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Yet another brilliant article that says what the MPAA and RIAA refuse to hear: piracy is a service problem.

"The seven step, ten minute download process (which will be about ten seconds when US internet speeds catch up with the rest of the world) is the real enemy the studios should be trying to tackle. Right now, the industry is still stuck in the past, and is crawling oh-so-slowly into the future. They still believe people are going to want to buy DVDs or Blu-rays in five years, and that a movie ticket is well worth $15. Netflix is the closest thing they have to an advocate, but the studios are trying to drive them out of business as they see them as a threat, not a solution. It’s mind boggling."
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I just downloaded Star Trek: TNG. Hopefully no one comes after me. :|
A friend of mine posted on FB earlier in the week saying "To me, if Netflix doesn't have it on Instant Que, it doesn't have it at all." The industry needs to realize that it must conform to wants of the public, not the other way around.
Why service the customer when you can simply sue them into poverty?
+Rachael Compton And it's funny, because the service that everyone loves the most (at least an instant queue) is the one that the industry is trying so hard to kill.
The studios need to embrace online, digital distribution...that's the only way they are going to be able to combat piracy. It's sad that these companies are stuck in a business model that is over 10 years old. You have to change with the times to get anywhere...
That's why I'm sticking with Netflix's DVD service, as opposed to streaming. There is a larger selection with the disc service (for now, at least).
Yup, Rachael, streaming only at this point.
Hm, maybe "entertainment" in the future will mean being able to hang out with your friends. The attraction element in music and movies was mainly that they were an embodyment of ideas that sucesfully challanged the established view on things.
Jess Nut
It's true. The movie industry thinks that we aren't going to movies in the theater because we can just pirate the movie online instead. But going to the theater is an experience that most people can't replicate at home, an a shakey video from a hand held camera phone is certainly not going to acomplish. There are two main reasons why people don't go to the theater, A) a lot of movies right now suck, and no one is willing to bet $9-$25 to find that out and B) people in theaters are rude and ruin the experience for everyone else. I got to the movies way more than most people, but I only go for action movies because people talking and babies crying won't interupt my enjoyment of those as much as it would for a drama or thriller. I do plenty of research and I still get duped sometimes. Haywire is a horrible POS but somehow had an 86% on Rotten Tomatos (it has gone down since then) and totally tricked me into paying money for it. If my budget only allowed for one movie a month I would have been severly depressed. Make better movies, charge more reasonable prices, police disruptive people better, and more people will go see movies in the theater. Don't fight rental giants like Netflix and Amazon. I don't care if you want to hold back the movie for a month or two to let theaters' get their money's worth out o the runs, but don't boycot them all together or you'll get $0 of my dollars. Whether or not the movie is available on Netflix has nothing to do with my decision of whether or not to see it in the theater.
This needs to be seen from the industry point of view too - DRM from a technical stand point is not viable and they know it. Everything what can be played back in any way can be copied and duplicated in any other format. This is what they are afraid of - the situation where they no longer have the control over the physical delivery channel which could be regulated in some fashion. With direct Internet playback and download the fear is that every tech savvy 14 years old pimple faced kid will become a movie pirate.
we don't go to the movies but maybe once a year. Simply because they are not worth going to the movies at $15.00 to $20.00 a ticket plus the food and drink. Most of the time, its easier to wait for them to go to netflix or redbox. Sorry production companies..not changing our mind.
Relying on an industry whose idea of great moneymaking ideas is "Candyland - the movie" to come up with creative ways to service their audience is probably a mistake.
The first studio to get with the program and pull a Valve, will win. Amazon Music and VOD is close, darn close.
x-box, PS3 and most blu ray players have movie rental apps other than netflix so you don't have to buy a dvd or blu ray. and it's only $3-$5 which is what a vhs cost back in the day from a physical rental store

i watch pirated content sometimes, and the quality can't even match blu ray. in a lot of cases piracy is something for digital hoarders who have 5TB of movies sitting on a NAS costing a lot of money in electric bills and they only watch a movie once in 3 years because it's physically impossible to watch that many movies if you have a normal life

i've done the BT thing years ago and in 2012 its A LOT faster to just pay the rental fee and rent from the cable company, itunes, amazon or someone else
In my opinion, I don't care about the physical media anymore. I'm perfectly fine with streaming or having to download movies for offline consumption. But the problem is what everyone else has been talking about ease of use, and $$$$. If companies would make their products easy to access and at a reasonable price (for the consumer not the company) then people wouldn't have a problem paying for the product.
AC Zul
Until the MPAA and the RIAA grow up and see the writing on the wall, I will continue getting what I want however I can get it. I pay monthly for both Hulu and Netflix. But if those outlets don't have what I want, I will get it. For free. On the internet.
I saw this as sorta like killing the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs. They could nurture it, but they try and squeeze as much out of every successful service until it dies. :|
I live in Ireland, so we're having our own version of SOPA forced down our throats regardless. I do think movie studios have completely refused to look at the problem sensibly, failing to realise (as so many others have failed before them) that you can't stop the internet doing more or less what it wants to do. You just have to channel it, make your own option as convenient or moreso. Otherwise you're doomed to fail.
Ten minute.. uwwaaah sobss (in my country it's ten HOURS. -_- yay.)
Oh. +1 for the no-no for SOPA n other PA-family.
+Keith Mitchell it's a horrible business model (much like their "true" business model) but it's one they will use until they get their way.
Totally agree, game publishers understood this issue long time ago and they joined Steam. What I don't understand why most of movie studios can't take advantage of the Internet and try to censor it the hard way instead.
I love that the studios assume that if somebody is unable to illegally see a movie that they will go to the theater and see it.
I don't expect the movie studios or music labels to change. Rarely do established companies evolve in reaction to monumental changes to their industry. What I expect to see instead is that new companies will find ways to exploit the changes and eventually the old established companies will shrink and collapse. But they're going to fight tooth and nail before that happens.

In other words, I expect other content producers to follow The Guild's example, I don't expect Viacom to.
I don't think they(RIAA, MPAA) will ever get it. Having said that, I also believe that "Big Brother" does want to control every aspect of our lives and will not stop trying to do so...
The industry is greedy...they are used to getting what they want because they have tons of money to flood the system to get what they want. you really want to fight back...stop buying their music, movies, games...let the companies go broke...let them fail.

someone will come around and start a new game company, label (like ours for example) or studio that gives the user access to the media 24-7 / 365...its what we are doing now and it is the future...

the people that run these companies have no idea how to work with the tech, have no desire to learn and stifle the ones at the job that actually DO know how to fix do I know this. Cause I was one of those people at a major game company and whenever
I brought up games on demand. I was either removed from the meeting or ignored.
FANTASTIC article. I'm a movie BUYER. I like to go look for a movie or even see it in the theater. But watching a movie in my living room is just soooo much easier. I'm happy to pay for good content. I'm not happy to pay 30 or 40 bucks for a $2 DVD. Get the prices down, do the Steam model and walaaa, they've just built the better mousetrap.
+Rachael Compton I agree! (with that friend of yours). To me the whole pay $8 and get a small selection of streaming options or pay $8 more dollars and get large selection of DVD in the mail options is incredibly stupid to me. I want more selection than the streaming, and I have no problem with paying another $8 to get it. The problem is, I dont' want any freaking DVD, and I don't want to wait for them to come in the mail.

If Netflix were smart they would realize that I probably represent a lot of people. I have no problem with paying more money to get more selection. That makes sense to me, and that's called running a business. What I don't get is why I need to switch mediums and wait two days if I want a bigger selection. I don't know what movie I want to watch in two days. I know what movie I want to watch right now, and I would gladly pay a higher price for it to also be available for streaming.
Netflix only shows me movies Ive already seen and or marked "not interested" like the ones from 1927. Also tends to show each of those movies 1-3 times per line of movies. It has gone way down in the past month and is not worth paying for any more. The only movies that I havent seen are in other languages and the preferences are set to english only. They are intentionally making it so you dont want to use their service. I wouldnt call them an advocate of the right way to please consumers.
Brilliant. Very well-thought-out. Thanks, Wil!
Dear Wil Wheaton:

We were planning on being dicks. Please offer us any advice in the matter.

