Infographic: Hollywood's long war on technology


You know, when I was sitting down with entertainment execs on a regular basis to debate applied, practical technology choices in DRM standards bodies, their constant refrain was, "We love technology! We use it all the time!" The implication being that if they instigated a law prohibiting a technology it would not represent ignorance or fear, but well-informed solemn judgement. I'd often cite Jack Valenti's infamous words to Congress: "The VCR is to the American film industry as the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone," and they'd scoff. "Why do you always bring that up? It's ancient history!" And I'd say, "Oh, do you repudiate Jack Valenti, then? Because the last time I checked, you guys renamed your headquarters (I shit you not) the Jack Valenti Building." And they'd say, "Ha, ha, very funny. But seriously, is one wrong-headed statement from Jack all you've got?" And then I'd go into the long list of all the crap they'd fought as an industry, from the remote control to cable TV, from diversified cinema ownership to yeah, the VCR, and they'd mumble something about how EFF stood for "Everything For Free," and I just didn't understand the arts. Which always made me laugh because generally speaking I was the only working creative artist in the discussion, and I'd often be going to meetings in between working on novels. Clearly, to understand the arts you need to be an entertainment industry lawyer working for a giant multinational conglomerate, not a working artist.

Anyway, if I was still in those stuffy, hateful rooms where they plotted to ban technologies, I'd print out a stack of this Matador Network infographics, which are a handy guide to the pig-ignorant campaigns that Hollywood has waged against new technologies since the industry's founders ripped off Thomas Edison's patents and fled to California.

Infographic: Why the movie industry is so wrong about SOPA

Discuss

90 Responses to “Infographic: Hollywood's long war on technology”

  1. Kaibaman says:

    If this graph doesn’t expose the MPAA and RIAA’s evil plans I don’t know what will, this is an excellent chart of what has happened threw out history.

  2. BBNinja says:

    Movie Studios, Music Industry and Software Industry continue to release their content on fragile, outmoded, outdated, DRM-filled medium then bemoan piracy while their own business practices actually push people to pirate content.  What’s sad is I’ve had to download pirated copies of games I physically own to get the damn things to work.  CD’s?  What’s a CD and why the hell would I pay 15-25 bucks to buy a drm/root-kit filled compact disc?  And what if I don’t own an Ipod and don’t want to buy DRM-locked content from Itunes?  I now watch over 50% of my television and movies from Netflix or Hulu and other legal sources on the internet.  Hell, you can even purchase or unlock streaming online versions of movies from Disney with physical purchases and Disney is a huge supporter of SOPA and yet the MPAA claims this “technology” will kill the movie industry, not their increasingly overpriced tickets, overpriced popcorn/soda, overpriced movies and overhyped/overacted movies.  Irony much?

    • fett101 says:

      iTunes music in the USA has been DRM free since April 2009. ;)
      Videos are still DRM though.

      • adonai says:

        I don’t count iTunes as ‘free’ if you have to install their POS software (on Windows anyway) to purchase songs.

        • retepslluerb says:

          Right.

          Also, they force me to pay using “money”, even though I have perfectly fine gold coins and frozen chicken lying around.

        • Beth Z says:

          No, I’m with you on how bad iTunes is. I’ve tried to install it on my computer once or twice and EVERY TIME it does something stupid– like duplicate every. single. song in my library, which means when I open Media Player to play something, I then have to delete all the extra crap. It’s also just badly organized and hard to use as a stand-alone music player.

          (Also, I really really hate Apple and will not give them any money if I can help it.)

          I use Amazon’s mp3 store occasionally and it’s not bad, but they don’t seem to have as wide a selection for video. Mostly I’d rather buy DVDs, but some shows just aren’t available on DVD.

          • fett101 says:

            Uncheck “Copy files to iTunes Media folder” in the Advanced options menu.

            I wouldn’t say iTunes is doing something stupid but rather it is doing it a different way that is not conductive to your media usage. It does suck as a standalone player because it’s not a standalone player. If you’re not going to use it as a media player/library as it’s intended, which you’re not since you are using Media Player to play something, then you are correct in that you’re better off not using it. 

