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Fox CEO Says Tech & Media Should Work Together 331

An anonymous reader writes "An article running on cnn.com talks about how Peter Chernin, CEO of Fox and COO of News Corp., says media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries. It's an interesting new angle for them anyway, with the point exentuated by George Lucas (of American Graffiti fame!) showing up to say 'there is no free lunch'."
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Fox CEO Says Tech & Media Should Work Together

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:48AM (#4715109) Homepage Journal

    "..as long as it keeps making my industry billions on overpriced plastic."

  • by viper21 ( 16860 )
    Tech companies should develop blazing fast technologies complete with super-high quality delivery of content.

    Media companies should distribute their media in a format that can be thoroughly raped by users. Er, I mean a completely open format so that we may take advantage of the quality of the media format....

    Right.

    -S
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:49AM (#4715115)
    Star Wars Juice Box: $.70

    Star Wars Fruit Snacks: $.62

    Star Wars Images on Various Sandwich Ingrediens: $.90

    Star Wars Lunch Pail: $15.99

    There are some things that money can't buy. Imagery from a franchise isn't one of them.
  • Has George Lucas done anything else other than American Graffiti? The name sounds familiar but I can't place my finger on it. Did he do ET or Indiana Jones or am I thinking of another person? Damn, so close.. right on the tip of my mind. Spider-man?
    • Honestly! How could you forget THX1138?

    • He's also known for cheesy made-for-TV christmas specials.

      (Funny, I envision an archeologist or historian from the future recovering archives of Slashdot and figuring out that, although they did some interesting side projects that were watched well into the future, people like George Lucas and William Shatner were actually best known during their time for Saturday morning cartoons and T.J. Hooker.)
      • A future historian basing his knowledge of the early 21st century solely on what he finds on Slashdot has a whole load of worse problems than that.... ;-)
  • Wrong approach (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tigress ( 48157 ) <rot13.fcnzgenc03@8in.net> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:50AM (#4715124)
    Piracy in all its forms is not a technical problem, but a social problem.

    Technical solutions to social problems will never succeed. Build a better lock? Someone will build a better lockpick. Unless the social problem is dealt with, the technical solutions will continue to fail.
    • Re:Wrong approach (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gizzmonic ( 412910 )
      Argument by slogan is not a social problem, but rather a rhetorical one.

      Slogan-based arguments of complex issues will never succeed. Create intelligent discourse? Someone will respond with "information wants to be free." Unless the poster gains rhetorical skill, the issue at hand will never be discussed fairly.

    • Excellent point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:12AM (#4715294)
      Piracy in all its forms is not a technical problem, but a social problem.

      Absolutely right.

      Technical solutions to social problems will never succeed. Build a better lock? Someone will build a better lockpick. Unless the social problem is dealt with, the technical solutions will continue to fail.

      People have had, to their perceptions at least, the ability to make "perfect" copies of music and video for a very long time ... in excess of 20 years.

      Yes, the audio and videophile will quickly point out the problems with generational loss on both cassette tape and VHS/Hi8, but to the average person who wants to build up a video library of Seinfeld and Friends episodes, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation videos are perfectly fine (and no, sorry, macrovision is no barrier even for the unititiated. Thank you for playing).

      Yet Hollywood makes millions on VHS tapes, and millions more on DVDs that are, I must admit despite my boycott, reasonably priced. Why? Because the hassle factor of burning a copied DVD outweights the pricetag ... most people's time is more valuable to them than the money saved infringing on the copyright and burning a copy of the DVD ... despite the existence of tools that make doing so easy, even trivial, on just about every platform.

      Music, on the other hand, is a different story. The CDs cost as much or more than the DVDs, with vastly less value and content. The hassle factor of copying a good CD is such that a good CD is more likely to be purchased than copied, at least by those who can reasonably afford the purchase, but so much of the mindless dreck being sold by the RIAA is sold on shiny discs with one or two decent tunes, and the remaining tracks utter crap (even by their low standards). The result ... most people find the hassle of ripping, copying, and downloading the one or two good songs off an otherwise crappy CD, and the time spent doing so, well offset by the savings and satisfaction of not being suckered into paying full price for a disc full of crap, merely for the privelege of listening to one or two decent songs they'll soon grow tired of anyway.

      Hollywood, for all of its evil and stupidity on the DRM front, at least understands that offering their customers added value gets them to go out and buy DVDs in droves (much as I wish it were otherwise ... a boycott alone is a lonely thing indeed).

      All of which underscores that, not only will Palladium and DRM wreck the home tech market, much as copy protection killed consumer DAT and cost the home electronics industry a big boom they would have otherwise seen, but, in the end, it won't work anyway.

      The problem is a social problem, but that social problem includes not just copyright infringers who are doing something they shouldn't, but also the purveyors of shoddy product that don't want to be forced to give their customers better value or better product, who have already been convicted of price fixing, payola, and other cartel behaviors more than once, producers who are arguably more responsible for the current p2p file trading phenominon than anyone else.

      There will always be someone who wants to get the new movie release beforehand, who doesn't mind spending the hours online downloading the latest spiderman cam or LOTR dvd rip, but these people have always existed, will always exist, and don't impact anyone's bottom line appreciably. It is the rest of us, who are used to buying and copying our own stuff (for backup, for ease of use, to listen to in the car, on the boat, in the plane, etc.) who will stop buying this crap if it means ubuiquitous surveillance of our listening habits, and cripping our favorite, expensive toys, that they should worry about. We're the ones who are going to stop buying this stuff if Hollywood and the RIAA get their way, and that's a market downturn they aren't likely to recover from.
      • Yet Hollywood makes millions on VHS tapes, and millions more on DVDs that are, I must admit despite my boycott, reasonably priced. Why? Because the hassle factor of burning a copied DVD outweights the pricetag ... most people's time is more valuable to them than the money saved infringing on the copyright and burning a copy of the DVD ... despite the existence of tools that make doing so easy, even trivial, on just about every platform.

        The problem with attempting DVD "rips" is that 1) the original disk is so reasonably priced that there is very little incentive to pirate the movie, 2) DVD Recorder drives and the recording media are still quite expensive and 3) nobody has figured out how to do a home-made dual-layer DVD recordable disc.

        When you can get the four-disc Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring for under US$30 why bother with the hassle of getting a pirated copy off the Internet? Besides, DiVX "rips" of DVD's are so huge in size that it's a daunting task to download it even if you have a broadband connection.
        • Indeed. And this is the way the industry SHOULD be handling piracy. Deliver sufficient value for the money to make piracy impracticle. I'm quite certain that the profit margins are still sufficiently obscene to make the hollywood suits happy. Of course they would be happier if they could somehow squeeze $60 out of the same purchase...
          • Re:Excellent point (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @03:29PM (#4717690)
            By keeping the price of DVD's reasonable (thanks to the fact they're following the sell-through model of video sales more or less pioneered by the Buena Vista Home Entertainment division of the Walt Disney Company), they've sent DVD sales literally through the roof.

            DVD's could have been quite expensive initially due to the high cost of mastering the movie onto DVD disc, but now that you can master a professional-quality DVD movie on a dual-CPU Power Macintosh machine, it's small wonder why costs are relatively low.

