Mason, Matt. The Pirate's Dilemma How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism. New York: Free Press, 2008.
After presenting the reader through a plethora of examples of how much our culture is dependent on piracy, Mason comes to the conclusion that we have reached "the pirate's dilemma." Much like the prisoner's dilemma in game theory (here the two prisoners are represented by individuals and companies trying to sell their products), the players will have to choose between cooperation with the pirates or fighting them. At this point if one player decides to join in with the pirates by competing and changing their business model, the other will lose. If they both join the pirates, then competition will be even tougher, but they will have a chance at remaining in the market, which they wouldn't if they choose not to participate and fight the pirates with laws. As an example of this model, Microsoft is Player A and decides to fight piracy and Player B is Linux who decides to cooperate with pirates through open source. Player B is ultimately the winner, their prize being innovation, competition, while Player A will remain inefficient and will lose profits.
Though Mason's ideas are intriguing, I think that he is just rehashing the general argument for open source, which most of his book supports through examples. I believe Chapter Two of this book will be most useful for my paper. Titled "The Tao of Pirates: Sea Forts, Patent Trolls, and Why we Need Piracy," Mason explains the use of Sealand as an autonomous state outside the jurisdiction of the UK and how it is the home of the "Royal Family of Sealand's" pirate radio station and the data sanctuary of HavenCo. The Pirate Bay recently tried to purchase Sealand after a damaging fire for 500,000 Euro to house their servers, but their plans were thwarted by the trial. Mason gives some brief information on the Pirate Party. In this chapter he also outlines the "3 habits of highly effective pirates" and encourages youth to look outside of the market, create a vehicle, and to harness their audience. What is most interesting about Mason's book is that he is giving directions on how to harness the power the privacy, which is already forward thinking and more evidence that change is inevitable.
Falkvinge, Rickard. "Copyright Regime vs. Civil Liberties." Google Tech Talks, Google Headquarters Mountain View, CA. 31 July 2007.
Falkvinge begins this tech talk by noting that the strength of the Pirate Party comes from the youth today. He predicted that with the 35,000 votes coming of voting age by 2009 might just place someone in Parliament in the EU elections. Falkvinge's presentation is broken down into three parts and ends with questions from the audience. The first part is an introduction to who he is and what the Pirate Party's agenda is all about. He outlines what is already noted in the Declaration of Principles, but adds to this comments that filesharing vs. copyright is like trench warfare and that it is not about the money anymore but about civil liberties. The second part is a history of copyright beginning with the Catholic Church (this is much like the outline of the Steal this Film documentary series). He emphasizes that copyright has always been for the benfit of the distributors and not the creators. The final party of the presentation is on his vision of the future. Again, he reiterates the Party's core beliefs about copyright for commerical use early, reducing the term to five years, enouraging non-commercial collection, use, derivation and uploading. He expresses the opinion that file sharing and open access to all culture and knowledge through technology will be as significant as libraries. Falkvinge then turns to the political strategy of the party. He notes that politicians are too preoccupied with other issues to pay attention to copyright reform, but should the party gain enough influence, that they might begin to pay attention. The Pirate Party is satisfied not taking on any other political stances outside of IP reform and as just existing as a tie breaker. Finally, Falkvinge brings up the fact that Swedish copyright law cannot be changed by the EU, but at the same time, the EU will need to protect Sweden from any trade sanctions from the US.
Falkvinge's presentation is useful because it is a more organic representation of the beliefs of the Party. The party at this point feels less "rebellious" than its image in the public media. Falkvinge is extremely thoughtful in his opinions and is clearly an expert on how to promote the party from the bottom up, raising awareness all over Europe.
The League of Noble Peers, dir. Steal This Film Part I. 2006. .avi format, 2009.
