This New York Times article from 1997 shows how far piracy has come today. It emphasizes the difficulties the movie industry has to face now compared to eleven years ago. In the last year or so, the two blockbusters that hit the streets before their openings were the "Hulk" and "American Gangster." Although the Internet has made proliferation of these movies capable, bootlegs have existed for quite sometime. Back in 1997 "Men in Black," "Batman and Robin, and "Hercules" were leaked earlier than its intended opening and were available for purchase on the streets of New York for five dollars. The article isolates New York as the major hub for pirated motion pictures. Back then, the estimate of how much the industry loses from domestic revenues is about $250 million (compared to $6.1 billion in 2005).
The author suggest that bootlegs are acquired by people sneaking camcorders into advanced screenings. The films are often of bad quality, but consumers want what is new before anyone else. To clean up piracy, the government and individuals targeted the streets of New York. In 1992 when Spike Lee's film "Malcom X" came out, he and some friends went to 125th Street with baseball bats to scare vendors of bootleg films. The MPAA geared its efforts towards attacking duplication labs in New York; the raids led to the seizure of over 10, 000 bootleg videos. Besides selling copies on the street corners, bootleggers set up booths, akin to tourist attractions, that stock the most recent films for purchase.
This article is a great comparison of how piracy has developed with technology. Pirates are now almost invisible due to the Internet, the quality of the films pirated is of superior quality, and dissemination is almost impossible to contain. The losses incurred by the industry back then have significantly increased and the pirates are more organized. A brief discussion of the drastic changes that have occured in the last decade will help contextualize the efforts the MPAA has had to undergo.
DVDs are protected by a security system called the Contents Scramble System, which prevents unauthorized use and copying of the encoded material. Thus, only devices that have the CSS key can play these videos. In this lawsuit, eight major movie studios sued Jeraimee Hughes for disseminating a software device, called DeCSS, that can bypass this protective shield. Hughes posted this application on his Internet site, advertising that DeCSS is a "free DVD decoder that allows people ot copy DVDs." This violates the anti-circumvention provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1988. Regardless of whether or not people utlize such a device, it is illegal to provide technology that circumvents a code that is intended for copyright protection.
There have been a series of other lawsuits against individuals who have also distributed DeCSS through the web. They argue that their actions are lawful under the First Amendment and constitute as fair use under the Copyright Act. Whereas the First Amendment right defense is more complex, the fair use argument is baseless. The defendants are not being sued for copyright infringement but are being sued for providing an illegal encryption decoder. In the case against Hughes, and generally speaking for most of these lawsuits, the defendant was found guilty.
Because my paper explores the digital advancements that pose a threat to the movie industry and how the industry has responded, this case serves as a perfect example of both. Piracy has become more advanced due to digital technologies. Individuals can create devices that can crack security codes and promulgate the information via the web. In order to counter these efforts, the movie industry must take legal action to prevent others from doing the same. Although the movie industry is also improving upon digital means for protection, it seems at this point that hackers will always remain a threat, and therefore must be stopped by the law.
The Internet is forcing the movie industry to adapt its current business model in order to keep up with the online trend. With the growing popularity of online movie download sites, Hollywood will have to figure out a way to compete. This article featured in The Economist argues that if the film industry embraces the Internet they will profit considerably more than if they were to fight it. One of the most advanced Internet distribution sites is ZML.com, which offers over a thousand films for download to various devices at low costs and good quality. Unfortunately for Hollywood, this website is a pirate site. Piracy and the increased accessibility pirates have to online material discourages the film industry from making titles accessible on the web. While film industry has always been slow to accept new technologies, failure to do so with the Internet could result in damaging effects. The article points out that studios such as Paramount and Disney were opposed to the DVD at its inception, primarily because they would rather keep their stringent business model than adapt to a new one. Still, some studios are embracing the Internet and its potential to spur new revenue.
While some studios have helped to create legal online rental services, they have reaped little success. The author suggests that download-to-buy options would be more profitable and could show the movie industry the capabilities of the Internet. In addition, the current sites are not particularly enticing for users because the movies offered are second-rate--with very few blockbusters or major hits available. The article goes on to explain the reasons for Hollywood's reluctance to go online. Most notably, the DVD industry is so popular that they fear risking such a large source of revenue. In reality, the industry could profit by increasing the amount of titles available through an infinite online database rather than through limited shelf space in DVD rental stores. Regardless, there exists technological obstacles that are difficult to combat. For example, download times can reach up to an hour and most people would rather watch movies on their televisions than on their computers. Lastly, the "lack of common standards" prevents a uniform system for online distributors. Despite these challenges, the article points out the potential remedies and the various ways the industry is currently taking steps towards overcoming these difficulties.
