Congresswoman Judy Chu: Too Many Americans Think Piracy is OK

Congresswoman Judy Chu: Too Many Americans Think Piracy is OK

Chu spoke with TheWrap about what she learned from SOPA and why we need a permanent federal tax credit.

Since the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, congresswoman Judy Chu has intensified her efforts to eradicate piracy. To succeed, Chu and her allies in the entertainment industry need to win the public back.

The aggressive opposition of Wikipedia and Google, two major proponents of a free and open Internet, helped sink the bill Chu co-sponsored. They propagated the idea that SOPA would end the Internet as we know it.

“The American public doesn’t understand the consequences to piracy,” Chu told TheWrap. “There are large segments of it that even think it’s okay.”

Also read: Ron Burgundy Advises Audiences Against Film Piracy in New ‘Anchorman 2' Spot (Video)

Chu, who represents a swath of northeastern Los Angeles that includes Pasadena, Monterey Park and much of the San Gabriel Valley, stopped by the American Film Market over the weekend to talk with members of the film industry about the enduring problem.

She believes piracy poses a grave threat to the financiers and sales agents in attendance, and they are eager to have an ally in Washington D.C.

TheWrap spoke with Chu about what she learned from SOPA, whether Google has done enough to stop piracy and how to bring production back to the United States.

TheWrap: What brought you to AFM?
Jean Prewitt invited me. She helped me with the Creative Rights Caucus, which is something I started after the defeat of SOPA. There needed to be a way to tell the stories of filmmakers and musicians and songwriters who make a living by creating these works of art.

What did you learn from the failure of SOPA?
The American public doesn’t understand the consequences to piracy. There are large segments of it that even think it’s okay. They thought SOPA would shut down the Internet. There has to be a better way of doing outreach to the American public.

Also read: MPAA: Google Gets a Failing Grade for Anti-Piracy Efforts (Updated)

What do you want them to know?
They may have the misperception that they are just affecting big studios. They are not thinking about the every day person, the people who live in my district – set designers, lighting technicians. There are hundreds of thousands of people being affected. People need to see their face and their story.

What stories did you hear from executives at AFM?
They told me about their problems with piracy and how it’s affected what they do. It’s created greater difficulties in terms of pre-selling movies. It affects them every day.

How so?
The most drastic is in pre-selling. It has made the market much less lucrative. They can’t get financing. It’s different from the major motion picture studios. They finance movies through pre-sales, and with the drop in the DVD market they can’t make what they did before.

But pre-selling is about foreign territories. Is piracy a larger issues overseas than in the United States?
It’s just as big an issue here. There are some countries that have absolutely no enforcement where it’s particularly bad. Spain is a country where piracy is rampant. But we still have the same problem here – no enforcement.

Also read: ‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Vince Gilligan: Piracy Helped My Meth Series

How do you remedy that?
We need to have a greater understanding of [piracy] by the American public. Piracy affects one of the main American exports. It’s a huge industry for the United States, and Americans have to understand it is not right to pirate information.

The MPAA just did a study on how people get pirated content. 74 percent said they first were introduced to infringing content through search engines.

How often do you talk to Google about this? They are obviously the biggest player out there.
We want to have roundtable with them. Google did talk to us about their own voluntary program to make pirated sites appear lower in search.

The MPAA has found it hasn’t had much effect thus far.

Why wasn’t it successful?
Just look at the results. Pirated sites still come up on the first page in search.

Would you introduce another bill?
We need to go as far as we can with voluntary effort and cooperation before we put out another bill.

We are not so far apart. With Google’s voluntary effort, at least they recognize there’s a problem. The question is whether it’s effective. If we can make the program more effective, that would be a great step forward. We need to develop a better system for fighting piracy than a whack-a- mole project.

What other topics came up in conversation with the folks at AFM? Was it only piracy?
Piracy is the dominant issue, but we also talked about film tax credits. The federal film tax credit expires at the end of December. This is another issue I am concerned about. “Iron Man 3” already filmed abroad. There is no excuse for that.

Are you only pushing for credits at the federal level, or the state level too?
Both, but we need to make sure the federal tax credit continues so we have as much incentive as possible for films to stay in the U.S.

Would you want to increase the subsidies?
I would like to do that, but at this point it would be a major accomplishment just to get it extended. It should be permanent so it doesn’t have to be renewed every so often.

Why is it such a struggle?
Have you heard of our government shutdown?

It's been unavoidable.
There are some people in our Congress who want to shut down nearly every aspect of government. It’s hard to get any budget agreement going on – particularly with tax credits.

Does it come up a lot in budget negotiations?
Let’s just say we want to be a little subtle about it so it doesn’t come up as a point of controversy.