The MPAA and RIAA </sarcasm>
Isn' t that "stupid" ( inconsistent thinking) ? A 14 years old kid will "sell" "pirated CDs" to... whom ? Three or four aspects are entangled in that thought. Tech savy "means" computer programs. A 14 year old kid may be unconfortable in an cinema theatre watching a serious film for adults. The fear that a 14 year kid could access "adult" movies. I think you are just expressing a view that mixes elements of a moral view regarded as pertinent some time ago mainly because it enforced an economic model ( "work" hard and be responsible ) while honestly but somehow helplessly trying to integrate a somewhat disruptive technological change ( "think" hard and be responsible).
"Treat your customers with respect , and they’ll do the same to you. And that is how you fight piracy"

Or as you once put it, "Don't be a dick!"

The industry has a history of claiming new technology will kill them before adapting and making money off of it. (See: VCRs.)

I think the "Movie Steam" concept that the article describes could really put a dent in piracy. There will always be people who pirate. Maybe they think they're "sticking it to the man". Maybe they don't want to pay even a penny (though they may rationalize it with "If only they'd drop the price to X, I'd pay). For whatever reason, these people are not the movie studios targets. That piracy will always continue and should mainly be ignored. But if you can design a fair system that matches or beats piracy in ease-of-use, quality, and media-freedom, you'll win back many of the people who pirate simply because it's easier or cheaper to do so.

Oh and if, instead of trying to kill Netflix, they'd release every movie they made to Netflix (even if it was 30 days after the DVD release), they'd make a TON of money and kill piracy.
Problem is the RIAA and MPAA haven't gotten over their desire for pay-per-play, which is their holy grail. Everything they've done in the last 20 years is towards that goal.
Yep. This is exactly what I've been preaching for years now. The RIAA began to figure this out once iTunes exploded. But the Hollywood still has their heads up their asses, trying to rule with an iron fist, without realizing that iron fists went out of style a few centuries ago.
The only movie I plan to see in theaters this year is the Avengers (hope it doesn't suck). Everything else will be streaming or iTunes purchase. If they're not available that way, I'll go do something else. It's not like there aren't a gazillion other entertainment options that will use up all my time. The movie industry should consider that!
+Erik McCloud Even a decent pay-per-play online system would work if it was cheap and comprehensive enough. However, I'd much rather subscribe to a service and be able to see any show/movie without additional fees racking up.

Perhaps the problem is they're viewing a possible online system as a Movie Theatre On Steroids - where you need to buy another ticket for each new show you want to see. Meanwhile, most of the viewing public is looking for Basic Cable TV On Steroids - where you pay one rate for access to the shows and then can watch as many or as few as you like.
last thing from me on this but it makes sense sorta...when I worked at blockbuster back in the day. I managed a store. I told my guys "all these movies...these are all yours. you can check out whatever you want whenever you just can't keep it."

when I did that...loss prevention shit but when inventory stores losses were year after year ...less and less until it literally was 20.00 at one point.

my point...streaming is the answer...why would I need to "own" it whatever it is it will just take up space in my house or hard drives...or whatever...if I can stream it in High Quality whenever i want...WHERE EVER I want...

why would I need to steal it??? wouldn't

this will never happen and if it does...the industry because of greed will figure out a way to over charge and under deliver...

this industry, like games and music...and our financial system needs an needs to all fail before we can build it up again folks.

and on that..if anyone knows anyone that would want to get in on the ground floor of a record label that is doing just what we are all talking about here...hit me up...i'm looking for investors to take it to the next level.
+John August & +Craig Mazin have also been discussing the broken model of distribution on their podcast. The concept of Movie Steam is interesting, but would take a leap of faith by at least one studio. John and Craig briefly discussed a similar idea of branded content providers, like Comedy Central, leveraging their existing identity and audience to be content providers. It's going to be an interesting decade to watch how this all plays out.
WILL WHEATON! (sorry I had to do this). And on topic: we all know it, and mpaa/riaa won't take it even if delivered with sledgehammer
+Jess Nut You have a very good point with rude people at the theater. Disappointing movies and jerks are my primary deterrents from going to the theater.

Second to that is all this 3D crap. Until it can be done without putting something on my face, I don't want it. (Plus it gives me headaches.) Give me Jetsons-style holograms, or "simple" big-screen movies.
I'd only add one more recommendation for the movie industry: Let me rip my DVDs! I have a ton of DVDs but it's not convenient to find the disc, load it in, and then watch it. In addition, I have small kids (8 and 4) who I really don't want handling the discs. If I could rip the discs and store them on an external hard drive, I could stream my rips to my TV via a home media server. I'd still buy DVDs (to rip and then store) and I wouldn't share the rips or re-sell the DVD without deleting the rip. However, buying a new DVD would go from "Oh joy. Another disc to shove in the DVD cabinet." to "This will be ripped and my kids/my wife and I/all of us can watch this whenever we want."

There was a company that made a device like this. It ripped the disc to an image and then let you "mount" that image. The MPAA is in the process of suing them out of existence. However, if they stopped to think about it, this device could add years to the lifespan of and boost sales of DVDs/Blu-Rays before all-streaming takes over.
I can't second this notion firmly enough. I've now been saying it for years that "the industry" is viewing piracy as a problem, not a symptom. It is a symptom of their failing service. They want to address the symptom and not the source. Until they address the source of the problem they will never be able to control piracy.
But Wil, didn't piracy kill iTunes? I'm pretty sure that's why Napster was shut down, and nobody every pirates music anymore!!! </sarcasm>
Pretty good article. I specifically appreciated the conclusion:

"I believe in paying money for products that earn it. I do not believe in a pricing and distribution model that still thinks it’s 1998. And I really don’t believe in censoring the internet so that studio and label executives can add a few more millions onto their already enormous money pile.

Treat your customers with respect, and they’ll do the same to you. And that is how you fight piracy."
I blame Windows Media Player and Filler music on CDs for every song I have ever pirated. Windows Media Player will play every single pirated song without fail, without a question. But if I want to play the CDs I've actually purchased throughout the years on WMP, I have to re-burn them to my hard drive every time WMP updates, or it will refuse to play them, saying I don't have the rights. Oh I get it, Windows Media Player 'wants' me to pirate music. Okay then, I will.

Then there are those CDs which have one good song, if I am lucky, and the rest of the CD is a bunch of filler crap. Fool me once, shame on you. So, who drove me to pirate music? Not some greedy desire for free music, no. I love and support good music. I own every Enya, Enigma, Delerium, Tool, and APC CD ever made. I even have both CDs by Milla Jovovich. But I had to pirate them too, just so that I could play their music on my computer without any problems. I don't pirate because I am greedy. I pirate because people who make CDs tend to fill them with crap, and Windows Media Player won't play music burned from CDs.

So, I blame the artists in the music industry, and Microsoft. Justifiably.
Also, the era of the CD is over. They should sell me music in mp3/mp4 whatever format, on a thumb drive. That way I can transfer it easily onto my computer or music player, and if their music sucks? Well, at least I got this cool thumb drive.

If I want it on a CD, I'll burn it myself.
Amazon Video-On-Demand is there and working. Use that instead of buying BluRays.
Wasn't there a study back when they were going after Napster that showed sales actually rose where Napster was heavily used? People would hear the song on Napster and want to get the CD for real. I sometimes do the same thing now - watch or rent a video. Realize that we (or my kids) would want to watch it over and over again - so I purchase the blu-ray.
People aren't as 'dishonest' as the media moguls think (Personally I think they do a lot of projection there....) and will pay for a reasonably priced and available DVD or CD. I hate finding that I paid $20-$30 for a DVD which was heavily marketed but just plain sucked when watched - or entirely un-original (Avatar anyone?). Or far too reliant on CGI, FX, or good ole Boobies to make up for a just plain dumb storyline.
I like the point about Hollywood putting zero effort into online distribution.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: laws don't need to change, business models need to change. Too many companies think they can control the market based on how their business operates. It's very short sighted.

