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View Diary: Confessions Of A Hollywood Professional: Why I Can't Support the Stop Online Piracy Act (UPDATED) (272 comments)

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  •  false numbers (9+ / 0-)

    The issue I have with the number of dollars and jobs that online piracy cos is this- Someone who is pirating a copy of the jonas brothers movie is probably not going to be buying it.

    This just reminds me of when the industry said they couldn't afford to pay the writers for their work.  Of course they could, they just weren't going to divulge their business model going forward, because that would make it clear that it's possible to change your business model and still reap the rewards in an open system like we have.  

    itunes changed it up by offering the convenience of paying a buck for a song.  Redbox did the same.  

    Another thing is this- I have downloaded and watched episodes of parks and rec (as an example).  The episodes I have downloaded for free from a video sharing site are the main reason I watch the new season.  

    It's really not that hard.  

    Performers have to be performers, not couch cushions.  And vendors of the content need to do it in a way that swaps the inconvenience of finding pirated versions for the convenience of a lower price.  

    I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

    by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:13:24 AM PST

    •  They are complete BS and that has been well (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msblucow, caul, 0wn, BluePlatypus

      documented since the Napster wars. As you suggest, the people sharing for "free" are not buyers.

      See Dr. Dre's arguments from the late 90's.

      This whole issue boils down to the greedy and the talentless' desire to be paid forever for having one idea (or for stealing some else's one idea). Further, they accomplish this objective by buying legislators.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:43:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. Its not BS (8+ / 0-)

        Online piracy is real. We may quibble about the numbers, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        Further, we deserve to be fairly compensated for our work. We are neither greedy nor talentless. I resent that kind of attitude, and frankly it makes it much harder to make the case against Draconian and ineffective anti-pirating laws.

        •  The numbers you quoted and used to further (0+ / 0-)

          this obscenity are, just as otto points out, complete BS.

          The point is that the losses the industry suffers are the result of industry management's lack of imagination, incompetence, and greed, far more than file sharing. Trying to blame somebody else for one's own failings is human nature, but let's consider the consequences of catering to it.

          And not for nothing, I too worked in and around the  industry for quite some time and virtually everyone I knew is in the business as well.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:17:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  we CAN quibble about numbers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          msblucow

          Because those are the meat of this argument.

          Leave it to John Lennon to cleverly provide a clarifying example.

          On his "Mind Games" album there is a track called the Nuptonian International Anthem -

          the track is 2 seconds of slience (haha) - yet retails as a separate track for .99 cents.

          Maybe, just maybe, all music isn't worth .99.  Maybe its worth .19 a pop?  Maybe all TV shows aren't worth what they're being sold for either?

          The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

          by jgkojak on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:56:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  So when a pirate site (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msblucow, NMRed, Alice in Florida, geph

        Uploads my books, CHARGES people to belong to the site so they can then get my, and other, books for free, that's moral and okay?

        •  No, they are charging for membership in your (0+ / 0-)

          hypothetical.

          Now, let's talk about how much you should be paid and for how long?

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:04:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, let's not (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites, NMRed, kurt, geph

            Next time you go into a book store, take a good look around you. 3% of the books on the shelves in there written by current authors (as opposed to dead ones) are written by authors who make a living as a writer.

            The other 97% are written by authors who work at other jobs as well, trying to make enough with their writing to support themselves, or at least make enough to buy themselves enough time off their bills so they can write another book.

            And it's NOT a hypothetical. At all. It happens to me all the time. One time a kid on Facebook complained to me that the $60 audio book he had purchased was crap. "You could hear the cars driving by in the background!"

            That book hadn't even been licensed to audio at that time.

            And even if the pirates aren't making money on another creator's IP, they're stealing.  Book publishing is a very slim margin industry (comics are even worse) and widespread piracy pounds the smaller houses and writers.

            But no, I don't support SOPA and am scared to death of these dinosaurs in Congress trying to legislate anything on the "intertubes."

            •  What you describe has nothing to do with (0+ / 0-)

              file sharing. The problems with the publishing industry are numerous, inevitable, and mostly self-inflicted. Blaming technology for the shortcomings of the people that control your industry will accomplish nothing but to extend the time it takes to die.

