IPAF’s survey also reveals that the proportion of consumers using streaming services grew from 26 per cent last year to 32 per cent this year.Of those, 33 per cent were taking advantage of some form of free trial and 66 per cent planned to pay for the service after their trial expired.That has helped drive down the proportion of consumers aged 18 to 24 engaged in piracy, from 54 per cent last year to 46 per cent this year.For consumers aged 25 to 34 the rate has fallen from 48 per cent to 40 per cent. Piracy rates for consumers aged 35 to 49 remain steady.Overall, piracy rates across all age groups have fallen from 29 per cent to 25 per cent.About a third of those pirating less frequently said it was due to the emergence of legal alternatives. About 16 per cent said it was because they feared getting caught or downloading a computer virus.Ms Flekser warned that the biggest challenge continued to be a lack of education and unwillingness by some consumers to perceive online piracy as theft.However, she said recent changes to the legal and regulatory environment around online piracy were starting to have an impact on consumer perceptions.Ms Flekser was referring to the court bid by the film studio behind Dallas Buyers Club to force iiNet to reveal the identities of alleged infringers and new federal laws allowing copyright holders to apply for court orders to block websites promoting copyright infringement.

Source: Netflix no panacea to piracy: IPAF | The Australian

Pep Vallbe and I presented our study on Alternative compensation systems at the Copyright 4 Innovation conference in the Hague.
More below the fold.
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This paper discusses whether a compensation system (CS) for recorded music – endowing private Internet subscribers with the right to download and use works in return for a fee – would be welfare increasing under current market conditions. It reports the results of a discrete choice experiment conducted with a representative sample of the Dutch population consisting of 4,986 participants. The Internet penetration rate in the Netherlands is 95%, one of the highest worldwide (Eurostat 2014). The Netherlands also entertain a system of levies on copying technology, so that basic elements of a CS should be familiar to many residence.

We find that applied only to recorded music, a mandatory CS could increase the welfare of rights holders and users in the Netherlands by over €600 million per year (over €35 per capita). This far exceeds the current sales value of recorded music of ca. €144 million. Even if a CS were to substitute all of the current sales of recorded music and provided no cost savings, it could simultaneously increase user welfare and rights holder revenues at a price that constitutes a reasonable surplus split. According to our results, this is achieved over a broad range of CS user fees, for example between ca. €1.74 and €9.25 for a CS that is mandatory for all households with Internet subscription.

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The failure of the Fire Phone has been widely cited as the reason for Amazon’s disastrous quarter, but a darker cloud has settled over the world’s biggest online retailer. The core of Amazon’s business—its original reason for being: selling books and other media—has grown wobbly. The problem: many people no longer want to buy stuff. They’d rather rent.

Amazon is not alone. This long-predicted shift in consumer priorities–from ownership to access—also seems to be taking a bite out of Apple, another business that depends on convincing people to buy things. For companies built on the practice of purchasing media, it’s time to reexamine basic assumptions.

During the last quarter, Amazon’s North American sales of media—books, music, movies, games—grew five percent compared to the same time a year ago. This may sound respectable. But that figure turns out to be the lowest year-over-year growth in North American media sales in more than five years, says Colin Gillis, an analyst at Wall Street outfit BGC Financial.

“Given the dispute with book publisher Hachette, it is hard to not view that the very public dust up had a negative impact on media sales, both from the decision to stop selling certain book titles and a possible backlash against Amazon from readers,” Gillis says.

The problem: many people no longer want to buy stuff. They’d rather rent.

But according to Amazon, a leading culprit is something that at least sounds much more innocuous: textbooks. “As you look at our North American media growth rates, one thing that we are seeing is certainly a shift from a textbook standpoint from purchase to rental,” Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak told analysts on Thursday. More customers also are renting rather than buying digital media, Szkutak said.

The irony is that in both cases, these are problems Amazon created for itself. Textbook rentals have exploded in part because Amazon makes it so easy. Instead of a would-be renter and lender having to track each other down one-on-one, the owner of a used text book can simply put it up on Amazon. (It’s a model textbook publishers hate, because they only make money on new book sales, which is one reason textbook prices are going through the roof).

Similarly, Amazon has made streaming media so easy that the practical incentive to buy diminishes. Renting or buying digital video from Amazon, for example, never has to involve a download. You never really have to “have” it. It simply streams from Amazon’s cloud to apps, browsers, and over-the-top internet TV boxes. The setup would seem to work to Amazon’s favor because you’re still paying Amazon money—but not as much, perhaps, as you’d pay to own.

A Bite Out of Apple

At the same time as the stock market started hammering Amazon on Friday, a report surfaced that Apple was having its own problems with owning. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that digital music sales on iTunes had declined 13 percent to 14 percent since the start of the year. This worries the music industry, the Journal said, because Apple is the world’s biggest seller of music.

If fewer people are buying music from Apple, fewer people are probably buying music, period. The reason is obvious, and much as with Amazon, it’s a problem Apple is largely responsible for creating. The rise of streaming music apps wouldn’t be possible without powerful, portable, connected digital devices that have access to significant bandwidth for transferring data quickly. In other words, the iPhone is very much responsible for streaming becoming a viable, popular way to consume music. As the Journal notes, Apple acknowledged this trend with its purchase of Beats Music, a deal that included both its headphone and streaming music businesses.