Although wary of what the Internet may bring, the industry recognizes its potential to reach the masses. Studios spend a significant percentage on online marketing because it is so successful and provides beneficial feedback. By targeting substantial groups interested in specific subjects, the industry can use this response to shape their films. The most promising invention described is the flash-memory enabled kiosk, which "overcomes many of the weaknesses of the present model and the current deficencies of the Internet," says Mr. Lieberfarb, who is on the board of MOD Systems.This article directly aids my paper through its summarization of the multitude of adaptations and inventions that film industry has had to make in such a digital world. It is apparent that the movie industry must adapt if it does not want to falter in this digitally advancing society.
This article analyzes the effectiveness of the public relation strategies of the MPAA and the RIAA in dealing with piracy. The RIAA's public relation strategy is to use aggressive legal actions while minimizing negative publicity. Because no anti-piracy campaign was in place early on, it has been harder for the music industry to recover. Piracy was rampant early on because the pay download sites could not compete with prolific free download sites. RIAA in turn relied on their legal strategy to target P2P networks, such as Napster, to cut off the source. Although successful initially, with loses to Grokster and Morpheus, the RIAA turned to the users. This received a huge backlash since the industry was attacking its own consumers. In one case where they sued a 12 year-old girl, they later used her in an advertisement for iTunes to spin the negative publicity and promote legal downloading simultaneously. In essence, the RIAA publicizes major lawsuits in order to scare other potential offenders. Most of the minor cases are settled out of court and the offenders receive little punishment as long as they agree to stop illegally downloading music.
Unlike the RIAA, the MPAA has taken an educational approach to stopping piracy. By educating consumers through "consumer awareness" advertisements that play in movie theaters and on television and appeal to audience's conscious and emotions. The ads depict employees of the film industry in fear of losing their jobs due to piracy. Ads also target the youth to educate them of such illegalities at a young age. Rather than rely on lawsuits, the movie industry is looking to provide better protection and legal alternatives to piracy. Current intiatives include digital watermarking and legal download sites such as Movielink.com.
The article goes on to explain the media's involvement in portraying news. Through agenda setting and framing the media influences how the public perceives issues. By comparing the press releases for the public relations agenda and the individual news stories for the media's agenda, the author conducts an analysis based on a two-year time span. The results showed the RIAA mentioned legal action far more than the MPAA in their press releases and the MPAA focused more on the harm caused from illegal downloading.
This study is fascinating because it compares two major industries reacting to a similar problem, online piracy. The data is significant for my paper because it displays how the movie industry is using the media to combat piracy, in addition to legal and digital means.
The movie industry has very little choice but to adapt its current business model due to the invent of new technologies. The video rental sector has experienced significant remodeling due to digitization. In reference to video-on-demand the author states, "not since the introduction of the videocassette recorder has a disruptive technology so threatened the very heart of Hollywood." Blockbuster and Hollywood see these innovations as a threat to their rental revenues. The article focuses on how the Internet will affect the value chain of the motion picture industry. The author cites broadband Internet connection, digital file compression, streaming media, and encryption as the new technologies that have made these new online and VOD capabilities possible. He continues first by explaining how digital cable network and VOD systems work and then breaks down the logistics of the movie industry's production and distribution models.
The article goes on to describe how the industry will change from digitization. In production, digitally produced movies will cost less by eliminating the need for expensive film stocks. Computers can be used to edit and assemble digital movies rather than "splicing together the actual film stock." In distribution, digital projection systems will be installed in theater and online streaming videos will become the popular channel for distribution and duplication costs will be nearly obsolete. As for the middlemen, film manufacturers, processors, and duplicators will be reduced and distributors and video rental stores may be eliminated. Movie theaters will also be affected because VOD systems will entice viewers to stay at home. Theaters will be force to add "valuable social experience" and show only movies they know will be profitable. As of now video rental stores aren't afraid of VOD, but the author suggests down the road they may have to "partner with a firm that owns distribution technologies but lacks customer base.
These hypotheses have sufficient data to support them and may be realistic adaptions to the industry. Although not in current practice, it is important to think about the future of the industry. My paper will examine how many of these sectors have changed and how they will continue to evolve.
