I recently posted here about the non-enforcement of The Fair Use clause for media producers and how their works (and careers) in were jeopardy. Overzealous entertainment labels and outright thieves plop down DMCA takedown notices on YouTube when the alleged violations were highly questionable. Making matters worse, the claimants could legally take ad money meant for the original video creator after the takedown and never be required to give it back, even if the claims are proven false.
Now I’ve learned from Fight for the Future(.org) that the U.S. Copyright Office wants to hear from those who have a concern with these violations. Click on this link to register your concerns about the misuse of DMCA takedowns and the violation of free speech these actions incur.
The only catch is that you must contact them by 11:59pm tonight!
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.
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.
This week Hollywood is very happy to have you turn your attentions to The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars, instead of what happened to a guy they consider their public enemy number one. That’s because a New Zealand court just threw millions of dollars back at Kim Dotcom, former head of Megaupload and now CEO of Mega, for legal and living expenses due to the very well-publicized raid on his NZ mansion back in 2012.
That NZ raid, carried out due to allegations of criminal copyright infringement, went viral on video worldwide with the flashiness of a major drug bust. His mansion, art, luxury cars (including a pink Cadillac), yachts were all on display for a hungry press.
Those accusations would be embarrassment enough for the US if proven true.
Kim Dotcom posing before one of his yachts. (Courtesy: thedrum.com)
However, two other damning ones certainly stuck: the illegality of the seizure and Dotcom’s claim of a planned, pre-raid espionage set up by the US and assisted by NZ Prime Minister John Key. Subsequent court rulings regarding both had the effect of making a multi-convicted criminal a folk hero in New Zealand and putting the reigning NZ government in jeopardy.
In June 2012, six months after Dotcom’s arrest, the High Court of New Zealand ruled that the estate raid was illegal because the warrants presented for the siege were too broad, thus allowing the police to grab any unrelated items they could get their hands on. The US case began unraveling like a loose knit sweater caught in a washing machine agitator.
The US authorities were slapped in the face by the court ruling. But the next allegation would–for Prime Minister John Key–become the equivalent of a 24 hour marathon of Ow, My Balls!
Dotcom claimed Key cooperated with spying on the Megaupload mogul and planned on having him come to NZ , allowing the US to swoop in and extradite him back to the States. On New Zealand media, Key answered a question about this claim brought to him by reporter Glenn Greenwald (now most famous for assisting Edward Snowden):
The video above shows Key being an ass for fatshaming Dotcom and making racist comments about his name. The subsequent knowledge that he was lying through his teeth during the entire segment catapults it into the realm of breathtaking shamelessness.
Keep in mind, this amazing groin bruiser to the NZ Prime Minister came after
Former Auckland City Mayor John Banks
another NZ politician, Mayor of Auckland City John Banks, was convicted on corruption charges for failing to disclose a donation to his campaign from Kim Dotcom. His conviction was since overturned with a possibility of a retrial. But the damage was done, as Dotcom rated higher in popularity than Banks and the former mayor had to wrangle in the courts for three years before the latest ruling. The lesson here, of course, is that if you are a politician in NZ, Kim Dotcom should probably not be in your vocabulary.
Now Dotcom has been awarded millions back to him. It might seem like he’s come full circle, but Dotcom is still fighting extradition, a divorce, legal fees and the inability to sell shares on the recently formed Mega–all of which are financial drains. However, he’s able to undertake his financial and legal battles from a stance that he was wronged by two countries and an industry hellbent on protecting copyright laws the film industry itself breaks.
You may want to think about that next time you get excited about seeing Hollywood’s next blockbusters.
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
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.
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.
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.
TorrentFreak 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.
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?
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?
“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.”
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?
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 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.
TUGM is a community-arts organization dedicated to locally-produced transmedia.
What is transmedia? We like to think of it as:
VIDZ PIX TXT TRAX.
We advocate for independent artists and content creators. We produce live events to strengthen the local arts community. We also organize our own original transmedia productions.
Based in Chicago.
Shy, Ill 4EVA