't want. So, the "pirating" is giving rise to more of a free market system, and this could destroy the RIAA/MPAA.

      If they really wanted to help artists as they claim, they would roll out a distribution system based on P2P, and hand all the control to the artists of this system, and merely monitor the P2P network to keep it working. That of course, would reduce their profits, and make the artists more wealthy, and they cant cut their own revenue stream now can they?

      So, instead, the market acts around them, and this system will arise all on it's own, and destroy them just the same. It is just a matter of time.
  • by Surt (22457) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:23PM (#15503614) Homepage Journal
    No longer will copiers of electronic media be referred to as 'pirates'. They are now to be escalated to terrorists. That way, the MPAA & RIAA can get federal anti terrorism money to help in their fight against these evil people.
    • Aw geez. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:34PM (#15503713) Homepage
      No longer will copiers of electronic media be referred to as 'pirates'. They are now to be escalated to terrorists.
      For those that didn't RTFA, the comparison to terrorists didn't come from the MPAA guy.
      JPB: These are aging industries run by aging men, and they're up against 17-year-olds who have turned themselves into electronic Hezbollah because they resent the content industry for its proprietary practices. And I don't have a question about who's going to win that one eventually.

      I'm generally a Barlow fan, but that's some of the most poorestly chosen words in the history of language. Just what the MPAA, RIAA, et al. and their paid governement servants need, a little more help getting the little guy who just wants a backup copy of a movie sent to Gitmo.

      • I'm generally a Barlow fan, but that's some of the most poorestly chosen words in the history of language.

        I don't think they're "poorestly chosen" at all -- Barlow views it as a flattering bit of analogy and it never occurred to him that anyone else wouldn't.

        • Re:Aw geez. (Score:5, Funny)

          by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:49PM (#15503845) Homepage
          Barlow views it as a flattering bit of analogy and it never occurred to him that anyone else wouldn't.

          Then perhaps it is time for him to stop speaking publicly.

          It's as flattering an analogy as saying a DVD is like a child, and someone who wants to play that DVD on a computer running linux is like a pedophile who wants to have sex with that child.

          • Re:Aw geez. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mcmonkey (96054) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:31PM (#15504202) Homepage
            I wasn't trying to be funny.

            Currently in the US of A, being a terrorist means you have no rights. You can be a US citizen, arrested on US soil, for alleged acts committed in the US, and have none of the ordinary rights 'guaranteed' to someone in that situation.

            You can be put in civilian prison, or a military prison, or sent to Gitmo, or sent overseas. You have no rights. You don't get a lawyer; you don't get a phone call. You don't even get a trial. You can be held for YEARS without the government even admitting you are being held.

            You can be tortured. No interrogation technique is off limits.

            You won't get to question witnesses or review the evidence against you. If you do happen to get a trial or hearing, the government can submit 'classified' evidence you won't know about. And the judges will assume all government evidence is true until you can prove otherwise. (How do you prove something you don't even know about is untrue? Well, that's your problem.)

            And if that's how the US treats its own citizens--registered voters even!--think what we might do to the rest of the world.

            So, if you've ever downloaded a movie or CD in a situation of any questionable legality, or used any kind of hack or work-around to perform any sort of replication of a DVD or CD, attempted to play a DVD on linux, even if you think your actions were covered under fair use, Barlow just said all the above should apply to you.

            I'm not laughing.
      • Re:Aw geez. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by deacon (40533)
        "Poorly chosen" would be an understatement. Is Barlow trying to say that piracy is as bad as wanting to kill all the Jews, or is he saying that piracy and Hezbolla are both driven by idealism: one want free movies, and the other wants to kill all the Jews, and neither is that bad?

        I am going to guess choice two, assuming the man has any working synapes left.

    • by GPLDAN (732269) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:35PM (#15503714)
      I'm curious why you've been modded as funny, since what you said isn't funny - it's true. Media pirates are being profiled in police documentation as people who are likely to be involved in hacking, stolen credit card rings and other scams. In fact, there is a whitepaper floating around that talks about tracking the upper echelon of hacking rings through their achilles heel - their propensity for aggregating large collections of stolen media. If you think the guys in Sweden who run the Pirate Bay are only involved in running a BT tracker for file sharing, you're incredibly naive. Raid those guys and you'd likely to find lots of other ancillary illegal activity, and running a pirate ring is just the probable cause you need to get a waarant.
    • Terrorists can't gain military strategic advantage, so they attempt to gain advantage by exploiting media hype.

      The media has an incentive to hype things, because it gets paid by the "number of eyeballs" value rather than by the service value of the news.

      However the media would have no incentive to focus their resources toward grabbing eyeballs if competitors could copy their productions, because their effort would result in more up front costs without a competitive benefit.

      Therefore if copyrights were scrap
    • No longer will copiers of electronic media be referred to as 'pirates'. They are now to be escalated to terrorists. That way, the MPAA & RIAA can get federal anti terrorism money to help in their fight against these evil people.

      George W. Bush held a speech regarding the progress of negotiations with little Suzy, a 12-year old girl which continues it's malicious practise of enriching her hard drive with music downloaded from P2P.