            I think the MPAA's Jack Valenti--unlike the RIAA folks--seems to a have clue about the economics of media piracy, and by pricing DVD movies at a low cost the economic incentive to do piracy is very low. If the RIAA understood the economics of media piracy they should price album-length audio CD's at US$11 per disc, which would cut down the incentive to pirate music quite dramatically.
        • You can always do what I do: rent your movies from the local video rental place and copy it to your hard drive if you like it. Your average Divx takes up about 700m of space, so you can fit more than 100 on an 80g hard drive.
      • by Interrobang ( 245315 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:52AM (#4715548) Journal
        I'm getting really tired of people equating copying information with 'theft.' Copyright breach it may be (an entirely different kettle of fish, as anyone who understand copyright knows [slashdot.org]), but theft it is not. The two circumstances are not even remotely similar enough to warrant such a comparison, and anyone who argues otherwise is committing a False Analogy [datanation.com] fallacy. (Going into a store and "five-finger discounting" the actual CD is both theft and copyright breach, just to be sure we're clear on that.)

        Nothing has been "taken," nothing is "missing," and certainly nothing is "gone" when someone makes a digital copy of something -- unlike Chernin's False Analogy argument about dresses from Wal-Mart.

        That's not to say that copyright breach isn't some kind of crime, or that it's not wrong -- but, again, it's not "theft." And it's certainly more defensible (under certain circumstances -- notably our vanishing "Fair Use" and "Public Domain" provisions) than theft.

        As a final, waspish parting shot to the point that "all this theft is destroying the industry," Chernin should talk to "Frisky Dick" Richards, who plays "Violent J" in the Insane Clown Posse, which actively encourages people to download, copy, share, and, yes, even steal their work. (He might also try talking to Ron "Hitler" Barrassi of TISM about the same subject, if he thinks he can stand it. I want to sell tickets to that event!) Weirdly enough, ICP has two platinum records and a few gold records to their credit -- with NO airplay or video play -- and seem to be living proof that Chernin and all who sail with them are also committing a Slothful Induction [datanation.com] fallacy. (In short, the evidence says Chernin et al's argument isn't true, but they believe it anyway.)
        • "Nothing has been 'taken,' nothing is 'missing,'"

          The media companies would argue that part of the value of their product is "missing." The argument's a little convoluted but I wouldn't disagree with it completely. Even more convoluted would be the argument that the "thief" has somehow not just stolen the merchandise but has usurped the ability of the manufacturer to determine how much product is manufactured, which itself affects the value of his product. Ask any physician if he'd like alternate educational systems cranking out thousands of doctors that would compete directly with him and you would get the same reaction. Nobody likes competition. Whether it's actually stealing, I'm not sure it really matters.

          This is not to say I like the bastards telling me I can't make a copy of something I bought for my own use.
          • The media companies would argue that part of the value of their product is "missing."

            The media companies would argue that part of their huge profits are missing, and that the few extra cents they would have paid the artists are also missing.
          • The media companies would argue that part of the value of their product is "missing."

            Which argument is covered completely under "copyright violation" since 'value' is an abstract and "theft" deals in tangibles. No, really. Please go read my article on copyright, revealingly called "Some Things Copyright Is Good For," and which doesn't simply consist of the word "nothing."

            I mean, if you don't think the 'value' of being the assignee and exerciser of a bundle of specific rights or grants is worth anything, ask anybody who has ever entered into a one-sided agreement with a content producer where they said, "We'll publish your X, but only if you sell us your copyright." Siegel and Schuster, creators of Superman, got caught in that one, as did numerous authors working in SF in the 40's and 50's.

            The argument falls on its face for the same reason many "specific offenses" laws don't get passed -- we already have legislation in general that deals with like problems, and we don't really need a new one which specifically targets that offense. (Copyright and how it works is also a lot more complicated than it sounds, or seems.) We already have copyright; that ought to be enough.

            Another hole in their argument concerns the folk tale about the woman who wanted the former beggar executed because he "stole" all those potential chickens she would have had from the dozen eggs she gave him ten years before, whereupon the case was thrown out because she'd hard-boiled the eggs? It's especially hard to prove "theft" against "potential money" which is exactly what they're trying to do...but in many cases, they're counting chickens from hard-boiled eggs.
        • I'm getting really tired of people equating copying information with 'theft.' Copyright breach it may be (an entirely different kettle of fish, as anyone who understand copyright knows [slashdot.org]), but theft it is not.

          Unfortunately, you seem to have no legal leg to stand on, though you might find a lot of like-minded geeks here. You are confusing the difference between legality and morality. Is it morally wrong to copy a CD? That's pretty much for you to decide. Is it illegal? Yes, it is. And "theft" is the legal definition to describe the situation.

          The confusion people have is theft of service vs. theft of property. Let's say that instead of ripping off a copy of a CD, you go to supercuts, get a haircut, and run out without paying. Are you guilty of theft? Yes. Have you taken anything? No. Have you removed the hair-stylist's ability to cut hair? No. So you have not technically stolen anything tangiable. However, it is "theft of service," and that is a crime. Look at it that way and it is easier to see copyright infringement as theft.
          • You're the one that has no clue. Laws regarding theft have ALWAYS been distinct from the laws regarding copyright infringement. HELL, until just a couple of years ago: NO AMOUNT OF PERSONAL PIRACY WOULD HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED A CRIMINAL ACT, PERIOD. There is no concept in laws regarding theft, or larcency, or robbery, or burlary that require a threshold of damage in order for the act to be criminal.

            They are two completely different beasts.

            It is you that has no "legal leg" to stand on.

            It is only the armchair busybodies (and Media Moguls) that equate copyright infringement to theft.

      • and i think here you have hit on exactly why the movie industry continues to make more and more money (despite its whining about piracy) and the music industry keeps heading further into the crapper. it's not that movies are better entertainment, it's that cds are overpriced.
        • Re:Excellent point (Score:4, Insightful)

          by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:28PM (#4715846)
          CDs are WAY overpriced. A new release DVD (single disc) is generally about what, $20? A new release CD is around $15. I think a movie takes longer and costs more to make -- but why is the DVD priced so closely to the CD? Only reasons I can think of I can debunk myself.

          CDs cost as much to make as movies. False. It would seem really unusual for an artist to spend $20M recording a CD. Many movies cost $40-50M to make.

          Movies pay off their costs at theaters. False. Most movies don't even break even, they rely on rental and sales to break even or profit.

    • Re:Wrong approach (Score:2, Interesting)

      by redfiche ( 621966 )
      Absolutely right. If people don't want to pay for the product, improve the product. Any solution to the perceived problem of IP theft that involves denial of fair use will go over about as well as the Stamp Act. Provide easily accessible low-quality copies for free or near-free, and then charge for the high-quality, extra bells and whistles version. If it's a really good movie, chances are most of us are going to want to see it on a big screen, and we'll be willing to pay for the priviledge. IMO.
    • by Mad Bad Rabbit ( 539142 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:42AM (#4715484)
      The real problem is the Federal Court System
      is far too slow, expensive, and overpowered
      for suing an individual pirate. What good is
      it to sue "WzDood345" for pirating $500 worth
      of music, if it costs $500,000 in legal fees
      and he/she just files for bankruptcy anyway?

