Tag Archives: mpaa

If the TPP is Enacted, Hollywood Takes a Giant Leap Towards Throwing You in Prison for File Sharing, Even for Noncommercial Uses

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

by Legendary Lew

Leave it to MPAA head Chris Dodd to back a multi-national trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership, that will, according to its critics, trash the very legislation that bears his name.

But, hey, if you want to be a Hollywood whore, you do what your pimps want–and with the TPP, the Hollywood studio Macks demand two things: Dodd puts on the ho heels and anyone file sharing goes to jail.

The current language of the TPP, as leaked by Wikileaks (who would, btw, be in some major legal trouble through the same agreement) is so loose and ambiguous, you’d have to think twice about sampling music, creating award-nominated re-edits (recognized by Hollywood!) or even posting that cute video of your grandma dancing to “All About That Bass:”

She is pretty good.

Anyway, the language in the TPP portion released by Wikileaks allows for governments in the trade agreement to impose:

penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity

So what’ya say we throw you in jail for 10 years and fine you $1 million? Not enough of “a deterrent?” How about a trillion?

The draconian language of this provision is, of course, its virtual guarantee that the enforcement is going to be virtually impossible without imprisoning a shitload of people, so I have a proposal of my own.

Hollywood, if you want this deal, I want to back you up by arresting and imprisoning every single exec and producer who’s stolen ideas. Let’s start clearing them out.

Michael Bay, we’ve got a jail cell for you. Kevin Tsujihara, head of Warner Brothers, one of your execs said piracy was not a big deal. You’re a collaborator, we can send you to prison also. Adam Sandler, there’s a wing in a penitentiary going to be named after you.

It’s time to give up the fantasy that Hollywood offers any clear and personal connection to you. I love movies, but I detest the current corporate system that creates blockbusters as “deals” and then involves itself in international politics that trample on individual rights.

It’s just one more reason why my movie choices are becoming more independent and local.

If you oppose the TPP, you should contact your representative and senator right now.  A vote in Congress is imminent.




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


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.



TUGM Proudly Presents the World Premiere Online Release of “Sisters of No Mercy”!

It’s finally here! After nearly three years and two hundred dollars, The Underground Multiplex presents the wild, avant-garde nunsploitation comedy Sisters of No Mercy: The Real 3D Midnight Movie Xperience. Combining exploitation, comedy, classic roadshow reels, politics, music and live performance, SONM is the completion of the first collaboration between Joseph R. Lewis and me.

This came about first as a 4-minute parody trailer for a then fake nunsploitation feature. With the help of some great talented friends, we408 were able to pull off this bit in three weeks, just before I was to give a lecture on nunsploitation at Facets Night School.

The trailer debuted on YouTube in October 2010 and gained an unexpected positive response in February 2011 from the French version of  Slate Magazine, which hyperlinked the short and called it a successful parody (if the Google translation is correct). Emboldened by the responses, I casually mentioned to Joe that perhaps the nuns should go to Madison, WI during the height of protests against Governor Scott Walker and exorcise the Koch-funded “demon” from the state capitol.

The resulting short film was The Wisconsin Exorsisters, which brought back Sisters Amy and Angela, Mother Superior and the evil Father Neal from first trailer. That short went public in March 2011.

409When June rolled around, we had decided to extended Sisters of No Mercy into a feature. To accomplish this, the film needed extra footage, which was provided by recording the third portion of the film live before a midnight movie audience attending each screening of Session 8 of Facets Night School. Each chapter was filmed in 5 minute pieces before that evening’s lecture and screening. The resulting portions were then uploaded weekly online.

On September 30, 2011, TUGM debuted Sisters of No Mercy 3D at Facets Night School in an edited version that included a live interactive experience with the audience. They were treated to live music, a theatrical performance, juggling and dancing for a unique approach in film entertainment. This version has not been duplicated since.

Which brings us finally to today– almost three years since the inception of the nunsploitation parody. The final product we hope you’ll find funny, informative and entertaining. It could not be done without the help of the following wonderful people:

Amy J. Boyd, Angela Yonke, Adrianna Montiel, Kenzie Kl, Bruce Neal, Joe Rubin, Jason Coffman, Jason Loeffler, Jonathan Leaf, Douglas Grew, Brian Kirst, Lielie Kaehn-Jarvis, Brian Jarvis, Chris Brake, Christa Koch, Nathan Boecker, Susan Doll, Phil Morehart, all the presenters of Facets Night School and, of course, the twisted genius of Joe Lewis.

Legendary Lew Ojeda

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.


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?