              Business needs artists, artists do not need them unless they control access. The web makes that control impossible. Like all artists, writers will write regardless of circumstance. Instead of trying to stop the tide, figure out a way to use it.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

              by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:01:22 PM PST

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              •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                While I'm concerned about my ownership and fair use rights in a book that I purchase, the distinction is the difference. (And I find it particularly amusing while watching High Fidelity)

                There is a benefit for an artist in partnering with a buisness that has relationships with sellers, advertisers and can speculate on an artist's work that allows them to make something. This relationship needs to be worked on, sure. And a successful artist can break out of a system that they find burdensome.  Ideally this allows everyone to win.

                We get content, investors get a reasonable rate of return, and artists have a system that helps them not starve.

                The exponential nature of modern file sharing is what frightens content makers and that IS a function of the technology. A mix tape in 1985 was hard to make, hard to share and degraded when copied. A mix "tape" in 2005 was easy to make, easy to share and didn't degrade.

                The same for movies. Copy a movie from Blockbuster in 1985? You get a bulky and poor copy of the movie. Download a rip from a DVD? You and everyone else on a torrent site get a DVD quality .iso file.

                It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                by Solarian on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 01:45:06 PM PST

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                •  The Djinn is out of the bottle. (0+ / 0-)

                  Being paid is what this is about, and the old model you describe, while still useful as you say, is and will become less useful as time goes by. The technology removes the control they had that makes it possible for them to charge for picking and choosing who gets read/seen/heard.

                  The world's second moveable type printing press was probably used to make knock-offs of the Gutenberg Bible. It has always been possible to copy everything and it seems to me the technology also takes a big chunk out of the profit of the counterfeiters as well.

                  From the other side of the equation, I find nearly everything published today to be the literary equivalent of deep-fried HFCS. Why on earth would I lay out $20 to buy a book that is almost certainly crap? I wouldn't. But when someone tells me they have found an author worth reading, and I can check out their work for nothing other than a potential waste of my time, I will and do.

                  I think the cause of the debate is mostly the fact that all of these industries are, in their current form, doomed by technology and their insistence that business-as-usual continue. They will adapt or be replaced.

                  The changes are still coming, let's just be careful about the unintended consequences of "doing something about it" along the way.

                  "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

                  by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:17:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'd say the concern is with this: (0+ / 0-)
                    But when someone tells me they have found an author worth reading, and I can check out their work for nothing other than a potential waste of my time, I will and do.

                    How is the author of the book you're talking about being paid?

                    It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic. - WSC

                    by Solarian on Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 08:34:32 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I don't buy books (0+ / 0-)

          I check them out at the library.  

          Tell me how you think libraries support your work.

          I totally respect your right to earn a living, and I think that it can be done within the changing technology.  

          Have you read Corey Doctorow on this?  He gives away his books in electronic format, but he sells hard copies.  He doesn't allow donations, but he will allow you to purchase a hard copy for a school.  

          I think he has the right take on this, and if you go to his site, you can download his book of essays called "Content."

          It's a very interesting, forward thinking collection of thoughts.

          I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

          by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 12:04:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I sit on the Board of Trustees (2+ / 0-)

            at a library and am all for them.

            We're talking about different things. Libraries purchase books, and with that purchase, the right to loan those out to patrons. When libraries purchase e-books, that doesn't give open license for any patron to download the e-book. The library has "X" number of e-copies to loan, and can't loan more than that until the previous ones are returned (expire).

            Corey Doctorow is entitled to do whatever he sees fit regarding this. He's a brilliant writer and thinker.

            I expect he'll rethink his position soon, though, as e-books come to dominate the market. Three years ago, e-books comprised 2% of my back-list sales. Two years ago, it was 19%. In 2011, it was 41%.

            Certainly the business model is changing, and dramatically. E-books will give publishers better margins and authors better royalties, but they might well be the death knell for the publishing industry, and might well so scatter the readership in a sea of self-published work that few will find enough of a niche to make a living.

            I don't know. The pirate sites hurt me a bit, I'm sure (they'll probably hurt the video games I'm involved with more than the novels), but they absolutely clobber the legitimate audio bookmakers, the small publishers, and can ruin a lesser-known author's career in short order.