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, writer Dan Brooks lamented the loss of a certain kind of cultural identity deeply tied to the ownership of music: the record collection. The culprit: streaming music services that give everyone everywhere access to nearly every song ever recorded:

The bad news is that we have lost what was once a robust system for identifying kindred spirits. Now that we all share the same record collection, music snobs have no means to recognize one another. We cannot flip through a binder of CDs and see a new friend, a potential date. By making it perfectly easy to find new music, we’ve made it a little more difficult to find new people.

The irony, Brooks notes, is that streaming has brought once obscure music out of hiding: searching for tiny acts is as easy as searching for the biggest Top 40 stars. But it’s not only hipster obscurantism that streaming has upended. The most mainstream tech companies, the ones that have made access versus ownership easier than ever, are now experiencing their own losses because they’ve helped make accessing easier than owning. The only winners here seem to be consumers.

Well, except for one thing: If no one gets paid, nothing gets made.

via Apple and Amazon Have a Problem: People Don’t Want to Buy Stuff Anymore | WIRED.

5-Year Suspended Sentence For S. Africa’s First Online Pirate – Slashdot.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

Comcast Wants to Monitor and Convert Pirating Subscribers | TorrentFreak.

Sony and Disney begin streaming movies still in theaters in a bold move against piracy | The Verge.

Sony and Disney begin streaming movies still in theaters in a bold move against piracy | The Verge.

As a result, a steady stream of new movies is constantly nudging incumbents to make way at theatres. That makes the first week the biggest contributor to box-office collections. With the box office skewed thus, movies reach television as early as four weeks of hitting theatres. In other words, producers have obliterated the business model of their once formidable enemies.

via Bollywood no longer talks of piracy; but ignoring dangers of online can be costly – Page3 – The Economic Times.

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.’

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.’

“As for my incarceration. Was it worth it? NO.”“Nothing is worth losing your freedom, would I do it again … hmmm I don’t know. I learned so much from it. Without it I wouldn’t have learned HTML and PHP. Both of which I use on the website I made for the Robotics teams I used to Mentor. They probably won’t want a felon to Mentor the kids.”

via IMAGiNE BitTorrent Group Sysop Speaks Out as He Heads to Prison | TorrentFreak.

For another 10 years, Universal Pictures content will not be seen on Netflix.

Universal inked a deal with HBO on Monday that gives HBO exclusive rights to all Universal films for another decade. This is an extension of a previous exclusive agreement and means, essentially, that rival services like Starz and Netflix won’t be getting ahold of Universal’s movies anytime soon.

The extension is likely a reaction to Netflix’s agreement with Walt Disney pictures for exclusive access to Disney animated features and films until 2016. But HBO may not be able to compete on the same level as Netflix. HBO was called “the closest thing Netflix has to a direct competitor” by a Forbes contributor on Monday, but close to Netflix it is not.

via HBO Signs Deal With Universal, Continues To Make Life Difficult For Netflix, Consumers.For another 10 years, Universal Pictures content will not be seen on Netflix.

Universal inked a deal with HBO on Monday that gives HBO exclusive rights to all Universal films for another decade. This is an extension of a previous exclusive agreement and means, essentially, that rival services like Starz and Netflix won’t be getting ahold of Universal’s movies anytime soon.

The extension is likely a reaction to Netflix’s agreement with Walt Disney pictures for exclusive access to Disney animated features and films until 2016. But HBO may not be able to compete on the same level as Netflix. HBO was called “the closest thing Netflix has to a direct competitor” by a Forbes contributor on Monday, but close to Netflix it is not.

via HBO Signs Deal With Universal, Continues To Make Life Difficult For Netflix, Consumers.

Taunts aside, Tankafetast’s operators appear to be trying to raise the profile of the site. They have launched a clothing range, consisting mainly of t-shirts carrying a range of pro-filesharing slogans such as Keep Calm and Download and Support Your Local Uploader, plus a few with defiant messages on Tankafetast’s return.In addition, on Saturday the site’s operators announced that in celebration of the site’s return they would be hiring three cinemas in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm and giving away tickets to fans of the site. The first viewing has been announced as taking place this Thursday for the premiere of the new Bond movie, Skyfall.What is interesting to observe here is that when it comes to file-sharing the Swedes are very defiant indeed, even in the face of adversaries such as the government and police. Whether the site will be able to back up its defiance with long-term uptime remains to be seen, but even that seems to be more likely than their aim this week of giving away at least hundred of their cinema tickets to girls.

via Raided PRQ Torrent Site is Back and Hiring Cinemas To Celebrate | TorrentFreak.Taunts aside, Tankafetast’s operators appear to be trying to raise the profile of the site. They have launched a clothing range, consisting mainly of t-shirts carrying a range of pro-filesharing slogans such as Keep Calm and Download and Support Your Local Uploader, plus a few with defiant messages on Tankafetast’s return.In addition, on Saturday the site’s operators announced that in celebration of the site’s return they would be hiring three cinemas in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm and giving away tickets to fans of the site. The first viewing has been announced as taking place this Thursday for the premiere of the new Bond movie, Skyfall.What is interesting to observe here is that when it comes to file-sharing the Swedes are very defiant indeed, even in the face of adversaries such as the government and police. Whether the site will be able to back up its defiance with long-term uptime remains to be seen, but even that seems to be more likely than their aim this week of giving away at least hundred of their cinema tickets to girls.

via Raided PRQ Torrent Site is Back and Hiring Cinemas To Celebrate | TorrentFreak.

Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar last evening, AFACT boss Neil Gane conceded that TV and movie fans might be driven to piracy by delays, but when the same question was framed slightly differently, it proved problematic.

Linking to TorrentFreak’s statistics, ITNews reports that they asked Gane if piracy rates were lower on shows that were fast-tracked to Australia. He was unable to answer.

AFACT’s members have spent huge sums of money suing local ISP iiNet, yet appear to have a problem answering a fundamental question such as this. The answer, of course, (particularly given Gane’s earlier concession over delays) is that they do recognize that bringing shows more quickly to market in areas such as Australia will reduce piracy, but internal politics restrict them from doing so.

But instead, Gane told the seminar that members of AFACT believe that fans of Game of Thrones are behaving unreasonably when they don’t want to wait an additional week to see the show.

via Anti-Piracy Boss: TV Fans Are Unreasonable For Wanting Content Quicker | TorrentFreak.Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar last evening, AFACT boss Neil Gane conceded that TV and movie fans might be driven to piracy by delays, but when the same question was framed slightly differently, it proved problematic.

Linking to TorrentFreak’s statistics, ITNews reports that they asked Gane if piracy rates were lower on shows that were fast-tracked to Australia. He was unable to answer.

AFACT’s members have spent huge sums of money suing local ISP iiNet, yet appear to have a problem answering a fundamental question such as this. The answer, of course, (particularly given Gane’s earlier concession over delays) is that they do recognize that bringing shows more quickly to market in areas such as Australia will reduce piracy, but internal politics restrict them from doing so.

But instead, Gane told the seminar that members of AFACT believe that fans of Game of Thrones are behaving unreasonably when they don’t want to wait an additional week to see the show.

via Anti-Piracy Boss: TV Fans Are Unreasonable For Wanting Content Quicker | TorrentFreak.

This article examines what appears to be the most important factor shaping file sharing: the failure of traditional cultural markets to efficiently supply the demand in the online environment. Its findings are based on tracking the traffic of movies on three Hungarian P2P networks. This dataset is then matched with cinematic distribution data of the films tracked in P2P transactions. Central to our analysis is the assessment of two piracy paradigms: substitution and shortage, that is, whether pirated content is available through legal or only illegal channels. Shortage-driven downloaders are found to outnumber those downloading only current theater releases. Nonetheless, the supply of films available for downloading is more affected by parameters of cinematic distribution than it is by box office success. Therefore, part of the sales effort directly contributes to propping up piracy.
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The delays and queue restrictions are part of an overall effort by Warner Brothers to boost its ailing DVD sales. The company thinks that by lengthening the time it takes for a movie to reach other platforms, it will increase demand for the DVD, and in turn make more money. Once a move reaches rental services and streaming video platforms, Warner Brothers stands to make far less revenue.Not allowing Netflix users to conveniently wait out the delayed availability of new DVDs fits within Warner Brothers new strategy. The company clearly wants consumers to feel the inconvenience and discomfort of not being able to watch these newly released movies immediately because it makes the option of buying the DVD much more attractive.

via Warner Bros. now adding restrictions to your Netflix DVD queue | VentureBeat.The delays and queue restrictions are part of an overall effort by Warner Brothers to boost its ailing DVD sales. The company thinks that by lengthening the time it takes for a movie to reach other platforms, it will increase demand for the DVD, and in turn make more money. Once a move reaches rental services and streaming video platforms, Warner Brothers stands to make far less revenue.Not allowing Netflix users to conveniently wait out the delayed availability of new DVDs fits within Warner Brothers new strategy. The company clearly wants consumers to feel the inconvenience and discomfort of not being able to watch these newly released movies immediately because it makes the option of buying the DVD much more attractive.

via Warner Bros. now adding restrictions to your Netflix DVD queue | VentureBeat.

The new “Mission: Impossible” film has made ten times more money than smaller films like “Young Adult.” If greater demand is supposed to move prices, why does a ticket to each movie cost the same?

via Why Do All Movie Tickets Cost the Same? – Derek Thompson – Business – The Atlantic.The new “Mission: Impossible” film has made ten times more money than smaller films like “Young Adult.” If greater demand is supposed to move prices, why does a ticket to each movie cost the same?

via Why Do All Movie Tickets Cost the Same? – Derek Thompson – Business – The Atlantic.

Recently, Senator Ron Wyden asked CRS if it could explore the state of the movie industry today as compared to 1995 on a variety of different criteria. You can read the full report embedded below, but here are a few key points. First off, despite the industry’s regular attempt to play up its contribution to GDP and employment, the report found that the combined GDP contribution of both the “motion picture and sound recording” industries was a whopping 0.4% in 2009. Back in 1995… it was also 0.4%.

via Congressional Research Service Shows Hollywood Is Thriving | Techdirt.

A short piece on transborder ethnic piratical networks on
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What would it mean in terms of revenue if ALL BitTorrent traffic moved to Netflix?If we assume that BitTorrent and Netflix users consume roughly the same amount of content again an assumption favoring the movie studios, then this is an easy calculation. Netflix would generate a third more revenue. Based on the shareholders report of the last quarter of 2010 where most of the torrent stats in this article are based on this translates into $198 million additional revenue for Netflix.Based on more recent stats contained in Netflix’s third quarter filing of this year, the increase in revenue would be $266 million for that quarter.

via MPAA Costs Hollywood More Than US BitTorrent Piracy | TorrentFreak.