      George W. Bush said "we really want to do this by peaceful means, but I'm af
    • Disney has announced the renaming of its well-known theme park ride: Terrorists of the Carribean.
  • Hear the audio (Score:5, Informative)

    by wigwamus (977411) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:24PM (#15503619)
    You can hear extended audio of Glickman v Barlow on the Newsnight 9th June podcast, 20 minutes and 20 seconds in. Download from http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/ viewPodcast?id=136697142 [apple.com]
  • by haluness (219661) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:24PM (#15503627)
    I think Glickmans comparison of music to clothes and cars is where his argument fails.

    Copying a song does not deprive anybody of the item - only the entity that controls how money is made from the transaction
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:36PM (#15503727)
      It is ridiculous to believe that you can give product away for free and be more successful. I mean it defies the laws of nature. Would a clothing store give all their clothes for free? Would a car dealership give all its cars for free? Of course not. If they don't make a profit in this world they're out of business. That's just the laws of human nature.


      I think Glickman makes a really good point here. I'll roll with the obligatory car analogy since everyones already familiar with the laws of 'human nature' as applied to cars. Suppose you left your Subaru parked outside your house on a public street.. Now suppose i had a replicator machine which could replicate any solid object and I came along in the night and replicated your Subaru and then got into the new Subaru and drove off into the night. The next day you might get into your car, and start driving along. But all the bonds between the atoms would have worked loose as a result of the replication, and also Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle. Your car would just evaporate into a pile of chrome dust on the highway. You would be screwed.

      I know this analogy doesn't apply to digital media, but it might.
    • by gfxguy (98788) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:01PM (#15503951)
      Yes, I've always hated that argument... it's still ip theft, but it's not as bad as theft of physical media. Which is why I hate those PSAs in theaters now, the "You wouldn't shoplift a DVD..." ones.

      And I recall Princess Leia saying "the more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers."

      The gaming industry is a case in point. But they used to have both on and off disk copy protection schemes... the worse they got, the more people cracked them, because the cracked copies were easier and more fun to play without the game stopping to ask for word X in paragraph Y on page Z of the manual. Once they created the incentive to crack the game, they created the incentive to sell/distribute the cracked game.

      The first thing I did after legally buying games was look up the crack on the internet.

      These scemes are gone now, those are and will continue to be known as the dark ages of video gaming.

      Now there are much better schemes in place. A lot of companies will replace media for a nominal fee. And they may make the media difficult to copy, but that difficulty doesn't affect gameplay or interoperability - because you don't expect an XBox game disc to work on a PS2. Some gaming companies are going online, even if you don't play online (like Steam.. no lost discs, there). It's not perfect, but it's a whole lot better than it was.

      But the movie and recording industries are different... we're paying for content and we want to listen to it on whichever device catches our fancy. These are the dark ages of the **IA. They are making less money BECAUSE they insist on these copy protection schemes, not despite them. I wouldn't even buy a DVD player unless I knew it filtered macrovision and disabled region codes (yes, I had to pay extra for my last one, but it was worth it).

      How many people have been trapped buying Apple ACCs only to discover they couldn't play them on their MP3 player? Yes, I know there's work-arounds, but that's the point - they are making it difficult to use the content you've LEGALLY purchased! Do they not understand that's a DISincentive to buyers?

      Think of the irony... I bought a DVD player with region coding disabled and a macrovision filter (that works wonderfully, by the way). Now, I paid extra for this "functionality" that was present in the original unit until the manufacturer paid EXTRA (both in licensing and hardware fees) to remove that functionality!!! And who pays for those technical additions? WE DO! We pay, and are continuing to pay, for having functionality REMOVED from our products.

      Where's the incentive for someone to pay $20 for a crippled, macrovision encoded, region locked DVD, when they can buy the illegal version for half the price and use it anywhere?

      Of course there's morals involved... I don't have mp3s of anything I didn't pay for. I don't have any content on DVD that I didn't pay for, and it's against my nature to do so.

      But I will send this message to the **ia's, I'd have purchased a lot more if you didn't make it so difficult.

      I could rant about this for a long time, but I know I'm preaching to the choir. I've NEVER seen a valid reason for someone to buy an illegal copy of anything, or illegally copy someone elses material. But owning an illegal copy of something you own legally certainly shouldn't be a crime, IMO.

      In other words, I think the industry should concentrate on making it beneficial to buy legal copies of material, they should spend less time and money on schemes that make it difficult to use legally purchased material and lawyers. Some company might lose 50 million dollars (yes, I know they claim billions as an industry as a whole), but how much did they spend on lawyers and licensing technological prevention schemes?

      And who pays for all of this, ultimately?
    • I've had real music really stolen from me. Thieves broke in and stole 1/3 of my CD collection. I didn't own the copyrights, but I did own the disks. (way before copying CD's was cost effective.)

      As far as I'm concerned, those disks are gone. Some were rare and out of print. I really would have much appriciated it if those thieves had just copied the disks and left me with the originals.