  • Dale Latimer

    And tragically, plenty of people will see this, and make light of the fact that in the accompanying picture — what's that from, some party convention?; proper journalistic proce(e)dure requires the writer identify her by party affiliation: Democratic, Republican, or something else — her hands are apparently grabbing her breasts.

    Anyhow, for the people in the biz(zzzzz) who(m) she feels have to tell their stories, they need a network news program to do that. It's only fair given the following they have. And meanwhile, break up Google. [dL]

  • Rick Lott

    Hack the Planet anakata is my captain Lolz

  • Fossil1944

    I just don't believe in stealing the work or property of others. Their talent produced it and they should be paid for it. I am a product of the 40's, pretty much old school. I suppose the attitudes are different today, not right, just different.

    • Steve Jablonsky

      I suppose the attitudes were just different back then, not right, just different. All of the pirating that I have witnessed has been major motion pictures and big name musical artists, all of whom are publicly documented living luxuriously day in and day out. So I have never really thought to shed a tear for them and their suffering wallets.

      • Fossil1944

        Steve Jabionsky; I have seen sorrow bring a tear, never envy, anger perhaps, but never envy.

      • Judi

        It isn't just movies and music being pirated. It also includes authors who work for peanuts when all the hours it takes to write a book are considered. I've seen all all of my over 40 books pirated and trust me…I don't live in luxury.
        Just yesterday, I found so many it made me ill. My solution to get my rights back and rename and re-issue my stories probably won't work, but I have to do something to keep food on the table.

      • Brenna Lyons

        Then you don't see much. No offense, but it's true. Pirates will use the same arguments about price, availability, and DRM aimed at the big producers but then pirate big and small alike, using those sad excuses. Ironically, the Indie press authors and publishers and self-publishers are often a reader/listener/watcher's best friend. We (Indie/Small press) usually don't use DRM. We price at or below (sometimes far below) the physical product of the same content, using mass market pricing for book comparison. We often allow text to speech. We make the product available in multiple formats, We allow a certain amount of controlled lending attached to a sale of the title. We sometimes do things like offer the ebook product for free when you buy the print copy (and this didn't start with Matchbook and Amazon…one of my publishers started doing this back in 2004). But we are vilified right along with those doing things to hack off customers and pirated right along with them, but we bend over backward to be equitable and feeling about our customers.

        In one calendar month, I found more than 10,000 copies each of 38 of my titles sold illegally on eBay. It's not just the illegal downloads we deal with. It's the illegal sales of books as well. Most galling to me? Two of those titles were charity anthologies I don't earn a dime from the sale of. They benefit Autism causes and anti-domestic violence causes directly…and some lowlife illegally sold 10,000 copies that will help no one.

    • anon

      Well, I guess you're young. Were you a product of the 20's, you might have remembered Prohibition. The government was very strictly against people drinking back then, but nearly everyone did it anyway. It turns out that it is foolish for a government that is supposed to be of and for the people to stand directly against what the people want to do, when there is no sufficiently good reason for stopping them from doing it.

      People want to pirate works. There's not a good enough reason to stop them from doing this — at least not the sort where it's ordinary people at their computers running Napster clones or Bit Torrent, or whatever, as opposed to full-blown illicit factories — to justify interfering with it.

      And since copyrights don't exist in nature, and authors don't naturally have a right to control things merely because they produced them, we can define the rights that make up copyright to be whatever we want them to be. We already allow people to resell used copies of works without paying the authors (even though some authors hate that), and legitimizing at least some piracy would take the government virtually no effort to do.

      If there are negative consequences, like fewer works are created, then let's find out for sure, instead of just guessing. If people are okay with fewer works but more piracy, then it's not actually a problem. (There's no law that guarantees that all artists will earn a million dollars, which surely causes some to not bother creating, yet no one seems put out by it; having fewer works actually created than might possibly be created clearly isn't a big deal) If it turns out that most people find it to have been a bad idea, we can always revise the laws again.

      • John Warr

        People also want to drive through cities at 100 miles a hour too. No one has a natural right to any property, except perhaps for the clothes they standup in, and the tools of their trade. All other property is an artifact of society, and part of what makes something the ‘property’ of another is that the other has the rights to control its use.

        We already know what what the results of no copyright are. We see it in the output of creative commons and note that in 10 years there have been no top 10 creative commons music hits, and no films that people have flocked to go see, and no CC books have make the best sellers list or downloads list. There is very little that the ‘freetardary’ has innovated we have a Linux that is a free version of a 40 year old OS (unix), a depositary of unreliable facts that is wikipedia, a 100,000 mp3/video players, a million cat and charlie bit my finger videos, and 10,000,000 sunset and flower photos.