            Don’t use a screwdriver to hammer in nails and don’t use iTunes if you’re not going to use it as a complte media library solution.

          • b1313536 says:

            Exactly. I used to say that iTunes was the most successful online retailer without a website. As in, a couple of years ago, there was zero interaction with the iTunes service without their desktop client installed. You couldn’t even find out whether something was available on iTunes without iTunes. Their web presence was a page that said, “iTunes is great! Click here to install iTunes.”

            Since iTunes isn’t even available on the platforms where I spend most of my time (Ubuntu, Android), Amazon and other DRM-free MP3 file retailers just make more sense.

      • digi_owl says:

        Largely because some “minor” European nations put the squeeze on them for device lock-in.

    • vesey says:

      i would love a brand new car with all of the gadgets, if they don’t start selling them for under $1,000 i’m going to steal one……..

  3. Phil Reilly says:

    Chris Dodd is probably one of the biggest hypocritical jerks ever. The one thing I find hard to believe is how obvious it is, and how clear it is that he thinks he can get away with it. :(

    • digi_owl says:

      Thinks? So far he very much have gotten away with it. And he is not alone in that. The whole thing seems to be heading towards a “let them eat cake” moment.

    • bkim says:

      This isn’t unique to Dodd. Congress is finally passing the STOCK Act—apparently, mostly to buoy their decrepit approval ratings. I was under stricter disclosure rules when I worked for a prop trading firm doing engineering work that didn’t expose me to anything remotely resembling insider information. I wasn’t allowed to make any sort of trade without getting it “approved” first. This is the difference: People in the real world make an effort to be beyond reproach—the smart ones, anyway. They are careful to ensure they aren’t running afoul of the regulatory agencies. Congress doesn’t give a crap because they think they’re above the law.

  4. Roger Strong says:

    “The industry’s founders ripped off Thomas Edison’s patents and fled to California?”  What goes around comes around.
     
    Thomas Edison was the original movie pirate.  His film technicians would secretly make copies of other people’s films, and then he would distribute them in movie houses and reap the profits.
     
    Georges Méliès, who wrote “Le Voyage Dans La Lune” (A Trip To The Moon), went bankrupt largely because of Edison’s practices.

  5. WOW Jack Valenti was a saint compared to Chris Dodd.
    Valenti’s “Boston Strangler” analogy was really over the top, but was just meant to express concern and fear over what would turn out to be harmless in comparison.
    Meanwhile, Chris Dodd’s “China government censorship” analogy is not just ignorant, but also thinly veiled bigoted racism, and is pretty much a giant “f you, we’ll do what we want” that makes him look like a whiny fascist

    • digi_owl says:

      Sadly he is not the only one that have basically said “if China could do it, so can USA”. Funny how something petty as copyright ends up dragging the world into a police state.

  6. J M says:

    The remote control?  Got a link or something?  Sounds interesting and I hadn’t heard that one.

    • Nonentity says:

      The complaint about the remote control was that it would allow people to skip advertisements, which would totally destroy the industry.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a good link about the issue yet..

  7. noen says:

    “It’s as if someone shoplifts in your store, SOPA allows the government to shut down you store.”

    FALSE — Actually, it’s as if you own a pawn shop and are knowingly selling stolen goods behind the counter and the police come and arrest your ass. Ask Dotcom how that worked out for him.

    • Actually, SOPA would be more like having your business de-listed from the public eye in that case. Anyone that knows your address can still find you, but you’ve effectively been “disappeared”
      Oh, and your analogy is incomplete, the pawn shop could also be closed down even if the owner was not knowingly selling stolen goods. Also, not every business that would be affected by SOPA would be operating directly on payment for “giving” the “stolen goods”, most places like YouTube don’t ask up front for money for you to watch things that could fall into the “stolen goods” category. They do sell legal streaming of Batman Begins though!

      • noen says:

        “SOPA would be more like having your business de-listed from the public eye in that case.” — Your pawn shop *should* be shuttered if you are fencing stolen goods.