This article analyzes the preventative measures the movie industry must take in order to protect their copyrights and stifle piracy. It is made clear that various factors, particularly the invent of broadband Internet, peer-to-peer networks, and improvements in video compression technologies have made such efforts extremely difficult. Thus the industry must exercise legal and technical means to battle competing markets. The entertainment industry is aiming to hold the information industry accountable for all copyright violations. Furthermore, they are urging the information industry to also institute anti-piracy technologies in all software and hardware. By elaborating on the previous legal battles that complicate the debate on whether to hold the user or manufacturer accountable for piracy, the authors device a better solution that assigning blame. The article suggests that the movie industry should adapt their supply chain to provide cheaper, quality, convenient products than any illegal form could offer.
This new model would force the industry to reconstruct how they distribute, exhibit, and produce films. The second section delineates the current framework of the industry tracing back to the 1970s. The weaknesses are exposed and the industry's long-term "techo-phobia" is identified as a major culprit. The next section brings attention to the legal battles of the MPAA and the RIAA to protect copyrights and further discusses the benefits and setbacks of the DMCA. Two organizations have been assembled to try and deal with these problems; one is the Digital Media Device Association and the other is Project Hudson, which is made up of technology giants such as Samsung, Toshiba, and Nokia. Various solutions are proposed, such as digital watermarking and smart-card technology, but all have flaws. Because neither legal nor technological solutions effectively can eliminate piracy, the most sensible answer is economically based. In terms of distribution, the article suggests creating e-Blockbusters near ISPs, which would enable consumers to rent movies in a cheap and accessible manner. For exhibition, theaters must adapt by adjusting the "window scheme, offering differentiated digital viewing experiences, and developing fast-access storage to reduce portable media." Production will take on a purely digital form, reducing the need for human interaction almost completely.
There are plenty of viable options available to improve and sustain the movie industry; it is just a matter or time and technology. The aforementioned solutions can improve the industry and successfully eliminate piracy if executed effectively. The article articulates my very thesis and attempts to provide an answer as to how the movie industry can change to this digitally advancing world.
Shujen Wang, the author of this aritcle, analyzes the complexity of protecting property in a technologically advancing society. By recognizing the film industry's universal impact, she aims to situate ideas of piracy and copyright in "the larger contexts of power, technology, and the networking logic of globalization. The reader is provided with a history of important legislation that has led the industry to its current situation, noting the DMCA as important national legislation and TRIPS as a global one. Acknowledging that the copyright industries continue to be a leading force in the U.S. economy, she summarizes reports from the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which break down where copyright markets receive revenue and what percentages are lost to piracy. The article highlights the importance of overseas markets and how the MPAA has adjusted to accommodate these markets.
Another section emphasizes that technology and piracy are inextricably linked to power and control. Each country has devised its own standards for copyright protection, but in a world based on global information economy, nations must work together to protect property. While it is up to each country to enforce copyright laws, members of the World Trade Organization must accommodate broader terms of agreement. The WTO agreement states that that "all state laws of its member countries must conform to the TRIPS agreement by 2006." Such agreements are deemed necessary because of the digital advancements that have complicated anti-piracy efforts. The next section of the article provides a background of film piracy dating back to the 1970s. Back then, finding pirates was simpler when such copies were tangible, but in this digitally advanced realm, "information is stored digitally, content is liberated form the medium and all that flows to the recipient is the information." Furthermore, the speed at which information is transferred increases while the cost to reproduce it decreases--ultimately giving pirates an advantage. She argues that copyright protection is the only way to preserve our global information economy.
Contextualizing copyright and piracy in a global context reveals the immense significance digital technologies have in global trade. This article outlines the history of the film industry and the ways in which it has had to alter to sustain economically.
The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, made up of thirty democracies, focuses on issues facing the economy, the society, and the environment due to globalization. Their executive summary aims to identify the economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy. In 2005, they found that pirated and counterfeited products amount to $200 billion, ecxluding trade conducted through the Internet. To put this number into context, the report states that the amount is larger than the GDPs of 150 economies. They found that piracy operations are in large led by organized crime such as gangs and terrorist groups. Only groups with financial stability and vast distribution networks would be capable of controlling such a market. Even though certain target groups have been identified, it is still difficult to catch and combat these pirates.While piracy exists in all economics, it is most pronounced in developing countries. The report calls upon governments to strengthen law enforcement and regulation to diminish these networks.