      This isn't just a problem for the big media
      companies: it makes it impossible for indie
      content creators to sue pirates. Sony could
      in theory afford to waste $500,000 to make
      an example of a pirate. A garage band can't.

      Instead of draconian laws or orwellian DRM
      hardware, I suggest we need a simplified
      Federal Small-Claims Copyright Court, where
      copyright infringents less than (insert $$)
      could be handled pro-se (without lawyers).
      Then you, or Lars Ulrich, or anyone else
      could fill out some paperwork, explain the
      case to the judge in plain english, and
      collect $500 from WzDood345 for pirating
      your stuff.

      • I agree with much of what you said, except the part about Lars Ulrich being able to fill out paperwork or speak in plain English. If that's what it would take for Metallica to protect themselves, well, the future looks bright for pirates. ;)

        --
        [McP]KAAOS
    • Re:Wrong approach (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pmz ( 462998 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:56AM (#4715595) Homepage
      Technical solutions to social problems will never succeed.

      Legal solutions aren't necessarily the solution either. Think about zero-tolerance policies at schools (absurdly naive), drug laws (who do they protect, really), personal and corporate welfare by tax credit/deduction (misguided and unnecessarily complex), RIAA royalty per blank media (make the innocent pay), and so on.

      DRM laws will simply be some combination of zero-tolerance policies, gun laws, and drug laws, in effect. The outcome is certainly not to our benefit, and a whole generation of really cool stuff will be wiped out to make paranoid media companies more comfy in their money-stuffed chairs. It really makes me cringe when I think about it.
    • Re:Wrong approach (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vbweenie ( 587927 )

      Piracy is both a social and a technical problem. It is tractable, up to a point, by both social and technical means, but ultimately intractable: in other words, neither social engineering nor software engineering will ever make it go away completely.

      Locks on doors are a technical measure to reduce the attractiveness of the contents of your home to people who might otherwise be tempted to steal them. The problem of rampant housebreaking and theft in the area where you live may also have social factors, and may prove susceptible to a degree of social management, but that doesn't mean that the police are wrong to distribute leaflets advising tenants to tighten up their household security.

      Media piracy is rampant at the moment because it's easy, and because no-one very much feels bad about doing it. If it were significantly harder, then a significant number of people would stop doing it, irrespective of their moral sentiments. If the moral sentiments of would-be pirates were engaged on behalf of the grievous sufferings of the music industry, then perhaps even fewer would succumb to temptation...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:51AM (#4715129)
    hairy ass. He did offer this gem:

    Still, Lucas said that entertainers themselves, not the big media companies, stand to lose the most if more content is available for free on the Internet. "Corporations are like cockroaches. They'll survive everything," Lucas said.

    How true.

  • best for both? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:51AM (#4715133) Homepage Journal
    So what would be the deal? The media gets more gadgets and in return they convince us to buy them?

    *eat snacky smores*
  • by terraformer ( 617565 ) <tpb@pervici.com> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:51AM (#4715135) Journal
    ...by each holding one leg, turning me upside down and shaking till I give up everything I own. No thanks!
  • great idea (Score:3, Funny)

    by mr_gerbik ( 122036 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:52AM (#4715141)
    This is a great idea. Surely robots could make much better anchors than anyone Fox news has.

    -gerbik
  • by great om ( 18682 ) <om.goldner@org> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:52AM (#4715143) Homepage
    who are doing this: (from plastic.com) "According to a passage from Bob Woodward's latest book, Roger Ailes, chairman of the 'fair and balanced' Fox News Channel sent a confidential communication to the White House about the American public's interest in retaliation against terrorists. To quote Woodward: His back-channel message: The American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible. "Ralph Barney, editor of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, says that if Ailes made such a communication, 'You run the very real risk of poisoning the well with your viewers. They don't know to whom you owe your loyalties: to them or to the person you are advising.' Ailes has offered his own explanation, reported somewhat archly by the New York Times as 'a personal cri de coeur about Sept. 11 and not strategy advice for President Bush.' In the meantime, while the other news networks have seized upon Ailes' memo, Fox News hasn't hesitated to post an article about media bias in favor of the Democrats."

    link: The article [plastic.com]

    • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:51AM (#4715543) Journal
      Since when does being a media head (NOT a journalist) stop you from expressing your views to the President of the United States?

      Did you get this upset when Ted Turner (Very high up in the CNN/TimeWarner/AOL media empire) was at all those DNC events and provided very public support for the Democratic party?

      Also, about the charges of Fox not showing this on their network...I saw a rather lengthy story on this no less than 3 times of Fox News yesterday in a 5 hour span.

      Also, from the same story you linked to on plastic.com " but as this article from the New York Times says (not the same one included in the writeup), "this kind of interaction between a news executive and a president was neither unprecedented nor surprising 'especially given how incestuous Washington is.'"

      It also points out that the head of CNN was privy to sleepovers at the White House during the Clinton Administration, proving that close relations between Presidents and media bosses is indeed neither unprecedented nor surprising. "

      So why is it wrong when Fox does it, but ok when CNN does?
    • I always find it hilarious how many times the people at Fox have to say that they're fair and balanced. They probably trademarked the phrase. If you're really fair and balanced, be fair to your viewers and let them decide, instead of tipping the balanace to your own point of view through indoctrination. Damn hypocrits
  • No free lunch? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmu1 ( 183541 ) <jmullmanNO@SPAMgasou.edu> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:52AM (#4715144) Journal
    <humor>
    Then why the hell did I show up for this meeting? Here I am, minding my own business when I get this memo for a meeting with the heads of Fox. "They usually have pretty good buffet lunches," I think to myself. And then in walks ol' Georgie-Boy clammering about there not being a free lunch. What a crock.
    </humor>

    Seriously though, I can't immagine to what end they mean... DRM... although I'm sure it'll be in the best interest of their consumers...Windows Auto-Update... Perhaps if we had an objective third party...Jedi Council... To mediate, perhaps we'd come to a good solution...screw the public, they'll buy it anyway!

    I'm Mitchell Ullman, and that's news to me!

  • by jpt.d ( 444929 ) <[moc.sregor] [ta] [llafba]> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:53AM (#4715148)
    1) Offer movies for streaming. Most people would not be able to figure out how to put it together into a file. Some formats might not work to put them in non streaming form.

    2) Make shows available online. I can tell you that I will actively get copies of StarGate and Jeremiah so long as I can't see them first on TV. I am in Canada (SW ontario) so I am suck without both on TV. I think most people pirate shows for this reason.
  • Different Directions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Amadaeus ( 526475 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:53AM (#4715152) Homepage

    The problem with such a 'merger of powers' is the fact that the tech industry and the media industries have different approaches on how to treat the general public. While the technology industry want to reach out to the public in new and innovative ways, the media industry hangs on to old paradigms and takes a inherent hostile stance against consumers.

    It is very evident a merger of powers would not work. Look at CNN Time Warner: There is VERY LITTLE surface evidence that both companies are working together to bring content and technologies to consumers. The only time you hear such synergy is on TV commercials when they announce "This is a CNN Time Warner Company", or the rare CNN spot in Time Warner movies and TV Shows.

    The different directions, Hostility versus Acceptance, will always be a barrier to technology 'working together' with media conglomerates.

