A Few Words About A few words about...™ Vendors, film piracy and national security

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 10, 2013.

  1. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I often wonder why more people don't simply use images of themselves to avoid such problems. But maybe I'm egotistical. :D
     
  2. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    Well, I use an image of myself and partner Robyn ... but I guess I'm cheating because it was taken in a railway station auto-photo booth in London in approx 1969!
    That does mean I own the copyright for quite a few more years ....
     
  3. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    The photo booth probably retained copyright.
     
  4. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Anthony or Douglas, I'm sure either of you won't mind if I copy your avatar images and pass myself off as either of you. After all, I'm just making a copy - you still have the original, and in any case, identities are intangible, and hence have no intrinsic value. So I can't see any harm in it :)
     
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  5. FrancisP

    FrancisP Screenwriter

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    I don't believe that this is as black and white as some people make it. I deal more witrh tv shows than movies.

    The first category is a show like Fantastic Journey that lasted 5 episodes. This show has no commercial value and will never get a legitimate release, you either deal with collector to collector sales or you don't get it at all. I do not see this as theft. The content owner is not trying to capitalize on it because it has no value.

    Then you have various shows in which the content owner passes on a chance to cash in on it. The Path to 9/11 was a hit when it was boradcast yet Disney has never released it. Why? Disney is a big supporter of Clinton and the program clearly showed that mistakes made during the Clinton Administration led to 9/11. Disney is engaged in political censorship. No one is losing a dime. Green Acres is another example. MGM won't release the last 3 seasons yet they passed on a chance to license it. Clearly they are foregoing revenue so they are not losing anything.
     
  6. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    There are always moral gray areas. For example, as hardcore anti-piracy as I sound, I believe that if you own a legitimate copy of a blu-ray, DVD, or CD you have the moral right to rip it to another device for personal use. It may not be legal, but morally, you have already contributed to the copyright holder/creator by buying the disc, and I don't think it's reasonable to then pay for additional copies for use in your own home. Most rights holders tacitly acknowledge this issue by not focusing on these types of infringements.

    But what isn't a gray area is when you simply obtain something which entertains you, without contributing a cent to the copyright holder/creator. And that's where the bulk of piracy lies. I can guarantee that 25% of the world's Internet bandwidth being consumed by pirated material is not due to people pirating politically censored material. It isn't being pirated by starving children in third world countries who barely have enough to eat. It's not a political struggle, or done as some sort of noble fight for freedom. By definition, the material being pirated is obtained by people who aren't dirt poor; who can afford to buy computers, TVs, DVD or Blu-ray players, and other entertainment devices, but who want free entertainment on their own terms. Why? Because they can. No more, no less.

    I acknowledge that people will pirate. It's human nature. I don't even think of them as being "evil" for doing it, just weak-willed. But what I'm truly sick and tired of is hearing what has repeatedly been proven to be phony-baloney justifications, the shifting of blame to everyone but themselves, the constant smokescreens about how the copyright system is broken, and how it's not really "stealing" (though it has much the same end result).
     
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  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't believe the creation of a single back-up copy of something that has been legitimately purchased is illegal. As long as the creation is for that single purpose.

    If one has purchased a CD, I don't believe that creating a digital file for one's iPhone to be played via a automobile system is a problem. The license fee has been paid. The licensee is playing a single copy.

    However, passing a copy along, or selling copies...

    RAH
     
  8. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    A backup copy by itself may mot be illegal, but I think the illegal part comes into play if you circumvent a protection system on a disc to make it, which then breaches the DMCA. That's one instance where I personally think the DMCA needs to be changed. But studios seem to recognize this issue, which is why many new releases on BD include a digital copy.
     
  9. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    In the UK it is and always has been illegal to create a digital copy although I doubt whether anyone has ever been prosecuted if copying for their own private use. The Government announced a few months ago that the law would be changed to allow home copying for private non-commercial purposes although it will remain illegal to, as Persianimmortal says above, circumvent copy protection content.
     
  10. JoshZ

    JoshZ Second Unit

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    The Library of Congress ruled last year that ripping the contents of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray to a home media server is illegal. Anyone who uses a product in a manner that it wasn’t explicitly designed for is a criminal.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/jailbreaking-now-legal-under-dmca-for-smartphones-but-not-tablets/

    An exception to this ruling is that it's OK to copy a movie for use in a documentary film (“to make use of short portions of the motion pictures for the purpose of criticism or comment”). So, if you want to rip the disc to watch on your computer or iPad, with no intention of receiving profits from this action, you’re breaking the law. However, if you want to use pieces of someone else’s copyrighted material in a work that you fully intend to sell for profit, that’s perfectly fine so long as you provide "criticism or comment" by saying "Hey look at this. This is cool" at the beginning.

    Your government in action, folks.
     