        “the pawn shop could also be closed down even if the owner was not knowingly selling stolen goods” — I’m in favor of OPEN which is an alternate bill to address the issue. So… BoingBoing should not be punished for linking to MegaUpLoads but it was good law enforcement that MegaUpLoads was shut down and it’s owner arrested.

        • So SOPA, if passed, would affect pawn shops outside of the country? I realize I didn’t mention SOPA applying to foreign websites/businesses in my previous reply, but only because I made the mistake of not remembering something like that which would help my analogy.
          So, Country A would be able to shut down a pawn shop in Country B, et cetera.

          I think there are many problems that arise out of trying to use physical analogies to internet and intellectual property issues. (Intellectual property is kind of an oxymoron anyways)

          Anyways, what does “MegaUpLoads” have to do with shoddy copyright legislation?

    • Ianto_Jones says:

      Actually, it’s as if you own a pawn shop that knowingly gives away free copies of invisible intangible things that it has legally purchased, and the police come and illegally arrest your ass.

      • noen says:

        ” it’s as if you own a pawn shop that knowingly gives away free copies of invisible intangible things” — Try again. Bits are real and it takes a lot of very real labor to arrange those bits into music or movies or software. Megaupload was distributing property it did not own and profiting handsomely from their piracy.

        • Bonobo says:

          yes, but neither of these apply to SOPA. Megaupload was clearly legally in the wrong for encouraging and intentionally profiting off of copyrighted material (assuming the evidence supports the initial claims). SOPA makes it possible to punish without any sort of trial or evidence. It is like boarding up the pawn shop and telling the credit card companies not to do business with the pawn shop because someone gave you an anonymous tip that there might be illegal activity there.

    • Nonentity says:

      Yeah, no, the pawn shop isn’t a very good analogy either.

      Perhaps a more apt analogy would be if a single person at a flea market was selling counterfeit handbags (or even giving them away for free), and the government shut down the entire market because of it.

      • noen says:

        “a more apt analogy would be if a single person at a flea market was selling counterfeit handbags” — Only if that single person had a transporter next to his stand and he could duplicate those handbags with a push of a button and every person in the world could instantly teleport to him, buy his counterfeit goods and then teleport home.

        • Nonentity says:

          No, not “only if” that.  The analogy scales for your “ever person in the world” requirement, you just need to make the flea market bigger and have more people traveling through it.  It eventually becomes a much bigger market than could exist in real life, but we’re dealing with conceptual markets when we start talking about something on the scale of the internet.

          And a requirement to be able to duplicate handbags at a push of a button isn’t required, either.  In counterfeit handbags, the *design* and *pattern* of the bags are what makes it an infringement.  Which makes this fit digital copyright infringement far better than the usual tortured “stolen goods” attempt.  Digital infringement doesn’t happen with zero resources either… the required resources are just much less expensive.

    • Andrew Singleton says:

      False:

      It’s as if you own a pawn shop and there’s some guys passing things out on the front of your store that you can’t get rid of before the cops come to lock your store and the utilities cutoff.

    • digi_owl says:

      I think the thinking is that if i lifted a apple from a store, the apple supplier could use SOPA to close the store under the claim that the store aided in stealing from the apple supplier.

  8. Nadreck says:

    You forgot about how the printing press was going to be the end of composers because now everyone could easily get a copy of the sheet music instead of going to a paid performance.  And let’s not even get into player-piano rolls!

    • Shinkuhadoken says:

      The printing press was invented in 1440, and the biggest controversy tended to be competing Bible versions, not sheet music.

  9. BBNinja says:

    Take a hint guys, the CD, DVD and even Bluray are becoming the 8-track of modern times and people are tired of herding into small, crowded theaters and paying 5 dollars for a 75 cent soda and similarly for snacks and then on top of all that, still having anti-piracy/downloading is bad commercials shoved in our faces even though you’re sitting right there in the damn movie theater.

    • Jonathan Roberts says:

      You’d think a “thank you for supporting our industry, your custom is valued” style message would be more appropriate, right? I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of those.