  • What a politician (Score:4, Insightful)

    by masonbrown ( 208074 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:55AM (#4715170) Homepage
    This should be a bipartisan effort (as long as we get our DRM implemented how we want it)
  • by JKnowledge ( 458196 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:59AM (#4715188)
    "Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so"

    Imagine that, film having to do more with less, like the rest of industry in the U.S. right now. How terrible!!!!
    • Of course, Lucas is one of the reasons why they spend so much on blockbuster movies. Up until the mid '70's, it was usual for movies to have modest budgets, and make money over an extended period of time. Blockbusters of the late 70's such as Jaws, Superman and Star Wars were built on the model of spend lots of money on the budget and make as much as possible in the opening weekend.
    • I especially like this Lucus quote:

      The success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

      Why exactly should I care about whether or not Hollywood gets to make their "artsy" films? Especially when "artsy" is nothing more than a synonym for "wildly unpopular." When I pay money to see Star Wars Episode II in theaters it is not because I want Hollywood to make more "artsy" pictures.

  • Teamwork... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clickety6 ( 141178 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:00AM (#4715198)
    "Peter Chernin, CEO of Fox and COO of News Corp., says media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries.

    Basically it's much easier for media to screw the consumer if tech holds them down...

    • >>"Peter Chernin, CEO of Fox and COO of News Corp., says media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries.

      Basically it's much easier for media to screw the consumer if tech holds them down...


      Ah, but where is the benefit for Tech? Media must also give Tech some kind of kickback to implement DRM so that both parties benefit.
  • the merger (Score:3, Funny)

    by cr@ckwhore ( 165454 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:00AM (#4715200) Homepage
    ... and then there will be the ultimate merger... MICROSOFTAOLTIMEWARNER et.al
  • Sorry, try again.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by imadork ( 226897 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:01AM (#4715211) Homepage
    I'm all for the Entertainment industry cooperating with the Technology industry to combat piracy and make the world safer for Spiderman III. I'd love to see the Entertainment industry take advantage of Technology to reduce distribution costs and give people better quality stuff for less money, like the Technology industry has been doing for years.

    But I fear that the Entertainment Industry's idea of "cooperation" is saying that Technology needs to be crippled to prevent the Entertainment industry from becoming irrelevant. No compromise.

    As I've said here several times, (paraphrased from Steven P. Jobs himself), Piracy is a social problem, not a technological one. If content can be seen and heard, it can be copied, no matter what technological measures are put in place. If banning people from ever making any copies will never work, why not concentrate more on convincing people that they shouldn't make illegal copies, and making them want to buy legitimate versions even in the face of easy piracy?

    • by laigle ( 614390 )
      Very true. I'm all for fighting piracy. But the media outlets don't really seem interested in fighting piracy. They support a wide range of DRM measures, which will have no effect on pirates who will just download hacks. But they will prevent, or at least make it a huge and possibly felonious pain for me to watch DVDs I've paid for without buying a new protection-schemed disc and player every couple years, listen to CDs I bought on my computer, remix those CDs I bought as I'm legally entitled to do, record TV shows I'm going to miss, convert media formats for portability between locations/devices even when I own the underlying media, download songs that local artists have put out on the web for free, or use my computer to edit home movies because I don't have some MPAA-licensed watermarking system.

      The problem with the DRM campaign is that it isn't about piracy at all, it's about the **AA mobs getting their hands a bit deeper into our pockets by charging us for things we have the legal right to do for free, based on the idea that our legitimate property rights are the reason people are stealing things. The new TVs and stereos and computers and portable audio systems they're going to have legally mandated will cost the public billions, and will do no good since the same mandate won't be in place in Canada or Mexico or many a country served by FedEx. DRM is a debacle, and it needs to be stopped now. Set up licit systems that give people access to the things they want, make money off it legitimately rather than by influence peddling with our public officials, break up the illegal trusts and drop the price of CDs and DVDs to what they'd be without criminal inflation, bring in IRS auditors to get all the taxes these jerks aren't paying and find all the profits they're stealing from artists, then go after the holdouts who still want everything for free.
  • by mini me ( 132455 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:03AM (#4715226)
    Look at who we are talking about here! That's right, FOX! The network that cancels every show that the majority of technical people enjoy, to play yet another show that no one cares about.

    I say that we should not even consider working together with them until they get their act together! This means bringing back Family Guy and Futurama and moving them to a decent time slot. It also means no pre-empting of them for any reason including football: There are sports channels for that! And movies: There are movie channels for that.

    Once they have complied we will talk. Of course the best for both industries would be streaming on-demand video over the internet, but that will never happen...
    • CN has Futurama (Score:3, Informative)

      Cartoon Network has Futurama now. No doubt it will become the anchor of Adult Swim, which is expanding into M-Th as well. So, get some basic cable.
  • by guybarr ( 447727 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:05AM (#4715236)
    Lucas went on to say that [cprt violations => less money =>] wind up having a major impact on the quality of movies

    less money => major impact on quality of movies ... why, yes, I agree. Only disagree on the sign of \Delta_Q .

    since Lucas said that the success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

    and "design by commity" them to death.

  • Eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anixamander ( 448308 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:05AM (#4715239) Journal
    It's an interesting new angle for them anyway, with the point exentuated by George Lucas

    The closest I can find is exenterate:
    To remove surgically all the organs and other contents of a body cavity, usually to minimize the spread of cancer

    Seems like an extreme way of making a point, but you know George Lucas, never one for subtlety.
  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:06AM (#4715250)
    The smartest thing Chernin did was to get geek faves like Lucas and Jackson to speak on his cause's behalf. The second smartest thing was to play up the fact that the entertainment industry is more than just the "misguided artists" and the "evil fat cat suits," but includes all the blue collar workers found in any "normal" industry.

    So many times I read about the evil **AA's, as if people don't realize these trade industry groups exist to do the bidding, and often the dirty work, of the creative entities like Lucas. Valenti and Rosen are paid to be targets for the heat-seekers so that the creative brands aren't tarnished by politics.

    Chernin wisely realized -- and I've no doubt others in the entertainment industry who will be speaking publicly on this topic will realize also -- that Joe Sixpack doesn't give a rat's ass about some distribution exec in an expensive suit, but let the creator of Boba Fett get up there in a black turtleneck, and the crowd melt likes butter.

    Now that the gloves are really off in the fight for public opinion, this gets interesting...
    • OMG! Do to a lack of sleep/coffee, I read the end of the third paragraph as "Let Boba Fett get up there in a black turtleneck and coat himself in butter." Random, disturbing images abound. Sci-fi geek porno, alt.sex.fetish.boba-fett. And the random artsy black turtleneck sweater!!! As if Boba sits on Slave One all day sipping cappuccino and reading The Collected Works of Franz Kafka while smoking little clove cigarettes and musing on how supreme executive power comes from a mandate from the workers, not by being the best at shooting Force Lightning from your fingertips.
  • Artsy films? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jippy_ ( 564603 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:09AM (#4715269)
    This could also wind up having a major impact on the quality of movies since Lucas said that the success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

    Yeah, and Michelangelo threw buckets of dirt and paint at an easel just so he could have enough money to make real art.

    Saying that there won't be film of merit or quality without there first being movies of flashy repetitive garbage sounds like a pathetic attempt to make people believe the shit he's shoveling.
    • Re:Artsy films? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jaoswald ( 63789 )
      This is a bit unfair. Michaelangelo got funded by popes/princes who had independent sources of wealth. Who the heck is going to pay for artsy films, if not for studios who want to prove that they have some taste, after all?

