Tag Archives: piracy

Mediatrocities #10– Free Media: The Manifesto of The Underground Multiplex

LewandSophie

Legendary Lew

by Legendary Lew

Joseph R. Lewis and I were very proud to give a presentation titled “Free Media: Mending Arts When All is Broke” Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at Chicago Filmmakers.

Around 90 people attended to listen to Joe and I discuss the history of how The Underground Multiplex got started and some of the basic ideas that keep this

joe-profile-pic

Joseph R. Lewis

organization going. This is an age where there’s very little money going around for the arts, so it’s imperative that artists learn a new paradigm by which they can have works created, published and distributed. It may seem daunting to be responsible for all these aspects but it can be done and we’ll tell you how to approach it.

Give a listen:

Internet Hater Chris Dodd Wants Technology to Help Boost Sagging Theater Attendance

ChrisDodd

by Legendary Lew

Variety reports that last year, attendance for the 18-24 year-old age bracket in movie theaters dropped like a stone. It’s serious because, you know, everyone else is dead and will never benefit from films aimed toward them:

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

Well, heavens to Betsy, whatever shall a bloated, non-innovative, money-wasting, inefficient, money-gouging, hypocritical corporate entity do?!

I know! Call in MPAA head Chris Dodd to give the industry a pep talk:

“We need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theaters,” Dodd insisted during his keynote address delivered Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings,” Dodd added.

I practically shat blood laughing so hard when reading these statements. This is the same Chris Dodd that backed the SOPA and PIPA legislations–so much so that he extorted the White House to try and have its support. SOPA and PIPA would have destroyed the internet as we know it with opposition to the legislation coming from internet companies that regularly help Hollywood promote its films. The public response to Dodd and SOPA/PIPA supporters was a whole lot of this.

It’s also the same Chris Dodd that supported the arrest of Kim Dotcom, only to have the case against him implode over embarrassing allegations, not the least of which was Dotcom’s assertion that he was ready to start a legally-created IPO with MegaUpload. (Dotcom’s new company, Mega, has since created an IPO in New Zealand)

Now, Dodd wants to urge the industry to use technology, i.e the internet, to boost theater tix sales.  Never mind that he tried to explode it a couple of years ago and will, no doubt, try again, unless Dodd has some other new type of technology he wants to introduce to the world.  Oh wait, I forgot, Hollywood doesn’t have one.

Next time Chris Dodd gives a speech, I suggest this type of formal attire.

 

 

Is Warner Brothers Getting Wise with Piracy?

Warner Bros logo WB logoTorrentFreak is reporting on interesting developments within the Hollywood studios currently treating piracy as nothing short of sacrificing newborns in Satanic rituals. It seems some within the bureaucracy are starting to realize that piracy is reflecting audience demand and can be used as a measurable indicator .

Warner Brothers’ anti-piracy exec David Kaplan:

“Generally speaking, we view piracy as a proxy of consumer demand…Accordingly, enforcement related efforts are balanced with looking at ways to adjust or develop business models to take advantage of that demand by offering fans what they are looking for when they are looking for it.”

This falls in line with a recent study indicating that a crackdown on piracy has some slight effect on blockbusters but is much more hurtful on independent features that have little chance at big screens anyway and that file sharers actually purchase media and attend events.

If the big studios were smart, they would take this knowledge and cater directly to the audiences they want to appear for certain features as they  localize events  in independent theaters.  Sundance does a bit of that already with stars making personal appearances with their films at special screenings.

This would, however, assume a respect for a moviegoer’s choice, and the studios are ill-equipped for that idea. When you have to travel 30+ miles to see a movie you want to see in a theater, you don’t have that choice. If studios learn to distribute their PR budgets among movies more evenly and come up with better ideas for filling the seats, they’ll diminish piracy.

Viral Pro-Hollywood Oscars Tribute Video Shut Down by Disney Because Stupid Pill Overdose

DisneyDooDooSend out for a documentary crew, because you just can’t make up this shit. Nelson Carvajal, a Chicago editor/blogger/filmmaker decided to spend some time a couple of months ago, creating a montage that honored the Best Picture winners before this year’s Oscars telecast. It not only went viral, but gained some good press for a job well done.

Leave it to Disney to step in and ruin it all. Claiming a copyright infringement, the studio that gave the world this has now forced Carvajal’s video off Vimeo. His was a video that praised Hollywood, followed fair use rules, and one that could spark  interest in viewers  to…oh, I dunno, perhaps seek out those movies. Heaven  forbid, that could even lead to DVD sales. Isn’t this the studios’ point of forcing the removal of videos in the first place?