      • vingle says:

        they tried it in the UK - http://www.cinemauk.org.uk/mediafiles/_19/

        the Reservoir Dogs one’s cute - http://www.youtube.com/youmakethemovies#p/u/1/JmcxiIdCpxI

      • retepslluerb says:

        Retailers sometime do that, too.

        I just got a kindle as a replacement for one my wife gave me. I’m actually quite satisfied with Amazon’s customer service here, as the whole processes of reporting dead pixels, troubleshooting and getting the replacement okay’ed took about 17 minutes.

        But really, congratulating me on getting your device?

        Manuals used to start with a thank you note.

  10. Iain Marcks says:

    as an industry employee and member of IATSE Local 600 (cinematographer’s guild) i am disappointed that my union unequivocally supports SOPA and PIPA, and as a dues-paying member, there’s not a damned thing i can do about it.

    IATSE plays the misunderstood good guy in a joint statement with AFTRA, SAG, the DGA, AFM and the Teamsters: http://www.iatse-intl.org/news/1202012creativecommunitystatementonPROTECTIPACT.pdf

    • Bonobo says:

      Is there any recourse for an individual who’s union supports things that they are against? What if you were gay, and the union was giving money to organizations that tried to ban gay marriage? I have wondered about this on other issues for a while.

  11. zyodei says:

    I was following this until the final panel. Piracy=’Shrinkage’=Shoplifting=Credit Card Fraud?? Really? 

  12. musesum says:

    I remember attending a Copyright Commons party and part of the agenda was a congratulatory video from none other than Jack Valenti. Somewhat surreal. 

    I haven’t been paying attention to the movie sales figures to know what shape they’re in. Maybe they’re seeing broadband and p2p catch up with them. Maybe they see their market going the way of the music industry, which is freaky scary: with revenue dropping from $37B to $15.9B in ten years (IFPI: 2001 to 2011). 

    It does seem like SOPA and PIPA is another creative freakout.

  13. liz o says:

    “The VCR is to the American film industry as the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone” is either a terrible analogy or an easily misunderstood one. Most women home alone at the time were not affected by the Boston Strangler, so if we’re talking about one woman there’s a tiny likelihood of anything happening. But if it’s about everyone being terrified, it makes more sense.

    Also, it’s pretty ballsy of the industry to make us upgrade to digital versions of everything (several times in some cases, from DVD to HD or Blu-Ray) and then freak out when we make digital copies of them. If everyone still used records I doubt they would have such a problem with file-sharing. That what comes from getting greedy. Although I seem to recall them freaking out about people copying cassette tapes in the 80′s and 90′s as well…

    • digi_owl says:

      Thing is, anything that make life easier for the middle man (labels, studios) will eventually make its way into the hands of the individual.

  14. BBNinja says:

    I said Don’t Copy that Floppy!

  15. vingle says:

    OK, simple question. Last night I search for “watch Malancholia online” as I want to see the new Lars von Trier film. Google only serves me links to pirate streams, and it’s selling ads on those search results. It doesn’t stick the official site, IMDB page or Wikipedia there. There’s reference to one DMCA takedown notice at the bottom but otherwise it just is made very easy and tempting for me not to bother trying any other method to pay Von Trier so he can get finance to make more films. How do you fix that?

    I guess some here would say, why should you fix it? Well, I don’t like media empires, but there’s some 50,000 feature films made each year, of which Hollywood studios make around 600. And I do like films that cost more than a couple of thousand to make, and Google is an empire too, no? Except they don’t make content, but stick adverts on it. If everything online’s free there’s more ad space, no? That’s their business model. And advertising is, well, go watch Bill Hicks if you need me to explain.

    So what to do?

    • Peter says:

      Watch a pirated copy and then spontaneously, and out of the good will of your heart, search diligently for Lars Von Trier so you can slip him a fiver, is what the answer from the “piracy is not a problem” camp seems to amount to.