As an allegory of sorts, did blacksmiths limit market growth once everyone had cars? What about candlestick makers forcing everyone to not buy into gas lamps, or into electricity and get lightbulbs? Does it happen too a point? Yes! But the size of the business today are overshadowing the market growth potential.
Make it simple, make it cheap.
I thought the Battleship movie reference at the end of the article was a joke at first. They're really spending $200m on that? Wow O_o
So, should I spend $16 for a DVD or more for a Blue-Ray I may only watch once a year or less, wait 30+ for the movie to come out on Netflix (mail rental, forget about the streaming service), wait ~2 months for it to come out on cable, or should I wait about 2 hours and download the damn thing. I'm usually willing to wait 30 days for a movie I really want to watch, but that's it.
Has the MPAA and RIAA never heard of economists? They should try hiring one for even just a day and they would hear the answer to this issue - it is a service problem and the answer is to make it easier, more consistent, and better product than the "free" pirated stuff at a price the consumers are willing to pay.
Thank you for sharing this Wil. I have reshared it on a star trek podcast forum where we have had a similar discussion before. I have thanked you on the forum, but as I'm sure you don't check it out I wanted to thank you for sharing here.
Actually Hollywood has put out a lot into online distribution. It was they who promoted so-called 'piracy software' on their sites like LimeWire, Kaza, on sites like, etc... even to the point of giving examples. There's a video about it on G+ somewhere.
Personally I think of it as evolution and the Hollywood types are just dying off and going extinct (Sorry Wil). If we are lucky something might emerge which saves some of the good elements.
+Karen Exline You make a good point. If they put anything BUT music on there, it would completely ruin it. I guess this goes to show that they simply can't be trusted at all, and their industry needs to die.
I've been sharing this with as many people as I can. Very well written.
One of these days someone is going to have to show me how to mention people on Google+, because it never works for me.. =(

Oh sure, now it's working, after I call it out for not working.
I really liked this post that you added. That whole topic is a huge mess if you ask me.
Jonathan Coulton said it best, "Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan".
Hey +Wil Wheaton, would you be able to answer if I asked how much you make in royalites of a single store-bought copy of a season or the whole series of Star Trek: The Next Generation?
I believe my exact quote five months ago was: "These people want to put the burden of paying for their inability to innovate on the taxpayers and government, instead of actually doing any of the work themselves (since that would cut into their profit margins)."
Why are we even considering piracy a problem?!
Neil Young said it best - "Piracy is the new radio"...
Here's a thought: You could spend more time in jail for illegal downloads than for more grusome crimes. Hmmm....Is money really that important? Do they believe they CAN take it with them? Or just that they will NEVER die?
If the entertainment industry would stop spending so much to ban piracy, and pay actors less, they'd probably find that they actually make a profit off of existing sales...
If you like the "Steam" concept, check out You can rent moveis for 2 dollars, buy movies for 5 or 10 dollars. Watch them whenever, and they save your library for you.
Seems that movie tickets are worth $15 (or so), since people line up to pay that when they do have cheaper (& maybe easier) ways just to see the content. But this is another great example of a niche distribution platform and market economics.
It would be nice of people would stop calling it "piracy" and start calling it "file sharing". Although I must commend the MPAA on their brilliant marketing campaign that associates file sharing with murder and theft.
Brilliant indeed! Pity Hollywood isn't listening to their consumers. Of course, the people running the industry are the same ones that fought a war in the late 70's and 80's with mixed tapes, and in the 90's with blank CDs/DVDs. They're used to locking down (or trying to lock down) access to distribution sources. Sadly, this no longer will work. The cat's out of the bag and the business model isn't viable.

And Netflix isn't the only online distributor (although Paul Tassi used it probably more as an example than an end-all-be-all). 2011 was the year of internet TV and it's only getting bigger. Look at why HBO pulled it's content from Netflix...they suddenly realized they could make money off it and released HBO Online. Sony's had Crackle for a few years and it's ramping up. And of course, let's not forget Hulu or Revision 3.
This article would be a lot more credible if they took out the whole "piracy isn't theft" bit. There is an opportunity cost associated with stealing IP. I'm not trying to say that piracy actually causes a loss in profits, I'm just saying that if we want to argue our points and be taken seriously, we need to stop claiming that it isn't theft.
If anything involves money +Pierre Massé, and you're losing it, even just by a little amount, then you make it a problem, no matter how small it is.
Money is all that matters to these creatures. I can't really call them people because real people are rational and these creatures who are record and movie execs do not have the mental capacity to understand what being rational is.
Randall, Why on EARTH would we pay people less? Seriously? Actors and Sports "professionals" get paid millions while jobs are closing, people are unemployed, children starve, the list is never ending. So why would people who say a few lines or hit a ball get paid less?
Only reason I go to the theaters now is my brother works at one and gets me free tickets as soon as that stops happening I'll go back to what I did before he got the job and just watch what I can on Netflix and rent from red box occasionally. I own maybe 15 DVDs. If they released a movie steam where I could buy movies cheap I'd own a lot more.
I'll start paying the prices they want when they offer me a "Satisfaction guaranteed money back guarantee".
+David King Piracy isn't theft. We need people to stop claiming that Piracy is theft.

the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

Basically what that means is that they can never sell that object that was stolen. You can still sell those DVDs when someone 'steals' it so its not theft.

Copyright infringement
the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work

Piracy is copyright infringement. Basically people create copies of the work and then share them. They aren't taking the product off the shelf, they aren't stopping the parent company from selling it still, they are just sharing a copy of that product.
Yeah, but Will, you get it. Because you are about "making a living," not obtaining unlimited wealth. One of the major problems with music, TV, movies - the entertainment "machine" at large - is that there is no "formula" for success. You have to get "broken" - and that takes "luck." If you are broken, you get access to amazing wealth. If you don't get broken, you are entertaining as a hobby. And the machine that keeps this in place has a great deal of stock in keeping the system this way. When entertainment becomes a way to make a decent living, but not guaranteed wealth, internet distribution will make more sense.
My book is free this week because people cannot afford it and sometimes stuff should be free for a while. It's DRM-free because there are places near my house that sell flowers without a clerk. They just place the flowers in a bucket by the side of the road and have a little mailbox for money. Somehow, by day's end, the flowers disappear and money appears in the mailbox.
Delighted by this article. I don't really care about how to help them build an strategy, but many things said absolutly correspond to reality.
I hope the RIAA continues their trend. As musicians learn they don't need the RIAA to succeed and RIAA's portfolio gets thinner and thinner, they'll run out of money endlessly suing. Look at SCO which died about this time last year, attempting to just sue people forever without positively contributing anything new.

As for the MPAA, they have a point. They spend a lot on movies and I know many who just download (because they don't want to drop $20+ on a ticket at a theatre where you get adverts and can't pause the screen). If the MPAA really wanted to sue someone hurting their bottom line, they should try the TV makers (seriously, with a 50"+ screen at home, who needs a damn theatre?)
I wouldn't say it's not theft. I would say that they are fools for biting the hand that feeds them. They are not losing sales, they are reaching a larger audience. I don't download things that I would buy. When it costs $40 for two people to see a movie and get some popcorn, the problem is them, not us. Maybe, a $30 price tag for a new release on blu-ray is too much for this free market to pay for a plastic disc and some cheaply printed bits of paper. I for one, own a small collection of DVD's, movies that I really love. I will never buy or rent or in any way pay money to see garbage that should be cheap or free. So, any movies that I watch, that are not part of my DVD collection, are movies that I would otherwise have no desire to buy or watch.
+Seth Davis Copyright Infringement is also theft. In the case of IP, the "personal property" is the sale opportunity of the rights to use the IP. One can argue all they want that there was no actual loss, but until case studies show either side of the argument to be true, that is how it will always be perceived by the folks we are trying to convince.
In fairness, part of the responsibility lies with the consumer. If we want companies to move towards alternative distribution methods, we need to support the alternative distribution methods that exist. We need to rabidly support Netflix and Hulu (or similar services). We need to rabidly support low-cost independent movie theaters (or added value theaters). We need to rabidly support direct distribution of music (like In Rainbows pay what you want method). When those distribution methods start showing profits, we'll see a shift. This is a capitalist society: we vote with our dollars. Start voting.
Thanks for the link - he's right, of course . . .
Sounds like the same approach the traditional publishing industry it taking to ebooks.
Why do all the movies I buy, I like having the special features, try to force me to sit through 4-5 of ads. So, annoying to pop in a DVD and you have to hit FF x32 to get to the menu. Guess what my 5 year old DVD does not contain a single coming soon or now playing movie.