 

 

Mitt Romney Quickly Dumps Stock of Chinese Online Company Accused of Piracy

From BuzzFeed comes the news that, until recently, Mitt Romney should have been talking like a pirate on Sept. 19:

Mitt Romney’s recently released tax returns show the governor recently sold off investments in the Chinese online-video company Youku, a Chinese version of YouTube. The site was launched in 2006 and quickly became a haven for downloading illegal American content. The site has been trying to repair its image as a piracy portal since lawsuits have caused them to remove unauthorized content”

Oops!  Looks like it’s another Mittstake. He’s going to need a ledger to keep track of them all. Anyone out there in his 1% donor clan with Excel experience?

Do you think he sneaked out of Kim Dotcom’s mansion just before the MPAA Chris Dodd authorities invaded?

As expected, he then accused the Obama Administration of catering to Chinese pirates:

“Did you know they even have an Apple store?” Romney said at a rally. “It’s a fake Apple store; they sell counterfeit Apple products. This is wrong. We’re gonna crack down on China when they manipulate their currency, when they steal our goods, when they don’t protect our intellectual property. We’re gonna make sure that China understands we mean business.”

I’m guessing he means their business.

Lew

Copyright Chaos: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Arrested as Troma Entertainment Releases a Library of Films for Free

If you want proof of the current fucked up state of copyright enforcement, you needn’t look further than a couple of headlines from the past week.

Pirate Bay co-founder, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was arrested in Cambodia with the reporting from Murdoch-owned assrag The Wall Street Journal using words like “mastermind” and “notorious” to send the boogeyman shivers down your spine. The actual crime that Warg committed, of course, is helping develop a platform on which individuals can share files and get the word out about movies and music that you may never otherwise hear about.  That’s why super rich ABBA founder Bjorn Ulvaeus can be pissed off about sharing files while struggling indie musicians depend on it for exposure.  And since the CEO of Universal Music just admitted that he doesn’t create art, that puts Bjorn, creator of soulless music in the company of a soulless music exec. Won’t help you much in the court of public opinion, guys.

Meanwhile, Troma, a film company in existence for over 3 decades, announced it has released 150 films on YouTube for free, including their signature flick The Toxic Avenger. Can you imagine a major Hollywood studio announcing they would release hundreds of classic movies online for free?

Or can you imagine them forcing Congress to pass a law allowing movie copyrights to be held for “death+70 years” and chase after people who could actually help those movies gain new audiences?

 

Probably the Dumbest, Most Pathetic Anti-Piracy Case to Date: British Glam Rock Band “The Sweet” Sues Used CD Seller

The Sweet, back in the hit-making days

Louis C.K. is an example of an entertainer who understands the power of using the internet to boost your career, help your fans and eventually help others in the process. When his very successful indie comedy experiment was finished and he gave away half of what he made, he also invested in some good will. Those who never have heard Louis C.K. before (myself being one) may now be inclined to do so simply because of his great gesture.

Andy Scott, a surviving guitarist for the British glam rock band The Sweet (“Hell Raiser,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Teenage Rampage”), may perhaps be the polar opposite. His dogged five-year pursuit of a man, who sold one legally purchased CD, is probably going to be known as one of the most dick-headed anti-piracy legal moves ever.

Austrian resident Dietmar Huber decided to sell his CD of The Sweet’s “The Legend Lives On” to a buyer for €1 (one Euro). Scott then slapped him with a bill for €2,000, claiming the CD was not original and was burned off the internet.

Huber was later able to prove that, yes indeed, the CD he sold was original, but Scott not only persisted, he upped the claim to €36,000 (almost $45,000).

Huber fought the charges brought by Scott and his lawyer, Wolfgang Maier, all the way to Austria’s highest court.

The judge threw the book at Scott and his lawyer, ruling that they pay Huber  £50,000 (almost €62,000) for hassling him for 5 years. Maier’s statement after the ruling had some unintentional hilarity:

“The end result according to the final court of appeal is that copyright and intellectual property protection in Austria is far short of what it should be.”

Have Scott and Maier ever heard of Ebay, Gemm or independent record shops? Does Scott realize that younger fans turning up at any of his concerts now have probably either downloaded The Sweet songs online or purchased used albums/CDs of theirs? Have they now considered that people may no longer buy music by The Sweet either because they are afraid of getting sued if they ever want to sell their copies, or because they think The Sweet doesn’t deserve support for being such assholes?

It’s long been established in courts that you can resell original items you’ve legally purchased. I don’t know whether Scott should be hated because he chased after one fan for 5 years of legal wrangling over this shit, or pitied because he teamed with a rainbow-chasing lawyer to drag himself and a former top ten band through the PR mud. Either way it makes for an example of how not to react in the wave of copyright reassessment.