Today’s digital, global, on-demand media landscape has had only minimal effects on Hollywood’s “windowing” addiction—pushing out films in stages to theaters, then pay-TV, then satellite, then physical rental. Studios are continuing to push their “buyers only” window during which a film could be purchased at stores like Wal-Mart, but would not yet be available for rental.Blockbuster won’t go along with the request to delay new release rentals for 28 days after they first go on sale. In retaliation, Warner Bros. has refused to sell films directly to the chain, forcing Blockbuster to source those movies elsewhere. It’s the same tactic used by the studios on RedBox, which doesn’t get DVDs for rental until they have been on the retail market for four weeks.“The question is: how do we make ownership more valuable and attractive?” Warner Bros. Home Entertainment President Kevin Tsujihara told the Financial Times. “We have started the process of creating a window in bricks-and-mortar DVD and Blu-ray rental.”Blockbuster can work around the studios’ wishes because DVDs and Blu-ray discs are physical objects and thus subject to the “first sale doctrine” in the US; after purchase, the seller can’t continue to exert control over the objects. That’s not true of online streaming and downloads, giving the studios much greater power to control the windows of services like Netflix.

via Blockbuster trying to evade Warner Bros’ 28-day “buyers only” window.

Miramax CEO Mike Lang and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos gave a keynote talk at the MIPCOM conference. The two discussed the challenges they face in the continuously changing digital world. Both agreed that piracy is not much of an issue as long as you give consumers what they want. Digital monopolies, such as Apple’s dominance in the music industry, are a far bigger threat.

pirateIf we believe the words of the MPAA and RIAA, piracy is the root of all evil resulting in billions of dollars in losses every year.

However, not all of the big players in the entertainment business subscribe to this theory. During the MIPCOM conference where movie and TV moguls gather, Miramax CEO Mike Lang and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos touched on the subject of piracy. Both appeared to have a rather positive stance towards the issue.

Lang, whose company today debuts the Blu-Ray version of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, emphasized that people don’t necessarily want to pirate, as long as they get what they want. “Innovate or die,” should be the motive of entertainment industry companies, where it’s key to listen to customers.

“Piracy has not been the bigger issue for our company,” Lang noted. “I think all consumers at some point in their life , whatever market of the world, don’t want to pirate. They really don’t.”

via Digital Monopolies A Bigger Threat Than Piracy, Says Miramax CEO | TorrentFreak.

10 things to remember about Netflix while scratching your head about Qwikster

  1. Netflix DVD shipments “have likely peaked” and the company’s DVD subscriber base is declining. Already, 75% of Netflix’s new customers were signing up for streaming-only plans in the first couple of weeks after Netflix announced its price increases.
  2. Netflix sees its strongest competition as “an improved MVPD service offering more Internet video on-demand.” MVPD stands for “multichannel video programming distributor,” and includes cable companies like Comcast, telcos like Verizon, and satellite companies like DirecTV. Don’t forget that DISH Network recently bought Blockbuster’s assets and is bidding on Hulu.
  3. Netflix is expanding its streaming-only business internationally, but DVDs are only available to rent in the United States. Having a universal, worldwide definition of the Netflix brand — “streaming movies and TV shows for a monthly subscription fee” — is worth something.
  4. Qwikster relies heavily on the U.S. Postal Service, which is in big trouble. Would you want to have to worry about that every day?
  5. Netflix’s holy grail is to get each person, not each household, to have a separate streaming subscription, the way everyone also has a separate Facebook account. Separating a per-household service like DVD rentals-by-mail helps simplify that eventual transition.
  6. Netflix was already physically separating the DVD business, with that team to be based in San Jose, whereas Netflix corporate HQ is in Los Gatos, Calif. Netflix also says that negotiating DVD and streaming deals is already largely a separate process, involving separate groups at the studios.
  7. Eventually, Qwikster may decline enough or pivot into a different business to the point where Netflix may want to fully spin it off. Or sell it, or use it to buy other companies, or merge it with another company, ranging from Redbox to Best Buy to GameStop. Having a nondescript name that doesn’t suggest “mail” or “movies” is probably a good thing, given its unclear future.
  8. Netflix was already planning some sort of next step for this shakeup. It teased on its last earnings call: “we’ve got a dedicated group, who actually have come up with some pretty neat ideas for how to improve the DVD service … and those improvements will roll out in Q4.” [PDF]
  9. If Netflix finishes Q3 with 21.8 million streaming subscribers, as anticipated, it will still almost have as many video subscribers as Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company. Also: Most people who subscribe to digital TV services still aren’t Netflix subscribers, so they aren’t involved in the upheaval.
  10. As before, Netflix’s biggest challenge is now to get more streaming content to make the service better, while preserving its value. Part of that means it needs to convince studios to stream more of their best content through Netflix. (Some of that content is still only available on a plastic disc.) That’s why Netflix is so adamant to separate itself from the DVD business and speed up streaming adoption for studios and consumers.


via 10 things to remember about Netflix while scratching your head about Qwikster – SplatF.