And can we all agree Blue-Ray is enough detail and quit buying any new formats? What's next, enough detail to zoom in and get thread counts?
Shared the article with a friend, who responded by saying: "That article is far too sensible... no one will ever pay attention to it." Sadly, I think he's right...
Freakin' brilliant! It's nice to see an actual, well-thought-out approach to addressing big-budget Hollywood and piracy.
I remember hearing about a certain Video Game company bragging about their new Copy Protection that would take years to crack.

In the end it was successfully cracked in about a week, 2 weeks to put out a hack that most users could manage, and most of the people who downloaded it illegally did so because the copy protection made the game nearly unplayable.

We're not just fighting greedy SOBs, we're fighting complete morons.
No, Mr. +Wil Wheaton, it's not the service. That's only one symptom of the story. The real reason of the MPAA and RIAA fail grounds much more basic.
They have a quasi monopolistic model of making Billions without having to do real work in a system that works well for decades and also no concerns to give up that way.
Imagine a world wide operating quasi monopol in horses and carriages in the late 19th century. And now, there are some pirates named Carl Benz and Rudolf Diesel inventing a evil new system named Automobil. Within a relatively short period of time traveling are not longer based on horse & carriage and more and more people refuse to pay to the HCAA (Horse&Cariage Ass. of America) quasi monopol company's. Instead of evolving new, inovative, ideas and bussines models, the HCAA spend millions to make the use of cars a serious crime ....
With that in mind you come closer to the MPAA and RIAA point of view that a decades long running system of earning Billions without real hard working, inovation and development is on the edge and must be conserved on any cost.
+Alen Teplitsky "Only" $3-5?

I get Netflix streaming for $8 a month. Pay for 2 or unlimited for the same amount. hmmm, hard choice.
The real question is what happens to the logic of supply and demand when supply becomes infinity? MGM can make infinite digital copies of their films for basically nothing, and so can any home computer user. It doesn't matter the demand, we all know that the supply is infinity.
Thanks for posting this! Right on the money.
Buy dvds in five years? I hardly buy any kinds of discs now. That model is not going to pan out.
+Edward Huyer , +Antti Peltonen DRM isn't intrinsically bad. There are forms of DRM that have been used successfully. Minecraft has DRM, but they don't shut the game down if you can't log in. Steam uses DRM. On the other side of things, Louis C.K. released a comedy video on his own with no DRM and asked people not to pirate it. It was a huge success.
+Jon Lemich When the supply is infinity, the demand is zero obviously. But with movies however and TV your buying more than a copy of a movie. It's convenience in the case of streaming, an quality of experience in the case of a movie theater, or features in the case of the DVD. But that;s really the issue. Hollywood thinks they're selling just the movie, show, or episode and that's it. If they changed marketing strategy, priced competitively, and concentrated more on merchandising and targeting those fans that want the experience. They'd see how piracy could actually help them. The person that goes to the movie theater and thinks, "Nice, but I'm not going to watch that again", overall makes them very little money. The rest will buy it even if they stream it.
Excellent article. I wrote something similar last week, basically summing up the idea that people don't go to internet pirates because they are cheap, but because they are lazy.
+David King United States Supreme Court case Dowling v. United States (1985) that bootleg phonorecords did not constitute stolen property and that "interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud.

It's just getting to semantics now. You can call a tomato a vegetable all day long but it is technically a fruit.
+Seth Davis Technically, both are plants. Fruit vs Vegetable is an artificial distinction that is a byproduct of history, not a taxonomic term. There is no such thing as a "fruit" or a "vegetable" in that sense.
dvd's, blue-ray, solid formats... as a consumer technology they are already obsolete. Cloud technology and netflix are the future of an industry that doesn't want it. mpaa and riaa are both going to go under hoping for something to stick around. The only rule that anyone needs to follow is "adapt or die", and with the failure of their bribes to the government being reduced to much more than a pittance against the voice of the people, their future is dire considering their inability to grow with the technology. I feel sad more than anything for them.
I Mother Earth has just reunited and decided that they aren't going to release albums anymore.

They haven't said it explicitly, but they elude to releasing individual songs for free, and making money on tours, and merchandise.

"So for now, we are wrapping up a couple of songs that we like, one of which we'll just give to you if you come to the show and then make available to fans across the country, but we're still not sure exactly how to get the next one to you. We'll figure this out as we move along. Rest assured though, if you support us, and help us spread the word, we'll just keep releasing more. That's a pretty simple arrangement we think."
The writer calls it the Steam model. You could also call it the iTunes model. Both are runaway successes because they offer consumers a reasonably-priced, simple, user-friendly way to own content. It is a fundamental concept of economics that you do not defeat a black market through litigation and law enforcement. You defeat a black market by making the legal market easily accessible to the consumers.
You know, it's funny that we tend to see movie entertainment as an elevated performance piece (much like professional sports). Let's be honest - until the advent of a movie camera, the actors and stage crew made a percentage of the profit for each staged performance. The theater made a slightly larger share, and the people who acted as patrons made the largest share. So the quality had to be spot-on for every performance. And they were paid only when they performed the piece over and over again.

Now we have a digital method of distributing a single performance piece with minimal cost to the production company. They get literally millions of people to view the same performance in thousands of theaters around the world. This adds up to a nice sum of money, since they get their piece of the action regardless, and the theaters run up their prices to make even more profit. Actors get paid up front for that performance, which runs into the millions of dollars even if the picture doesn't do well. And I have to pay $15 for that one performance now, and another $5 to $15 if I want to take it home with me.

Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of people on the Internet making their own content and asking for hand-outs. And their profit is contingent on each piece of content they put out, so it's imperative that it's perfect (or near perfect) when released. They seem to exist just fine in this environment of file-sharing and bad economies.

Something's broken there. Until that is fixed, I don't think people give literally two sh1ts about IP theft, since they are tired of paying for entertainment that has a 50/50 chance of being good quality. And then they have to pay for it if they want to watch the exact SAME performance again at home.
This is a great article, everything stated is so true. If movie industries started to get smart and get with the times, millions would stop pirating. I could even see them making MORE money because of people gifting movies to each other. They would also make more money because they're not paying to make physical copies of DVD's. Just a few digital copies in different formats, they could sell movies much cheaper for that one reason alone. And those are only a couple reason they COULD and SHOULD sell movies for less.
+Seth Davis Agreed. It is an issue of semantics. But, it is also an issue that one would be hard pressed to change the opinions of for lawmakers and the corporate entities. Which brings me back to my original point, that the bullet point arguing about piracy not being theft should be removed from any article regarding the topic. As should any statements about piracy not causing losses. There just isn't any evidence on either side to support these claims. Take those out and I think the linked article is an excellent read.
Here's a question Hollywood has failed to answer for me: why do I want a physical disc? When I buy a DVD, the first thing I do is rip it, store it on an external drive, and then toss the physical media into a bin in my closet. Now, instead of a big plastic case I have a file I can toss onto my touchpad and watch while I'm on the bus, or having a drink at the bar. I have enough crap in my house without having to keep track of stacks of DVD cases.
+David King Agreed. Though lawmakers and corporate entities use words like theft and stealing to prey on peoples easily fallible minds.

+Warren Denning You are correct. Fruits are the ovaries of plants while vegetables are the stems.