      Copyright infringment is *not* stealing.
  • Excuse me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeys!!! (831558) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:25PM (#15503640) Homepage
    As someone who recently was a 17 year old "electronic Hezbollah", I can say ideology had nothing to do with my choice to download and share movies. I did it, and still do, because it's easy and costs basically nothing. Sure I don't like the MPAA but I would still torrent if they didn't exist.
    • Re:Excuse me (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      If we did not have strong rights orginizations there would be no incentive for the media companies to finance the high quality entertainment programming you now enjoy stealing in the first place.

      Your Barney downloads would not even exist.

      Oh. . .wait. . .

      KFG
    • Re:Excuse me (Score:5, Interesting)

      by oneiron (716313) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:25PM (#15504161)
      As someone who recently was a 17 year old "electronic Hezbollah", I can say ideology had nothing to do with my choice to download and share movies. I did it, and still do, because it's easy and costs basically nothing. Sure I don't like the MPAA but I would still torrent if they didn't exist.
      Visit any piracy-centric message board, and you'll find countless arguements about the ideologies that justify sharing copyrighted content. You'll even find it here on slashdot most any time there's a story like this one. You may not be doing it for those reasons, but many others have convinced themselves that they are...and are quite vocal about it. Look at the collection of legal threats sometimes flaunted on the front page of piratebay, for crying out loud... It's just human nature that we tend to dig for excuses to justify our actions so we can avoid the feelings of guilt typically associated with them...
      • Re:Excuse me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledouxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:05PM (#15504491) Homepage
        It's just human nature that we tend to dig for excuses to justify our actions so we can avoid the feelings of guilt typically associated with them...

        Just play devil's advocate here, but how is this different then riding at the front of the bus? Both are done endangering one self, both result in personal gain, both are done through ideologies of corrupt or broken systems, both are (were) equally illegal, and both have their martyrs and their advocates. Just as riding at the front of the bus "disserviced" the people who "rightfully owned" that location, downloading a song "disservices" the artist which "rightfully owns" all uses of that IP. Both situations masked the truth that it was the corrupt system that was screwing people over, not the people being disserviced, nor the people who were disservicing them.

        It's easy to point at someone who is stealing something and simply say "cry more n00b". Easy to tell them that they don't have a right to those ideals. But you are in fact wrong. They do have a right to those ideals, and to "fight" the perceived corruption through peaceable disobedience, whether or not that disobedience results in personal gain. They then also have the right to pay for their actions and be held responsible for a disruption of public law. It's the way it's worked for over 200 years in this country, and it's worked well at destroying corrupt systems and granting inherent rights.

        If there is indeed an inherent right to do what you want with things you own, then the "pirates" will win. It's the way our society is made right now, and they will do so no matter what names you call them or whether or not you think they are petty thugs committing crimes.
      • Re:Excuse me (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @03:24PM (#15504656) Homepage Journal
        And yet, the single most important argument has nothing to do with the "pirates" who "steal", "share" or whatever you want to call it.

        That argument is this: if there's so much of a sea change that an entire generation is willing to ignore the law in order to do someting, then there is a vast and untapped market to be won by someone who is able to puzzle out how.

        We said this for years while Sony introduce MiniDisc and various other crippled electronic devices. As MP3 players started to hedge toward the mainstream, Apple saw the opening and dove for it. Now they're more popular than beer.

        If the movie and record industries would get their collective heads out of their asses and think about this problem as a demonstration of a vast reservior of market potential, they could, I am sure, create a new golden age of entertainment profits.

        How?

        I'm not sure. There are literally dozens of ways, and I'm probably not in the right place to figure out which is best.
        • Serialized movies that are released, freely downloadable to the net, as soon as the next installment is released in theaters, with "collecteds" being released semi-anually on DVD along with various extras (modeled on the comics industry that long ago realized that kids sharing comics was helping, not hurting)
        • Movies that are created collaboratively, and then released under a free license. This plays off of the one major advantage left to them: control over distribution.
        • Movies that are first released in a low-res, WiP format to the Net, and then re-released in finished form to theaters ONLY if they do well online (movies guaranteed not to completely suck... what an idea)
        • Movies where ALL of the footage and all of the models for CG and all of the drawings, music, etc. are released for download via a peer-to-peer system such as torrent, and the best edit is released in theaters and on DVD
        In other words, make movies a service with real value-add. Use the marketing and distribution channels to full advantage while harnessing the file-sharers as viral marketing. MAKE LEMONADE!

        However, IMHO, this will never happen. Movies will continue to be made the way they are made now. It will take a new industry (one which has been growing steadily since the 1970s) to take advantage of this. I'm seeing the indie community on the east coast start to figure this out. The studios have tried to take over the indie film community, but every time they almost do, it changes and slips out of their hands. Eventually, someone's going to change the rules, and the studios will simple cease to be relevant.
  • Great analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:27PM (#15503654)
    These are aging industries run by aging men, and they're up against 17-year-olds who have turned themselves into electronic Hezbollah because they resent the content industry for its proprietary practices.

