Category: Law

Piracy apologists’ convenient lie (of omission) that Hollywood profits means piracy doesn’t matter

Yes Virginia, piracy damages both the film industry and its audience

It’s that time of year again, when the piracy apologists pull out their annual canard that Hollywood’s profits provide proof that online piracy doesn’t hurt the film industry. The fact is piracy leads to fewer films being made, fewer people being employed in the film industry, and fewer options for audiences at the movie theaters. Piracy comes with a price — and we all pay.

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Will DMCA ‘safe harbor’ loophole finally get fixed?

U.S. Copyright Office announces study on impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) “safe harbor” provision has long been a source of frustration for creators.  For years it’s allowed 3rd parties who enable, and often profit from piracy, to avoid legal liability for infringement.  Momentum to tighten eligibility standards to qualify for safe harbor protection has been growing of late, both in courts and at the U.S. Copyright Office.

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Is pirating a movie worth the malware risk? Most say “No.”

The threat of malware could turn people away from piracy Last week the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA)* released a study that found websites offering free, pirated content were rife with malware.  According to the report, 33% of content theft sites exposed users to malware.  Every month 12 million U.S. visitors to these sites open themselves up to the theft of personal data, or worse. To assess the impact that this malware threat might have on American’s web surfing habits the DCA conducted two surveys on December 10-13. The first examined behavior and opinions of 1,000 Americans, while the second focused on 500 Americans aged 18-29...

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Downloading free stuff online comes with a cost – Malware

Cybercriminals exploit pirates sites to spread malware & steal personal data

Piracy website operators have  always been incentivized by the desire to make a buck, but with online advertisers and payment processors continuing to cut ties, thieves are finding other ways to make money off their content theft. The lure of “free” movies still attracts visitors like moths to a flame, but now, instead of being blanketed with ads served by Google, according to a new study, consumers who use pirate sites risk having their computers infected with nefarious malware.

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Copyright Au Courant – Piracy, Popcorn Time and Privacy

Lots of news in the copyright, piracy and privacy world of late.  Here’s some worth a look:

First up, this thoughtful piece by Nelson Granados on Forbes.com “How Piracy Is Still Hurting The Filmmakers And Artists You Admire.”  Granados takes direct aim at the fallacy that piracy doesn’t cause damage to Hollywood studios.

“Many think naively that studios cannot be hurt too much, because after all, you hear mostly about the movies that make hundreds of millions of dollars. But the reality for many filmmakers is that they often live on the edge, seeking financing to produce quality content, and enduring high uncertainty about whether they will be able to pay off debt and have any profit left. Given the high fixed cost of producing a quality movie, losses from piracy can be the difference between making a profit or not.”

He notes that a number of “peer-reviewed” studies quantify this damage.  Bottom line, like any industry, Hollywood depends on making a return on its investment in order to stay alive.  No matter what piracy apologists allege, that’s a basic economic fact.  Granados also touches on the particular vulnerability faced by independent filmmakers.

Most artists struggle to make ends meet as they pursue their creative work with passion and dedication. Piracy may be tipping the next Quentin Tarantino over the financial edge into bankruptcy, and we will all lose.

As I’ve often said, we (consumers) won’t be aware of what we are missing if it isn’t made.  Piracy’s damage can be insidious and, to the public, somewhat invisible, but ultimately it diminishes the quantity (and quality) of film offerings we have to choose from.

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