Steal this Film is a project conceived and executed by The League of Noble Peers, a mostly anonymous group of friends who "decided to make a film about file-sharing that *we* could recognise." Right now there are only two parts to the series (each part was said to take about two months to create, but Part III has yet to come out in the past year), each part is about forty minutes in length. Part I begins with the founders of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Karl Lundstrom, all of whom would be later found guilty at the Pirate Bay Trial in June of 2009. They comment on the raid and the subsequent events involving the US pressuring WTO sanctions against Sweden if the Swedish government did not take action in shutting down the site. The founders are embittered that Sweden could be manhandled by lobbyists from Hollywood (a commercial is shown in which Arnold Schwarzenneger and Jackie Chan villify piracy calling them "the bad guys"). After the raid, the MPAA sent out a press release saying that they had succeeded. Large words in white and all caps flash across the screen throughout the entire movie stating facts about file-sharing. The day after the much publicized raid, Pirate Bay membership doubled. Gottfrid Svartholm (who started the site on a server in Mexico), says that the MPAA, US and Swedish government had essentially, "shot themselves in the foot." Thus begins the second half of Part I which is mostly comprised of interviews of young Swedish people who all admit to and support file-sharing on the internet. Here is where the essential theme and agenda of The League of Noble Peers emerges: File-sharing cannot be stopped and society needs to be changed to conform to this. As Richard Dreyfus says in a brief cameo, "It is not about the law anymore. People will do what they want to do."
Part I of Steal this Film is mostly about the surge of support for copyright reform and the Pirate Party making it significant for my paper. Not only is the awareness of copyright bullying growing, it is transmogrifying into a debate about autonomy and democracy. More about democracy is presented in Part II.
Citation: Stephen, Vaughn. "Morality and Entertainment: The Origins of the Motion Picture Production Code." The Journal of American History 77 (1990): 39-65.
This article explains why the MPPC was adopted. It illustrates the illicit behaviors of those in Hollywood and why the heads in Tinsil Town felt the need to put their feet down on free expresssion in film. Actors such as Fatty Arbuckle were involved in controversies that were thought to have a significant impact on movie audiences. This morally reprehensible behavior potrayed both on and off screen supposedly caused the corruption of Americans. Therefore, William Hayes decided that there needed to be regulation of Hollywood to prevent any further contamination of yourh in America.
The introduction of the Hays Code directly affected the production of The Outlaw. Howard Hughes fought throughout the production of this film to keep certain scenes that were deemed inappropriate by the production code. In particular scene in question was where Jane Russell wears a dress that reveals too much of her bustline. Per the code, this scene needed to be cut out if the movie was to receive the seal of approval from the MPAA. However, Hughes fought to keep the scene in the movie and eventually came to an agreement about how much of Jane Russell's breast would be shown.
Citation: Vaughn, Stephen JSTOR: Film Quarterly Vol. 49, No. 2 (Winter, 1995-1996), pp. 58-59
This article talks about the financial and social consequences of the production code, as written in a book by Gregory D. Black. In his book he writes how a movie Idiot's Delight and many other movies needed to be severely changed to fit into PCA standards. He later describes how Hays and other social morality groups used the power of boycott to bend Hollywood to adhering to the social and moral restrictions of the code. Since the Great Depression was an eminent threat on movie production in Hollywood, the threat of boycott was enough to make many studios follow the production code.
This resource explains how other movies were hurt by the implementation of the Hays Code and how the studios were not in a position to change it. While Hughes was able to argue for certain scenes in The Outlaw, other producers were less fortunate. Many films were shut down, or cut so badly that they were unrecognizable. Hollywood wanted to make films that would offend the least amount of people, especially people overseas. This hurt many American films, like The Outlaw that did not pass the censorship of the PCA right away, if at all.
Mary Erickson’s article gives an in depth examination of the MPAA’s involvement in Congressional committee hearings pertaining to piracy and copyright issues since 1976. In her paper, Erickson concentrates on witness testimonies of varying MPAA reps at copyright and piracy related hearings. Her main goal throughout the paper is to look at how and why the “interest groups” influence the policy decisions with their witness testimonies (Erickson 1). Her findings suggest that witness testimonies often have little or no affect on Congressional policy decisions, unless it is a celebrity witness. Erickson’s paper encompasses a number of informative statistics concerning the MPAA, and specifically outlines the MPAA’s “four-pronged approach to combating piracy” (Erickson 8). nsight is also given as to what compromises the legislative committee and its hearings, including the MPAA’s participation in Senate and House hearings. Erickson's article gives a different perspective on how the MPAA handles anti-piracy legislation, instead of simply what they cover during a hearing. It is important to see how the MPAA either effectively or ineffectively goes about trying to thwart piracy in the film industry.