        • anon

          That's right; all property beyond what you can personally defend from others is a matter of consensus and will at best tend to operate along utilitarian principles.

          And we know what the results of no copyright are, since there was no such thing as copyright until 1710 in England, and not until later elsewhere. The results are Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Cervantes, Dante, Virgil, Aristotle, Plato, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles, Homer — not to mention all the art of the Greeks, Romans, and the Renaissance. And that's just in Europe; there are tons of great works from other cultures which also didn't have copyright.

          Oh, and Cory Doctorow's ‘Little Brother’ was on the NYT Bestseller List five years ago, and it's licensed under Creative Commons, which is not even slightly the same thing as not being in copyright. So you're doubly ignorant, I guess.

          Also, it's probably worth pointing out that Mac OS X, iOS, and Android are all based on Unix, which initially came out over 40 years ago. Meanwhile, Windows 8, as a member of the WindowsNT family, is closely based on VMS, which initially came out a little under 40 years ago. There is not much new under the sun, and people tend to use these things because they've proven to be reliable.

          • NoOneYouKnow

            That's one of the stupidest arguments ever! Because great literature was written before the advent of copyright, there's no need for copyright? Artists don't deserve to get paid for their work?

            Then neither does anyone else. I look forward to you doing your shifts at Arby's for free.

          • anon

            That great literature was written before the advent of copyright proves 1) that the arts can survive without copyright, and 2) that authors create and publish works for more reasons than copyright alone, and that we should not make the mistake of ascribing more importance to copyright than it deserves.

            As for artists and their work, there is nothing special or magical about artists. If someone hires anyone to do some labor, then the laborer deserves to be paid. This is the same for all laborers; an artist hired to paint a picture is no different in this regard than a plumber hired to install a toilet. OTOH, if no one has hired an artist to engage in artistic labor, then the artist who spends all day painting a picture cannot demand any money from anyone.

            (N.B. that artists making money as artistic laborers does not require copyright; if I hire a wedding photographer to perform a service for me, this business model works just as well in a world with copyright as it does in a world without copyright)

            Nor does the artist have a right to make money from the fruits of his labor. If an artist paints a picture and it's just bad, then no one is obligated to buy it, just as if a carpenter builds a crooked bookshelf, no one is obligated to buy it.

            Copyrights don't change this. Copyrights do not guarantee that artists will make so much as a penny from the works that their labor produces. (Remember, the term of art for the product artists make is a work, not to be confused with the work of making it. I don't know who was in charge of that.) All copyrights do is to act like a lens or a funnel, concentrating whatever amount of money the market decides a work is worth — in a copyright related context — and sending much of that flow toward the copyright holder… who may not be the artist.

            The reality is that most copyrighted works have absolutely no copyright-related economic value. For example, I bet you didn't get paid to write your comment, and you certainly have no right to insist that anyone pays you merely because you wrote it, but you do have a (worthless) copyright on it. Something else acted as an incentive for you to create it, and were we to shrink copyrights so that you no longer got a copyright on your posts in blog comments, I bet you wouldn't find something else to do. You're not making money at it now, so why worry about not making money at it some more?

            Copyright really only benefits a tiny handful of artists. More than people think — I'm not just talking about superstars — but it is a very small number of people overall. And the way that it is currently implemented, combined with the financial realities of the various sectors of the publishing world, there is a lot of fat that could be trimmed to no ill effect. That's what I want: reform, not abolition. For example, a daily morning newspaper has a viable economic life of a few hours. People buy it in the morning, have probably read it by lunch, use it for birdcage lining by night, and would never pay the cover price for it the next day when it's old news, much less a year later! So why not put newspapers in the public domain after a year? It's easy to look at the average viability of all sorts of different types of works this way. By all means, we should let copyright last long enough to get works created and published, but it's wasteful to let it last a moment longer.

            As for Arby's, your analogy is wrong. Like I said, artists who are hired to do a job — like the Arby's Arbarista — deserve to get paid just as any laborer does. But the Arbarista doesn't go around claiming that just because he sold me a gross sandwich that I cannot make my own copies of that sandwich at home, or that I cannot go into business making equally bad fast food. Their food might be gross, but there's a certain nobility in it which is lacking in the copyright world.

          • John Warr

            All of those listed before Chaucer lived in an age were blatant copy violations were far to expensive to have any bearing on the author. Simply there was no general market for literature. What there was was patronage by the rich and the church, who effectively dictated what type of literature was created. Shakespeare wrote under the patronage of Henry Carey, 1st Lord Hunsdon the Lord Chamberlain, later they were under the patronage of King James I. The other theatrical company was under the patronage of Charles Howard, 1st earl of Nottingham, 2nd Baron Howard of Effingham.