      The serious problem with the piracy debate is that the rights of creators are either poorly represented by corporate media on one side or are actively being destroyed for profit by tech companies like Google on the other. The media conglomerates, while they are not known for paying creators honestly, still must obtain the permission of creators to profit from creative works and there is well established legal recourse if they profit from a work without obtaining that permission. Standing against the media empires are pirates and the technology companies that make a lucrative living offering connectivity between those pirates and the public. The pirates actively refute the moral rights of creators to control their works and profit from them and the technology companies are perfectly happy to profit from this large scale trampling of creators rights, arguing that they have no legal or ethical obligation to avoid profiting from this illegal activity. They instead propose a regime where it is the responsibility of creators to police their networks for them, thereby avoiding the need to pay the cost of preventing their own unethical profits.

      Neither side particularly cares about anything except how they can control the distribution and get paid while doing it. For the MPAA the most effective remedy is legislative. They’re not technology companies; they’re not in the business of inventing ways for other people’s companies to stop distributing their stuff without interfering with other traffic. What makes sense to them is a controlling legislative regime that offers them legal recourse and the potential to recover revenue lost to piracy. They want the ability to issue takedown notices that can’t be safely ignored. For technology companies, the cost of policing the network to hunt out infringement if they could be held financially responsible for infringement would hamper their further attempts at controlling the distribution networks. Google wants to be free from any legal bar against profiting off of piracy. It’s not like they’re making any attempts to create a “royalties we should owe authors for distributing their works” app. Their attempt to grab at author’s rights in the Google books case is reprehensible and is probably the single biggest attempt to deprive authors of their legal and moral rights in the entire three centuries of copyright law tradition. Make no mistake; no matter their slogan, Google is a villain and has been for a while.

      Nowhere in this mess is there anyone actually working on a legal and technical regime that defends the rights of creators. They’re all just wrestling over control of the distribution. It’s just that one side wants to completely eliminate the bar of needing permission to profit. Yet, somehow, graphics and posts like this seem to want to put them on the side of the angels.

      • vingle says:

        Yes. There’s countless indie filmmakers who’ve spent decades fighting the media giants for shelf space in shops and screens in the multiplex, and in Hollywood, scores more who’ve had their ideas stolen and corrupted, their royalties never materialising with creative accounting showing losses on box office hits (Forrest Gump still isn’t in profit). The fall of studio distribution gatekeepers following the longtail was the revolution we’ve been waiting for. And I blacked my site against SOPA because that future depends on an open internet.

        Yet it looks like instead we’re just getting newer, fewer and more powerful gatekeepers. Apple locks users of their eBook creation software to their device and marketplace, Google can demote legit content in favour of ripped content serving ads, and doesn’t seem to respond to infringement take-down notices from indie ‘I don’t have a legal department’ filmmakers on YouTube, from those I know who’ve tried.

        And most debate on the subject seems to lump filmmakers and creators trying to fund their work with the totalitarian and tech-ignorant approach of the MPAA. Of course if it’s 37 Signal’s creations that are being ripped, that’s a different matter.

    • Jason's Robot says:

      What do you do?
      You DON’T click on the links to ‘pirate streams’ and realize you’re not going to be able to watch that movie online at this point.  It’s called Free Will.

      Also, why would Google give you links to IMDB or Wikipedia when you specifically wanted “watch Malancholia online”?

      • vingle says:

        On the assumption that Google’s spiders might not figure out the official site for a film for my country, but that IMDB or Wikipedia probably can. (And if the official site doesn’t give me pointers where and how to pay to watch the film then, well, the film company’s pretty crap.)

    • robuluz says:

      That’s not Google’s business model. Google’s business model is to simplify navigation through vast amounts of information, by anticipating what you really want when you search, and offer targeted advertising. Google thought you wanted an illegal download because, lets face it, it kinda sounded like you did.

      I think you’re doing it wrong. You should go to one of the fairly small number of legal online distribution channels for major movie releases (say iTunes, for instance), and see if this movie is available for download in your territory yet. It’s not in mine, which might help explain why you only found illegal download options.