+William Scott Lockwood III Disregarding my previous post about quantum mechanics. You saying that they are both technically plants also then points out that humans are just like plants because both are technically alive. You can't dumb it down to that. There are different classifications for everything and while they may stem from the same thing, they are both very different.
+Chris Elkins They want to control everything about their media. Though you are entitled to one digital copy of everything you own, hence the reason why emulators and ROMs are legal.
I have an issue, piracy was never an issue, they don't even know what piracy is, not even if it bit them in the ass, as I like to say. It has always been about copyright infringement, and nothing but that. The media loves that word piracy, as it gains attention. What really upsets me is how the **AA's own our government, just look at what they got the FBI doing with our tax dollars paying for it!
The MPAA has a long and storied history of trying to shut down any change at all, on the assumption that it will destroy their bottom line. Yet, an estimated 65% of their members' revenue streams are made up of money from those very technologies that they tried to suppress. What did it take for the MPAA to finally embrace those technologies? New people in charge. In each case, the existing powers-that-be were too entrenched in the "old" way of making money to consider that they could make as much or more with a new model. New blood is needed this time, too. Let's just hope we can fend off their legislative attacks long enough for their roles to change.
I honestly wish NetFlix would charge me more, and give me more selection. I don't want discs anymore, and haven't used them for a few years now. Not since my kids broke their Toy Story dvd, and I went through the pain-in-the-butt process to get it replaced. Just give me streaming please.
It still kills me that Chris Dodd - the author of the Consumer Protection Act - said that the corporations had too much power over the people when it came to credit and spending. A year out of Congress, and he's all about how the people have too much power over the corporations he represents. Typical POLITICIAN. LOL
funny how nobody offers free of charge video on demand with commercials in it. I wouldn't mind having those adds poup if it ment a free movie... or series.
+David Lilly I agree, streaming is the future. However, MPAA and RIAA will hang on to physical media as long as possible, since it provides them with a decades-old-strategy to make more money by strategically releasing media in stages: movie theaters, DVDs/BRs, pay-per-view, streaming, everything else. Without physical media, the pricing structure would collapse and cause inevitable loss to MPAA and RIAAs bottom line. Unless they decide to restructure their businesses and mold to the new digital reality. As long as money is flowing and as long as they have full control over content, that will never happen. An established business always chooses the path of least resistance.
Piracy isn't only a service problem. let me give you a quick example. I've bought the same game for 2 different platforms, PC and XBOX360. The game is L.A. Noire, and on PC I bought it on steam. I can download it anytime I want, anywhere I am, and as many tiems I need to. on XBOX, If by accident I scratch the media, its over, and I need to buy a new game. I paid 10 dollars on L.A. Noire PC Version, and 60 dollars on the xbox game. So, it is a service problem, because Steam delivers you such an awesome service (that videogames do not offer, at least not like Steam) AND a pricing issue.... 60 dollars VS 10 dollars? Is that a reasonable price? You might say its because of the media/package/distribution of the why the companies keep doing this instead of creating a service where you can "stream" your game from the servers, and you just need a broadband connection and a hard drive ? the companies all complain about how people do not buy music online and download it from free sites instead. 1 dollar per music, If I want to download a full album, lets say the average song list have 15 or 16 songs, it will be 16 dollars.....not much, you might say, but in my country, where 1 dollar = 2 of our currency, its not that good....and I´m saying only about songs, that aren't "that expensive" .... so, to IS a service problem AND a pricing issue, stop trying to get rich sticking the knife on us, instead, lower the prices and you will see the sales go to the skies (get money selling lots for less money, not a few for a lot of money). Sorry for the long comment, cheers!
i have no pre- existing condition and even if i did i would not be able to get it the monthly charges are out of this world.
An army of lawyers. A pile of money. An unwillingness to change. Next summer, in spectacular 3D, see the movie that reveals it all about RIAA and MPAA: "The Revenge of the Curmudgeons"
+Justin Hanvey Which is great if you are an American. Unfortunately, for the other 6 billion, 700 million of us, the opportunities to stream content are much more limited.
+Almir L. I can definitely see that my $8/month Netflix is simply too cheap for MPAA to see it as viable. Frankly I agree. I watch 5+ movies per week, so let's say that's 20 movies per month. At $8/month that's $.40 each. I can totally see why the struggle to get content. I may be a high volume user, but the problem is still, in my opinion, the fact that Netflix can't get the content, is a function of not charging enough. Their disc service was $20/month back when I did that. I'd HAPPILY pay $20/month for Netflix streaming if they had the same amount of content as their disc service.
Stream 1080p in australia? lawl, no.
+Tim Pyle my only problem with Hulu, again is the amount of content. If they need more commercials to be profitable, so be it. But for the love of all things holy, have EVERYTHING on Hulu (with enough commercials to be viable) AND Hulu Plus (without commercials, but charging enough to be viable). It's all about the content.
you want to k ill RIAA and MPAA then Stop buying albums and movie tickets
Can't wait to see the figures after Black March.

From a source that ISN"T RIAA or MPAA, they'll fuddge them fo'sure. haha
If you can't beat them, join them. Get the free bandwidth that the pirates are providing through seeding and use it for their own profit. Seems a simple business model for me. Give it to the ones that are just going to steal it anyways and then use them to provide free and very profitable badnwidth.
+Rob Creamer Yes, DRM is intrinsically bad. It is theoretically impossible (the authorized user and unauthorized user are one and the same), and attempts to try to separate the authorized from unauthorized bits just cause more problems.

For everyone lauding Steam, go ahead, make a chargeback on one single game and tell me that even that DRM isn't an issue.
Best post ever on how to diminish piracy. The MPAA fought hard to banish the VCR and the DVD they make millions of dollars selling digital content. Piracy can be minimized.. if you just offer the consumer an affordable option..Louis CK offered his new video online for 5 bucks....Drm free,or steal it. He's made almost 2 million dollars.

I've visited torrent sites where this video was posted..95% of people on these sites said the 5 dollars. And they wanted this free torrent removed. I-Tunes proves that at an affordable price ..people will pay for online content..
+Dave Quick I so agree with you. I will quote the example of Android and iOS apps. Most of the apps sell for a dollar to five dollars. I have moved to buying the apps rather than downloading off the torrent sites. It is just a matter of the price being right. Alas no one to listen to the common man.
What I don't understand is these bills really only help the lawyers of the studios not the studios - yet for some reason the studios keep feeding the lawyers.
I have mixed feelings about Netflix, on the one hand I am afraid they will turn more and more to self produced titles. On the other hand they do make some good titles...
Consumers know (at least at some level) that they have machines that make perfect copies of long strings of ones and zeros very cheaply and that digital content is just a long string of ones and zeros. They copy stuff all day long and the only scarcity of copy-able content they encounter is totally arbitrary (unless there's an electron shortage I haven't heard about). This "business model" cannot survive much longer.
they call us selfish pirates, yet they are greedy robbers
Actually wrote a Masters Thesis on how downloads affect the industry and how the industry should cope with it in 2006/2007 and the funny thing about it is: Nothing has really changed since then at all. Its 2012 now people! Good too see (NOT) we're going nowhere on this.
Im always offended by full movie ticket price and then have to sit thru commercials that they get money for. .02 ;)
Well they should charge the cable companies, that charge us for on demand movies.
saw the live Kevin Smith fee last thursday and he had an interesting way to look at the pirating of his material and the kind of society we live in now. the try it before you buy it instead of the other way around
+David Wollmann While it's true we can copy digital content simply, it's also true we don't want to have to bother. I, like many others, have gone down the path of ripping digital copies of dvd's and other digital media. But that sucks. It takes tons of space, costs significant money in terms of storage hardware, and significant time to make the copies. But I hate it. I'd MUCH rather just be able to click a button and "tada!" there's the digital content streaming down to me over the internet. Can I make a copy of that? Well sure. But why would I bother? If I can just make the same click next week, why go to all that effort and expense?