This legal complaint was filed on November 16, 2004 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) against "the people," or the unknown offenders of piracy in the U.S. It is important to clarify that it was the MPAA who filed the complaint on behalf of the studios it represents. The Document is outlined by three different sections: 1) Jurisdiction and Venue, 2) Parties, and 3) Count I: Infringement of Copyrights. The document references itself as, "a civil action seeking damages and injunctive relief for copyright infringement under the copyright laws of the United States." The complaint also states that the MPAA is targeting the Defendant (the people) for specific film piracy actions such as distributing and offering to distribute copyright works via the internet. A particularly informative portion of the "Parties" section of the formal complaint consists of a description of how the Plaintiffs (the studios) are affected by the Defendant. Described in this section is the fact that piracy allows people to freely and illegally obtain unauthorized copyrighted works. The Defendant then has the ability to distribute the illegal copy in near perfect condition regarding both sound and picture quality. The Plaintiff's main argument here is that just one copy of a film can cause an explosion of illegal distribution worldwide by limitless people. Included under the Infringement of Copyrights is an equally as informative explanation of willful process of the Defendant's piracy acts, and how the court should go about punishing those said acts. This formal complaint document shows how Hollywood is reacting to the piracy movement, and what measures they are taking to fight against it.
In Donna Wentworth's 2004 Op-ed piece, "Dumb and Dumber: Why the Movie Industry Shouldn't Do as the Recording Industry has Done" strongly cautions Hollywood to stray away from actions taken by the music industry regarding file sharing. Wentworth points out that in 2003, movie studios profited heavily from the $41.6 billion in revenues, and enjoyed the second largest culmination of box office totals ever. Wentworth is mystified as to why the industry, and specifically the MPAA, is so worried that film piracy will destroy their business. According to her, the 6,000 lawsuits filed by the recording industry to target file sharing did little to impede illegal music downloads. The "pre-emptive strike agenda," as Wentworth calls it, will likewise be a lost cause in suppressing the prevalence of peer-to-peer file sharing, and will alienate the consumer. Wentworth goes on to reference the famous case concerning VCR use and copyright. The fact that the VCR was deemed legal in all homes allowed for Hollywood to restructure their business model, and reap the profits from VHS rentals. Wentworth also says that the digital age is no different as DVD's often make more money than their box office total. Though Wentworth makes some interesting points, I think that her statements leave a lot of statistical information to be desired. MPAA statistics show that the movie business is in fact suffering in the billions for online film piracy. This doesn't mean that the industry will go out of business in its entirety, but it does effect the output of films significantly. No doubt, the carbon copy superhero and animated films will still be green-lit, but it is the independent and more artistic films that will suffer.
Kerry Segrave's book Film Piracy in the Motion Picture Industry dedicates its entirety to my topic. Segrave's research though, extends significantly farther back into the history of film than I will be including in my analysis. She provides a wide berth of information about past and present domestic film issues as well as specific international ones. Chapters 6, "Domestic Piracy, 1975-2001," and 7, "Foreign Piracy, 1975 to 2001," are laden with the utmost pertinent material for my research. In these two chapters, Segrave goes into exquisite detail, not only providing an enormity of statistics, but also documenting vast amounts of specific legal action taken to prevent film piracy over sixteen years. Segrave's in depth method of relaying information allows me to get more than just a surface level understanding of Hollywood's constant struggle concerning film piracy. Her attention to detail regarding legislative measures and the strategic moves made by Hollywood to suppress piracy will add substantial support to my own analysis.