            This was in the age when the printing of works had to be licensed. You got whipped and shoved in the pillory if you were found producing unlicensed works.

            So yeah lets go back to a time where literature is under the control of Kings, Lords, and Barons.

          • anon

            For all of those authors listed, there was no such thing as “copy violations.” You would've had to explain the concept to them from the beginning. And some of them would've been quite upset at the idea of not being able to rip off other authors, as Shakespeare usually did, or Virgil is best known for. As for the classical authors, the only reason their works survived as far as our time is because people copied them without permission, distributed the copies, and the cycle repeated. We know that they wrote many more works which didn't survive; lack of sufficient piracy of their works has left our culture poorer.

            As for the general market for literature, that's not simply due to copyright. It's mostly due to 1) the invention of the printing press; 2) great improvements in the quality, inexpensiveness, and availability of artificial lighting; 3) increased leisure time; and 4) improved literacy rates thanks largely to public education. Look for example at 19th century Germany, which pirated like mad and didn't have copyrights, which allowed the costs of copies to quickly drop to the marginal cost, rather than the monopolistic cost that comes with a copyright.

            And you do a real disservice to the tradition of oral folktales which might not have endured in the way that books commissioned by the wealthy or the powerful might have, but which flourished nonetheless.

  • iceblast

    You always hear companies shouting about Piracy, and those same companies are making products that aren't so good. They make bad movies, music and games, and complain that people are downloading their product before they buy it. A lot of people do this to find out if the product is worth spending their hard earned money on. There are to many companies making crap, and trying to get money for it, and then whine when it doesn't sell, and the consumer is tired of being ripped off.

    I also read all the time record breaking sales. What, you think their product isn't being pirated. They are probably the most pirated. But the people that download it are telling others how good that product is, they rave about it. People go out and buy that product, and a lot of the time, even the downloader does too.

    Piracy will always be there. In one form or another. Most people couldn't afford to buy the stuff in the first place. So, if they did download it, that company didn't really lose anything, because that person wouldn't have bought it anyway.

    You make a good product, and the word gets out to all the people about your product, it's going to sell. But if you make crap, then the word will get out fast that you make crap.

    Movies come out all the time, but most of them are a waste of time. There are only a few that come out every year that are worth watching. The others bomb, and you hear that Piracy is to blame. Yet, the good movies seem to make money just fine.

    • NoOneYouKnow

      More of the usual nonsense excuses for piracy.

      “The product sucks!” (and that's why so many people are stealing it, right?) “People who steal stuff later pay for it, or they tell their friends!” (And that's why profits in the music biz are falling through the floor, right? So many thieves rushing out to buy stuff!)
      “Piracy will always be there!” (The only way to make money from piracy is by selling advertising space, mostly to Google. Google makes billions of dollars, literally, by selling advertising to pirate sites. Shut Google and its friends, like Yahoo!, down, and piracy will just about disappear).
      “Yet the good movies seem to make money just fine!” (The “good movies” are usually the cheesy blockbusters. Smaller films and filmmakers are in just as much danger as musicians are. Only the biggest corporate products win.)

  • RichardoM

    Congresswoman Chu and the entertainment industry is still not identifying the underlying issue of why piracy is rampant: availability and price. They think that the average consumer who pirates is evil and should be punished without understanding that they are inadvertently causing the consumer to pirate. Studies show that when content is readily available and affordable, people will purchase it legally.

    These dinosaurs still grasp to the old school concepts of releasing content when there are a plethora of mediums for which content can be viewed. They should be exploring and utilising the internet and making sure that people everywhere see their content. But instead, they selectively releasing films in one country but not another and geoblock internet content, and as a result, a lot of content is restricted to the USA. Countries like Spain and Australia resort to piracy as their only means when they can't access content legally. These countries are also charged more for content (up to x2 more), which is ridiculous and unfair.

    If these companies want to stop piracy, they need to step up their game and stop complaining. Corporate greed and laziness is no excuse.

    • John Warr

      What are you talking about? We can buy almost anything from online retailers, perhaps not immediately, but even when you can the stuff is still pirated. As for cost, I don't see that the prices have changed much in the last 20 years, and in many cases the cost has dropped.

      RichardM your arguments are tired and worn but display a gross arrogance that you are entitled to be entertained for free. Get the porcupine out of your wallet and buy the stuff you want.

      • NoOneYouKnow

        I agree. There are now so many legal ways to access movies and music instantly. The only reason to pirate it is because you're too cheap and sleazy to buy it.