Discovering behaviors and attitudes related to pirating content

Today’s consumers can access an astonishing variety of movies, videos, and television shows — on multiple platforms — faster than ever before. With so much content at their fingertips, what compels some consumers to commit online piracy by downloading or streaming content illegally?

via Speed of life: Consumer intelligence series.

Pachter predicts Netflix’s streaming content licensing costs will rise from $180 million in 2010 to a whopping $1.98 billion in 2012.

via Studios are starting to play hardball with Netflix – Jul. 11, 2011.

At the D9 Conference this morning, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings credited his company with helping to beat piracy — at least in the U.S. Now, he says, the challenge is to outcompete copyright infringement in places like Korea, where it runs rampant.

“One of the things that we’re most proud of is we’re now finally beating BitTorrent,” Hastings told AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher. Thanks to services like Netflix, Hastings said most Internet video is now paid for in the U.S. The hard part for content providers, he said, was coming up with a service good enough that people were willing to pay for, rather than just searching for free content on the Internet. Netflix has been able to provide that service by making its streaming videos available across a vast number of devices, and giving subscribers access to a wide range of library content for a relatively low price.

Netflix has also enabled content owners to make money on shows they previously weren’t monetizing. Hastings offered up Joss Whedon’s Firefly as one example of a series that had a rabid fan base that couldn’t find it under legal means prior to appearing on Netflix. At the same time, he quelled any rumors that the company could bring Firefly back from the dead.

via Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Finally Beating BitTorrent’ — Online Video News.

The number of illegally downloaded films in the UK has gone up nearly 30% in five years, new figures suggest.

That research, from internet consultancy firm Envisional, indicates that the top five box office movies were illegally downloaded in the UK a total of 1.4 million times last year.

Film industry bosses say it is costing £170m every year and putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The research also shows a big rise in TV shows being pirated online.

Dr David Price led the the team which conducted the research and said there are four main reasons for the increase.

Graph showing increase in illegal downloads

“We’ve seen increases in technology like faster broadband,” he said.

“The methods of piracy have become easier, with quicker downloads and easier to find content.

“We have a generation online now who aren’t really bothered about downloading things illegally.

“Finally it’s an issue of availability – there’s a lot of American content which a lot of people are desperate to download that they can’t get hold of legitimately.”

via BBC – Newsbeat – Illegal UK film downloads up 30%, new figures suggest.

Signing a deal that makes anyone a net profit participant in a Hollywood movie deal has always been a sucker’s bet. In an era where studios have all but eliminated first dollar gross and invited talent to share the risk and potential rewards, guess what? Net profit deals are still a sucker’s bet. I was slipped a net profit statement below for Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the 2007 Warner Bros sequel. Though the film grossed $938.2 million worldwide, the accounting statement below conveys that the film is still over $167 million in the red. Text continues below…harry potter net profits

via STUDIO SHAME! Even Harry Potter Pic Loses Money Because Of Warner Bros’ Phony Baloney Net Profit Accounting –

Friday nights in Romania under the Communist regime which came to an end in December 1989, friends and family would gather in front of their television sets, trying to guess what they were actually watching. Telephone calls would be made, film reference and theory books consulted. Such detective skills were required due to the government’s censorship tactics, which included screening foreign films both on television and in cinemas with their titles altered beyond recognition, their credit sequences removed, entire scenes eliminated, and dialogue ideologically “cleansed” through the subtitling process. 1 Coauthor and Romanian national Ioana Uricaru recalls that “God” was invariably translated as Cel-de-Sus, or “the one above,” and “church” as edificiu, or “edifice.” 2 Sometimes films playing in cinemas would differ dramatically at the beginning and end of their run as elements requiring excision came to the attention of officials. 3Subtitling was the translation method associated with government media channels. As such, it was considered official, professional, and proper—both “ideologically correct” and the industry standard. With subtitles, interference of the “original” is kept at a minimum. 4 As lines of text superimposed onto the film image, subtitles neither erase nor noisily intrude upon the foreign soundtrack. Consequently, they are often viewed as a clean technique that respects the source material by enabling it to remain intact. However, in Romania the identification of subtitling with “quality” translation was compromised by its close link to adjacent practices of content deletion and paraphrasing for the sake of ideological alteration. The role that subtitling played in making meaning palatable for the “party line” meant that this technique was, concurrently, subject to suspicion and distrust

via Project MUSE – The Velvet Light Trap – Slashings and Subtitles: Romanian Media Piracy, Censorship, and Translation.

As TorrentFreak, one of the first blogs to report on the Locker case, points out: If only 10,000 of the alleged infringers pay a $2,000 settlement, it would net $20 million for Voltage and USCG. In comparison, The Hurt Locker grossed $17 million at the U.S. box office.

via Hurt Locker lawsuit: 50,000 sued for BitTorrent downloads – Jun. 10, 2011.

