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Speaker: ACTA: Don't sell us down the river

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  • Matthew Poole,

    One thing I recall quite precisely, though, and it's a friend in Canada telling me a few years ago that when the ISPs got rid of data caps over there, after they had been creaming him for his downloading habits for a couple of years, 'coincidentally' they also started a campaign against p2p.

    That doesn't particularly surprise me. Lose the data caps and suddenly the income from heavy downloaders goes away. That, in fact, fits precisely with what has been said here: heavy downloaders are a net cost, not a net profit, because they consume more of a scarce (though in Canada it's far less scarce than here) resource for approximately the same income. Also, Canada goes through fits of anti-P2P "awareness" training. They're still the only country that has a "piracy tax" on all blank media, and as a result Canadians feel (and justly so, IMO) that they have every right to download copyrighted media. After all, they're paying a tax to the media industry.
    I don't doubt that the ISP increased anti-P2P advertising in concert with removing data caps, but I would be rather surprised if there was no base level of anti-P2P being orchestrated nationally. Canada's history with copyright and the internet is quite interesting.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    One needs to have seen just one Pixar movie in the last decade to be less scathing of the costs of the movie industry, surely? Those things have no stars yet still cost a fortune to make. And they are fucking brilliant, I think most people here would agree.

    They have voice actors, who are mostly "real" stars. From what I've heard, voice acting can pay pretty damn well, too, though it is certainly far from the rates one garners as an in-the-flesh A-lister.
    CG is definitely expensive, but Pixar's movies often cost less than similar-length movies that feature meat-space actors. There's something odd about that.

    The other thing is that these big-budget Hollywood movies are going to be played in cinemas. They will have box office revenue. The internet will be a secondary revenue stream for these productions for a long time into the future.
    For indies, the structural costs should be much, much lower. Fewer A-list stars, less CG, less studio overhead. Consequently, an indie movie should have to recoup far less to be a "success". This makes using the internet as primary distribution a viable choice, if someone can crack the sales modality in the way that Apple and eMusic cracked it for music.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    They have voice actors, who are mostly "real" stars. From what I've heard, voice acting can pay pretty damn well, too, though it is certainly far from the rates one garners as an in-the-flesh A-lister.

    It's also a far less demanding gig. You don't have to get up at 4am for make-up for weeks on end, you just go in to a nice audio suite for a few days.

    This makes using the internet as primary distribution a viable choice, if someone can crack the sales modality in the way that Apple and eMusic cracked it for music.

    I think Peter's caveats on that are well made -- it's much easier to get an ROI from music. But that doesn't mean it can't happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Junge,

    It doesn't particularly matter if ISPs don't rake it in from people downloading Heroes, Lost, and the Fall back catalogue if they either (a) rake it in from people downloading the latest number ones, or (b) rake it in from people who buy Internet connections on the perception that they could download Heroes, Lost, or the Fall back catalogue. Either way, they profit from the perception of downloading as easy and risk free, and will be averse to making it not risk free.

    Far out, do you have any idea how much current, common technology is encompassed by your premise? Let's name a few: Photocopier, tape deck, VCR, cameras. & that's not even going to the more digital tools like CD & DVD burners. Oh & least of all, the humble pen. *sigh*

    Those things have no stars yet still cost a fortune to make.

    Um, I'm sure the many voice actors would disagree with that statement. To take the most well known Pixar film Toy Story: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger. TS2 added Joan Cusack & Kelsey Grammer.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    that's not even going to the more digital tools like CD & DVD burners.

    And I don't think I'm the first to note the delicious irony that the corporates that, on the one hand, bitch about how they're being slowly murdered by pirates have no issues with selling them... well, branded CD & DVD burners. Uncomfortably like listening to an arms dealer complaining about what a violent and unpleasant place the 'hood has become.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I think Peter's caveats on that are well made -- it's much easier to get an ROI from music. But that doesn't mean it can't happen.

    Oh, I totally accept his caveats. But I also think that in the case of indies they're far less of an issue. When a movie costs $10m to make, if you can get a million people to buy it at $10 you've recouped all your costs. $10 is not outside the realms of reasonable for something that's convenient to watch and easy to find. Of course, a million people is unlikely, but how do indies make their money now? Why will that avenue suddenly disappear?

    One of the problems with the "can't make money selling movies on the internet" line is that is seems to assume that the internet is the only way to sell movies. Maybe in a decade's time it will be how indies do their thing, sure, but Hollywood ain't leaving the big screen in a hurry, and that means that there will remain a venue for indies. I was at Rialto Newmarket last night, and it was packed.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Junge,

    Uncomfortably like listening to an arms dealer complaining about what a violent and unpleasant place the 'hood has become.

    One can only wonder what the meeting between Sony Music & Sony Electronics was like when discussing the first MP3 Walkman...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    like listening to an arms dealer complaining about what a violent and unpleasant place the 'hood has become

    The UN 'security' council.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    One of the problems with the "can't make money selling movies on the internet" line is that is seems to assume that the internet is the only way to sell movies.

    Certainly not -- I don't know about anyone else, but I'll quite often look at the movie listings in the paper and say "I can wait until that comes out on DVD". I suspect there are a lot of films out there that only really become solidly profitable when they hit the ancillary markets of television, pay-cable and home video rental and sales.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the heavily mediated Susan Boyle

    And our wee friend Paul Henry has gone one further than accidental innuendo and called her a retard (from 40s in, after the advert). Unlike his preceding comments about Maggie Barry's dress, that description is mighty offensive and up there with the "n" word for some.