    Dear EFF: It's probably not such a good idea to align yourself with terrorist groups. Remember:

    "But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
    You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow"
    • When the EFF selects as a spokesman the former lyricist for the Grateful Dead, you can just sort of expect the colorful, counter-culture (or is that counter-productive?) over-the-top stick-it-to-the-man metaphors and accusations to fly. The result is hardly what I would call "crossing sabres;" more like crossing Ohio State Daisys with National Guardsman sharpshooters.

      And that always works out well, doesn't it?

      But the folks to whom the EFF is pitching -- the college kids and twenty-somethings who are donati
    • by one-eye-johnson (911152) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:12PM (#15504062)
      "But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow"
      Ahem-- I doubt you paid the royalties to use those copyrighted lyrics. You terrorist.
  • I'm pretty sure that comparing teenagers to Lebanese 'terrorists' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah [wikipedia.org]) isn't going to help win the hearts of the unwashed masses.

    /tongue in cheek
    • I agree with you partly... I think what they were trying to say is that these people are frustrated and feel like they are doing something as a matter of it being "right" in a moral sense... don't get me wrong I think that they could have used a far better example, maybe something like the stylised pirates of old... you know; people who aren't associated with murder
      (I know pirates did that - and still do - but the image now is closer to pirates of the carribean)
  • by cez (539085)
    "John Perry Barlow is the one who's doing a disservice to the consumers, because you see if you don't adequately compensate the artist, the director, the creator, the actor, they won't do it in the first place so people won't get movies."

    This kind of "play by my rules or I'm taking my ball and going home" attitude is disgusting. When will these suits realize that technology is change by its very essence and refusal to accept change breads discontent. There totalitarianistic utopia has ended but they refu

    • by kfg (145172)
      Do they realy believe a threat of "noones gonna make movies anymore if they can only become millionaires instead of multi-millionaires" is gonna work?

      The other night I paid three bucks to perform a song.

      I wrote the song for free because I had an itch to scratch (a very lovely itch, I might ad).

      The itch writes songs, records them and sells them as an independant. God bless CD Baby.

      The idea that art will curl up and die without without strong IP rights is ludicrous. Art was invented by people with no such ri
  • You would think the BBC would get the names right. It's actually the Electronic Frontier Foundation. [eff.org]
  • Ar ye pirates.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by packetmon (977047) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:32PM (#15503693) Homepage
    The hackers want to break Hollywood on the wheel of their collective ingenuity and show the suits who is in charge. ... Big media wants to make money from the internet like it does with every other outlet, or at the very least not have piracy forever draining away their profits.

    Isn't it ironic that hollywood is seeing some of their biggest profits in ages, and as time elapses they continue to make more and more money. I know that they do lose money due to piracy, but most of that piracy comes from organized groups with huge copying and distribution capabilities. For those in NYC, how often have you seen "bootleggers" in front if the federal building, state office buildings even near police precints selling pirated copies. Why doesn't hollywood focus on finding the sources of these centers and shutting them down. If the government under hollywoods complaints can go and bother 17 year olds, how difficult would it be for the same government to find out who is buying multirecording DVD burners on a large scale. Let's get real.
    • Exactly. This isn't a fight against piracy, this is just another battle in the very long fight big business has been waging to ensure permanent revenue streams, whether they release product or not.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Why doesn't hollywood focus on finding the sources of these centers and shutting them down.

      Very simple. It's the same reason that the police harass ravers instead of the local hells angels rally.

      These people will shoot back and fight back.. Grandma and some college kid will roll over and say "ow dont hurt me! I'm sorry" these organized piracy rings will turn around and kill the cops that raid their shop, kill the families of the cops and then kill the Exec that sent the cops after them.

      Why take on a hard
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:33PM (#15503698) Homepage
    These are aging industries run by aging men

    True. Two of the members of the '60s band "The Grateful Dead" are already dead.

    He's an old hippie, and he don't know what to do. Should he hang on to the old? Should he grab on to the new?

    • Two of the members of the '60s band "The Grateful Dead" are already dead.

      Two members current at time of death (or 3. Had Pigpen left the group?) And 2 (3?) previous members. Either way, the total is 5, fyi.

    • True. Two of the members of the '60s band "The Grateful Dead" are already dead.

      Two? Hell, they've had four keyboard players die.

  • by w33t (978574) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:33PM (#15503704) Homepage
    The real thing the 'AAs have lost is the power of distribution.

    20 years ago if you wanted a movie you had to hop in the car. Even for home viewing of a VHS you had to go to the video store.

    The MPAA and RIAA need to face the fact that the internet is essentially a broadcast/time-shifted medium which casts to a broader audience than ever. And how do broadcaster's make their money? Advertising.

    This may or may not be a popular notion - but it is my opinion that the best way to support movies and music in the future is via product endorsement. Yes, that's right. You might see wayne's world-esqe [google.com] product placement rise - but isn't everyday life just product placement anyhow? look around you and count the consumer items that have no labeling on them. Our movies and music should follow suit and become freely distributable.

    They cannot hold back the tide forever - I think it is inevitable.
    • by skiflyer (716312) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:45PM (#15503804)
      The alternative is convenience.