    • Golovolomka

      Most music is released everywhere throughout the world at the same time, and music is pirated more than motion pictures are. And movies and cable TV shows are downloaded illegally even in countries where they are available legally for a fee. *Game of Thrones* beat a record for illegal downloads in the United States.

  • joecock

    Ironic when a Chinese person is blaming Americans for stealing when it is China that is doing 90% of the stealing and counterfieting. What a hypocrite!

    • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

      Since when are foreign nationals elected to Congress? Judy Chu is an American, surely.

  • Walter white

    This is a battle they will never win. Forget about the fact that most people are pretty deeply engaged in piracy (and therefore won't oppose it) and consider the fact that most of us won't have a shred of pity for these billionaire corporations whose members have private islands for themselves while we have to struggle to pay rent. Everyone else in the industry will be completely fine despite piracy. Movies are making more money than ever right now so none of these set-technicians or caterers or whatever will be negatively effected. Ms. Chu can fuck right off.

    Also, pre-selling? Seriously? She literally knows nothing about the movie industry is she thinks pre-sales have much of an effect on anything at all. They are higher than ever right now anyway, so her point is invalid however you spin it. And then she goes after China and says films need to stay in the US? You can't be serious. Does she want them to film The Hobbit in Nebraska or something? I trust whatever ridiculous effort she puts forward will be struck down by those in the public who know anything about piracy and the film industry.

    • Entertainment Peon

      Walter white, you are the epitome of the ignorant fool that makes up the vast majority of people stealing content. My career is being killed by piracy, and I am not, nor have ever been a billionaire, a millionaire, or anything even close. I struggle to pay my bills, and because you, as an outsider with zero knowledge of how the entertainment industry REALLY works, choose to STEAL content, my ability to earn is being negatively affected. Why don't you piss & moan about the real billionaire thieves? Google reaps trillions in profits made on the backs of creators; they think they are above the law; they let psychos & killer post anything they want on YouTube, but you're okay with THEM owning islands? Give me a break. You're just a petty, selfish, greedy little snot. YOU can fuck right off.

    • NoOneYouKnow

      Actually, the people who suffer most because of piracy are the smaller artists–but it's so convenient for the thieves to claim that only the very rich are being pirated, so it's like a Robin Hood kind of arrangement. Actually, the people who benefit most from piracy are the billionaires, like Google and Yahoo!, which make a fortune from piracy. The artists are going out of business.

  • supermanindrag

    I find it hard to shed a tear for Ms Chu's plight when films are still grossing R1b+ at the box office.

  • CaptainFabulous

    Too many Congresspersons think that massive income inequality is OK. And that cutting food stamps, social security, and Medicare to the poor and elderly is OK. And that giving 30 million Americans healthcare is bad. And that a woman's right to choose is bad. And that giving billion-dollar corporations massive tax cuts and subsidies is ok.

    Of all the agendas a Congressperson can have, being a mouthpiece for the billion-dollar entertainment industry is NOT high on the list of priorities. She needs to get her priorities straight and start representing the real people of her district, not the corporations that donate heavily to her war chest.

    • Golovolomka

      Many of the people of her district work for the entertainment industry, mostly in blue-collar jobs. If not directly, then they work in service jobs, stores and restaurants and the like that cater to those workers on their off hours.

      If you think what they sell is crap, then there's no reason to waste your time watching it at all. Yes, it's crap and it's not worth your money, but somehow it's worth the time you spend watching it. That doesn't make any sense.

      • anon

        It makes perfect sense. For example: your post is crap, your opinion is poorly expressed and not well thought out. No one would pay you to read it, and hopefully no one paid you to write it. But I didn't mind taking a look at it and replying to you.

        If people are looking to kill time, free crap isn't as good as one might want, but it sometimes suffices.

      • CaptainFabulous

        What anon said. Some crap is watchable, just not worth paying for. I don't think frozen pizza is worth paying for and would never buy one but if someone offered me one for free, hey, I'd take it cause crappy pizza is better than no pizza.

        And what's the difference if I download something and watch it, borrow the DVD from my library and watch it, or wait for it to come onto broadcast TV (I don't have cable TV),DVR it, and skip the commercials? In all 3 cases I get to watch the movie and Hollywood doesn't make a single dime from me, but 2 of them makes me a savvy consumer while 1 of them makes me a thief. That's what doesn't make any sense.

        • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

          Was that rhetorical? Do you really not know the difference between illegally downloading something, and borrowing it from a legal source (which paid for the right to lend it), or waiting for it to be on broadcast tv (which paid for the right to broadcast it) ?
          The legal sources paid the content creator. The illegal source did not.

          • CaptainFabulous

            I know math is hard, but try and follow.

