OMG! That Diaper Bag is Pirating a Movie!

I  never watch 60 Minutes.  But last Sunday, having some time on my hands due to having gained an extra hour through Eastern Standard Time, I was channel surfing and came across a 60 Minutes story about the MPAA and piracy.  As this is right up my alley, I watched the segment.  In it, reps from the organization and Steven Soderberg declaimed how piracy was ruining the movie industry.  Agents from countries with no scruples are filming movies on the first day of showing, or stealing movies from editing rooms to sell on streets all over the world.  The segment itself was essentially shilling for the MPAA, with, as Techdirt points out , no coverage of the other side. But what is the other side?  Techdirt’s rebut was primarily concerned with driving home the inconsistencies in the report.  What neither CBS nor Techdirt thought fit to mention was that there are plenty of people who would be willing to shell out money to see a movie without Russian subtitles that they pick up on a street corner, or take the 3 or 4 hours it takes to download a movie through BitTorrent.  But they can’t, because of the byzantine licensing timeframes that the movies industry has  set up that dictates who can show a first-run movie when.  If the MPAA released first-run movies to NetFlix or pay-per-view, for instance, the day or week after release, they would certainly be selling more views of that movie. Instead, they will hold onto their outmoded concept of how people should watch movies.  And screw themselves in the attempt. Just like the RIAA did with music.

Meanwhile, the MPAA is taking matters into its own hands by passing the buck entirely.  In a letter to the FCC, which is the midst of its comment period about net neutrality, the organization recommended that the ISPs take care of it. Since people who download movies are sucking up all the bandwidth, let the ISPs control who gets the bandwidth.  You may recall past issues about bandwidth bottlenecking, particularly from Comcast, and how the courts threw those cases out.

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