      Take a look at allofmp3.com... do people flock to it because of its questionable legality? No, they flock to it because they get the music the want easily, quickly, and in good quality with no DRM and lots of options. And people flock to iTunes for similar reasons.

      Yes, there are 17 year old pirates who want to steal for the sake of stealing, but once they get jobs & make some real money their time becomes valuable, and they buy your product IF you offer it for a fair price.

      I'd gladly spend $3 to download a one time rental movie that I can watch on my TV, or $.50 to buy a non-drmd losslessly compressed song (actually if it's lossless I'll even accept reasonable DRM... if it's already compressed, no way tho) if you can provide me the guarantee of quality & a convenient shopping experience & a promise that I'm not downloading some virus from whatever today's napster is... those features are a service that people will pay for, the problem is finding the price points people will accept. iTunes really seems to have done this, which dissapoints the piss outa me, cause it's way over what I think is fair.
  • I suspect it'll look (and sound!) something like this [youtube.com].
  • deaf ears (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache (459504) * on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:35PM (#15503717) Homepage Journal
    John Perry Barlow: We were at one point the biggest grossing performing act in the United States, and most of our records went platinum sooner or later.
    It's an economic model that has worked in my experience and I think it does work. It's just that it seems like it wouldn't. It seems counter-intuitive.

    Dan Glickman: It is ridiculous to believe that you can give product away for free and be more successful. I mean it defies the laws of nature.


    "Look, this works. I have proof."
    "I refuse to believe it can work."

    If they can't listen to reason, we'll have to wait for them to die, it seems.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      "Look, this works. I have proof."
      "I refuse to believe it can work."

      Or put another way... "I'll see it when I believe it."

      If they can't listen to reason, we'll have to wait for them to die, it seems.

      Who said anything about waiting? Perhaps we can facilitate their demise, as it were. [NOTE to NSA -- that's a joke, son!]

    • The Grateful Dead encouraged sharing of fan recordings, etc. So you would tape a concert or a mix and share dubs of that tape. Which didn't sound that hot compared to a LP. Most people went out and bought the LP for 2 reasons: ( (1) more convenient (2) sounds better )

      Zoom ahead how many years? Now we have the internet and you can get the album quicker than running to the store (kill reason #1) and if you encode it right the quality is the same or at least undiscernable to the untrained ear (kill reason #2
      • by Infoport (935541) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:03PM (#15503967)

        A few things that should be noted: the Grateful Dead do NOT give away ALL of their "product". But, giving away some of their products gives THEM much exposure and helps others see that what they have to offer shows skill and has variation each and every time. From this they are able to build greater customer base and support and from that sell more of their other products.

        For instance,

        1. you still usually have to pay to see a concert. RESULT: they were the top grossing band in 1990 with almost DOUBLE the 2nd place grosser (I'm sure they did ok in other years too)
        2. You are not allowed to copy and sell COMMERCIAL releases, but are allowed to copy and give away concert recordings. RESULT: happy fans police themselves and each other, and stop any illegal sales through community pressure and free concert tapes.
        3. They sell t-shirts, bears, stickers, coffee cups, license plates, etc, and protect their logos.
        4. they also speak up on issues and are listened to, etc because fans like how they act
        5. etc etc

        With unhappy people, they may copy and distribute product out of SPITE, but with happy loving fans they only do what allowed out of happiness with group, and help police themselves out of happiness too. THIS is what the Grateful Dead have achieved (now some may find a few fans distributing stuff they shouldn't but it is the small minority)

        To address the quality point, the Dead allow people to bring in equipment and mike stands, usually up to 6ft or 12ft. People spend thousands on equipment. Files are made using LOSSLESS formats (not mp3), and some copies are even distributed with 5.1 sound-- these are NOT low quality copies!!!



        InfoPort
      • by Surt (22457)
        Step 1: Flood mp3 market with crappy quality tunes recorded at concerts, so that no one can find your good quality material on the internet.
        Step 2: Sell your cds in massive numbers to anyone who wants a better quality recording.
        Step 3: Profit!

        Wait ... I think step 2 was supposed to be ???, but this plan seems pretty clear cut to me.
  • by Trails (629752) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:35PM (#15503718)
    The reason why the movie industry is getting clobered, and the music industry got clobered: they didn't offer legal alternatives to the service.

    To say it's a battle between free and paid is oversimplifying: iPod + iTunes is wildly succesful. It's paid, but it leverages the ease of the internet to get legally downloaded music.

    If these industries had tried to embrace the new tech instead of surpressing it, most would go to them, and the black market would be a fringe issue.

    For movies, the choice right now is either online and illegal/unpaid, or offline and legal.

    A lot of people are choosing online, not illegal.

    Example: if they offered movies for download, or online streaming movies and paid subscription, and the price wasn't retarded, a LOT of people would ditch piratebay et al.

    My $0.02
    • Example: if they offered movies for download, or online streaming movies and paid subscription, and the price wasn't retarded, a LOT of people would ditch piratebay et al.