            Let's say the library buys a DVD for $20. Of that $20 the studio gets $10. How much does the studio get if I borrow the DVD and I watch it? $10. How much does it get if I don't borrow the DVD? $10. Ergo, my contribution to the studio for watching the movie is $0, as what they get is exactly the same whether I watch the movie or not.

            The exact same is true of a TV broadcast. Whatever is paid for the rights to air the movie on TV, and whatever is earned via ad revenue is an amount that does not differ whether or not I watch the program. My contribution to that amount is exactly $0.

            So let's review:

            I borrow a DVD from the library. My contribution to the creators: $0. Completely legal.

            I watch a movie on broadcast TV and skip the commercials. My contribution to the creators: $0. Completely legal.

            I download a movie from the internet. My contribution to the creators: $0. Illegal.

            In all 3 cases I get to watch the movie and the creators get nothing from that viewing. So again, explain to me how there is any difference?

          • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

            Captain Fabulous, you forget to factor in wear and tear. People who borrow DVDs and the like from Libraries tend not to take good care of them (because there are no financial consequences for returning scratched, jammy fingerprinted, heat-warped borrowings). So, the Library has to replace the damaged DVD by buying further copies from the copyright holder.

            One publisher –admittedly of books– has calculated that the average life of a library book is about 26 lends. Taking that as a convenient guide, if you borrow a DVD, your theoretical indirect payment to the copyright holder is one-twenty-sixth of $10…. assuming that you do not damage that which you borrowed.

          • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

            Regardless of whether or not you skip the commercials on TV, the advertisers paid the broadcast TV network based on the assumption that your eyeballs have value. It may be a faulty calculation, but there is –must be– a business model based on imputed ratings.

            if that weren't the case, why do you think the Networks are so upset about Aereo (or whatever it is called) and other business models based on stripping out the adverts that pay for the shows?

          • CaptainFabulous

            They dislike Aereo not because the ads are stripped out, but because Aereo is sidestepping having to pay millions in carriage/retransmission fees that cable and satellite providers are forced to pay. What you might be thinking about is the DISH Hopper, which is a DVR that automatically strips out ads, which was declared legal in court because the viewing public is under no obligation to sit thru commercials if they choose not to do so.

            And again, what the ad companies pay is irrelevant, because unless you're a genuine Neilsen household, no one knows whether or not you watched the program, and the amount the creators receive is exactly the same whether you watch the program or not. Whatever formula they use is based on speculation, not guarantees or precise numbers.

          • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

            Captain Fabulous, I concede that you may be correct about the importance of retransmission fees. No doubt you will have noticed that there is a real danger that NFL games will go to Cable, and no longer be free to TV watchers if Aereo and its ilk go too far in circumventing copyrights.

          • CaptainFabulous

            Aereo was deemed legal in court. They do not violate anyone's copyright. If broadcasters choose to move programming from over-the-air to cable they will simply push people into downloading or streaming them illegally. No one in their right mind is going to start paying $60 a month for cable TV just to watch 1 or 2 shows or NFL games.

            The only people the TV and film industry should be worried about are themselves. They are their own worst enemies. The more control they attempt to exert, and the more money they attempt to extract and extort, the more people will tell them to f-off.

          • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

            The NFL aren't broadcasters. They are copyright owners.
            I guess, telling people to (your words) works both ways. Content creators are perfectly capable of returning your elegant compliment.

          • CaptainFabulous

            Theoretical, hypothetical, and woulda shoulda couldas are all irrelevant because there is no accurate way to calculate what these values actually are. Just like it's impossible to calculate any “losses” due to piracy.
            Because I can just as easily say something like: well if I download a movie and like it, and post something on Facebook about it, and in turn that leads 10 of my friends going out and buying the DVD, then that's 10 sales the creator would NOT have gotten if I didn't download and watch the movie. It happens all the time, and word of mouth is very powerful, but it's also largely irrelevant because there is no way to quantify it.

          • Joseph Harris

            Non-fabulous, pirates’ PR, your lack of understanding of the hard calculations that all these big companies and high-value property owners put into their decisions is pitiful. Your goading of people to act unlawfully may well have its own little law.
            I know you believe in “I want it and I want it now”, but you are supposed to have grown out of that in the nursery. All your arguments actually say: “I won't pay.” Well, in the eighteenth century they had an answer to that; hanging. We are a little more civilised now, but you are inviting the new Copyright Act, now in hearings in your Congress, to introduce criminality for breach of copyright over such things as piracy.
            None of your arguments impress any honest person. Paying for items is the right way, and we all make sacrifices balancing our budgets to our wants. Tell me, have you ever paid for any copyright material?

