Before I go any further, I want to let you all know that I love movies, music and software and OSes. And I love that we can finally see movies and listen to music on our computers and devices. I also want to let you know that I have been boycotting the RIAA/Big 4 Labels because of their unbelievable turning upon their own customers. I see the MPAA making that same fatal move.
The difference? The MPAA has been very careful and generally more low key about what they have been doing through legislation, etc. in the United States. And until recent times has not gone after their own customers.
I was reading through some articles and legal documents online and remembered something that Microsoft had said about Vista. Microsoft said basically that Vista wasn’t the problem, it was the content providers and the hardware that would control what you could and could not do.
I started thinking about those content providers: MPAA (movies), RIAA (music) and software companies (software/OSes) and their track records in the past regarding such things. What they have said in the past about controlling what people can do with what they buy (not in those words however).
Particularly the MPAA, because they have been very careful to let the RIAA run amok and sat back to see what happened to them before they made similar moves.
Back in 2002, an article on ExtremeTech stated:
A California Democrat introduced a bill Thursday that would make sharing of copyrighted files illegal, and would indemnify copyright holders from taking whatever actions they chose to prevent the sharing of those files.
The key provisos of the bill would indemnify, or free from legal penalty, copyright holders from whatever actions they would need to take to prevent sharing of copyrighted files.
“Notwithstanding any State or Federal statute or other law, and subject to the limitations set forth in subsections (b) and (c), a copyright owner shall not be liable in any criminal or civil action for disabling, interfering with, blocking, diverting, or otherwise impairing the unauthorized distribution, display, performance, or reproduction of his or her copyrighted work on a publicly accessible peer-to-peer file trading network, if such impairment does not, without authorization, alter, delete, or otherwise impair the integrity of any computer file or data residing on the computer of a file trader,” the bill reads.
Now, my first card, Mr. Chairman, deals with what I consider to be one of the essential elements that you cannot ignore and, indeed, you must nourish. The U.S. film — and I will read this — “The U.S. film and television production industry is a huge and valuable American asset.” In 1981, it returned to this country almost $1 billion in surplus balance of trade. And I might add, Mr. Chairman, it is the single one American-made product that the Japanese, skilled beyond all comparison in their conquest of world trade, are unable to duplicate or to displace or to compete with or to clone. And I might add that this important asset today is in jeopardy. Why?
Because unless the Congress recognizes the rights of creative property owners as owners of private property, that this property that we exhibit in theaters, once it leaves the post-theatrical markets, it is going to be so eroded in value by the use of these unlicensed machines, that the whole valuable asset is going to be blighted. In the opinion of many of the people in this room and outside of this room, blighted, beyond all recognition. It is a piece of sardonic irony that this asset, which unlike steel or silicon chips or motor cars or electronics of all kinds — a piece of sardonic irony that while the Japanese are unable to duplicate the American films by a flank assault, they can destroy it by this video cassette recorder.
To put it all in better perspective for today, here’s EFF.org’s MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) DVD Case Archive. Quite an impressive list of cases and it shows that while the RIAA has been much more vocal, aggressive and uncaring about their customers that the MPAA has actually been doing the same thing, but in a more low key, ‘behind the scenes’ kind of way.
In 2005, a CNET article entitied Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows reported:
As Microsoft readies the next version of its Windows operating system, called Vista, the software giant is building in unprecedented levels of safeguards against video piracy.
For the first time, the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers, in hopes of making them harder for hackers to reach. The company is establishing digital security checks that could even shut off a computer’s connections to some monitors or televisions if antipiracy procedures that stop high-quality video copying aren’t in place.
In short, the company is bending over backward–and investing considerable technological resources–to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows, which is expected to ship on new PCs by late 2006. Microsoft believes it has to make nice with the entertainment industry if the PC is going to form the center of new digital home networks, which could allow such new features as streaming high-definition movies around the home.
Just something to think about with Vista around the corner.
EDIT: Addition for a little comic relief … I hope it’s comic relief along the same lines as The Onion would do. I’d hate to think this was a real news article:
This article was interesting at BBspot – MPAA Lobbying for Home Theatre Regulations (thanks to Specmon on ScotsNewsletter Forums for this addition).