            So I don't know. But what I do feel in my heart on a very basic level is that stealing intellectual property is still stealing. If I can't afford a book, there is the library. If I can afford it, I will gladly support the creator of that book with a sale.

            •  The point about libraries (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kurt

              They buy a few copies of  a book, but the result is that more people get to know that author.  

              Where is one of the places that authors frequently go to give the type of readings that they will likely be doing more of in the future?  Libraries.  

              The point isn't that libraries are the same, the point is that libraries promote your work to the general public.  The general public then spreads the knowledge of your name, and that leads to more interest and more sales.

              It must have been 1995 that I heard an interview on NPR who had the self appointed title of "futurist." Typically, I can only pay so much attention to someone who self titles, but this person made a good prediction of what the future of art would look like.

              Basically, she said that the future of creative work like yours would be one in which artists give their work away for free, but then earn their living by doing the speaking tours and assorted side bets that go along with whatever kind of art someone is involved in.

              I think what she missed were some of the conveniences that we can have now like a 99 cent song that we can download with almost no trouble.  That leads to a sale, because it's just as hard to pirate as it is to pay 99 cents.  

              The people who this absolutely rips off, according to Doctorow, are the ones who are just trying to use the product they bought in a normal way.  

              If there were no piracy of movies, for instance, we wouldn't have these discs that come with a digital copy.  

              The thing that irritates the hell out of me is that when I purchase something, I like to think that it belongs to me.  

              I don't lease music when I buy it.  I buy it outright.  So when I am not able to do whatever I want to with what I've purchased, I get a little irate.  

              What I see coming is more of what we had when recorded music wasn't available.  Parties had live music, and the creative people were made more in the mold of performer.  

              I think this is very clear when it comes to youtube.  There are numerous bands and acts who have made their way to income earning through the work they did for free in their youtube videos.  

              Like I said, I completely respect your ability to earn a living, and I wish I had half the dedication and focus required to follow through in writing a book.  

              It just seems that this is something that can't be stopped, and when the train is moving through town, you probably have to hop on in some way or another.  

              I want my pajamas to be covered in words from Bartlett's. That way, whenever I sleep, it'll be in quotes.

              by otto on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 03:58:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There's a very profound (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kurt, otto, Ecclesiastaverbs

                difference between you buying a book and loaning it to a friend, or ten, and operating a free-bee download site that can cost an author/publisher a contract.

                But you are right. This is reality and the business model will have to adapt to it. i certainly don't want the internet going the way of the telecom wars.

    •  That's the biggest fallacy (9+ / 0-)

      The idea that very "pirated" download represents a lost sale.

      I work with a lot of 20somethings, all performers, who basically state that if they really want something, they'll pay for it.

      If they "grab it" for free, it's because they wouldn't drop coin for it.

      (The fact that they're performers may skew that a bit far afield from the larger 20something attitude, but it's all I've got :-)

      "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

      by ARS on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 09:55:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I refuse to re-buy my music collection (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greyhound, caul

        I spent much of my money I earned at summer jobs buying music cassettes.

        As a matter of principle, I refuse to re-buy those songs on iTunes and I will download them via torrents.  I could probably buy a device that lets me convert my music cassettes to MP3s, but it's more convenient to just download them.

        For those songs I never legally bought before, sure, I will pay the $0.99 for them.

        •  I hope that you consider (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto, mightymouse, kurt, Greyhound, geph, Matt Z

          purchasing music from the smaller bands and/or individual performers that aren't rolling in the dough.

          Many of my friends are performers who have to work "day jobs" to make ends meet. Every CD sold (or download paid for) really does make a difference in their daily lives.

          Also - whenever possible, I try to buy directly from the artist - They usually get to keep a much larger percentage of the cost of the music than if you purchase through itunes, Amazon or some other online mass marketing site.

          Personally, I see no need to further enrich the mega-corporations, but the artists who actually created the works are a different story, especially those who are struggling.

          That's just me - you must follow your own path.

          "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." - Tom Robbins - Political Compass sez: -8.25, -7.90

          by ARS on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 11:19:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the direction it looks to be headed in now. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ARS

            The artist(s) have to build an audience that will pay them directly to make their art and that is more likely to happen the more people experience their art.

            "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

            by Greyhound on Wed Jan 18, 2012 at 10:32:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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