      Remember the rule: 99% of everything is crap. I found Independence Day and Episode I, for instance, to be unbearably execrable, and couldn't imagine *anyone* enjoying either, but many other people seem to have done so. I have to congratulate the producers for having a better sense of the movie-going public than I do. From that, I conclude that my tastes are a minority of the market, and I actually should be pleasantly surprised that films get made that I actually enjoy, instead of outraged that crowd-pleasing junk gets made.

      (None of my money went to reward Episode II being made, so Lucas is getting his just reward in the end. I'm sure he is broken-hearted.)
      • Why should I care who pays for "artsy" films? Especially since most of the "classic" movies that I can think of were financial successes. Michaelangelo is an excellent example of art that could be appreciated by the masses. Michaelangelo didn't simply coat the Vatican with feces and call it art.

        When film producers start talking about "artsy" films they aren't talking about "Gone With The Wind," which was both exceptionally well done and wildly popular, they are talking about something like "The Last Temptation of Christ" whose only artistic merit is the fact that it is both amazingly unpopular and wildly controversial.

        If you want to pay for "artsy" films, then go see them twice, but don't expect me to get excited about paying for it.

        Personally I thought Episode II was worth the price of admission just to see Yoda in a light saber duel. That is one bad-ass puppet.

        Just as an aside, what is an example of a movie that you like. I can see how someone might not like both "Independence Day" and "Episode I." I bet a lot didn't like those movies. In my opinion that's the difference between a good film and a truly great one. The truly great films are so well done that even their detractors admit that the movie had some redeemingly qualities.

      • From that, I conclude that my tastes are a minority of the market, and I actually should be pleasantly surprised that films get made that I actually enjoy, instead of outraged that crowd-pleasing junk gets made.

        Quite well said.

        However, what outrages me is when the people who make the crowd-pleasing junk start making vague threats of doom (IE: If you don't watch our crap, we won't make any more good stuff!)

        It just gives me an image of a child having a temper tantrum because they don't get their way.
  • A conflict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Datoyminaytah ( 550912 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:10AM (#4715276)
    Hmm...

    Media companies want to deliver more movies etc. online, which will foster the growth of broadband.

    Broadband ISP's want to cap downloads or charge more for "bandwidth hogs".

    I don't think this is going to work out. ;)

  • how Peter Chernin, CEO of Fox and COO of News Corp., says media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries.


    First, how can Mr. Chernin have time to be the CEO of Fox AND the COO of News Corp.??? He is doing an injustice to both of those organizations since there is NO WAY he can give his all to either of those organizations will doing (and probably not doing it well) the duties of both of those positions.

    Second, HOW MUCH MONEY IS THIS GUY MAKING?? He is probably making a fortune to state the obvious!!! Millions of dollars have already been spent (and are being spent right now) on trying to stop pirating and theft of digital material. Theft prevention is a business that has been going on since the days of Kings ... and will be a problem in society as long as there are greedy people (basically, forever). He obviously has some good points, but this is just recycled material. Instead of stating in general terms what needs to be done, why doesn't he outline a method of doing what he is saying???

    Oh, I get it ... its kinda like the commercial where the high paid executive takes credit for shopping at Staples (what the young guy sitting right next to him just said), but uses a different "hand motion" to deliever the information ... but doesn't do anymore than anyone else sitting around the table. He sure is good at stating the obvious, but doesn't have "the answer" ...


    Hmmmm .... maybe this guy needs one more title at the end of his name .... Captian Obvious!.
    • , how can Mr. Chernin have time to be the CEO of Fox AND the COO of News Corp.??? He is doing an injustice to both of those organizations since there is NO WAY he can give his all to either of those organizations will doing (and probably not doing it well) the duties of both of those positions.

      Probably because Fox is owned by News corporation, for most intents and purposes Fox is News corporation. Its just a title, its really the same job.
  • by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:11AM (#4715283) Homepage Journal
    George Lucas (of American Graffiti fame!) showing up to say 'there is no free lunch'.

    Although, with an estimated wealth of $2.5 billion [20m.com], it's easy to forget that a "movie lunch" costs regular people at least $10 each these days, before the popcorn.

    Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so. This could also wind up having a major impact on the quality of movies since Lucas said that the success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

    Excuse me while I shed a few tears for the poor movie industry. Waterworld spent hundreds of millions and it was just an OK (not to mention unprofitable) movie. Actors and puppets are much more realistic and engaging and inexpensive than computer animation, and make for a better movie, but that doesn't stop Lucas from overspending on CG. And since when do artsy movies require any sort of high budget, compared to the summer blockbusters? Oh well, we only made $300 million on this blockbuster, instead of $305 million on the last one, so we can't afford to make the $5 million "Painting for Harold" sequel.
  • by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:11AM (#4715289) Journal
    Okay, try posting a sign on your window that says, "Do Not Break This Window". Is this going to A) Give the Window a Longer life or B) Catch the Attention of those that like breaking windows. I'm sure we've all heard this little theory before.

    On to the point (in relation to this story):

    I rent and buy DVDs, I don't even think about it. I play them on my PC, my laptop, my PS2, my DVD player. It's great, I like it and DVDs are quite reasonably priced.

    Now comes DRM - in whatever form they are planning. Will I have to call in and register my DVD? Will I need to have a phone or network cable attached to the player of the future? Are restrictions going to be inserted on to my PC? Is my old non-DRM box going to find itself instantly outdated and unable to play the latest movie or whatever?

    All of a sudden I'm not a happy-go-lucky watcher of TV, and consumer of media. I'm feeling a little under appreciated, plus all of a sudden all of these restrictions are in my face. I can't just scoot out and pick up a DVD or record a TV program for viewing later.

    So now I have to figure out, "How can my PC or media unit view these new movies?" or "How can I make my PVR record this show?" I didn't care before, but now I'm going to have to go and take a look. While I'm figuring this out illegal content may also be discovered (boot legged movies side by side with info on getting around DRM). Next thing you know I have the latest warez for viewing moviez on my PC. All because you wanted to make sure you've squeezed every last dime from everyone's pockets. The people who were copying before are still copying now. Formerly loyal customers are now pissed off pirates.

    I'd been ignoring the window, happily walking by it - then you had to go and put a damn sign up and eventually it became time to break it!
    • Brings to mind those annoying "Please Move Away from the Car" talking car alarms. While attending college some years back, they were first coming into the market.

      Now I've never had the inclination to mess with somebody elses car before, but after hearing that on a particularly stressful day, I couldn't resist kicking it's tire.

      Funny thing was a number of my classmates saw me, and later told me in class that the alarm was annoying enough that they were thinking of doing something to the car themselves.
  • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:13AM (#4715303)
    Seriously, is this guy a nutcase, or what? First of all, he says "there's no such thing as a free lunch," and then talks about how important it is that digital content be secured. Hey, that saying works both ways, buddy. The entertainment industry doesn't get a free lunch by switching to digital, either. If you want the advantages of the digital form, you need to take some disadvantages too. If you don't think the two balance out, you can go back to VHS (looks like Lucas's approach, since the original trilogy's still not out on DVD), but don't cripple computers to give your industry a digital "free lunch."