      I disagree. Maybe at the inception of the concept of online movies, this would have worked. Now, while you may regain some market share from the "pirates", the cat is already out of the bag on this one. Keeping it there would have been easy by providing a legal, affordable alternative. Now that it's out, offering paid movie streams

  • Hezbollah?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:37PM (#15503739) Homepage
    Oh, great way to give propaganda to the enemy. Fucking dimwit. Why not just compare the Apache group to Al Qaeda because they're an umbrella group for "renegade" software developers like Al Qaeda is a terrorist umbrella group. In this day and age of terrorism being the new "think of the children!!!!" rallying cry for every attack on freedom, why choose the one comparison that gives a talking point to the forces who want to end freedom in their area?
    • Actually, I'm just waiting for that idea to gain a certain amount of currency, because it will not fly for the public, and will make futher asses of those expounding it:

      "Teenagers downloading movies are committing terrorism!"

  • by Churla (936633) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:37PM (#15503744)
    The EFF is painting a picture of people who are pirating for teh sake of pirating becauase they feel it's the right thing to do. None of the people I know who actively copy movies and songs have every mentioned once screwing any institution. For them it's "I can watch this new movie at home, on my big screen TV, with my popcorn and drink and not fork over $25 for my wife and I to go to a theater and probably have a better experience" or "This let's me have tons of music I wouldn't go buy just so I can listen to it and see if I like it" and things like that. There's no magical army of "copyfighters" out there. Just people who want free media.

    The MPAA and RIAA and various other organizations have it wrong in thinking that they will out-litigate these people because simply put, these people know what they're doing is illegal and choose to do it anyway.

    I do agree with the concept that they need to make it possible for people to buy media in a conducive manner without an undo cost and they will make money. ITMS and several others are proving it's possible.

    The MPAA can go ask the software industry exactly how profitable "stamping our piracy" has been for em. Or they can ask them how much inexpensive downloads have helped good software spread.
  • MORTAL KOMBAT! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorKagato (689705) * <sakamura@gmail.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:38PM (#15503755) Homepage Journal
    JPB: If I were to encounter Dan Glickman on the street and we were to have a civilised conversation about this subject, which would be a long shot, I'd tell him to relax.
    DK: First of all I'd tell John Perry Barlow that I'm very relaxed and if we met each other we'd probably have a very good time. But all of us kind of need to chill out.
    Someone PLEASE get these two in the same room to debate.

    You can tell Dan Glickman's age in his speech:

    DK: It is ridiculous to believe that you can give product away for free and be more successful. I mean it defies the laws of nature.
    • Microsoft: SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005
    • Washington Mutual: 2 dollars given out in $2 denominations(the $2 bill)
    • Gentleware: Poseidon(Community Edition)
    • Wal Mart / Sam's Club: Sampled foods from selected vendors
    • Arby's: Chicken Fingers(?)
    • Google
    It doesn't defy the law of nature, it's a useful technique called marketing!

    DK: Would a clothing store give all their clothes for free?
    Old man should see this [google.com]

    DK: Would a car dealership give all its cars for free?
    In a contest they would.
  • Sabers (Score:5, Funny)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOSPAM.optonline.net> on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:40PM (#15503767) Journal

    Glickman: You are powerful, as the Emperor expected. But you are not a Jedi yet.

    Barlow: You'll find I'm full of surprises!

    Clash of lightsabers, sparks

    Glickman: You don't know the power of the DRM Side! Join me!

    Barlow: Never! I'll never join you!

    Glickman: It is pointless to resist!

    • Re:Sabers (Score:3, Funny)

      by Umbral Blot (737704)
      Glickman: Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.
      Barlow: He told me enough, he told me you killed him.
      Glickman: I am your father! Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
      Barlow: Nooooooooo! That doesn't even make sense in the context of this analogy.
  • Interesting footnote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by saifrc (967681) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:42PM (#15503781)
    Did anyone else notice that the article references the Digg comments thread that's associated with this story? I find this extremely interesting -- almost a validation of Digg by BBC, a major media outlet; also, a major validation of the BBC, by a major user-driven web community.

    Of course, I found this story via Slashdot, so there's no reason for major media organizations to NOT be aware of/reference the methods of "Web 2.0" in their online articles.
  • by fuzzybunny (112938) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:44PM (#15503798) Homepage Journal
    Much as I support the EFF's efforts and goals, and sympathize with the gut-level worries of artists about "theft", this article does neither side any service.

    It's basically two guys taking nasty swipes at each other. I think that either BBC2 was actively and selectively trying to portray them like two implacable, mean-mouthed curmudgeons, or that JPB and the RIAA guy could both have been a bit more factual.