The year 2010 was similar to 2009 in that the domestic box office hit a record high, once again, while the domestic video retail market was continuing its steady decline as consumers alter their home video viewing habits.Consumers are now opting to sign up for streaming and/or rental services, such as Netflix Inc. They are using video-on-demand services more and more, as they discover these services can be cost-effective.Unfortunately for studios, the revenue from VOD has not yet offset the resulting drop in DVD sale revenue, which was their top earner for more than a decade now.We tracked 415 titles in our database that were released on DVD in 2010, and among those titles, wholesale revenue dropped by 43.9% from $7.97 billion in 2009 to $4.47 billion in 2010. It is important to note that this does not include Blu-ray revenue, which grew significantly in 2010. It should also be noted that this sample of the video market does not include library titles, direct-to-video titles and TV on DVD, as well. When looking at the video retail market as a whole, consumer spending only declined 10.8% to $11.86 billion in 2010.The average wholesale price was relatively flat when compared with 2009, but there were significantly fewer units shipped, down 43.8% to nearly 226.0 million.On average, films shipped 545,000 units and made $10.8 million in wholesale revenue, off 52.4% from the $22.6 million average in 2009. In the past five years, average wholesale revenue posted a negative 13.7% CAGR.

via SNL: Article.

Netflix knocked over a new milestone Monday: It now has more subscribers than the largest cable TV operator in the U.S.

Netflix's global subscriber base grew almost 70% over the past year, to 23.6 million users. With that audience, it dethroned Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) as the country's biggest provider of subscription video content. More than 7% of Americans now subscribe to Netflix.

Those details came out Monday in Netflix's (NFLX) first-quarter report, in which the company reported earnings of of $60.2 million, or $1.11 a share. That's up from $32 million, or 59 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 46% to $719 million. Both figures topped Wall Street estimates, but shares fell 2.5% in after-hours trade on light forecasts for the second quarter.

via Netflix tops Comcast as largest video subscription service – Apr. 25, 2011.

Netflix knocked over a new milestone Monday: It now has more subscribers than the largest cable TV operator in the U.S.

Netflix's global subscriber base grew almost 70% over the past year, to 23.6 million users. With that audience, it dethroned Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) as the country's biggest provider of subscription video content. More than 7% of Americans now subscribe to Netflix.





Those details came out Monday in Netflix's (NFLX) first-quarter report, in which the company reported earnings of of $60.2 million, or $1.11 a share. That's up from $32 million, or 59 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 46% to $719 million. Both figures topped Wall Street estimates, but shares fell 2.5% in after-hours trade on light forecasts for the second quarter.

via Netflix tops Comcast as largest video subscription service – Apr. 25, 2011.

YouTube could become the latest to offer a movie rental service, challenging streaming sites such as Netflix.The entertainment news site The Wrap says Google is lining up deals with major Hollywood studios in order to launch the service. The story cited an anonymous executive at a studio that has signed on who said Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate and Universal have all licensed their movies to the service. Not everyone is on board — Paramount, Fox and Disney declined to join. Photo: Reuters<br>YouTube is preparing a video rental service according to one report.EnlargePhoto: ReutersYouTube is preparing a video rental service according to one report.Related ArticlesStrong earnings push S&P through key levelAnalysts Are Concerned Netflix’s Fun Run About To EndStrong earnings drive S&P through key levelRelated Topics Netflix Wal-Mart Hollywood Sony InvestmentGet Tech Emails & Alerts Stay connected with cutting edge technology news SampleYouTube has already gotten into the movie rental game with a few independent films. The service is currently in beta mode and the films are available for a 24-hr rent at the price of $2.99.A YouTube spokesperson said, “We&apos;ve steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago, and now have thousands of titles available. Outside of that, we don&apos;t comment on rumor or speculation.”

via Watch Out Netflix, YouTube Is On The Prowl – Entertainment & Stars.

In a little over two months time, the long-awaited horror movie The Tunnel will receive its world premiere. Rather than a traditional theatrical release, the movie – which is set in abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, Australia – will make its debut online for free with BitTorrent. Simultaneously it will be released on physical DVD, to be distributed by Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures.

via Paramount Pictures Partner With BitTorrent Release Movie | TorrentFreak.



Netflix announced today that they have brokered a deal with Disney-ABC to add their content to the Netflix library. The deal should add a substantial number of new TV shows and Movies to instant watch. The episodes will be added rather quickly to instant watch only 15 days after initial telecast. Here is a list of the new additions to Netflix:

  • Prior season episodes of current ABC hit series “Grey’s Anatomy,”  ”Desperate Housewives” and, for the first time on Netflix, “Brothers & Sisters,” all of which are among the network’s most successful and popular TV franchises in recent years.
  • Every episode of recent ABC favorites “Lost” and “Ugly Betty,” the latter making its streaming debut at Netflix.
  • Each season of several hit series from ABC Studios, including “Scrubs” and “Reaper,” which are both new additions to Netflix.
  • A host of content from the Disney Channel, including the hits “Phineas and Ferb” and “Good Luck Charlie,” which are also new to Netflix; updated and expanded offerings of “The Suite Life on Deck” and “Wizards of Waverly Place;” and library offerings from the smash hits “Hannah Montana” and “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.”
  • A wide range of content from ABC Family, marking the introduction of ABC Family content streaming from Netflix.  Included are the hit series “Greek,” “Make It or Break It,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Melissa & Joey.”

With much more content to come. Netflix also recently added a new plan that included no dvd rentals but unlimited streaming for only $7.99 a month down from the original $8.99 plan.


Epicenter |


Netflix instant accounts for 20 percent of all non-mobile internet use during prime time in the United States, according to a new study.

Streaming media — real-time entertainment — accounts for 43% of peak period traffic in the U.S., according to Sandvine, which helps ISPs manage their networks and thus has access to buckets of information about usage patterns.