    Second point: we're getting this from a guy whose career is based on an idea ripped from Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress?" For those who have seen it, but don't see the Star Wars resemblance, I invite you to read Lucas's original 13 page treatment [aldera.net]. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the events are Kurosawa's. I don't begrudge the man making a successful adaptation of someone else's material. Furthermore, he's admitted the influence, and even funded some of Kurosawa's later projects. Still, you'd think this would be a guy who would champion fair use. Instead, we get this lecture? Feh.

    • I saw "The Hidden Fortress" and thought it was great.

      The Criterion Collection has cleaned up the film with a better transfer than currently exists on most reel films of that age.

      The REALLY sad thing was that the special fetaures included an interview with George Lucas. I mean, I had just watched the film, and was still reeling from how much of it was ripped into "Star Wars", and although George starts out acknowledging the influence, soon there's George backpedaling and claiming that the films are not really the same film.

      If I made one of the most successful films of our generation based on the work of Kurosawa, one of the best directors ever, I would at least be a bit more respectful. Nobody claims that their modern Shakespeare adaption isn't really the same thing as "Much Ado About Nothing" or is a different film altogether.
  • So far, large enough portions of the public have wanted things like VCRs, PVRs, mp3 players, and CD copiers that I don't see why the technology industry has any reason to 'work together' with media. In fact, because of how media is distributed, through technologically savvy means, the media should, in theory, be more inclined to kiss ass to the tech people.

    Tech leads to the development of more tech, while media seems to actively work against such. This is not a good deal.
  • >> Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so.

    Yeah!! Look what the internet did to the porn industry!

    Seriously.. You'd think Hollywood could learn a thing or two from the XXX industry. Look how mainstream it became via the internet. Hard to understand why they don't see it as the powerful distrobution vehicle it could be.

    I mean if you distributed 100% more copies of , why fight so hard because 5% of them are pirated? Mo money, mo money mo money. You don't see vivid video fighting to shut down distribution of their films.
  • So media has been promoting and distributing it's goods without the use of technology?

    I'm not saying that media is "cutting-edge" but it's not like media has shunned technology.

    Look at DVDs, CDs, Television, Ditigal Television, Radio, Internet Radio (Simulcast), Alternative Sound Channels (big in bi-lingual areas), Flat-screen televisions, Portable CD players, Portable Cassette players, MIDI, Eight-Track Cassettes, Vinly Records, Motion picture cameras, 8mm Movie Cameras, 35mm Camera, Photography, Solid-state radios, Vacuum-tube radios, E-books, Online News Centers, API-wire, and Prinitng presses. (I know I've missed many)

    Mabye I have a bit broader definition of technology and media, but you can argue that media didn't exist without technology, unless you consider hand-copied manuscripts and books to be the central core of all media.

    • by mrkurt ( 613936 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:45AM (#4715501) Journal

      You're right: the entertainment/media industry runs on technology,and it wouldn't exist without it. What has them worked up in such a froth is that they don't control the technology like they did when media was all analog. They could charge for each copy or for monthly service.

      Now that they don't control the digital technology,they are on the backs of everyone in the tech world to save their ass, um, business model. They want to continue the top-down content delivery methods that the mass media has used for the past 100 years. And, they wanna make a killing in doing so, too.

      It seems that they should get to work and improve their watermarking/copy protection/whatever technologies, and buy themselves a brigade of whores (um, I meant programmers and security experts).

      Seriously, though, more expansive horizons await us, when high-speed 'net access is commonplace: it will be possible for people to choose what content they want. When it becomes possible for artists to use the 'net to distribute and sell their works with a street performer business model (give some stuff away, play some more songs for dough), the entertainment companies might be out of business.

      (Pardon my shouting) IT'S ALL ABOUT CONTROL

      • Oh, so we are supposed to feel pity that a giant media conglomerate which has pushed independant artist so far off the scope that they are now considered "fringe elements" has lost their artifical means of sustaning a monopoly by producing other people's content in a form that is not easily distributed, copied, or transfered without degradation in quality.

        Damn those pesky technology people. If only they would cooperate with media we could have a world safe from pirating. A world where all content was digitally watermarked by it's coporate owner, where strong encryption hampered any means to use or distribute it without royalty, where media that was not guarded would be automatically destroyed if it slightly resembled copyrighted material (like media containing text, graphics, or video).
  • DRM only helps the middlemen monopoly

    I work. I get paid. I stop working; I stop getting paid. Some people have set up systems with "residual" income. They want to work, get paid, stop working, and keep getting paid. That's the Metallica plan, and the Hillary Rosen plan (she gets paid for help running the residual income racket for Metallica).

    Without DRM, you make recordings/films, and give them away. Even if you charge for them and some people pay lots of people are going to see/hear it without you getting a dime from them. Then people (might, if your stuff doesn't SUCK) want to go see a live show or a big-screen showing of your work. You can charge admission to the closed event. You can show stuff in the event that you haven't given away. You stop working; you stop getting paid; you'd better have a savings plan!

    Residual income is not economic production. It is pure monopoly rent. Either you believe in competition and the marketplace or you don't. Art is better off without the strong controls of a "sponsorship" system where you need a rich person to give your work the thumbs-up before you are "let in" to the closed distribution system.

    The people pushing for DRM are the "golden handcuffs" vendors who offer the age-old devil's sell out contract. They would like to remove the option of not selling your soul. They almost have. This is not about making sure people pay for the art they see/hear. This is about media companies making sure there is no art without getting the biggest cut of the action.

    They want to throttle our art to decrease supply and advertise to bolster demand so they can raise prices and fatten up the margin. It is all about setting up a monopoly and price controls and other stuff that slips past the Sherman Act [usdoj.gov].

    They want to prevent artists from reaching people except through them. IT IS A RACKET!

    • Correct, they do want to prevent artists from reaching the people, except through them. And think of it this way: how many musicians, writers, and film makers' works haven't made it to the public, because of the enormous amount of control the studios have over the content that actually makes it out through the normal distribution channels? The 'net is not a channel for "content distribution"; its best and highest purpose is for finding one's voice. The musician, the writer, and perhaps the film maker have a chance to use the 'net to do this. If their stuff is good, people will be interested in purchasing it. I'd much rather obtain it directly from the artist than to go through the media giants. I wonder how much we as a culture are losing from the continued dominance of the mass media?
  • hell no, they should fight it out!!!!

    Too bad it didn't go something like this: ...Hi I'm a media distribution company who relies on the good grace of the media creation companies. I'd like to go on record as saying I think the media creation people are lame and a pain in our ass, screw those guys.....

    well it's good to know that they'll be working together from now on...they musty be good guys right? .. god this spin makes me dizzy.

  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:34AM (#4715434) Homepage Journal
    What the Hollywood types want to do is to take over the creative commons. They got fat and rich taking ideas from others, processing them, and spitting out "Intellectual Property". They don't like paying anyone else for ideas, and have no problem with taking them without attribution (as long as they think they can get away with it), but if we happen to want to do something based on Steamboat Willie, oh... that's Theft!

    Forcing me to re-buy The White Album, 4 more times, in 4 new formats, isn't why we have copyrights and patents. It was constructed as a careful use of a necessary evil (state granted monopoly) for a limited time (17 years), in order to make sure the authors had sufficient incentive to put works into the public domain. (Happened at the end of the time period).