    One thing I really don't like is the characterization of "Electronic Hezbollah", although it's a catchy term; it's not like there's an organized, widespread movement to thieve and destroy. Rather, it's a combination of a groundswell sentiment against excessive prices and insulting, oppressive consumer-unfriendly practices, and a wish to have more convenient and accessible media (remind me again why iTunes was so successful) that doesn't hinder people from listening to their music / watching their movies anywhere or doing a bit of sharing with their friends.
  • ... soon enough, you'll be able to stick them in nursing homes & tell them they're not allowed to borrow the movies that the lady in the next room has.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOSPAM.beau.org> on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:49PM (#15503843)
    > they're up against 17-year-olds who have turned themselves into electronic Hezbollah

    To compare file traders to Hezbollah shows either a grotesque sense of proportion or a distorted sense of reality. Had it been the MPAA idiot making the comparision it would simply be the typical file traders == pirates == menace to society == torrorist rubbish we have grown to expect from those asshats. Dispicable but par for the course. But no, this quote was from the EFF, meaning they think the comparison is apt. Which either means they AGREE that trading files online is morally comparable to intentionally murdering women, children and other non-combatants or, more likely, they think terrorists, as long as they are politically correct anti-american/anti-semitic terrorists that is, are admirable people worthy of comparing oneself to.

    Yes, the original goals of the EFF were praiseworthy and I supported them. But 9/11 apparently did change everything. Lately the EFF seems to spend most of its time and effort supporting the terrorists and even when, like this event, they were back on topic they can't seem to avoid showing their true political calling. Harsh criticism? Yes. But there is a difference between criticism of the current administration, criticism of your country, and supporting the enemy, lending them aid and comfort. And for most of the left today, they are so far over that line they don't even see the line anymore. Anyone who can entertain the notion there is ANYTHING praiseworthy in Hezbollah is someone who is way over the line.
  • In Mexico, we have a word for obsolete groups ruled by grumpy old men.

    "Dinosaurs".

    Allow me to explain.

    It's part of common culture, the oldest political party (PRI) is run by 60-year-old (or older) men who belong to established groups (freemasons) and unions (CTM) ruled by them, with union leaders imposed by the government in turn. Political cartoons in mexico often use this image to depict the PRI, which had been in power for more than 70 years, and their government model is more than obsolete. It's *extint*. Hence the name, "dinosaurs". Here's a pair [nyud.net] of cartoons [nyud.net] drawn in 2000, before the elections where the opposing party (PAN) won for the first time in history. Note that in the first cartoon the dinosaur represents the party, and in the second, the worker union which gives its support to the party, threatening the voters.

    Knowing this, the term "dinosaur" is more than adequate to describe the RIAA and MPAA.
  • by aldheorte (162967) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:00PM (#15503947)
    I cringe whenever I hear file sharing termed as 'piracy' or, in this case, to the activities of a terrorist group ('Hezbollah'). Allowing this vocabulary to continue wins the argument for the entertainment industry on the power of semantics without any analysis of the facts.

    What the entertainment industry and ilk are against is sharing. It is only through their imposition of selfishness and self importance on the ability of others to share that they can make money. Unfortunately, this makes them net negative resources to society because in doing so, they compromise the free flow of information necessary to a technically and culturally advancing civilization. Imagine if they had been around when humans only had oral history as a way to pass information between people and generations. There would be no tape recorders, no CDs, and certainly no computers.

    Piracy is when someone actually takes something of value and realizes the value of it themselves. The Hong Kong outfits that take a movie, stamp it on a DVD, and then package and sell it as if were the original are pirates in this sense. It makes sense to have copyright laws preventing this type of activity. However, to use the parlance of the summary," 17 year old kids" are not "Hezbollah". They are not terrorists. They are not pirates. Pirates do not share. They are simply sharing information with each other (and us), which is a virtue we espouse to younger generations. The effort of the entertainment industry to criminalize their behavior is an affront to all of us who share thoughts, ideas, and anything else we choose to share without charge.
  • Typical MPAA crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:05PM (#15503994) Homepage Journal
    Dan Glickman: John Perry Barlow is the one who's doing a disservice to the consumers, because you see if you don't adequately compensate the artist, the director, the creator, the actor, they won't do it in the first place so people won't get movies.

    Patently untrue, as the renaissance of truly independant movies coming out today prove. It is based on the presumpition that money is the only motivation that moves people to create. That is hardly the case, and in generaly, artists who are motivated only by money make an inferior product.

    Living next door to Hollywood, I know a number of people in the industry, and all of them are motivated by various combinations of three things: money - yes, they do want to get paid to do it, so they can do it all the time, a desire for fame (which is far easier to meet online these days), and a need to create (which will never go way until the day they die). Mostly, they create because they don't know how to stop.

    What Hollywood needs to fear isn't pirates, who, from the evidence we've seen so far, actually increase industry revenues rather than decrease it. Rather, Hollywood should (and does) fear the interent as an independent (as in, beyond their corporate control, and outside their revenue stream) distribution channel. It is no longer necessary to sell your soul to a big studio for a distribution deal to deliver your movie to an audience. Between digital video (which Max Allen Collins called "the keys to the kingdom") and the internet, it is not possible to make a movie, and sell it commercially to people all over the world, and make a profit doing so for an investment smaller than the price of a new car.

