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.
Call#: Van Pelt Library HD5710.75.U6 K54 2003
In the 1999 case Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. v. Gamemasters, Sony sought a preliminary injunction on Gamemasters’ distribution of accessories for the Sony Playstation game console. Sony alleged that Gamemasters violated anti-circumvention regulations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as well as state and federal unfair competition laws. Gamemasters, a retail store in California, was sued for selling a game enhancing device. The court granted the injunction and essentially eliminated all sales of such devices by Gamemasters.
This external device performed two primary functions when plugged into the Playstation game console. First, the game enhancer allowed users to temporarily modify aspects of the game, similar to the Game Genie, manufactured by Galoob Toys for use on the Nintendo. Nintendo v. Galoob Toys, as decided in 1992, declared that the Game Genie was not in violation of copyright laws as it was not a derivative work of the Nintendo console and the Game Genie was a fair use of the Nintendo game system. Second, and most importantly, this game enhancer permitted players to play Playstation games sold in Japan or Europe which were intended by Sony for exclusive use on Japanese or European consoles. The game discs contain electronic check codes which are checked by the console when inserted. Discs with codes that do not match the region in which the console operated were rejected. The game enhancer overrode this protection.
By invoking the DMCA, Sony stopped the use of potential copyright and trademark violating technologies. However, critics of the DMCA noted that this decision also allowed Sony to continue its controversial business practice. Sony divided its game distribution and operations into separate international regions. By disabling games from one region to be played in another, authentic Sony Playstation games played in one part of the world suddenly became illegal versions after crossing borders. With increasing video game products offering multiplayer and global competition, these restraints pose legitimate threats for the future of fair gaming, especially online games. Such restrictions enabled Sony to protect its anti-competitive business model and possibly promote price discrimination between different areas of the world.