    Now the slackers in Congress have perverted the original design to provide for Government enforced monopolies on ideas. This can not stand, in the long run.

    DRM is evil, there is no practical purpose for it.

    --Mike--

  • No free lunch (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:35AM (#4715435) Homepage Journal
    They can say that, and at the same time stiff the artists like Stan Lee by claiming that they make no profit.

    Or they lobby for copyright extension after extension so they can continue selling goods with no further IP investment.

    Sounds to me like they're saying that consumers can't have a free lunch, only corporate media.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:36AM (#4715443)
    the *consumer* need to "work together." One of the ways this can be accomplished is through a free market. It's not the best imaginable system. It's adversariale to an extent and definately a bit on the tempestuous side now and again. . . like now.

    But. . .there's no such thing as a free lunch. I'll accept that statement for the sake of argument. It cuts *both ways* Georgie boy. You have to earn your lunch. Your costomer buys it for you, in exchange for goods and services.

    The "consumer's" money belongs to the consumer. It isn't yours. You don't "deserve" it. You have to earn it under true contractual terms wherein both sides of the contract receive fair and equitable exchange for freely voluntary participation in the deal.

    This means that to get the consumer's money you have to offer them what they want, when they want it, how they want it and at a *price* they are fully, freely and happily willing to pay.

    If it is not done this way then in the multi-hundred year history of contract the deal *isn't legitimately valid.*

    The "cooperation of media and tech" is nothing more and nothing less than a cabal formed against the ultimate source of "lunch" and business power. . . your customers ( do you remember that word? Have you looked it up in a dictionary lately? It's a very important word Georgie boy).

    As a "consumer" all I can say to this is " Stick it up your Star Wars whoring butt George."

    I play musical instruments, as do many of my friends. I can write my own songs. I can download Dumas ( where you ripped off all your "ideas" anyway. Can you say "Three Musketeers in Space"? I KNEW you could Georgie boy, in fact, you already did, didn't you?) from Project Guttenburg and get hundreds of hours of superior entertainment for free in a format you can't control. . .words.

    The "media industry" isn't the only source of "content" in the world.

    Watch yourselves carefully or you just might end up at the soup kitchen begging for a "free lunch."

    KFG
  • by techstar25 ( 556988 ) <techstar25@gmaiLISPl.com minus language> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:37AM (#4715454) Journal
    "If hundreds of thousands of dresses were stolen from Wal-Mart, the police would assemble a task force that would have Winona Ryder shaking in her boots," Chernin said. "

    These are NOT dresses we are stealing. They are ugly, torn and patched pieces of fabric that hardly resemble the original dress. Think Attack of the Clones on the big screen vs. Attack of the Clones recorded by some dope with a camcorder on his shoulder, and then uploaded to Kazaa. Who are they trying to kid? And at least the RIAA is actually losing money(although they are wrong about why it continues to happen). Motion picture studios continue to make more and more money, even though it is obvious that these crappy cam movies are easily downloaded.
    • Point of Order...

      The RIAA is nowhere close to losing money. They are making it hand over fist.

      Their complaint is that they are not making as much as they did last year (or two years ago).

      The RIAA's revenues are down... That's not the same thing as "losing money." (To them, yeah, it's the same thing, but objectively, there's a big difference.)

  • Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so.

    Oh, dear God, I can only hope so. The brief heyday of director-centric blockbusters in the 1960s and '70s -- Jaws, Apocalypse Now, Kubrick's best works, and, yes, even Star Wars -- has simply given way to overhyped, overextended special effects larded with committee-designed dialogue and focus-tested credit crawls. Am I supposed to believe that companies choosing to spend billions of dollars less on overplotted tripe like Clone Wars is a bad thing? Perhaps, if the financial stakes weren't so high for the studios and directors, they'd be willing to try riskier experiments in film.

  • What he means is... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mouthbeef ( 35097 ) <doctorow@craphound.com> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:47AM (#4715512) Homepage
    Fox Studios' President of Engineering, Andy Setos, wrote the "Broadcast Flag" Proposal that was brought to the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group. [eff.org] Then he, Intel and Mitsubishi gathered the biggest IT and CE companies in the world and asked them to agree to its provisions:
    • All open source digital TV and Software Defined Radio [google.com] applications will be illegal
    • No digital output technology may be incorporated into DTV devices (including commodity general-purpose PCs) without Hollywood's permission
    • No digital removable media technology may be incorporated into DTV devices (including commodity general-purpose PCs) without Hollywood's permission
    Setos described this as a "well-mannered marketplace." This is the kind of co-operation that Fox wants from technology: roll over, bare your belly, and build only those devices that Hollywood grants permission for.
  • Fox addresses henhouse: "If we cooperate, we can process many more chicken-nuggets much more efficiently."
  • What he means is "Lets find a way to cram DRM into every consumer device we can. That will lead to more profits for both High Tech and Entertainment".

    Where's the consumer advocate saying "Why should I spend more money to get less?" Where is the consumer advocate saying "what is the future of the PC if PC's are encumbered by DRM hardware and software? What is the future of Linux and future generations of software if it is illegal to have software without DRM restrictions in it.

    Nowhere because clowns like this guy don't care about anything but more profit for themselves and their shareholders. That's okay. But why does the FBI have to be the enforcement arm of the media conglomerates?

  • No Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:25PM (#4715813) Journal
    First of all, it will be a cold day in hell before I take any advice from that Right Wing propaganda maker. Second George Lucas jumped the shark a long time ago and I could care less about what he thinks. This is a guy who would literally replace every actor in his film with CG actors if he could. Again no thanks.

    Here's my advice to Big Media. Adapt or Die. Stop trying to crush my rights for fair use. Stop using your monopoly power to keep prices of CD's artificially high. And lastly stop trying to push new formats which make using media on my existing electronics worthless.

    Work with the consumer not against them, and stop acting like your at war by pressuring congress to pass laws which enable you to become rogue vigilantes.
  • Mafia Don Anthony Geletto said that Local and Federal Police Authorities should work more closely with the Mob.
  • Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so. This could also wind up having a major impact on the quality of movies since Lucas said that the success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

    eck! watch the first 3 star wars compared to the last two. the acting in the latter is so bad that it's hard to even watch. companies won't spend more? lucas had more than 2000 effects shots in episode 2. he would have been served better to get decent actors and a decent script. How many effects shots and big name actors were in pi?

    lucas like others, has fallen prey to the uber-blockbuster. and those are usually utter crap. just like the latest girl or boy band cd. after a while, people loose their creativity and start nodding to every crapbag in hollywood and wherever who says they're great and that they have a legacy and their vision has helped millions. aw, bullshit!

    this reminds me of some video of the making of some metallica album where the producer was telling them "you're the mighty metallica. you are metallica!". and anyone nowadays know they really god awful suck compared to the old days. really suck. plus lars' vendetta against napster says it all for the industry. same with dre's "they're stealing food from my baby's mouth". ya right, more like from your baby's solid gold crib.

    this is it. technology has reached the masses. a lot of us are tired of the crap that comes out of the mouth and creative outlets of the industry. difference now is that, for now, technology has leveled the playing field a bit - for now. i used to love all the star wars movies and killer blockbusters. but now they've just turned into the ultimate channel to sell us more and fill their pockets with more. and don't even get me started on disney!

    frankly, i don't care if lucas ever makes another star wars cuz they are just getting worse and worse! and so is most of the music and movie industry. they can have their cheese media player 9 only sites cuz frankly, i wouldn't watch that stuff anyway. There are much more interesting movies and bands out there who still care and can act and sing and aren't has-beens in 6 mos/1 yr.

    all the big types are tightening the screws and ghasping for air. it's not time necessairly for tech to play with content, but for tech and content to listen to the consumer (i hate that term). they're dinosaurs and it's time for them to reinvent themselves. but, we all know what happened to the dinosaurs.. oh yeah, when was the last real good movie you saw? yah, i thought so..
  • "media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries."