    It is, I suppose, a happy coincidence for the movie industry that mandatory copy restrictions that depend on patents that require substantial cash outlay to use will just happen to continue to lock out indpendent industry outsiders from the market. I say "happy coincidence" because I see no reason to believe that the indstury tycoons are smart enough to have planned it that way on purpose.
  • by martinultima (832468) <martinultima@gmail.com> on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:08PM (#15504023) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you, but I really don't think that the whole automobilse-vs.-movies argument really works very well – the difference being that while an automobile is a physical product, a movie is simply a bunch of pictures which are interpreted by the mind as a single moving image and that have no one, fixed, physical form. And while neither one is strictly necessary to live – there are much more important things like food, water, and shelter – the automobile is at least much more useful than a bunch of guys walking around on stage.

    Having said that, I will admit that I do see one connection, though – automobiles depend on oil, which is another fairly unpopular industry which many feel is run by greedy old guys who only care about money. Not that this is necessarily true, of course, just figured I may as well point it out anyway.

    Either way, though, as far as the "good" side of the argument goes – nothing there, unless I missed something (and yes, I did RTFA).
  • Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by soft_guy (534437) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:17PM (#15504108)
    The computer industry has created a lot of jobs (not just Steve Jobs). The movie industry creates moral depravity.

    The movie industry claims we are forced to choose: either kill technology innovation or the movie industry won't survive. My proposed message to the movie industry: don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    I could care less if no more hollywood movies are ever made.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:24PM (#15504157) Journal
    The funny part is (at least to me) that this is not about an industry so much as it is about the *AA and associates trying to maintain a fully disfunctional (in light of current and future technologies) business model.

    The real deal in all this mess is that content creators "REALLY DON'T NEED THE *AA ANYMORE" since for not much more than a data center contract, any record label, including independents, can set up their own music distribution system over the Internet. The entire need for a music and movie distribution organization (i.e., the *AAs) no longer exists.

    US Telephone users are finally going to get to stop paying for the Spanish American war, but when will recording artists get to stop paying for 'breakage of vynl disks' on their contracts?

    Its not about DRM, its about stolen wealth, and the *AA is currently stealing it, blatantly stealing it. They counter claim that because they were unable to steal it from content buyers, it was stolen from them.... I'm calling BS.

    Now, the price of content is high because of the *AAs of the world, but if content providers could get out of the draconian contract they signed, and start providing content over the Internet at reasonable costs to users for the 'PURCHASE' of said content, most users would happily just purchase the content as its not worth the effort to most people to be illegal or even figure out the ins and outs of stealing it. Additionally, any kind of licensing setup that allowed fair use (backup copies, multiple players, etc.) would be accepted easily if the price was low enough (see iFanboi rhetoric for an example).

    Its pure "pot and kettle black and white" when it comes to the *AA claiming downloaders and file sharers are stealing from them.
    • by shark72 (702619)

      "The real deal in all this mess is that content creators "REALLY DON'T NEED THE *AA ANYMORE" since for not much more than a data center contract, any record label, including independents, can set up their own music distribution system over the Internet."

      Indeed. Magnatune [magnatune.com] is a great example. They've stated that their top artists can make hundreds of dollars a year. The catch is, of course, that to have your work published by Magnatune, you need to come up with the recording yourself -- unlike a typica

  • Focus In (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jthill (303417) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:26PM (#15504170)
    1. "Copying old material isn't theft."
    2. "Copyright extension is."
    3. "Thieves caterwauling about others' immorality have earned the children's scorn."
    4. Walk away.
  • "Aging Men" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kuvagh (947832) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:27PM (#15504183)
    They're also very rich men. Perhaps they actually believe that every download is a lost sale because they can afford to buy every single piece of music which they like. Is it possible that they're totally out of touch with the idea that many of us had to budget our CD purchases? It's been said before, and I'll say it again: They need to start selling ten times as much music for one tenth of the price. Unfortunately, some people don't like to change.
  • Honestly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shorgs (874640) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:33PM (#15504214)
    Look, to assume that artists are going to stop doing what they're doing because there isn't wealth in it is stupid. People who enjoy creating and sharing art will continue to do it so as long as it remains enjoyable for them and they can get enough money to fund their projects. And technology is making that easier not harder. So to say that music, movies, writing, story telling, dancing, painting, sculpting, and anything else that contributes to a culture is going to die because of piracy is silly. We have the history of civilization to prove it.

    What we observers know is that models and technology pass from existence, not art. Mr. Glickman represents a bureaucracy that currently dominates western movie production and distribution. He'd like us to think that he is doing something noble but his intentions are not. He isn't fighting to save art. He isn't even fighting to save the industry. He is fighting to save the model on which the industry is currently locked into.

    Every bureaucrat hates innovation. They hate new ways of doing things which are more productive. Innovation makes the old people and old ways look incompetent, and no one likes to look incompetent.

    I have no doubt that movies and movie makers will survive. Mr. Glickman might even survive, but not by trying to fit his old model over the new one. I'm sure he will land on his feet either way.

    I thought I would say it because I don't think that Mr. Barlow did an adequate job.
  • by autophile (640621) on Friday June 09, 2006 @02:55PM (#15504387)
    EFF: You old bastards!
    MPAA: You young whippersnappers!
    EFF: STFU!
    MPAA: No, you STFU!
    EFF: No, you STFU!
    MPAA: No, you STFU!
    EFF: Last word! Psyyyyyyche!

    --Rob

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