But Netflix alone accounts for nearly half of that between 8 and 10 p.m., and that usage comes from only 1.8 percent of the service’s subscribers.

“Per-user, Netflix is the heaviest user of downstream bandwidth in North America: the average fixed access Netflix connection is 1 megabit per second,” Sandvine said in reply to an e-mail question. “On mobile networks, per user, only Slingbox (at almost 800 kbps) is heavier than Netflix (~125 kbps).”

Streaming video is the most bandwidth-intensive use of the internet, but there are plenty of other choices — starting with YouTube. So the dominance of Netflix, which only offers “studio” fare, would seem to indicate that there is an enormous appetite for profession programming delivered from the cloud.

Good news for Hulu, Amazon Unbox and even YouTube, should its movie rentals service gain traction. Better news for the content creators, assuming they can come up with a killer streaming revenue model and as if they needed any more proof that on-demand, internet delivery is the future. Bad news for cable and satellite — protestations by CEO Reed Hastings notwithstanding.

But Hastings does see that streaming is the engine for Netflix now. “In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail,” Hastings said in conjunction with the company’s earnings report Wednesday [pdf]. “At the same time, the introduction of our streaming offering in Canada in late September has provided us with very encouraging signs regarding the potential for the Netflix service internationally.”


Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 protection | Business | The Guardian

The loss-making DVD rental chain Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US today, after being hammered by mail-order and online film rental services.

In this article we look at the interconnections between the p2p and legal marketplaces in the case of the film industry using data collection methods that avoid the pitfalls of questionnaire-based surveys. Central to our analysis is the assessment of two piracy paradigms: substitution and shortage, that is whether pirated content is available through legal or only through illegal channels. Using transactional data (real time observation of p2p downloading activity by users of three major Hungarian torrent trackers) and movie distribution statistics we find that shortage-driven downloaders (pirating old catalogues only) outnumber those downloading only current theatrical releases, while the majority pirates both categories. The analysis of causal relationships reveals nonetheless that demand for a film among online pirates is impacted by its theatrical distribution (number of copies) rather than its actual success at the box offices, the effect of which is insignificant. This leads to the conclusion that part of the marketing efforts directly contributes to propping up piracy. However, the high diversity of the movie genres downloaded by users suggests that p2p pirating is also an activity that is disembedded from the context of personal taste and is thus contributing to the evolution of cultural consumption beyond preexisting preferences and loyalties.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Technium: How to Thrive Among Pirates

What do these gray zones have to teach us? I think the emerging pattern is clear. If you are a producer of films in the future you will:

1) Price your copies near the cost of pirated copies. Maybe 99 cents, like iTunes. Even decent pirated copies are not free; there is some cost to maintain integrity, authenticity, or accessibility to the work.

2) Milk the uncopyable experience of a theater for all that it is worth, using the ubiquitous cheap copies as advertising. In the west, where air-conditioning is not enough to bring people to the theater, Hollywood will turn to convincing 3D projection, state-of-the-art sound, and other immersive sensations as the reward for paying. Theaters become hi-tech showcases always trying to stay one step ahead of ambitious homeowners in offering ultimate viewing experiences, and in turn manufacturing films to be primarily viewed this way.

3) Films, even fine-art films, will migrate to channels were these films are viewed with advertisements and commercials. Like the infinite channels promised for cable TV, the internet is already delivering ad-supported free copies of films.

YouTube Blog: Broadcast Yourself

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Viacom’s efforts to disguise its promotional use of YouTube worked so well that even its own employees could not keep track of everything it was posting or leaving up on the site. As a result, on countless occasions Viacom demanded the removal of clips that it had uploaded to YouTube, only to return later to sheepishly ask for their reinstatement. In fact, some of the very clips that Viacom is suing us over were actually uploaded by Viacom itself.

Given Viacom’s own actions, there is no way YouTube could ever have known which Viacom content was and was not authorized to be on the site. But Viacom thinks YouTube should somehow have figured it out. The legal rule that Viacom seeks would require YouTube — and every Web platform — to investigate and police all content users upload, and would subject those web sites to crushing liability if they get it wrong.

Viacom’s brief misconstrues isolated lines from a handful of emails produced in this case to try to show that YouTube was founded with bad intentions, and asks the judge to believe that, even though Viacom tried repeatedly to buy YouTube, YouTube is like Napster or Grokster.

Nothing could be further from the truth. YouTube has long been a leader in providing media companies with 21st century tools to control, distribute, and make money from their content online. Working in cooperation with rights holders, our Content ID system scans over 100 years worth of video every day and lets rights holders choose whether to block, leave up, or monetize those videos. Over 1,000 media companies are now using Content ID — including every major U.S. network broadcaster, movie studio, and record label — and the majority of those companies choose to make money from user uploaded clips rather than block them. This is a true win-win that reflects our long-standing commitment to working with rights holders to give them the choices they want, while advancing YouTube as a platform for creativity.

We look forward to defending YouTube, and upholding the balance that Congress struck in the DMCA to protect the rights of copyright holders, the progress of technological innovation, and the public interest in free expression.

Posted by Zahavah Levine, YouTube Chief Counsel

The last few weeks were busy. I had many media appearances partly because of the p2p study, partly because of the interest generated by these appearances.