  11. KMR

    KMR Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Unfortunately, a can of worms has been opened by certain "fair use" legal decisions, which will only beget more litigation. There are no concrete definitions.

    RAH
     
  13. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Copying a CD(or back when, a LP) to cassette falls under the same rule as ripping.

    Every attorney I've asked about the subject says the same thing...

    "As long as you have a point source of original ownership, and you still have it, you are legally allowed to make subsequent inferior copies of what you already own".

    MP3-FLAC-cassette-CDr < CD-LP (CDr falls under inferior to CD, cause not all CD players can actually read CDr)

    Ergo...you can make copies, for your own use.
     
  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I've bought quite a few "titles" in my day and I've always felt that if the rights holder or studio aren't going to release them then they're not going to get a tear from me. People cry over the major studios but it's a lot more interesting when you see mom and pop companies (like Code Red, Vinegar, Shout) who must deal with unknown "B" movies that very few have heard of and they have to deal with however many versions are out there at Amazon or through various R2 places. I know something like SONG OF THE SOUTH is a popular title but I'm really not sure how many Paramount, Warner or Disney boots are on Amazon. I've never really looked. There are quite a few films from the 1950s-70s that are mainly cult titles that have appeared on countless PD labels over the years. Who knows the history or who owns the rights on these but the costs of going after these people probably wouldn't add up to what a legit release would make.

    I mentioned in another thread that Kino is doing a great job with their Jess Franco releases but even the small guys do nothing but keep re-releasing stuff that is already out there. Am I supposed to wait around for them to release the 100+ titles that have yet to see the light of day? Am I supposed to hope that they release three different versions of a film? Sometimes as a film lover you just have to see films anyway you can. I've probably went through 30+ Franco films having to watch them in a language I didn't understand and there were no subtitles. I had to make with what was available.
     
  15. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    I think Kino does good work, I was certainly very happy last year when they released Scarlet Street and did a great job with it. As to why certain titles aren't released, I share your frustration, but I suspect that reduced profitability from BD doesn't do anything to help the situation. Most people aren't quality-conscious. A DVD, or a pirated HD version of a movie will do them just fine, which means BD sales are dwindling.

    In any case, I don't think anyone here is shedding any tears for the studios. I can only speak for myself, but morality aside, it's about not biting the hand that feeds you. Creators, rights holders, companies create the entertainment that we consume. If we make it hard for them to earn revenue, they will either go out of business (e.g. smaller companies and independents for whom every cent makes a difference), or they will change their focus towards stuff that sells, taking fewer and fewer risks. You know, like instead of putting money into releasing a catalog title on BD, producing more cheap quality lowest common denominator material, such as the latest tacky big-budget cgi fest on BD with steelbook and holographic slipcover variants.

    As was said earlier in this thread:
     
  16. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    That pesky fair use! Let's outlaw it!

    Unfortunately, fair use is the area that protects *us* as individuals. Fair use always gets the shaft when the studio steamroller rolls through Congress. And culture suffers for it.

    Whenever someone speaks of copyright law as if they know what they're talking about, I get dubious of them. Even if you ask an IP attorney, you stand a 50-50 chance of being told hooey.

    There are three types of copyright law...

    1) Interpretations based on worst case scenarios. (Schools and universities follow this interpretation.)

    2) Interpretations based on best case scenarios. (Individuals with computers generally follow this interpretation.)

    3) Completely made up interpretations based on what a person *wants* to believe or thinks "makes sense". (Posters in internet forums follow this one.)

    The one thing that I know for sure doesn't exist is clearly defined laws stating what is legal and and what isn't. That means that we are all left to our own devices to do what we personally think is right, and big studios can sue whoever they want for whatever reason they want. Welcome to the wonderful world of legal chaos. Only the lawyers come out on top.

    That's why I can't get all worked up into moral outrage about copyright. It's a civil matter, not a criminal one. Just like the intricacies of contract law, I just let the companies involved worry about it. I just do things the way I feel is right and I don't criticize others who interpret things differently. But I do know one thing... the way that copyright has been dealt with since the passage of the Sonny Bono copyright extension act has had a vast negative impact on our artistic culture.
     
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  17. bigshot

    bigshot Cinematographer

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    Find a new attorney. The quality of a copy has absolutely nothing to do with the legality of creating it. Zilch. Nada. That is totally made up.
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Agreed. Digital is digital is digital.

    RAH
     
  19. Garysb

    Garysb Screenwriter

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    Sound recordings are in a unique situation because they go into PD in the European Union after 50 years while they are protected much longer in the US. PD recordings of early Elvis or the Capital recordings of Frank Sinatra are sold legally on Amazon in the UK. There is no restriction from buying these PD CDs in the US but these would be considered bootlegs in the US since they are still protected by copyright in the US. The Beatles' early recordings are starting to be PD in the EU as they started recording in 1962.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    If this is correct, would the U.S. have not attempted to equalize under the latest treaties?
     

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