      • vingle says:

        But then I’d have searched for ‘watch Melancholia online free’. I’d like to think assumption of innocent til proven not so would apply to web searches too. Even just searching ‘watch Melancholia’ brings up mostly ripped streams. The reason I searched was because LoveFilm (a UK Netflix) didn’t have the film (admittedly a distributor fail). I did end up checking iTunes and found it (more expensive than the DVD or BluRay on Amazon – distributor second fail).

        Still, it feels a bit like Google’s saying the distributors need to buy Google Ads to tell me that it’s on iTunes – the two ads at the foot of the page were for cable pay-per-view platforms. In other words, if you want to sell your film, buy an ad from Google to compete with the rest of the search results for sites that are working against that.

        Isn’t that a little like the old racket? You don’t have to pay us a fee, but if you don’t want these heavy guys we know to come and ‘disrupt up’ your business…

      • Peter says:

        Google’s business model is to act as a referral service to other people’s content and to get paid serving ads while doing it. They also get paid to serve ads on your email… which is tough to stomach but its a pretty goddamn good email platform. Their success in lowering the search rankings of low quality sites demonstrates that they are perfectly capable of filtering search results to avoid directing people to pirated material. In other words, Google could stop facilitating piracy, they’ve demonstrated that they they could remove pirates from their search rankings. But rather than doing that, instead they choose to serve ads on the traffic that being a gateway to illegal downloading brings them.

        For any movie or TV show I search for, pirated content aggregators consistently show up in the top search rankings. It is perfectly possible for a person to download pirated TV and movies without even being aware that the content is illegally distributed. All that is required is that they not be particularly savvy about the ubiquity of pirates. I’m sure there are tons of people who watched content on Megavideo without even realizing it was illegally distributed. After all, being offered openly and effectively advertised on the most authoritative search engine in the world would tend to make the content look legitimate.

        The motion picture and television industry might be a sack of assholes, but no one is better served by letting an openly criminal sack of assholes take over from them. Google may not be criminal, but they are willing facilitators of criminal action.

  16. yupgiboy says:

    The flowchart leaves something significant out. The movie industry also used 16mm for airline, cruise ships and institutional use. Then there was 8mm and Super 8mm for private use before home video. Also, there was a sizable underground black market where 35mm prints would be duped down to 16mm and 8mm for private collectors. The MPAA hunted them like dogs, too… they still do.

  17. GlenBlank says:

    the industry’s founders ripped off Thomas Edison’s patents and fled to California.

    Wow. You write that in the same sentence where you call others ‘pig-ignorant’?  

    Oh, the irony…

    Honestly, that’s the stupidest summary of the Motion Picture Patents Company  and its thuggish attempts to monopolize motion picture technology I’ve ever read.   

    And I’ve read some fairly dunder-headed ones.

    The independents ‘fled to California’ because Edison had assembled a trust intended to buy up the monopoly he had failed to win through patent litigation. 

    The trust used illegal restraint-of-trade tactics to try shut down competitors.  After the trust announced a ‘rental only, no sales’ policy, they began using hired thugs to ‘confiscate’ perfectly legal equipment (cameras licensed earlier under Lumière patents, and Edison cameras purchased prior to the ‘no sales’ policy) to ‘investigate’ whether those machines infringed on the trust’s patents.  

    Even when their ‘investigations’ concluded that no patents had been infringed, confiscated equipment was kept for months or even years, and was often found to be damaged beyond repair when it was (unapologetically) returned.

    Edison’s patents were set to expire in 1913.  Edison nevertheless continued to try to monopolize film distribution via the General Film Company, an MPPC subsidiary created in 1910.

    The Justice Department began prosecution of the MPPC and General Film under the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1912 (a year before the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company created the first motion picture studio in Hollywood by renting a barn to film Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Squaw Man”).  

    In 1915 a federal court ruled (in  United States v. Motion Picture Patents Co.) that the MPPC’s tactics  went “far beyond what was necessary to protect the use of patents or the monopoly which went with them”, and were, consequently, an illegal restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act.  

    The MPPC lost a landmark case against Universal Film Company in 1917 (Motion Picture Patents Co. v. Universal Film Co.- 243 U.S. 502), with the court denying the MPPC’s claim that labels affixed to its machinery constituted a permanent enforceable license that could restrict the machinery’s use and require the owner to employ only film stock obtained from approved suppliers.

