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December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS" 
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
You need to also address the opposite concerns. Let's say you download a movie illegally. You end up not liking the movie much, at least not enough to watch it again. That's loss of revenue right there.

As you and others have addressed in the past, the studios need to embrace the Internet. Offer more reasonably priced download/streaming service. Many wouldn't think twice paying $2 to watch a streaming movie, perhaps a dollar more for the 720p version. If they like it, offer download to own version at a discounted rate (waiving the rental fee), also at a reasonable price (no more than $10, few dollars more for 1080p version). As the movie ages, gradually lower the price while and offer ad-supported streaming version (e.g., Hulu).


Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:53 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
peanutjelly wrote:
You need to also address the opposite concerns. Let's say you download a movie illegally. You end up not liking the movie much, at least not enough to watch it again. That's loss of revenue right there.

My point is that most of the time, the movie studios that pumped out the film downloaded don't deserver to make any revenue from it. We can talk about the "poor" studios all we want, but the fact is that they're still making money hand over fist, even in this time of recession (maybe even more so because people want to escape reality at such times).

peanutjelly wrote:
As you and others have addressed in the past, the studios need to embrace the Internet. Offer more reasonably priced download/streaming service. Many wouldn't think twice paying $2 to watch a streaming movie, perhaps a dollar more for the 720p version. If they like it, offer download to own version at a discounted rate (waiving the rental fee), also at a reasonable price (no more than $10, few dollars more for 1080p version). As the movie ages, gradually lower the price while and offer ad-supported streaming version (e.g., Hulu).

I would like to see such an idea implemented, but the studios won't do that mainly because they'd be missing out on a large part of their revenue (aka box office receipts). Movies are different from songs in that there are places that people need to go in order to enjoy them at first release (re: movie theater). Theaters are also the place to go if one wishes to experience a film with the best picture quality and sound since home theater units are expensive to put together.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:31 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
My point is that most of the time, the movie studios that pumped out the film downloaded don't deserver to make any revenue from it. We can talk about the "poor" studios all we want, but the fact is that they're still making money hand over fist, even in this time of recession


I'm sure glad we have people like Ragnarok who know which people "deserve" to make money. Thanks for clearing that up. I always assumed that since they invest millions upon millions of dollars into products that bring happiness to many people, including myself, they should get some money for it. But I suppose I was wrong because they don't measure up to the yardstick of artistic merit that some anonymous internet poster who enjoys Norse mythology has for cinema. Silly me with my ideas.

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Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:58 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm sure glad we have people like Ragnarok who know which people "deserve" to make money. Thanks for clearing that up. I always assumed that since they invest millions upon millions of dollars into products that bring happiness to many people, including myself, they should get some money for it.
This sounds dangerously close to arguing that "they invest millions upon millions of dollars into products TO bring happiness to many people." Which, of course, doesn't justify paying a red cent for any of it. As the consumer, being choosy with your money is your first line of defense against a marketplace filled with schlock. Which the film industry is.

Seems to me that if a bajillion people download Wolverine and the film studio takes a big hit, then the marketplace is doing exactly what it's supposed to do. If the free sneak peak doesn't put asses in the seats, perhaps (I know I'm not imagining this) the consumers aren't liking what they're seeing.

What the studios need to learn is that if consumers aren't buying the product, the fault does not lie with the consumers.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:40 am
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Ken wrote:
What the studios need to learn is that if consumers aren't buying the product, the fault does not lie with the consumers.


BINGO! My thoughts exactly!

We all know from experience if a movie is loved, we see it...again...and again...and again. The problem is there are lots of movies with tons of hype that have a decent first weekend, then fall off the face of the earth. The movie industry is afraid of missing out on that initial burst to help make some money on movies.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:00 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Studios are definitely not making movies in order to create happiness. They're making movies to make money out of it. If they stop making money, they'll make fewer movies. Since I enjoy movies, it seems only logical that I would want them to keep coming. People who like movies should pay for them. Just like every other product in the world.

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Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:11 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
I'm sure glad we have people like Ragnarok who know which people "deserve" to make money. Thanks for clearing that up. I always assumed that since they invest millions upon millions of dollars into products that bring happiness to many people, including myself, they should get some money for it. But I suppose I was wrong because they don't measure up to the yardstick of artistic merit that some anonymous internet poster who enjoys Norse mythology has for cinema. Silly me with my ideas.

I love how you assume that the studios invest money into films for the purpose of making people happy, as opposed to making execs more money. It's a business first with Hollywood, as it's always been. As such, it's best to look at it as a customer who is being particular about how he spends his money. If the studios churn out crap (re: most of their films), then they do not deserve to get my money for those films, as far as I"m concerned. I'm not going to shell out my hard-earned cash on shit like Old Dogs- hell, I wouldn't even download that crap.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:32 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
Studios are definitely not making movies in order to create happiness. They're making movies to make money out of it. If they stop making money, they'll make fewer movies. Since I enjoy movies, it seems only logical that I would want them to keep coming. People who like movies should pay for them. Just like every other product in the world.