          • CaptainFabulous

            Oh Joseph, Joseph, Joseph…your big words and frilly sentences cannot hide your blatant regurgitation of corporate propaganda, nor your inability to see the big picture. I would try to explain it to you, but as feeble minds often succumb to propaganda I doubt you'd be able to grasp the concepts I would present, so I'm not going to waste any more of my time.

            Let's just say this, for as long as there has been copyright there have been those that copy and share anyway. It is human nature to share. If it were even possible to eradicate illegal sharing (it's not) the damage to media companies would be extreme and pronounced. It's you and people like Chu, who do not understand the intricate dynamics at work, who are the fools. Let them try to outlaw it, to make it a crime, and watch as their entire house of cards, based on old, outdated, 19th century rules and regulations, swiftly collapses right before their very eyes . Not speculation, not a question of if, but a fact. Be very careful what you wish for.

            There is no honesty nor morality in business. Just money and greed. Try and remember that as you're handing your hard earned money over to a billion-dollar industry whose CEOs wouldn't spit in your mouth if you lay dying of thirst. Sacrifice? For them? I don't think so.

          • Joseph Harris

            Non-fab “Corporate”??? I am a writer, and one of the tiniest (that's little-little-little) publishers you will find. Yes, sorry about the long words, being British I find they are normal currency. I'll try to use simple ones for you.

            The beef you have with big business can be dealt with in many ways; stealing books is the kind of thing that leads to other illegal actions. That petty stealing has been going on since before history does not justify it, However many times you repeat the nonsense.

            I have been trying to explain to pirates and pirate PRs like yourself for practically all this century that you have no impact on big business, giant publishers, Amazon, Apple or any of the others. The people you hurt are practically all like myself, small and seeing little money anyway. But I know you know this, you are after all a PR, trained in the arts of deceptive talk.

            In fact, you are so persistent in your blatant misleading that I wonder if you are yourself a pirate selling on ebay and coining it, the kind Brenna Lyons mentions in her post?

            By the way, you are quite ignorant on copyright (or pretending to be). Copying became easy enough to be done by petty thieves only when the internet got going, and programs and hackers made it so. In the previous period publishers in many countries, including the US, were indeed as bad a set of literary pirates as China has been and may still be. Before the Copyright Act of 1710 in Great Britain copying without permission was offensive, but no legal offence. Though as I have already tried to explain to you that the Stationers Company [a printers' guild] held the monopoly on printing and therefore on publishing in Great Britain. The history of its spread is fascinating [there go those long words again] but hardly of interest to one who ignores it.

          • CaptainFabulous

            Blimey guvnah, your bloody ignorance knows no bounds, clearly shown by your repeated referral to copyright infringement as theft and/or stealing, which, I'm sorry to inform you, it is not. If it were indeed “stealing” or “thievery” then it would be a criminal offense instead of a civil one, but again, it is not. One cannot steal what one cannot hold or touch. A digital file is simply an order of 0s and 1s. It is not something one can steal.

            And it appears as tho you also need a history lesson. Are you aware that when phonographic records were introduced it sent the music publishing industry into a frenzy, with them under the misguided belief that this new technology was going to lead to massive copyright infringement and a destruction of their business? Did you know the same thing happened with the introduction of audio cassettes and then again with video tapes? No, the fear of piracy is truly as old as copyright itself. It is most certainly not a new phenomenon. Tho I will concede that modern technology facilitates it with an ease not previously available.

            Ironically, copyright, as it was originally intended, was designed to protect the creator from large powerful businesses that willingly and freely copied works of individuals and small companies with reckless abandon. It was meant to protect David from Goliath, not the other way around as it is used today. It also was always intended to be a LIMITED term of exclusivity; a trade-off between a creator's ability to earn a living off their works balanced with the greater good of the public to then create new works based off older ones after a SHORT period of time (14 years). This too has been repeatedly bastardized and co-opted by big media to fuel their unrelenting greed and continually strip the people of their rights of fair use and the emergence of new works into the public domain. At this point such a notion is a novel joke, as most works of the 20th century will be locked up in copyright well into the latter half of the 21st, possibly even the 22nd. This was not what copyright was intended to do or be.

            And your ignorance also shines thru with the idea that piracy hurts small publishers but not large ones. This has proven time and time again to be absolutely false. In fact, a small publisher actually has the ability to adapt and use piracy to their advantage, something the large corporations have been either unable or unwilling to do. There have been many instances where a small publisher has freely given material away to be shared and copied at will, only to find a subsequent spike in sales. Further studies have also shown that those who illegally download material tend to spend more money buying content than those that do not. So this again is another falsehood you and your ilk thrust upon us.