Anti-Piracy Advocate Compares Piracy to Homophobia

And I’ll bet he’s a PIRATE, too!

Timothy Geigner at TechDirt spotted a guest post by filmmaker David Newhoff on the blog The Copyright Alliance that displays before your very eyes the disconnect between file sharing advocates and opponents.

Amazingly, Newhoff treads into the waters of a civil rights issue (gay marriage) and somehow wants to make comparisons with piracy, an issue of economics and artistic expression.

The craftiest of gay-marriage opponents will argue that legalizing these unions infringes on their rights to be Christian in America, which is tantamount to undermining religious freedom. Yes, anyone with two working brain cells can recognize that this isn’t sound reasoning so much as thinly veiled bigotry. Same-sex marriage can only be a threat to religious freedom if we agree that the zealot’s belief that homosexuality is a sin should implicitly influence our legal definition of marriage. There is no way to cut through this logical Gordian Knot without concluding that all marriage would have to be religious (and ultimately Christian) in order to be legal in the U.S. And that would violate the definition I believe most of us apply to religious freedom.

Similarly, the copyright-threatens-speech proposal uses the illusion of reverse discrimination to suggest that when the producer exercises his copyright, this somehow infringes on the consumer’s desire to reuse or “share” the work as he sees fit, which amounts to a “chilling effect” on speech. Like the same-sex marriage thing, this argument glosses over personal bias to foster a logical leap to a shaky conclusion. Copyright only threatens speech if we agree that the consumer’s right to reuse is more important than the producer’s right to treat his work as property.

Geigner adeptly skewers Newhoff’s perceptions of what the pursuit of happiness in The Declaration of Independence means for copyright holders.

However, as someone openly gay and in favor of file sharing I find Newhoff’s comparisons deeply offensive. The anti-piracy forces of the RIAA, MPAA and others have consistently lied about how much money they lose due to piracy. This perceived loss is due to business decisions the recording and movie industries should have made a long time ago when it became clear that an entire generation of entertainment fans would be downloading files, instead of buying CDs and DVDs, as the main mode of acquiring new music and movies. Studies have shown, however, that those industries are still making profits and, indeed, benefit from piracy. If the mega industries are making profits but cutting productions (where I assume, Mr. Newhoff, you’ll be making most of your money), that’s a business/labor issue, not a rights issue.

Newhoff will have to explain to me how his freedom of speech and pursuit of happiness arguments allowing him to make money from his film productions bear any relevance to being allowed to simply live freely. After the hate talk of Jeff Sangl’s church, Ron Baity and Charles Worley, who’s ready to pull the switch on gays and lesbians, Newhoff’s claims look particularly lame.

Do you seriously think that if I click “share file” that I’m exactly the same as those who would send gays to the Nazi gas chambers, force gay men to be chemically castrated or simply pummel gays to death?

I don’t know where your personal history has taken you, David Newhoff. But mine includes chapters such as death threats made before the very first march for gay rights in Rochester, NY back in 1987. As part of a group helping organize that march, I had to deal with rocks, eggs and other debris thrown at us. People shouted out names. A pick-up truck containing guys wielding baseball bats parked across the street from our starting point. One of those guys wore a shirt with the phrase “I Hate Fags” printed on it. The coup de grace of disgrace was a man who brought his two knee-high children over to scream “Biblical” accusations at us. The children were wide-eyed and terrified. I’ll never forget that traumatic incident of child abuse.

File sharing has no comparison whatsoever to any of this. To even suggest that it does is insulting to anyone who genuinely cares about human freedom.

Lew Ojeda

Do Hollywood Studios Realize They Have a Working Relationship with Torrent Sites?

TorrentFreak reports today of the daily takedown efforts of sites like isoHunt, KickAss Torrents and Extratorrent.

Despite painting these sites as lawless bastards bent on destroying the entertainment industry, these sites and others apparently follow through on DMCA takedown requests, sometimes numbering thousands monthly. That is, of course, if the studios bother to even make the requests in the first place.

BitSnoop complied with over 360,000 takedown requests since December.  ExtraTorrent drops about 3000 links monthly. KickAss almost tripled the number of takedowns since January. And isoHunt, many times, surprises those requesting takedowns with responses within 5 business days.

But studios want these companies wiped out? Really? Seems like they’re doing the work Hollywood wants done without breaking into homes and seizing legal files. Silly execs.