It truly seems to me that this is all just a discussion over cost. How much do I need to pay a Netflix/Hulu (via commercials or subscription) to get that content available for me to click on. If the current $8/month for Netflix, or $10/month for Hulu isn't enough to provide the content ... please charge me more!
The TV networks are in the same boat. They don't understand that 'only' a few million viewers (by Nielsen measurement) is now a good audience. Rather than adjusting their distribution to accommodate shrinking audiences (or taking world-wide viewership into account), they systematically kill the shows people love. They've trained us to not care about TV shows, then they complain about low viewership. Is being insane a requisite to working in the entertainment industry?
I can't wait until TV shows are no longer distributed through cable or satelite. TV distribution companies like DirecTV or Cable providers cram so many channels you don't even want down your throat for $60/month and that is on the cheap side. I can pop on Netflix and choose what I want out of several different titles, on demand. It's choice that people demand, choice and value.

At some point, TV will be created and distributed primarily on the Internet, you'll subscribe to whatever particular shows you want to watch and that is that. No more Nielson's ratings and no more having shows you don't want on, or having to pay for several different channels you don't care for. People will just vote for shows with their dollars, the way it should be.

Already you have Hulu, which is an infant of Corporate TV, that is simply the same as regular TV, just over the Internet. It does offer more choice, but I hope this model isn't the future.
Stargate Universe, Tower prep, stargate atlantis, firefly, .... I was avidly watching them... online, every week. They're only showing now in australia :\
Thanks for sharing, Mr. Wheaton. You definitely know how to hit the nail on the head.
hugs to anyone facing these types of suprresive bills!
Great post! In Australia (and other countries too, I'm sure), we have the problem of being unable to buy shows or flix online. Some are US allowed only until a year later on. They seem to think that folks are prepared to wait that long because the networks haven't aired it here yet. That isn't a global concept and no, the people are not prepared to wait.
Thank you Wesley Crusher, now about that warp drive...
Jason Levine. Just FYI, but pick up AnyDVD, then I use it all the time to rip my DVDs to WMVs and put them up on my NetGear NAS server. My Xbox's pick up the videos and play them on my TVs. I'd get rid of all of that in a heartbeat if I could just pay Netflix $8/month to get access to every movie ever made. Heck I'd pay Netflix $15/month for that privilege. But only if when I searched for a movie by name, it was available to stream right then. Heck, I'd throw my DVDs away at that point and stream movies I already owned due to the ease of use of streaming. I wouldn't need Steam for Movies, I'd be much happier to have an affordable subscription model, provided everything was on it.
I just read that article posted my another person in my Circles. I had this to say: "To threaten us with the idea that pop culture is going to disappear entirely because of piracy is just moronic." The industry needs to realize that by doing what they are they are making piracy part of our pop culture.
these people have got to realize that Copyright in this digital age does not mean what it once was in the 50s they will have to adapt or Die and in the case of the RIAA I would prefer they just died
that's a good comment,, why they need to be strict on internet information.. not all that download a video actually what to pirate it right? The one that they need to bust is the on that making profit out of it,,
I agree also if the music industry is to stupid to protect there assists then they deserve to fail... to a company that will protect there assists this is the basic fundamental of the Free Market. WE DO NOT NEED GOVERNMENT REGULATING THE FREE MARKET! Or we might as well all move to china...
Steam is good as long as you don't need any customer service, they don't really have that.
I agree with everything they say in this article. At the moment I download movies/TV series for stuff I already own on DVD/Bluray. Why? Because downloaded content is easier and less fragile than physical media. It works on all formats around the house from the big Plasma TV to the little handheld tablets. I don't have to worry about a disc being lost and I also don't have stress about someone scratching one.

With that big inviting "virtual store" - it's hard not to pick up something else that looks interesting; and hey if it's good that is added to the DVD/Bluray purchasing list.

Now if Hollywood would take the path of a product like steam that would be stupendous. Now we have a DVD/Bluray that will never be lost. That you can re-download should (perish the thought) your PC or the house media server curl up it's toes and dies. No longer do you have to worry about backing up gigabytes of data to keep your favourite shows. That is a feature I'd happy spend a couple of hundred bucks on a year alone - peace of mind that everything is now recoverable.

Going to a friends place and want to watch something you bought? Log in to your account and away you go! Or gift them a copy if you think really like it because it is say 10USD instead of 30USD+ for the physical media.

Let's not forget specials and incentives. Especially for the major collectors; I can look at the bookshelves full of DVDs I have (and Im just 1 of 5 people in this house) - at the right price point I'd certainly be reduplicating my collection virtually just for the security and ease of access reasons alone - give me incentives like discounts for bulk purchases and preferred membership and hey I'm going to be handing over money like a sugar addict in a candy store!

Accessibility is key here. I can't go to normal theaters; being mobility impaired makes the journey just too exhausting and difficult. But knowing that say as soon as the films are no longer in the box office that I will be able to buy these latest and greatest movies online and have them in my home in minutes? That would be priceless - hell I'd be writing thank you cards to the studios!
i believe MPAA, RIAA and all it's kind is near obsolete, soon artist we'll be able to create and distribute content independently, no need for those greedy record companies, producers, or distributors.
Look at "The Guild", it was as good as anything on TV and better then most of it.
Amazon has been mentioned, but not much has been written about Amazon Prime in this stream. To me, this model of video content distribution is amazing. A wealth of older but quality content for a single payment, with additional benefits in purchasing and shipping from the website.

I've watch the entire BtVS series instantly, with solid quality on a few different platforms and have been so impressed with the whole experience.
I haven't pirated a single song since amazon cloud player launched. It's definitely a matter of actually satisfying the customer.
if we are not allowed to share then they wont sell
If they charged reasonable rates for their products, people would be less likely to resort to that type of conduct!!
Cryo G.
Thank you for posting this. I don't pirate, but I also skip buying many dvds because I don't have room for more STUFF. If it's available in a drm free format, I buy.
Why is it legal for us to hear music or see tv shows for free (over the airwaves) but for us to record that and cut the commercials out and then share that content is illegal? It makes no fucking sense! Also, if I buy a dvd and then turn around and burn a copy of said dvd, then give it away to a friend I perform an illegal action?
As I've said before: Our technology has evolved beyond the concept of ownership, but we haven't.
15 bucks for a movie? WHERE? SO CHEAP
Peoples grasp of these subjects are sadly ill proportionate, and greatly misguided to such an extent that the residual damages of these laws are often not within the ideals people perceive. We perceive that one direction or another has the right ideal. The reality is both have neither the right nor the wrong ideal, but instead conflicting perceptions of how things work. The anti Piracy agenda, fails to understand that for every piece of media they sell, over 50% of their buyers first experienced the product through a secondary means by which they received it freely, which by in large fits into their concept of "Piracy". Be it "Piracy" via means of mass media acquisition, outright Theft from a retailer, a gift, or even some other means such as a Home movie service. They by in large purchased the product because they both (A) like the product, and more importantly (B) could afford the product for the price they purchased it.

Inversely, those who "Pirate media", do not actually "Pirate" media. The term Piracy has been loosely used to accommodate a wide variety of perceptible media induced crimes, many of which are completely within legal bounds, much akin to the common misuse of the word "Hacker", which BTW originally had nothing to do with web sites, so much as Investigation. "Piracy" by traditional terms of media misuse, was not too long ago a term meaning to Illegally Duplicate a good for financial gain. Thus, a Media Pirate, was a person who stole a product, duplicated it, and then sold it for profit and gain. Now, a person who downloads a movie, song, what have you, if they do not sell what they download, do they in turn effect the bottom line of the business? You may say yes, but the reality is, the price by which the business chooses to sell the good, in turn diminishes the need vs desire of the mass public's desire to purchase said good. Plus the average person who downloads a movie, if they liked the movie, they in turn often go out and buy the movie, or more often then not, wait till the price of the movie reaches a cost incentive that fits the amount they wish to pay such as the 5$ bin at their local store.