            The proof, as they say, is in the figgy pudding. The music and movie industries still bring in billions of dollars a year, even as the general public gets poorer and poorer. Small and independent publishers of games, movies, and music are thriving in ways unheard of 20 years ago due to the stranglehold of the industry and lack of viable distribution technology. Unfortunately, print media is dying, both large and small, and this has nothing to do with copyright or piracy. Like the horse and buggy, gas lamp, vinyl record, rotary phone, and VHS tape it is simply being eschewed due to new and emerging technologies, and will eventually die off just like other archaic technology before it.

            Perhaps you should open your eyes and then a book before you open your mouth, as virtually everything you've said so far is complete and utter rubbish; literally bullet talking points of the big media anti-piracy propaganda machine, with not a single truth to be found anywhere.

          • Joseph Harris

            Ah, yes, pirates’ PR, I forgot you have no moral dimension.

          • Joseph Harris

            Non-fab you wrote this: “Ironically, copyright, as it was originally intended, was designed to protect the creator from large powerful businesses that willingly and freely copied works of individuals and small companies with reckless abandon.”

            So very wrong. 1710 is a long time ago, I agree, but history is surprisingly easy to understand—if you realise it was not the same as now. It applied in GB [England, Wales and Scotland] only. Though the Stationers Company [Engalnd] had asked for protection from the copying by the Scottish printers, mostly in Edinburgh, the legislation gave ownership of the created works to the creator. A very big departure; only in France had there been anything similar, and that was Royal protection to a few titles only.

            Music scores were included in 1842, and the Berne Convention in the last part of the 19th century was the first attempt to get copyright agreement between more than pairs of countries.

          • Joseph Harris

            Non-fab you also appear to confuse the nature of music publishing with book publishing. There are major differences, both historical and factual. The creation of a means of reproducing live performance certainly threw the music industry into puzzlement—but the only “industry” at that time was sheet scores. Although all creative industries go through constant change, the digital revolution, starting with tapes, as I recall, did raise the issue of the meaning of the US Consittuion in the US. But the logic of the Constitutional grant “exclusive right” to copying is fairly obvious—don't you agree?

            So your ripping off and profiteering is actually unconstitutional in the US. By the way, I note the FBI and the IRS are getting pretty hot on that kind of thing; or do you declare your profits to the IRS?

          • CaptainFabulous

            Profits? who's talking about profits? Again, you seemed confused on this topic. Do you normally blather on incessantly about things you clearly know nothing about?

          • CaptainFabulous

            Oh for pete's sake read something factual for a change: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

          • CaptainFabulous

            There is no morality in business. Just greed. Something you should have learned long ago.

  • Joe Mahma

    .
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    “Piracy” goes both ways, Judy.
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  • Joseph Harris

    Captain (non) Fabulous is the perfect pirate's spokesman. His eyes goggle at the very few big money films or authors, while he knees in the groin the struggling writers, musicians, inventors, programmers and many skilled workers who make up the IP industries.

    If he is lawless enough to steal, no doubt that will catch up with him as one thing leads to another. But it might be a good idea for him, and the cohort with his views to understand the industries he condemns employ millions, like himself, struggling to meet everyday obligations and in many cases raise families.

    There is not much cream in these industries and, yes, it tends to be taken at the top. But, instead of making the little the creatives get disappear, let him join with them to fight the fat cats.

    And his understanding of of the Queen Anne Copyright Act of 1710 is completely wrong. Far from being a restrictive act, it was to break the monopoly of the printers of the Stationer's Company and to put the power over their own work firmly in the hands of the creator. As to the earlier writers, not only were they either patronised or already rich, but the logic of writing was not, say with Shakespeare to write. It was to act. He proved skilled and able as a writer, and it was that that earned him partnership in the Globe Theatre. It was also a time when public entertainment was released from the restrictive hand of religion, and by the rejection of Rome and creation of the Church of England.

    Oh, and the playwrights of the time *did* get enraged with one another for stealing plots and lines and sometimes whole plays. Yes, there was a line up of greats then: Ben Johnson, Middleton, Dekker and many others. And they lived cheek by jowl and drank at the same inns and produced ideas almost just by looking at one another—like any creative hothouse. That was what forced ever better writing. Though a lot of Shakespeare's historical works are from the histories of Holinshead!

    They still had to eat, just as creatives do today. Piracy steals from people just like you, maybe from your family and friends.

  • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

    Not only do too many individual Americans think that piracy is okay, but too many tech businesses deliberately profit from it. Look how many AdSense and other Google programs place paid corporate ads on pirate sites. Look at Torrents and you will find them “sponsored” by BTGuard or their ilk, exhorting illegal downloaders to “protect your privacy” or “protect your freedom”. QED http://www.torrenthound.com/search/paranormal+romance