Hollywood Studios Too Dumb to Use the DMCA Enforcement They Sought in Congress

Almost twelve years after the Digital Millennium Copyright Act  (DMCA) was passed into law and signed by President Clinton on October 28, 1998, Hollywood studios are running around with their hair on fire yelling for stupid legislation like SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA and the like. Trouble is, in many cases they’ve apparently not been properly using the enforcement provisions of the law they fought for and were given.

What’s more, some eagle-eyed researching by people like Julian Sanchez uncovers that some of the studios only got “serious” about enforcing the law around the time that SOPA was being pushed in Congress. Why? Quite possibly, it was a ploy to make it seem like copyright infringement was so rampant that SOPA/PIPA were necessities.

But for the Hollywood studios trying to perpetuate a lie, a tool like Google’s Transparency Report can be their worst enemy. Research on file takedowns found that the requests from studios spiked during the times the MPAA really pushed for the SOPA/PIPA  legislation.  Lionsgate, which existed for as long as DMCA has, didn’t even get around to its first takedown request until  November 15, 2011, during the very week SOPA was being deliberated in Congress. Twentieth Century Fox didn’t use the Google takedown request system until January 30 of this year. And before the debate on SOPA, Paramount pictures requested a takedown via Google exactly once. In response, Sanchez tweeted this great line:

How about before you break the Internet, you try USING THE F***ING TOOLS YOU ALREADY HAVE.

I would agree, however, someone may have to teach them how. You see, Enigmax at Torrentfreak found that the studios have been undermining their own marketing departments by stupidly demanding unnecessary takedowns of their own promos from approved sites like IMDB, Apple, Hulu and Crackle. Among the movies hit: Wrath of the Titans and Happy Feet 2, both of which could have used the extra publicity.

The studios better get around to properly using the DCMA before they screw up totally and get sued by film producers for negligence. Seriously.

Bogus Copyright Infringement Claims are Becoming a New Form of Online Harrassment

A few years ago a YouTube video was posted in which vloggers went on the air with claims of false copyright infringement. Back in those days (and true today as well) false claims of infringement were made many times by scammers trying to steal the ad revenue from popular videos uploaded on YouTube.

Now with big media corporations collectively pooping major bricks over piracy, some of them are making claims that are not only false, but in some cases downright weird. The following three I’ve read about in just this past week:

The Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” video was removed temporarily due to what was reported as a “glitch” in the Copyright ID system on YouTube. AVG Technologies, an anti-virus software company, was the “claimant” of the copyright infringement notice, although they had no legal rights to the video. It was later reposted, but apparently this has happened before with the “Hitler Reacts” videos clipped from the great film Downfall. The problem is that with the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a shotgun-type approach is all too common–remove the video now, worry about free speech or the legitimacy of the claim after people contact YouTube and complain.

I wonder if that’s now going to happen with Jay Leno. According to Brian Kamerer, Leno enjoyed a music video he and his friends made to boost the actual mayoral campaign of Travis Irvine in Bexley, Ohio.  The Tonight Show stealer  host played it on TV, Brian was happy. All was right with their world, until Brian tried to access the video–his own video that he produced–on YouTube and was blocked with a copyright infringement notice from NBC. If there’s one rule in comedy, it’s never make a funny man angry. This response letter to Jay Leno proves that.

And finally, the doozy, courtesy of TechDirt, where three networks and quite possibly a fourth are ready to do legal battle with DISH Network over a new “Auto Hop” feature, allowing consumers to automatically skip over commercials to view the main program. This hardly-new technology (I remember owning VCRs that had 30-second auto skips) had ABC clutching its heart like Fred Sanford getting ready to “join Elizabeth.” Unbelievably, the networks are arguing that removing the ads with Auto Hop infringes on their copyrights. Say what?!

But leave it to Investor Place to tell us how important companies like Disney are to our well-being over this matter:

 …making programmers like Disney cranky — or a host of other networks like NBC, which also weighed in against Auto Hop recently — may not be beneficial in the long run. Quality programming doesn’t come cheap and everyone is struggling to figure out how to generate money in this new media world to support quality programming.

Yes! God forbid, we should hamper the next great program offering like, oh let’s say, a show about a dog that runs its own blog.

I urge you to read Mike Masnick’s coverage of the crazy lawsuit against DISH. It should convince you, once and for all, the big media corps will stop at nothing to grab every penny it can. Once you read it, you should never comment about anyone else tying up the courts with frivolous lawsuits.

I’m convinced that false copyright infringement claims are going to be the new big media corporate scam when it’s clear that many people like their internet too much for privacy-infringing legislation. What’ll make it harder for those to counter is that getting your YouTube vids reinstated is a pain in the ass and can get you further in the mud if you don’t know what you’re doing when you are fighting back.