    The MPPC’s appeals of its antitrust conviction were finally exhausted in 1918.  The company’s operations were terminated, and, along with the General Film Company, its name and assets were sold to the Lincoln & Parker Co. of Massachusetts.

    Don’t let your distaste for the present-day studios and their tactics blind you to the historical facts.  Edison was a would-be monopolist who engaged in violent and illegal attempts to restrain trade using hired thugs and baseless litigation.

    • digi_owl says:

      “Even when their ‘investigations’ concluded that no patents had been infringed, confiscated equipment was kept for months or even years, and was often found to be damaged beyond repair when it was (unapologetically) returned.”

      Heh, reads like a pre-web domain grab…

      Btw, i find myself thinking about social statistic. Specifically how kids being abused by adult go on to abuse kids themselves when reaching adulthood.

      • GlenBlank says:

        Heh, reads like a pre-web domain grab…

        Heh.  :-)

        Yeah, Edison prefigured a lot of today’s IP wars – his early cylinder recordings came with a rather restrictive EULA.

        (In all fairness, though, copyright at the time didn’t cover sound recordings, so Edison resorted to the EULA to try to gain some leverage over piracy.  Even so, the ban on discount resale of used copies was a bit of overreach.)

        • digi_owl says:

          No different than what gaming studios and record labels (on digital sales) are claiming right now. Plus ca change i guess.

  18. stephenl123 says:

    A better analogy for SOPA/PIPA is book store.  The book store is *accused* of letting people sit around reading books in the store.  Under SOPA/PIPA, the electric company, the credit card companies, and the town utility then have two days to cut off the store or their owners (the utility owners not the book store owners) will go to prison. The police must also lock the store or the police will be put n prison.  If it turns out the courts decide the book store was falsely accused it is then illegal for them to seek any restitution from the accuser.

    • Scurra says:

      I’m still trying to work out why Public Libraries haven’t all been shut down as the biggest pirates around.  They buy one copy of something but let hundreds of people use it for free.   OK, I accept that they do actually buy the original (although even that isn’t always the case) but that seems to happen with other pirated content too.

  19. alex says:

    He may have been the general, but valenti also called for an end to the problem that started the war and gave him his job…

    http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/1/24/jack-valenti-hollywood-super-lobbyist-blamed-money-for-ruining-politics–2

    • digi_owl says:

      Heh, get to power by questionable means. Then pass a law closing that loophole so that nobody can play the same trick on you.

  20. neapel says:

    This is one of these horrible anti-infographics that keep popping up, sullying the name of actual infographics, you know, the information delivering kind. I had a bit of a rant all over it: http://i.imgur.com/amBUm.jpg (but it’s actually not that horrible, because they only had 3 graphs to utterly fail at, which they did, usually there’s more…)

    • David Lanteigne says:

      We should not let our passion on this subject blind us to the fact that this is a nearly illegible, headache-inducing graphic with a risibly low number of bits conveyed per pixel.

    • Jason's Robot says:

      I like what you did.  BUT, like most note givers, your notes are virtually illegible ;-)
      Though, I’m glad you turned it b&w for your mark-up because the original various shades of red with white is not easy to look at.

  21. Øyvind says:

    I keep being reminded of perhaps the best line in ‘The Aviator’. “Don’t ever talk down to me. You are a movie star, nothing more.”
    And isn’t that the great mystery? How on earth have they managed to get so powerful? They live on make-believe and expensive trickery. They don’t deliver anything essential (movie making and arts would live just fine without Hollywood, maybe even thrive). They are useless. And yet we keep paying them more and more money, for less and less product.

    • digi_owl says:

      Observe the power gladiators held in Rome…

      • Øyvind says:

        Actually, I would pay good money to see MPAA execs fight each other to the death, or even fed to the lions. Now, THAT’S entertainment. Not sure I would have any more respect for them, though.

        [edit] and copyright lawyers too!