The case of MGM (backed by MPAA and RIAA) versus the peer-to peer file sharing Grokster is one of the most important copyright infringement cases in recent times. The case came about because MGM thought that both Grokster.com and StreamCast.com were liable for copyright damages due to their supposed encouragement of illegally sharing movies. Both Grokster and StreamCast were actively marketing particular software that aided in the downloading of both pirated movie and songs. The two sites targeted the earlier ruling in the Supreme Court 1985 Betamax as their defense. The Betamax ruling asserted that VCR manufacturers are not responsible for a VCR users who copy movies illegally. The Supreme Court ended up ruling against Grokster and StremCast, saying that they could not hide behind a the 1985 Betamax ruling because unlike the VCR companies, they were actively promoting file sharing. The fact that the Supreme Court wholly disregarded a past copyright ruling is poignant, because previous rulings on copyright legislature are often factored heavily into new decisions. Two other points make this case specifically interesting. Firstly, the Supreme Court highlighted the fact that although file sharing tools have the ability to be used illegally, the file sharing software itself and the activity of file sharing is not considered to be illegal. Secondly, they state that the manufacturers of the specific file sharing products cannot be held responsible for how users choose to proceed once they have access to the software. The one exception is when the manufacturer actively promotes or encourages infringement. Ironically, it seems that although Hollywood thought that they scored hugely in this case, file sharers actually profited from this case as, ultimately, it was decided that file sharing itself is not illegal.
This is a letter from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in response to the Copyright Office’s Orphan Works Notice of Inquiry. It acknowledges that difficulties in identifying and locating owners of copyright in some orphan works are impeding the ability to make productive use of them. However, it warns the Copyright Office to limit what it defines as an orphan work as one which a would-be user tries diligently to find the owner of and fails – in other words, “silence in response to the would-be user must not be presumed to be consent.” The letter boasts that MPAA members’ “products in all formats are clearly labeled with identifying information about the copyright owner, producer and director” and that thousands of people use their records to locate and identify MPAA member companies as copyright owners of commercially released works. Additionally, the letter notes that due diligence in searching for a copyright owner of motion pictures is not the same as that for photographs, “where the volume of works is huge and a search of the publicly accessible records may be far more difficult and less productive.” The MPAA goes on to address specific questions posted by the NOI, such as defining the nature of orphan works.
This letter is important to my article because it represents, by extension, the opinion of Hollywood on the Orphan Works Act. As is always the case, the MPAA hopes to retain as much power as possible. Therefore, not surprisingly, MPAA only halfheartedly advocates orphan work legislation, noting that there is “sometimes a problem” identifying and locating copyright owners but that we should use caution in determining what constitutes an “orphan work” and a “diligent search” for that work. Ironically, the legislation will most likely benefit Hollywood by both giving documentary filmmakers the ability to make greater use of works they would have not incorporated into their films for fear of copyright infringement, and expanding the film industry by making available thousands of films previously unavailable to the public. Nonetheless, just as with DMCA legislation, the MPAA wants to exert much authority over its products as possible to thwart drastic changes in copyright legislation as long as possible.
This article posted by the Motion Picture Association of America announced that Swedish authorities shut down Pirate Bay, one of the world's largest and best known facilitators of online piracy. ThePirateBay.com is a pirate “tracker” that allows people to access pirated movies and music, making 157,000 illegal files available to the general public. Some titles include blockbuster hits such as the Da Vinci Code, Mission Impossible: III, and a number of other tities. The shutting down of Pirate Bay, according to the MPAA, represents an appreciation for the respect of intellectual property abroad. Sweden, in particular, reformed its copyright law in July of 2005 to tackle digital piracy. Because of piracy, the major motion picture studios lost approximately 6.1 billion dollars in revenue in 2005. Of this amount, roughly 2.3 billion was lost to internet piracy alone. To combat these losses, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) plans to launch a multilateral attack on internet piracy, including educating the public about the fines they might incur for contributing to it. Additionally, this multi-level attack plans to incorporate harsher punishment for those failing to adhere to MPAA standards about film copying and distribution. The article sites the Razorback2 file-swapping server, which was shut down by Belgian and Swiss authorities, ending sharing between roughly 1.3 million users. This effort, in combination with the shutting down of Pirate Bay, appears to be the MPAA’s largest motivation for shutting down other file sharing networks across the globe.
In relation to my thesis, this serves as a great example for the ACTA’s justification in limiting the passage of material from peer-to-peer. Additionally, this particular case highlights the influences of file sharing on the motion picture industry, which in combination with the music industry, is considered to be the largest source of revenue for pirates abroad. Though succinct, this article emphasizes the importance of ACTA’s cause and provides another example of the other industries being influenced by piracy.
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.