Thus the "Media pirate" who downloads the content, but does not sell the content they download, if they like the content, has a higher propensity to seek to purchase the content in question, when the price of the content reaches a level they feel is worth the expense. So the issue at hand, is not a mater of Illegal misuse vs. Cost, so much as its perception on intent, vs restriction of available content, and the means by which business all too often create false excuses as to why they have lost business. Be it the economy, Piracy, or a billion and one mitigating factors. The truth of the matter is as always, If you set your price for a product too high, people will find other means to entertain themselves, be it waiting till the price of your product lowers to a level they can afford, finding another product that gives them more "Bang for their buck", or seeking other resources to achieve their desired source of entertainment. In short, the higher you set a price, the less people will buy it.
As always - big business tries to hold onto it's power instead of provide better products and services. By the way - Blue Rays are $30 retail.
The Steam model of distribution for movies seems like it would work because it sure works for the gaming software industry. A long time ago, piracy meant copying games or other software because that was the only media available on the computer at the time. Gaming software distribution companies realized that there needed to be a better way to get the product into paying customers hands and have adapted. Time for a movie version. Netflix is a start, but it can get much better.

As for the RIAA, it's dead once musicians figure out that they should give their music away (especially starting out) on the Internet a la Trent Reznor or at least Radiohead to attract an audience to pay for live shows. Now to figure out how to do something about TicketMaster...
and blank ones are $8-$15 each.
Ryan C
Like that guy in Anon's video 's said "you Violate the freedoms of the internet you certainly better watch the F*** OUT !"
The "Movie Steam" already exists in the form of YouTube movies and Amazon Mp3 (in the US only, damn geo restrictions when the internet is everywhere...), the problem is that the studios are still thinking of scarcity when there is none and they don't make all the movies available thus loosing to piracy because people haven't really got a choice since hollywood is obsessed with selling overly expensive plastic discs and tickets.

save all the distribution costs, and price your movies cheaper, you'll make a ton more and leave the pirates without a motive.
bandwidth costs money. All those extra letters mk it xpnzv.
As to the movie Industry cost margin. The average person who goes to a movie fails to understand or comprehend the actual economics of the "Film house" industry. First off, we need to understand one clear thing. The "Film Industry" has no direct influence over the price per ticket market. So before any of you start to rebuttal this statement, understand, the Film production and distribution Industry, by in large does not set this price. So that is the first problem of misconception on the given Ticket per view price. The Film Industry instead charges a base price "Per Reel", to each "Film house". Now what this means is they access a given market incentive value of each copy of a film. That film then has a set price per reel. That reel then is duplicated a certain number of times, usually about 1 million copies, and based on the market value of said film, is then rented to each "Film house" for roughly 1k$ to 5k$ per copy.

Now, each film house in turn has these reels for usually one to two weeks, based on the amount of time they rented said film. Then after their time is up, they either send the reel to the next Film house on a set list, or its returned to a distribution center. After a set time, each copy the film goes the circuit, to different Film houses and eventually are either stored, or sold off after a year or so. Now Each Film House in turn during the set amount of time that they lease the reel, in turn determines the price by which they set the per ticket value. There is a general high market sales price, but that high market price is set by a leading industry standard, of like associated businesses, such as "Goodrich", "Sony", and a few other Film Houses parent companies. However, independent Film houses may set these prices lower, but run the risk of being unable to receive top rated films by directly competing with larger film houses with lower prices, which this matter gets into the whole mess involving "Free market laws".

Anyhow the Film houses set their price based on a law of averages. The law of averages defines an average market assessment per view, based on high vs low market values of potential viewing. Now the base price of say "15$" per ticket is again set by Parent companies of these Film houses, not the production company. Each Film house has to make up for the actual rental price of the Film reel, which is in turn based on the number of showings, number of seats per showing, and the base set 15$ price. This in turn sets the cost margin and financial gain. The Concessions stand of the individual Film house make sup the difference in cost margins, overhead and various other expenses or profit. The average price per 50Lb bag of pop corn, runs the business about 5$, which sells close to 5000 times that, Yealding an almost 99% margin of pure profit. Where as fountain Soda price for price is a staggering profit margin. All in all,.. When you look at the price margins and cost of the Film industry, to gains are staggering along. The Piracy excuse, is just that an excuse. Its another way for the media industry to justify their actions of greed based profiteering.
$15 for a movie ticket? I wish. And add another $15 or $20 for popcorn...
Wow, great article. Well-put.
Thanks for re-posting this article. One thing I find frustrating is when music or movies aren't made available to be purchased through legitimate channels online. For example, I was looking for a recording of the original cast recording of Miss Saigon and it simply isn't posted in itunes. At least on the Canadian site. And because of regional restrictions, I can't buy it from one the itunes sister sites.

There are a host of examples like this, across a wide variety media. From movie, to music, video games, and now books, all of which companies should make available to the public as easily and fairly as possible.
It is on Netflix. Better quality, doesn't take up hard drive space, etc.
if i can find it on streaming, i won't download it, i just want to watch and move on. hulu and netflix have almost completely curbed any of that which i do, only, they are kept up to date, or keep increasing their prices.
This article reminded me of a conversation I had with a co-worker on how the music industry felt threatened by the new-fangled MP3 technology and how it's used for file sharing and piracy. We agreed that the music industry should try to take advantage of it instead of trying to kill it.
I agree, this article is WONDERFUL! Studios tried this fight when cassette tapes, and then recordable cassettes, came out. They fought being able to record off of the radio or an album, again claiming loss of Royalties, etc. They survived!!

Truth is, they probably only make a few bucks per movie goer and slightly more from a hard copy DVD. I lay odds that the majority of their profit comes from all of the side stuff (the action figures, the clothes, etc.). Take what they are using to fight everyone and put it into reasonable methods of "getting it out to everyone" and letting people OWN it and USE it as they desire. They get the movie out to more and more people that in turn buy their kid those pjs or action figure.

How many more people are going to download and watch something that costs them $2, compared to how many will pay $15 per ticket to go to the movie and spend yet another $30 or more on concessions. Even those people could buy and share 20 movies with their friends and you end up with 100s of promotional buyers per download.

When the elite stop trying to squelch everybody long enough, maybe they'll realize they could actually make more money working WITH the people, and with a lot less hassle.
I want to see the second series of BBC Sherlock (I'm in the US). They made it SO GOOD that I don't want to wait until May. I can't buy it on DVD, I can't rent or buy it on iTunes or similar, the only way I can see it is to stream it. I'm begging the Beeb to LET me give them money in exchange for their amazing programming. IT'S KILLING ME.
+Gordon Marx (just so I can be a dick) it's a good season dude, you are missing out! :P. However welcome to my world with many US TV shows. Quite often we get the same thing until someone like Sky forks out for the large bill to air a show like House only a week after it has aired in the US. Until then we'll sometimes be seasons behind before it even gets here (which I think was the case with Dexter). Sucks :-(
The problem is mostly access. Most people, if given the option to see - will certainly buy. There are bands I would LOVE to get ahold of. Too bad they are European and the record stores in the US have never even HEARD of them. The world is now finally connected - I chat with people in Australia when I'm doing my audit at work (as an example) and while they are chuffed that they don't get to see Supernatural til MONTHS after the newer episodes air, they get the option to BUY at the same time we do: but who wants to buy something they haven't seen yet? BBCOne and BBCAmerica got it right - and they have reaped the benefits. When the rest of th entertainment industry gets their heads out of their asses the sand, the will find they MORE than make money. And piracy will be finished for good. Til then I guess we have to tolerate threats to freedom on the net and in our daily lives until they catch up. After all, tis no problem punishing millions for a handful of people...right? When all of this could be solved so SIMPLY. Give the world access and THEN ask for money. Withholding then punishing for making a great product that people WANT is just stupid...
What I don't understand is why the MPAA has not been called on its continual claim that it is representing artists and creators?
+Velexia Ombra As far as music goes, you can go to Amazon's MP3 download site and buy virtually any song in DRM-free MP3 format. The recording industry is moving in this direction, though it took them years of yelling, screaming, and being dragged there. Now, they're realizing that this Internet thing can be profitable. They still don't fully get it, of course, but they're slowly coming around. Give them 10 years and a complete change of the people in charge and they might be fully on board.