  22. RyonRyon says:

    explaining it to a five year old, I equated sopa to a publisher being allowed to burn down a library if it lent too many books.  And then everyone trying to reassure her no libraries are going to be burnt down.

  23. digi_owl says:

    from one anecdote i have encountered, the studios did not so much loose the remote-DVR issue as made a compromise. The studios would allow remote-DVR services, if the service provider would encrypt each customers recordings and not apply any deduplication. This is to say that if you have 1000 people all recording the same show at 1080p for the whole duration, you have to store 1000 copies of that recording, each encrypted so that only that customer can access the recording. Any same IT admin would instead store 1 copy and apply metadata pr customer. Basically, the lawyer thinking is as if each customer rented a remote controlled VHS machine and tape. As such, their thinking is still stuck in the physical media era. They are apparently unable, or unwilling, to grasp the changes that digital storage allows.

  24. Glad the chart included examples of recording methods.  Also, nearly eight years ago peer-to-peer (p2p) sharing technology was under legislative scrutiny with consideration to make it illegal.

    Most modern advances like p2p and the internet were designed, developed and built for communication and the sharing of information, knowledge, and wisdom. In doing so, they have enabled unprecedented individual expression resulting in global change.  These same qualities threaten those who would seek to control our behavior.  
    Why, it’s almost as if all the metaphors about the ‘net, ownership, sharing, and piracy are accurate and not accurate at the same time. 

  25. TiagoTiago says:

    The last bit in the picture is wrong; what it should’ve said is somthing along the lines of : “It’s as if someone walks into your toy store wearing a imitation Rolex watch (it’s actually a Rolax if you look closely) and the government shuts down your store”

  26. joshkrahn says:

    The “shoplift” bit at the end is unfortunate because it unintentionally validates the argument which equates file-sharing with property theft. Copyright infringement is unlicensed reproduction and distribution, NOT theft. Unlike shoplifting, or stealing in general, it does not deprive the lawful owner of his property. Nor is it “piracy” either, for that matter. Matt Yglesias does a good job of explaining why these analogies are dangerous:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2011/12/15/piracy_is_a_form_of_theft_and_copyright_infringement_is_neither.html

  27. I find myself giving up entire sectors of the economy as the behavior of those sectors offends me. I’m down to not watching many movies, except free with my Amazon prime (how they divvy up that $70 a year I give them to ship me bags of rice for free and still have any left for the MPPA is their problem, and there’s no Kindle in my house, either), most internet bulletin boards (why discuss things with people who I wouldn’t let in my front door?), etc. Also, I spend a lot less time on the internet, which is where a lot of ugly stuff originates and happens (boingboing is one of the few survivors). The nicest thing about email is that I can select who I talk with. The funny thing about this paring down of my contact with strangers is that the more of this I do, the better my quality of life gets.  Who’d have thought.  .  .

  28. AnthonyI says:

    What about ACTA?  … Does it not matter anymore?

  29. RedShirt77 says:

    This should really become a series of infographics about how the old and powerful constantly make up stupid rules solely to protect their power, silly ideas,  and block progress. 

    I still find it amazing that in a world were kids can see almost unlimited online pornography, we still have rating systems that prevent nipples from being seen on network TV.

    AAhhh! Dungeons and Dragons will drive all our children to suicide!

  30. TiagoTiago says:

    Btw, i think people here will enjoy reading the following: http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2010/07/24/piracy-is-a-real-problem/

    edit: no it’s not spam, it’s an article written by a friend of mine that is quite on topic regarding piracy, MAFIAA etc

  31. Adrian Burns says:

    It’s not quite like the Govt shutting down your store because somebody shoplifted in it.  Is it not a little more like somebody shoplifting a brand (let’s say Calvin Klein) from Macy’s and Calvin Klein getting the Govt to shut down Macy’s.  

  32. What is it? Are people MORE greedy now than they were in the past? or do we just have more and better information to see the charade for what it really is?

  33. I’m not sure they would understand it.

    Then again, I’m not sure I understand it, but at least I have a brain injury to explain why. What’s their excuse?

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