While some counterfeit goods could potentially be harmful to ones health, such as counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs, other pirated goods such as movies serve to decrease economic growth and discourage creativity. Due to the Internet, new distributions outlets are available for pirated material. As the report emphasizes, the Internet provides an infinite market for products that can be sold through full anonymity. Not only does piracy effect copyright industries, it is also shown to effect areas of trade, the evironment, and employment as well.
The report finishes by suggesting methods to improve information on counterfeiting and piracy to better target such groups. By developing more information on the national and global level that is systematically collected, comparable, and comprehensive, there can be a uniform system for combating these illegal activties.
In my paper, I intend on identifying the challenges the movie industry faces. The data collected by the OECD provides significant insight into the nature of the groups disseminating pirated goods. In addition, their numerical figures will help me quantify the impact of their activities, economically and socially.
This article featured in the trade journal Movie Maker glorifies the potential the Internet has for the film industry. From streaming videos to online rental stores, the Internet has revolutionized the way motion pictures are consumed. Not only does this new outlet seem profitable for the industry, but also convenient for audiences. With increasing digital capabilities, movies are becoming a media that audiences can interact with and access easily. The Internet in particular has drastically changed the movie industry in terms of advertising and viewing. Numerous websites are designed to stream full-length videos, such as Movielink.com. Netflix, a site known for its online rental services, is another site that is following this trend. Subscribers to Netflix can pay for monthly packages that allow for hours of streaming video. The author recognizes that the public may not be ready for such changes. As of now, people would prefer the comforts of their couch and big-screen tv when watching a movie.
Whereas these rental and streaming video websites are still evolving, studios have recognized the Internet's potential for publicity. The Internet has the ability to attract large audiences and target niche markets. This feature has a significant impact on smaller, low-budget films. Moviemakers can target films directly to their audiences and gain popularity through the net. This is exactly how the Blair Witch Project evolved into the phenomenon it became. A website that has expanded upon this idea is Customflix.com, which uses the Internet to promote independent films. These films, which may have disappeared due to lack of funding now can be viewed and sold online.
The article points out that "what we have learned from radio, television, video and DVD is that new media technologies tend not to replace existing modes, but to interact with them." The sales and marketing of film have reached new levels thanks to the web's capabilities. For example, MovieClub Online is a website that offers discounted movie tickets and video rentals, legally! They have joined with theaters and video store chains to make their site possible. Fandango is another company well known for online ticket sales.
Although this article highlights the advantages of the Internet, the author is overly optimistic and somewhat naive. Unfortunately, pirates have also benefited from these new technologies at the expense of the industry. It is important for my paper to note these innovations while also pointing out their downfalls.
While the Internet promotes creativity and diffusion of ideas and entertainment, it has also enabled widespread dissemination of copyrighted materials. This class action lawsuit filed by Viacom International Inc. against Youtube in 2005 details the large-scale infringement Youtube has committed against music, film, and television companies. Although Youtube claims the websites purpose is to provide a forum for "user generated" material, the website contains innumerable copyrighted content. One could view clips from every genre of film or television and music clips from live shows or music videos. The plaintiffs hold Youtube responsible because they have enabled the format for such infringement without assuming the responsibility of monitoring the content. Furthermore, the plaintiffs argue "the availability on the Youtube site of a vast library of the copyrighted work is the cornerstone of the Defendant's business plan." Because Youtube makes significant profit off of these copyrighted works, they leave it to law abiding individuals and copyright owners to monitor the site. Even if the site removes the illegal content once notified, it usually returns to the site within no time. Moreover, Youtube has devised a feature that precludes copyright owners from finding infringing videos.
Viacom holds Youtube responsible because the site "knowingly reproduces and publicly performs the copyrighted works" and allows for extended distribution by enabling one to "embed" a video into another website. Although users are the ones who originally upload the content, Youtube converts the material to their own software format for display and reproduction. More importantly, such websites dissuade people from producing creative works in fear their copyrights will be violated and subject to egregious exploitation. Youtube acknowledges such illegality by sending cease and desist letters to people who provide software that can be used to make copies of Youtube's videos. Youtube sites that such copies are "unauthorized" yet the plaintiffs recognize that Youtube does not want such copies available because they need viewers for their own site to retain advertising revenues. As compensation for Youtube's violations, the plaintiffs order that the defendants device a system to prevent infringement and provide statutory damages for past and present infringements amounting to at least one billion dollars.
This lawsuit directly pertains to my paper in that it shows the legal measures the film industry is taking to combat piracy. Because my paper also focuses on the evolution of the industry in this online world, it is important to note the setbacks such technological develoments have caused for the industry.