It depends on the movie. Inferior products shouldn't be making their creators money.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:34 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
Not to get snippy, but you completely missed the point of my post. I said that while I can rationalize theater-hopping, I would never build an argument on its legitimacy ("But would you really listen to me if I went on and on saying that theaters should allow this behavior because it doesn't cost them nearly as much revenue as they think it does? I doubt it.") I don't have that big a problem with illegal downloaders--what I'm annoyed with is the sense of entitlement that comes from people who do it and Mr. Berardinelli. If you do the crime, you consent to the time. Pay for movies instead of whining about how the movie studios are so evil. If I get caught theater-hopping (which I was attempted to equate to piracy, just like you) and kicked out of the theater forever, I'll deserve it.


And I never insinuated that you legitimized theater hopping. My problem lies in implying that it's a lesser sin than downloading a movie. As you pointed out, a likely punishment for theater hopping is being banned from said theater. The punishment for getting caught downloading a movie? At the very least a disproportionally massive fine. Jail time is also possible. That's my problem with the MPAA. Go after the providers, not the consumers. If you do catch a downloader, a hundred bucks and temporarily stopping them from accessing the internet seems fair to me. The punishment should be more akin to say, being caught speeding, rather than stealing.


Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:54 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Alright thanks for clearing that up because I think everything you say makes sense. I think speeding is actually a very good parallel--one of those "not really a huge deal" crimes that's nonetheless a crime.

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Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:04 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
JamesKunz wrote:
Alright thanks for clearing that up because I think everything you say makes sense. I think speeding is actually a very good parallel--one of those "not really a huge deal" crimes that's nonetheless a crime.


Copyright infringement is illegal. I never claim it's anything but that (this is why I frequently refer to it as "illegal downloading"). Nevertheless, there are times when laws should be change. That's the reason I started this column out by outlining what I believe would be a reasonable framework for re-defining copyright infringement, which is the law that lies at the heart of this matter. However, until that law is changed (not something that is likely to happen now, if ever), these acts are still illegal.

But they remain minor infractions, which is why I also like the analogy to speeding. I have been ticketed a fair number of times but have never lost my license nor have I gone to jail. I committed an infraction and paid the penalty.

The other point I tried to make regarding downloading is that the studios would be better advised putting time and effort into finding a way to have the internet work for them. The videotape analogy, while imperfect and simplistic, is nevertheless applicable. When VCRs first started becoming commercially available, the studios fought against them, claiming they would mean the end of the movie industry. This fight went on for quite some time until they lost in court (the "fair use" doctrine). Faced with no other choice, they started working to use the VCR in their favor, and created a multi-billion dollar industry. That's what they should be doing here: amplifying the revenue stream by adapting to technology not fighting against it.


Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Quote:
The other point I tried to make regarding downloading is that the studios would be better advised putting time and effort into finding a way to have the internet work for them. The videotape analogy, while imperfect and simplistic, is nevertheless applicable. When VCRs first started becoming commercially available, the studios fought against them, claiming they would mean the end of the movie industry. This fight went on for quite some time until they lost in court (the "fair use" doctrine). Faced with no other choice, they started working to use the VCR in their favor, and created a multi-billion dollar industry. That's what they should be doing here: amplifying the revenue stream by adapting to technology not fighting against it.


There it is. The music industry went through the same thing years ago when Napster first come around. The RIAA freaked out and insisted it get shutdown immediately. What they didn't realize is they couldn't stop the rush of people using the internet that wanted to know what this technology did. Once people could download free (read illegal) files, there was nothing the RIAA could really do except pinpoint individual users, like Metallica did in front of a press conference (Congress?) with a list of poeple they said downloaded music illegally.

Technology isn't going away and the mentality of "the way it's always been done" has gone the way of the dinosaur. Try to embrace the technology that is here now and attempt to wrap your arms around what may come down the pike. The best way to ensure people will illegally download your film/music/whatever is to state they cannot do it.

**BTW James, it's the same with little kids. If you tell them not to do something, they're bound to do it as soon as your back is turned.**


Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:00 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
James Berardinelli wrote:
The other point I tried to make regarding downloading is that the studios would be better advised putting time and effort into finding a way to have the internet work for them. The videotape analogy, while imperfect and simplistic, is nevertheless applicable. When VCRs first started becoming commercially available, the studios fought against them, claiming they would mean the end of the movie industry. This fight went on for quite some time until they lost in court (the "fair use" doctrine). Faced with no other choice, they started working to use the VCR in their favor, and created a multi-billion dollar industry. That's what they should be doing here: amplifying the revenue stream by adapting to technology not fighting against it.