    IHC are calling for complaints to TVNZ and the Human Rights Commission. About time the childish douche met some consequences.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    IHC are calling for complaints to TVNZ and the Human Rights Commission. About time the childish douche met some consequences.

    I'm in two minds (NOT schizoid) about that. Henry is exactly like a toddler who will keep acting out in increasingly extreme and offensive ways, until the adults around him stop rewarding the trollism with attention. That's all Henry is -- an attention-troll and it's time we all stopped being his enablers.

    And you know something: If Susan Boyle's such a retard and Paul Henry's so smart, why is she the toast of New York while he's pratting around on a widely ignored breakfast show at the arse-end of the world?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    He's already 'enabled' by being a television personality. Perhaps his role needs to be... disestablished.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He's already 'enabled' by being a television personality.

    Isn't Breakfast still a pube hair's breadth away from being cancelled? Way to go, Mr. Personality -- couldn't even beat out a 70's porn star 'tash on legs for Paul Holmes' old chair.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Henry got a bollocking in his earpiece there. His face goes all tight as Pippa moves on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    couldn't even beat out a 70's porn star 'tash on legs for Paul Holmes' old chair.

    I usually see Mark in the building on Wednesdays, so I'll pass on your salutations ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    He is meant to be on a tighter leash after insulting Stephanie Mills - so let's get the person on the other end to give it a sharp yank. For the next group of people he chooses to denigrate.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Matthew, I really am not disagreeing with you on the technical issues here. I just think that responding to `ISPs make money off downloading' with `o but if everybody actually did that'd be horrible for them' is very much like responding to `gyms make money off people's desire to get fit' by responding `but if people actually did that gyms would go bust'.

    I also don't advocate any further actions based on that. The ISPs are in all likelihood right that large scale traffic monitoring is currently a bust and will remain so for at least the near future. But it can also be true there's a strong element of self-interest in there.

    Dismissing it as merely "making money from infringement" is really mean-minded.

    It isn't merely making money from infringement, but come on. If you think that the utility of the internet isn't improved by the presence of infringing material, well, you've never been to YouTube. And fair enough, maybe you think that that's all fair game and so on, I'm hardly going to denounce YouTube as horrible and immoral. But Google doesn't like people reducing the utility of the internet, and Google (and in fact ISPs) can certainly afford lobbyists, contra the OP.

    It isn't that I think they are wrong, it is that I think they are profit-maximising amoral entities who hold positions for entirely self-centred reasons.

    I'm not sure this sort of dismissive polemic from your end is any better. The internet works for you precisely because of the kind of people you seem to want to vilify. Can you try and accept that internet engineering types come to these issues with principles every bit as valid as yours?

    No. There's a reason engineers are heavily over represented among creationists and terrorists.

    OK, that's low and nasty, and a wee bit unfair. But there is a definite view like the one I described above which is quite common in certain circles and it is very important to push back against it. (In the same way that fans/Slans should be stomped on early and often.) And it isn't about being anti-internet, or anti-fan.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    When a movie costs $10m to make, if you can get a million people to buy it at $10 you've recouped all your costs.

    Stick to yr day job, buddy. Steer clear of accounting, music, and especially producing films ;)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Google doesn't like people reducing the utility of the internet

    They seem ok playing along with Chinese censorship.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Junge,

    If you think that the utility of the internet isn't improved by the presence of infringing material, well, you've never been to YouTube.

    The amusing thing about the above comment is that consumers will vote with their feet. I don't mean YouTube, I'm meaning the media companies that issue takedowns and pull videos will lose (& have lost) customers of the artists they're "protecting".

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    That doesn't particularly surprise me. Lose the data caps and suddenly the income from heavy downloaders goes away. That, in fact, fits precisely with what has been said here: heavy downloaders are a net cost, not a net profit, because they consume more of a scarce (though in Canada it's far less scarce than here) resource for approximately the same income

    My point is that they drove the uptake of the fast connections, and it was only once those became uncapped that my friend's ISP started throttling download speeds and discovered they were against p2p. But they had been for it before they were against it, and for reasons of profit it seems to me.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    One of the problems with the "can't make money selling movies on the internet" line is that is seems to assume that the internet is the only way to sell movies

    Pretty sure no one ever claimed anything of the sort.

    . But I also think that in the case of indies they're far less of an issue. When a movie costs $10m to make, if you can get a million people to buy it at $10 you've recouped all your costs. $10 is not outside the realms of reasonable for something that's convenient to watch and easy to find.

    That's exactly what the guy who made 'Tormented' thought.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The amusing thing about the above comment is that consumers will vote with their feet.

    It's of interest that the US, where mindboggling and ludicrous settlements have been sought by the industry and awarded against small offenders by the courts, is the one nation whose recording industry is still struggling revenue wise (Warner Music posted yet another loss today). Whilst the world outside the US has shown growth this year the US has had yet another decline over the previous 12 months. Clearly the stick is not working as they wished it would.

    Then, as I said earlier, the US is often seen as a non-mature royalty market. There has been some chatter this week that Lady Gaga only has $167 from a million plays on Spotify (ignoring that argument made by some that she needed to factor in her sales as a result of that), which is exactly $167 more than she made as a performer from US analogue airplay, unlike every other territory of any size on the planet (the media conglomerates using the same exposure argument to counter the current Performance Rights Act before the Senate to rectify this).

    One wonders, given that the US is so copyright creator unfriendly on many levels, in the music industry at least, why they are allowed to drive the ACTA?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Because they have the biggest army.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    which is exactly $167 more than she made as a performer from US analogue airplay, unlike every other territory of any size on the planet (the media conglomerates using the same exposure argument to counter the current Performance Rights Act before the Senate to rectify this).

    Simon, that is simply staggering.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

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