Thursday, February 16, 2012

UPDATE: SOPA/PIPA/ACTA and the movie industry

Quick update today, readers, regarding the ongoing discourse between the technology culture and the recording industry.

Taylor Hackford, of the Director's Guild of America, went on a lengthy rant on radio with quite a few distorted "facts". The deeper analysys is over at It's a short read so take a moment to breeze through it. I'll wait.

So I'm going to attempt to read the tea leaves.

First, SOPA/PIPA have been defeated in the United States. Second, if you've been watching internet news outlets/blogs, you'll know that ACTA, the super-secret international treaty for preventing sharing (& even individual internet connections), is being halted by members of the European Union. Unfortunately, the United States has already signed it. Third, there's the success of the Great SOPA/PIPA blackout of 2012. It was, without doubt, very successful.

These events must be rather disconcerting to individuals like Mr. Hackford and the other media-magnates.

It's really a simple situation. Technology is evolving the way new artists create music, movies, or any other thing. The web makes sharing these new artists extremely easy. Technology allows us to quickly make copies of these new discoveries while not diminishing the copy we own.

The distribution system is evolving.

It's evolving right out of the hands of the middle-man. Publishers have owned the distribution channel with lock and key for a few hundred years. Someone had to print a book, CD, or a DVD. High speed internet makes all of those formats moot.

The Amazons of the world can launch digital e-readers and distribute works to anyone who owns a device. iTunes can distribute a single song to millions and millions of people with out anyone ever buying a compact disc again. The middle-man's roll is evolving to digital distribution methods but the Old Media folks don't want to change.

This is a battle against change. That's why you don't see new movie releases on your on-demand list. They want to keep the huge profits from printing a cheap disc, putting it in a cheap plastic container, and selling it for twenty-five dollars. Maybe fifty if it's a Blu-Ray.

It's as simple as that.

The more individuals like C.K. Lewis create and distribute their own work through these new distribution channels, the less there is a future for Old Media. They must adapt or they will fade away. They must embrace the opportunities for exposure world-wide digital distribution provides if they want to survive.

It's not that people want to "pirate" material. It's that it's easier to obtain music, movies, and books online. Make it easy to get movies the day they come out through fast, simple interfaces and I bet your movie "pirating" problem begins to vanish quickly.

The future is dark for the Old Media folks. They want to keep making money the way they have and try to hang on to that lock and key. The solution they see is to spend gobs of cash on lobbyists and campaign financing. This is where SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA have come from.