This and...

DylnFan96818 wrote:
Technology isn't going away and the mentality of "the way it's always been done" has gone the way of the dinosaur. Try to embrace the technology that is here now and attempt to wrap your arms around what may come down the pike. The best way to ensure people will illegally download your film/music/whatever is to state they cannot do it.


This.

I don't have any figures, but I'd like to believe that music piracy has decreased with the popularity of legal online stores like the iTunes store. Given an option between paying a reasonable fee for a song or risking virus infection, getting caught etc. for downloading a song I'd like to think that most people would choose the former. Unfortunately, most of these online stores aren't available in the little area known as "the rest of the world".

What companies have to do is make it easier for consumers to access the media legally than it is to download.


Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:10 am
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I agree Metalhead (and others). I'm glad that this conversation has moved back away from the realm of evil rich companies (though I admittedly helped foster that discussion).

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Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:14 pm
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Post The three R's
So where does "Rent, Rip, Return" fit into all of this? On the one hand, you've legitimately paid for it, but on the other, you've only paid for it for a certain period of time, and ripping it gives it to you for longer than that (i.e., forever). On the other other hand, returning it more quickly allows it to be rented again sooner, generating more revenue for the video store.


Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:46 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
I need to find the thread where I related pirating DVD's to speeding...and got shot down hardcore because speeding can actually physically hurt someone or something...That might have been on a different forum though lol.


Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:08 pm
Post Re: The three R's
edhorch wrote:
So where does "Rent, Rip, Return" fit into all of this? On the one hand, you've legitimately paid for it, but on the other, you've only paid for it for a certain period of time, and ripping it gives it to you for longer than that (i.e., forever). On the other other hand, returning it more quickly allows it to be rented again sooner, generating more revenue for the video store.
If you want to split some hairs with accordance to copyright law, rightfully purchasing a movie or an album is still closer to renting than actual ownership. You don't actually own anything other than a piece of physical media that contains a copy of the property in question, and physical media will deteriorate over time. If you wish to maintain possession of whatever it is you paid for, you must purchase another copy in order to renew your right to have it.

When your possession of an item is finite and the rights to the item ultimately stay with those who produced it, I'd characterize that as renting rather than owning. Even if the time period is "for as long as the disc doesn't break, scratch, or otherwise naturally degrade" rather than "two or three days, and an additional dollar for every day after that."

I don't have it on hand, but I'll never forget the article in which an RIAA spokesperson argued that you're stealing when you rip music to your own computer, from a CD you legitimately paid for, for your own personal use. I'm sure a spokesperson for the movie business would be quick to make a similar claim about DVDs.


Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:51 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
"Am I the only one who thinks JB makes too big a deal about this? Yes the studios are annoying and overzealous about the whole affair, but it's kinda hard to deny they have a point--even if they're getting not getting fleeced as much as they say they are, it seems they have more of a legitimate point than the illegal downloader does."

No, you're not.

I'm a big fan of James's reviews and often recommend him. However, I disagree with him here.

BY ITSELF, the argument that the laws stem from the pre-internet age, are not realistically enforceable and should therefore be changed is something most people wouldn't agree with with respect to child pornography, but similar arguments can be applied.

What is the purpose of copyright, in general? It didn't exist back when monks copied books. Back then, one couldn't make money from distributing copies of books, because it was too expensive. In other words, copyright exists BECAUSE it is easy to make a copy. Thus, the easier it is, the STRICTER the copyright laws need to be, not vice-versa.


Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:25 pm
Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
5wivesofbergman wrote:
What is the purpose of copyright, in general? It didn't exist back when monks copied books. Back then, one couldn't make money from distributing copies of books, because it was too expensive. In other words, copyright exists BECAUSE it is easy to make a copy. Thus, the easier it is, the STRICTER the copyright laws need to be, not vice-versa.
Copyright exists because lawmakers believed it would give the people generating the content an incentive to produce more content and of higher quality. There is very little evidence to suggest that things worked out the way they hoped.


Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:30 pm
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Post Re: December 13, 2009: "Torrents and the TARDIS"
Ken wrote:
Copyright exists because lawmakers believed it would give the people generating the content an incentive to produce more content and of higher quality. There is very little evidence to suggest that things worked out the way they hoped


Except, you know, for the fact that 95% of the DVDs released of films in the public domain are complete shit? Also, that's not the point of copyrights. Copyright law exists to protect intellectual property and the rights of authors. From the original copyright law:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

If I ever publish something, I'll sure be happy there are copyright laws.

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Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:33 pm
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