The movie industry is basically where the music industry was 10 years ago. They've realized that people are pirating this stuff online and, instead of treating the Internet as a vast resource to be tapped, they're acting as if it's the enemy. As such, they aren't pouring content into legal avenues like Netflix or Amazon VOD. They're regarding these as little more than annoyances that might hurt their DVD/Blu-Ray sales and are trying to marginalize them while circling the wagons. Perhaps in 10 years we'll have the "movie steam" system that the article mentions and in 20 years the movie industry will be generating massive profits by using the Internet to its full extent.
I think that the copyright laws are antiquated and designed with a giant printing press in mind. Since then, all the laws have been worked to provide ownership to the bkg corporations. Artists get some revenue but not as much as they should.

Even look at artists like John Mayer who put out a pop album to get his foot in the door but jts his bkues that he wanted to play.

The corporations have been controlling the artistic media just to make money. Now the electronic world is leveling the playing field and they are scared and thus resorting to ironhanded control attempts.
I know this is gonna get lost amidst the sea or replies, but I gotta say it anyway: I LIKE, and indeed PREFER to buy DVDs. Yes, I get that digital distribution is in all practical ways better and more cost efficient, but still, I like having a hard copy that I can buy in a brick-and-mortar store on my own terms. Allow me that option in your Newer, Brighter Future™ and I'll back you to the hilt.
+Dave III vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, minidisk, how many times are you going to re-buy the same thing since format-shifting is technically illegal?
Excellent article.

The next battle would be data plan quotas...considering that just a few HD movies would suck down your month's quota from most Internet providers....such as cough AT&T.
In Canada, all of the major ISPs have monthly data quotas (it's very, very hard to find one without a cap). Those caps are antiquated and need to go before anything can change.
I want to be able to turn on my roku and watch ANY program television that has already aired, as it originally aired with its commercials. So for example if (well I don't watch ABC/CBS/NBC anymore because they don't offer this and I have a 2yo and 4yo and have no time for live tv) but lets say "Life" on NBC was still on the air, after it was broadcast, maybe a few hours if they need (heh) then I should be able to call up my NBC channel on my roku and use my high speed internet to watch a stream of any episode which is "in season" and has already aired, with commercials, commercials I can't skip are fine by me. Just like "the old days" I am NOT going to pay for NBC/ABC/CBS content, I refuse. Unless its the most amazing thing ever like Buffy or TNG I am not going to buy a DVD boxed set or download files, I don't WANT them on my server, I don't want them on my hard drive, I just want true on demand streaming tv from the regular public broadcasted stations that have always broadcasted to anyone with an antenna. There are so many amazing shows that I am sure on tv now in season, that I will never ever watch because it's just not convenient for me anymore. The world has changed.

My husband and I love walking dead, and to add showtime on to my directTV account was more $$ over the 6 months or whatever it was going to air compared to just buying the individual episodes, this is cable and I am fine paying for it because everyone has to pay for it. There is no free option for showtime or HBO. We get to watch it the next night after it airs, so we watch it every monday night. Atleast showtime gets it, to some degree. I was mad tho because I didn't want to ADD showtime to my directTV < I just wanted to purchase showtime and be able to watch online, like HBO go, but guess what, you can only get that access IF you have showtime with your cable provider! WHICH MAKES NO SENSE! I wanted to give them my direct cash but they didn't want it, or rather they wanted to make it so hard for me that there is no point to it all. :D I've been angry about this for years lol!
+Brandy Fortune You can't watch something with the original commercials - those commercials are usually changed from one location to the next. The commercials during +big bang theory that someone in California sees are not necessarily the same as those seen here in Florida.
People will just find other way, another method, another route. If they had started out like this, then the whole issue would be a small one. Instead, the Internet has gone for too long unregulated and allowed to become larger than it originally was.

It's developed a life of it's own, its gigantic. To even comprehend the size of the Internet would require years.

They can attempt, they can prosecute, they can shut down, but another method appears, more difficult than the last. End result, you've left things for too long. It's like trying to discipline a teen-ager whom has grown up without discipline -- good luck.
And actually, before cassettes, the studios used to try to charge the radio stations for EVERY SINGLE TIME they played a song, over our Free Airwaves. I think that would sort of relate to what's going on today.

They finally realized back then, that the more people that heard it, the more records and paraphernalia they sold. Hopefully they'll wake up sooner, rather than later.
What we used (my friends, yes, I do have some...) to do is never buy the same LP's or Cassettes as them, and we'd trade, copying each other's music. No one ever seem to have complained about that back then, but the media, and the level of sharing was different.

Once again, if this was controlled from DAY 1, then this would be a short and almost pointless discussion. The fact, that things are larger than themselves, I don't think it can ever stop now.
Thank you for sharing this. I was looking for just this article so I could share it with friends.
I wonder how much the industry is hamstrung by its own practices and contractual obligations and how it may just be impossible for them to break those contracts and obligations without some larger house of cards crumbling on them?

For example, DVD regions were designed to help enforce the rules of release dates and availability, because a revenue stream was based on selling distribution rights to someone in each of the DVD regions. Of course, the answer to that artificial restriction on availability was the region-free player, a bit of grey market hackery meant to get around those restrictions...

A lot of the pro-pirate rhetoric contains comments from non-US folks complaining about the staggered release dates, and their impatience with them... "just let me get my content when everyone else can!"

But does that create an issue for the Brazilian distributor? Or perhaps the Brazilian Theatre Owner who hasn't even screened the movie first-run yet, even tho it has already been released on DVD in the US?

I haven;'t quite fully formulated these thoughts, but wanted to get them dow in some form...
Jeff Knapp - I fully agree, the tapes were "compensation" along with the DJ Talking over the start or end of that song you've waited weeks by the radio to record. Those days are gone.

Since I am not a "main stream" music fan, a few of the Artists that I follow, offer up their music for free, which in turn, when they visit to play a local bar or small concert, I plan to attend.

The bottom line: Things have gotten so far out of control, it would darn near impossible to reel it back into the realm of "control". If the Internet had started regulated, then it would be rather easy to quish this out. They can try, but they will fail.
+Gary MacDonald The tapes were literal compensation -- the 99 cents you paid for the blank tape included a tax which got paid to the record companies, to try to make up for the lost revenue of you taping off the radio or from your friends' libraries.

The industry tried to force the "Wait until the DJ plays it" model with Pandora (their "why we can't play the song you asked for" explanation was industry-meddling at its best:

But now, with Spotify and its brethren, those days are mostly over (unless you want to hear the Beatles, then you're shit out of luck... talk about a band who was made keeping their music as inaccesible as possible while being woven thru just about everyone's life in the last 50 years)

For me, the music industry sorta has it right at this point. Most albums are priced about right, and I can buy them without DRM, playable on any device that can handle an MP3 and it's a minimum of fuss to do so. (Picked up the new Van Halen album recently for under $10 and it took all of two clicks... I didn't even have to buy it, if I didn't want, I could have used Spotify...)

But Hollywood? It's a mess of "We can't stream this to your TV, but we can stream it to your computer, and on Tuesdays after 9, we can stream to your phone as long as it was made by Apple" bullshit or it's "Y'know, we just can't stream this at all"

But I wonder if its because there's so many more moving parts to a TV show or movie than a record.

TV has agreements with probably three dozen unions - DGA, WGA, SAG/AFRTA, ASC, Composers, Musicians, Licensed Music -- all of whom have contracts that demand compensation and all of whom put other restrictions on their work... so I wonder if it's the same reason why The Wonder Years and WKRP took so long to come out on DVD -- took forever and too much $$ to clear the rights for certain production elements -- so they replaced the elements, resulting in an inferior product that mostly died on the shelves.
WE should stop using "piracy" to describe copyright infringement. Piracy is ship to ship armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. File sharing is nothing so dramatic. When you call it piracy you're playing into their propaganda. Making something trivial seem tragic, and the tragic seem trivial.
I love that skit! Seriously I don't see the movie industry surviving much longer. You can only make so many 3d remakes and charge 15 bucks a head for so long. I am happy with netflix and hulu. I don't even have cable, and couldn't be happier.
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