Saturday, August 21, 2004

MPAA Propoganda

While clicking to get to a Yahoo game I came across one of their sponsorship ads. I've become so accustomed to web ads, I don't even see them anymore. However, this one caught my attention. It was made by the MPAA or Motion Picture Association of America. The basic premise of the ad was to scare 'pirates' into stopping downloads of illegal movies. You may have not have seen this ad yet, or their accompanying site,, but I am sure you have seen the ads before movies in the theater. They generally show some average joe who begins by talking about what joy he gets working on movie sets or special effects. Then he makes the transition to piracy and how it's costing him his job. He will actually purport that illegally downloading movies only affects the small guys like him and not the big movie execs. Could this be any further from the TRUTH? Let's assume for a moment, that one movie loses $1 million in ticket sales due to illegal downloads. (I have no idea if that is even close to the real number, whether high or low.) All of the men and women who work on the movie from set builders, special effects artists, animators, stunt doubles, actors and actresses, and extras are paid some negotiated fee. The set builder does not receive a percentage of ticket sales or the like. He did his job, he got paid and now he's working on another movie already. Those ads are absolute hogwash. "Hollywood Hogwash."

Now I've had the chance to argue and debate this topic often. I am on the anti-MPAA and anti-RIAA (music industry) spectrum of things. I am not an extremist. But I believe that a change needs to be made in both industries. Whenever I read articles in which the courts rule in favor of downloaders or the programs that facilitate downloading I give a big Wahoo! The way I see it, technology has opened a new avenue to get your media. And it's free! At the MPAA site, they purport that your downloading habits are easily tracked and thus copyright law is easily enforced. I'd have to say that is more a wish of the MPAA and RIAA than actual fact. P2P (peer-to-peer) software are very aware of their customers. 'Pirates' want privacy and security and they want their movies and music free. So P2P programmers stay one step ahead of those who would take away your ability to pirate. The fact of the matter is, there are more people working for piracy world-wide than against it. And the pirates are much more ingenious.

The piracy issue has been around long before the internet, P2P software, and even VCRs. It isn't going to be eliminated or even curbed. Now whether your ethics say that is right or wrong isn't currently the issue. It is a simple fact: piracy is growing. I wish I could guess how this will effect the music and movie industries in the end. But change will be needed. Technology has outpaced big business and is leaving it in the dust.

So I leave you with two points:
Recognize the music and movie industries' propaganda. Not everything they purport is true, right, or unbiased. Use your head, reasearch it, think about it. Find your own stance

Once you've found your stance do something about it. Voice your opinion, write it down, share it. And the most powerful of all, vote. Copyright law is not an issue in the presidential election this year. But it is always a congressional and senatorial issue. Find your representatives and senators' stances on the issue and vote appropriately.

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