Tag Archives: piracy

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.

 

 

 

The US/Hollywood War Against Kim Dotcom was an Embarrassing Failure That Almost Toppled the NZ Government

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom

by Legendary Lew

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.

The press was also starved to hear from Dotcom after his arrest. Kim Dotcom, in no way shy of publicity, came forward with his own allegations against the Hollywood studios, claiming among other things that the raid was payment in kind for supporting President Obama’s election bid and that Dotcom was ready to create an IPO with Megaupload.

Those accusations would be embarrassment enough for the US if proven true.

Kim Dotcom posing before one of his yachts. (Courtesy: thedrum.com)

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.

You see, unlike the United States, New Zealanders don’t take kindly to being spied upon, even if it’s on someone like Kim Dotcom. In fact, it’s illegal. The result of having his nose grow about three feet during the interview was that on September 2012, Key publicly apologized to Kim Dotcom for spying on him. The country went ballistic against Key with one commentary comparing the spy affair to Watergate and another claiming the United States has a 51st state called New Zealand.

Keep in mind, this amazing groin bruiser to the NZ Prime Minister came after

Former Auckland City Mayor John Banks

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.

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