    Meaning "we should work together AGAINST the interests of customers."
  • But they should use the technology that is already available to them to hedge the piracy of movies and TV shows.

    For example, why doesn't FOX/CBS/(Insert network here) provide their shows online after the first airing on TV? Put some commercials in there to cover the costs and let people stream them. Or you can just let them download them and share them, who cares, you made money by leaving the commercials in, or providing internet-only commercials to your customers. And same goes for movies, say let people download them after the video is released with extra commercials in there or something.

    I know that I would love to go to fox.com and download the Futurama I missed rather than lurking around on IRC for a week trying to download it, and especially in the case of movies... Commercials? Hey, if they can provide me with that content, I can deal with the commercials, and if I like the movie, I'll go buy the DVD anyway.

    Just a thought, although this would piss off the Blockbusters of the world, but it's all about dealing with the changes, not about preventing them...

    Troy
  • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @12:58PM (#4716119) Journal
    ...says media and tech companies should work together in the best interests of both industries.

    Too bad it doesn't say "in the best interests of consumers"
  • by iiioxx ( 610652 ) <iiioxx@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @01:01PM (#4716142)
    Lucas went on to say that the proliferation of free and illegal downloading of content on the Internet could eventually lead studios to shy away from spending as much as they do on blockbuster movies since it won't be nearly as profitable for them to do so.

    Great! Why don't you cut the $50M special effects budget in half and use some of the savings on a decent script and a good director?

    This could also wind up having a major impact on the quality of movies since Lucas said that the success of summer popcorn movies enable studios to finance more artsy films.

    Studiotalk translation:

    "popcorn movies" == Mindless garbage with no story, poor acting, and lots of big explosions.

    "artsy films" == Anything with a plot.

    Too bad that 95% of the films to come out of Hollywood fall into the "popcorn movies" category.

    Here's a clue for the studios and the MPAA: make some decent material that I would be willing to spend $20 on to buy the DVD.

    I doubt very much that LoTR DVD sales will be disappointing, and I bet that there will be a lot of piracy of "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" DivX copies on P2P. Simple reason: people don't like to pay good money for garbage. Either make movies worth the sticker price, or lower the sticker price.
  • Yeah right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @02:06PM (#4716860)
    So now Hollywood thinks it can "win people over" to their side by evoking pity for them?! Pathetic.. truly pathetic. People will not stop boycotting / making unauthorized copies until Hollywood and the music industry learn some ethics themselves. Until then, Joe Public perceives that he is just stealing from a thief. Or phrased another way: Hollywood has no moral ground to stand on when they make these statements against so-called "piracy" by ordinary consumers.

    Some reasons to boycott Hollywood and Big Music:

    1.) They are solely responsible for the hideously unconstitutional DMCA, which tramples on some pretty basic rights--free speech and expression anyone?

    2.) They'd like to ruin all useful consumer electronics and computer technology with crap like SSSCA / CBDTPA, this time taking away basic rights of property ownership ("well, you can own it.. BUT we can legally say how you're allowed to use it")

    3.) They repeatedly screw over the true artists if there's a way to increase their profits. (Go look up your own examples.. there are plently out there.)

    4.) They are the single largest driving force in brainwashing youth with "alternative morals." And no, this has nothing to do with the mere existence of sex and violence in film. It's about the attitudes behind the way that sex and violence are portrayed. It's about the underlying message delivered. (Example: American Pie - "you're a loser if you're still a virgin at the end of high school")

    5.) They are an enormous tool of consumer whore-ism and shame-based marketing that promotes conformity. "You're no good unless you look this way / act this way / have these things / etc."

    6.) They have destroyed the original institution of limited copyright for the purpose of making gargantuan amounts of money with minimal efforts.

    7.) They seem to believe that they are "owed" enormous wealth because they are so special, as compared to most businesses which are subject to the Free Market and actually have to work hard to operate efficiently and turn a profit. Even bad movies tend to yield a profit margin unheard of in any other industry.

    8.) Unchecked positioning in the market and monopolistic tactics that rival Microsoft's have led to disgusting price gouging of theater tickets, pay TV, music albums, and movies. All at the expense of consumers.

    9.) They repeatedly have taken all available measures to maintain gatekeepers of all media, making it very difficult for independent artists and producers to succeed. ..And then they turn around and put out propaganda like this, saying "don't attack the gatekeepers! you'll hurt the poor working-class folks in the entertainment industry!!"

    I don't know about the rest of you folk, but this kinda stuff is plenty to make me avoid the theaters and wait for the $0.99 DVD rental (on the handful of movies even *worth* seeing) Vote with your dollars, people!!
  • Orwellian Newspeak (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alizard ( 107678 ) <{moc.sice} {ta} {drazila}> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @04:57PM (#4718520) Homepage
    The CEO of Fox has redefined "work together" as "let Us inform you of the terms under which your industry will work under Our control".

    I've stated in earlier posts that despite the knowledge that the Hollywood content package basically means that all new electronic or software technology will require the approval of a bureaucracy controlled by Hollywood to make sure "proper" DRM is implemented, that technology companies would grab desperately at any hope that Hollywood is "being reasonable" and "willing to do business".

    This speech has one message. The CEO of Fox News is telling us that they bought, paid for, and 0wN Congress, and we will do what his cartel does or else.

    High technology of a sort that Hollywood disapproves of will happen whether or not USA high tech companies or individual software developers, engineers, h4xx0rs, or individual electronics experimenters get to play or not.

    If we want technological innovation to happen in the US instead of everywhere but the USA, somebody is going to have to organize to fight the Hollywood RIAA/MPAA cartel. Political Action Committees are the only way to do this. Neither the vendors nor anybody in the user community have stepped forward with the cash to get a mass action + lobbying organization capable of fighting this.

    I no longer expect any meaningful political action about this.

    Our alleged high-tech leadership is hypnotized by smoke and mirrors, believing the vague promises of the entertainment industry that if they build DRM-disabled technology, we will buy it.

    If anybody's going to fight this in time to affect the next election cycle, they have to start NOW. This isn't happening. High-tech industry doesn't have the will or the vision to fight. They are hypnotized by the kind of fantasies Hollywood is supposed to spin us for entertainment purposes, and making business decisions that affect us all based on them.

    Perhaps they'll understand they made a mistake when they discover that the new hot consumer gadgets are either being smuggled into the US or being built in dumbed down form for the US market by competitors working in high-tech friendly business environments and that they will either have to move their companies, close shop, or become distributors for foriegn products.

The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader.

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