This is a news article reporting on the recent developments in the campaign against copyright infringement. Specifically it reports on the recent development surrounding isoHunt. Essentially it makes it known that IsoHunt is using the claim that it's "only a search engine" as a defense against copyright infringement. It also makes reference to how the IsoHunt website functions as claimed by Gary Fung, the owner and developer of the website technology (see Affidavit no. 1). The article also exposes the MPAA's strategy in accusing IsoHunt and the like in copyright infringement. According to the artical the MPAA is heavily relying on the MGM v Grokster case. Lastly the artical also provides some significant issues raised by the on-going case. One is that it will probably be difficult for IsoHunt to prove to the judge that the IsoHunt website behaves like Google or Yahoo or any other search engine. It also raises an important point in regards that once settled this case could affect the fate of the whole internet structure specifically for search engines and the filesharing community.
The article is important for my research paper because it is the only article out of those that I looked at that covers the developments of the MPAA v. IsoHunt case in an unbiased way. Furthermore, since there is no official court transcript available as the case is still in progress any recent developments are important for my research paper. Further it provides one significant insight that IsoHunt does not behave in the same way as any other search engine in the sense that google and the like is data-agnostic but isoHunt links to specific type of content. I plan to quote this directly in my paper.
Lewis, John. Hollywood V. Hardcore: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry. New York and London: New York UP, 2000. 135-191.Chapter 4, titled Hollywood v. Soft Core, examines arguably the most influential year of film censorship to date. In this year, MPAA president Jack Valenti issued a press release to stating that a new production code/ move rating system would be put into place. The same system is still used today to rate films. The chapter does a good job of outlining the events of how this code came into place. The author explains how the "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" was denied by the PCA but began production anyway, anticipating that change was to come. It talks about the controversy over the language such as "screw" and "hump the hostess" were debated and the issues Valenti faced with content regulation. In the end of the meeting, Warner Brothers appealed the PCA's preliminary ruling to deny Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and the film was released. Because of the films amazing success, it marked a point in history where the industry was beginning to understand that the Production Code was a dated system. The film was released with a warning stating "for adults only" and ranked third in the box office list in 1966 behind two other mature-themed pictures. This chapter is very useful and entertaining in its explanation of the pressures and challenges that Valenti faced when negotiating the new rating system. It offers a very in depth perspective and takes the reader on a film by film journey of the controversy.
Valenti, Jack. "Ratings History: How it All Began". Motion Picture Association of America Online. <http://www.mpaa.org/Ratings_HowItAllBegan.asp>.
This article, written by former president of the MPAA Jack Valenti, details how the MPAA film rating system was conceived. He describes the turbulent national scene in 1966 – women’s rights, civil rights, youth protests, and “crumbling of social traditions.” Since he realized that a “new kind of American movie” was being made by filmmakers with a much more open course of dialogue between the filmmaker and the viewer, filmmakers felt they were subject to fewer restraints and restrictions, simply exercising the will of the people. The Hays Code had been continually challenged through loopholes over the years and the emerging counter-culture seemed determined to throw it out altogether. He describes one instance where MGM tried to market the first major studio picture with nudity, which was denied by the PCA of California. The Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that states could constitutionally prevent children from seeing films but not adults. Filmmakers were becoming more brazen and thus, bad language and controversial images were becoming more common. Ultimately, the rating system had to be created in 1968 to take the place of the now-defunct Hays Code.
This is relevant to Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song because of the way it was marketed, rated, and ultimately distributed. The film received an X rating “by an all-whyte jury” (according to the film’s opening credits), which went along with the pornographic pretence director Melvin Van Peebles created during production in order to avoid trouble on the set of his controversial film. The rating system was still in its infancy in 1971 when the film was released and thus, many changes in the system were still being implemented. In 1970, the minimum age of admission to R-rated movies was raised from 15 to 16 while X-rated films remained at 17. The audience limitations set by this new system made it even harder for Van Peebles to get exhibitors to play his racy, independent film at first. Of course, the rampant success of the film changed all that, but the historical cinematic context in which Sweetback was released made its initial opening and distribution much tougher. Now, filmmaker's consider it a curse if their film receives the NC-17 rating (replacement for X), since very few papers advertise NC-17-rated films. Sweetback was the shining example of this and this article helps show the impact of the initial X-rating. The film’s rating has since been changed to R.
Drucker, Jerry. "Hays Code: Out-Psyched by Hitch." Los Angeles Times 28 Oct. 1979: w4. Proquest Historical Newspapers. University of Pennsylvania. 7 Apr. 2008.
When North by Northwest was released, the Hays Production Code still had incredible influence. Any film that did not have the official seal was essentially locked out of the major distribution and exhibition avenues. Only two films had ever bypassed the code and despite their box office successes, few studios were willing to risk losing the seal of approval. The code was incredibly strict involving moral standards, and thus sexual and violent undertones needed to be minimized to ensure the Board's approval. This article was written by an insider who had the opportunity to sit inside the Board's screening room as they watched Psycho. It became immediately clear that strong changes were needed; however Hitchcock was known for being unwilling to compromise his autonomy in filmmaking. Thus a strong negotiation ensued in which certain shots were traded with others until the film eventually passed muster.
This showdown between the censors and Hitchcock was inevitably an escalation from his previous film North by Northwest. Full of sexual innuendo and provocative scenes, the Board had objections to many of the frequent references to intercourse throughout the film. Hitchcock carefully avoided overt discussion, often substituting the word "love" for "sex", and using imagery to imply action (for example, a shot of passionate kisses cuts to a shot of their train entering a tunnel). The final cut of the film was risqué for the time period, but managed to successfully hide the sexual references from younger and uncultured minds, which was no doubt a critical hurdle for Hitchcock to overcome in order to obtain the seal for the film. The symbolism and innuendos created require a much more engaged viewer, which ultimately helps to maximize the effects of suspenseful situations.
The court determined that both posting and linking were not protected by the first amendment. They determined that while there is a part of code which is speech, there is also a non-speech component which can be banned under the anti-circumvention clause. Exemptions are provided for reverse engineering and cryptography. However, these exemptions only extend to the cryptographers and the reverse engineers directly. Publishing their results is not considered an exemption. The consequence of this decision is that to prevent lawsuits, technical journals will likely avoid discussion of Digital Rights Management. For example, discovery of important security flaws would not be published because it might hint as to how to break the encryption. Understanding the flaws of the current generation however is essential to enhancing security for in the future. Development of future security methods have continued to be crippled by the DMCA, due to the limited scope of the exemptions.
This article traces the MPAA’s classification of R, X, and NC-17 films. This relates to Stanley Kubrick’s decisions to cut scenes from A Clockwork Orange in order to get an R rating. Sandler argues that Hollywood created the X rating for maximum profitability and freedom of expression only to later avoid it because of its association with pornography and therefore condemnation. The MPAA didn’t copyright the X rating, enabling distributors to self-impose X on unrespectable films. Initially, Hollywood used the sexual connotation of the rating to sell films. The successes didn’t last long. Through editing films to get an R rating, the major studios helped to confirm the end of X rated production…until Showgirls in 1995, which then proved that adult only ratings were to be avoided. The article lists statistics showing the drop off of X rated films and also tells us which studios refused to make them. He also explains the evolution of trailer ratings. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) refused X films while pornographers picked them up. We learn of the court cases that defined obscenity and of Hollywood’s fear of losing control of censorship. In 1990, NC-17 was copyrighted and served as a marker between X and R. Due to criticism on freedom of expression, the MPAA hoped to get films out that weren’t thought of as strictly porn. Of course, critics of the new rating said they were just renaming smut. Still, the major studios did not release NC-17 films, causing others to think of them as unmarketable. Also, NATO took a stand against NC-17 by including it with X. We learn that video retailers avoided them, also, which was important to revenue. Sandler then goes on to detail the marketing practices behind Showgirls and how MGM/UA debunked the myth that NC-17 was unmarketable. They were able to advertise in newspapers, television, video rentals, and theatres with special trailers. Still, the film bombed at the box office, thus confirming that NC-17 was to be avoided. He summarizes studies done that confirm people’s negative perception of the NC-17 rating. He addresses other factors that may have led to Showgirl’s box-office failure. He also informs the reader about the not-so independent distributors conflicts in distributing NC-17 films because of their parent companies, namely Miramax and Fine Line.