On the recently released p2p study:

On other issues in the media:


Februártól nem ad ki több új DVD-t és Blu-ray lemezt a Fórum Home Entertainment, amely többek közt az Alkonyat és A Da Vinci-kód kiadója volt. A cég partnereinek filmjei ennek ellenére valószínűleg nem válnak hozzáférhetetlenné: hamar új otthonra találhatnak.

Index – Kultúr – Nem kell a briteknek Burton csodaországa

Milliók kíváncsiak a Tim Burton által 250 millió dollárból megálmodott Alice Csodaországban 3d-s világára, de lehet, hogy több ország bojkottálja a filmet a Disney megrövidített moziforgalmazása miatt.

A Disney úgy döntött, hogy az angliai március 5-ei bemutatása után 12 héttel már meg is jelenteti dvd-n és Blu Rayen a filmet a szokásos minimális 18 hetes vetítés helyett, hogy a marekting a dvd fogyásra is hasson. A moziforgalmazók cserébe bojkottálnák a filmet, írta a dailymail [1].

A Disney komoly veszteséget könyvelhet el, ha rövid határidővel hozza kereskedelmi forgalomba az Alice Csodaországbant [2]. Több mozihálózatnak sem nyerte el a tetszését, attól tartanak, hogy a potenciális nézők inkább kivárják a három hónapot és megveszik a dvd-t, ahelyett, hogy beülnének a filmre.

Angliában az ország három legnagyobb hálózata – az Odeon, a Vue és a Cineworld – is bojkottálná a mozit. A négy legnagyobb holland moziüzemeltető cég a moziüzemeltetők szövetségén keresztül már a hét elején nyílt levélben jelezte, hogy nemcsak a Burton-film, de más Disney-darab sem kerülhet holland mozikba az adott keretek között. Az olasz mozihálózatoknak sem tetszik a Disney döntése.

A Disney a bojkott mellett a jegyáron is veszíthet: számítások szerint 40 millió eurós bevételtől eshet el. A mozihálózatoknak békülésként máris 97 centet ajánlottak fel, minden eladott jegy után, és ez az alku is 8 hétig tartana. Általában 65 cent jár minden eladott jegy után, a 3d-s vásznakon vetített produkciók esetében 90 cent. Két fejest is küldtek a hálózatok vezetőihez, hogy találjanak megoldást a problémára.

Index – Kultúr – Az Index-olvasók széttépték a kisfilmeket

Novemberben startolt az Indavideó Film, azóta elértük az egymilliomodik indítást. A nézők kedvence a Balaton retró, az Üvegtigris 1-2 és a Nyócker lett, a nagy nyertesek pedig az eddig szinte sehol sem látható kisfilmek: egyebek közt a Szalontüdő, az és a Legkisebb film a legnagyobb magyarról.


The man who stole Wolverine opened the door to his Bronx apartment
with a grunt, his thin frame hunched at the waist, an unlikely villain
with a bad back and pajama pants. “I’m a scapegoat for this,” said
Gilberto Sanchez, 47, after flopping down at his desk — the crime scene
— and dragging on a cigarette. “I’m gonna get crucified.”

Skip to next paragraph

Librado Romero/The New York Times

Gilberto Sanchez, a glass installer and musician, posted a bootleg copy
of “Wolverine” on the Web and has since been charged with violation of
copyright law.

It has been nine months since the theft of the superhero, or more accurately, the superhero’s story. On March 31, someone posted a “work print” — an unfinished copy — of the film “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” on a Web site. It was a full month before the movie, starring Hugh Jackman
as the famous mutant, was to open in theaters. Hollywood analysts
called the leak unprecedented and speculated whether its free, albeit
brief, availability to the public — and the unkind buzz that followed —
would dampen its box office draw. Mr. Jackman himself was said by the
studio to be “heartbroken.”

“The source of the initial leak and
any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the
law,” the studio behind the movie, 20th Century Fox, said the day it
appeared online. While the studio was up in arms, Mr. Sanchez, a glass
installer and musician who knows his way around a high-speed computer,
was watching “Wolverine” in his living room with three grandchildren.
There were special effects and music missing, but no matter. “So we see
a string pulling up Hugh Jackman,” he shrugged later.

Sanchez likes movies as much as the next guy, but detests the cost of
taking the brood to the theater. He said that he bought a bootleg copy
of “Wolverine” on the street and posted a copy on the sharing site for the cachet.

Eight months later, on Dec. 16, Mr. Sanchez was awakened by a knock at 6 a.m., and opened the door to F.B.I.
agents, who placed him under arrest. He was charged with violation of
copyright law, arraigned in federal court in Manhattan and allowed to
return home. He faces the possibility of prison time, maybe in
California, where his indictment originated.

The whole affair
has Mr. Sanchez deeply rattled. “I’m out on bond, waiting for them to
sentence me or give me a pat on the hand and tell me, ‘Don’t do it
again,’ ” he said. Someone from CBS called and invited him to appear
with Mr. Jackman on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

No, thanks. “I’m not going to sit next to Wolverine,” he said. “That’s a setup.”

an interview in his $695-a-month apartment in the Parkchester
neighborhood, Mr. Sanchez, who was in and out of city jails in the
1990s on drug charges, told his story.

It started in a
neighborhood Chinese restaurant. A man he figured to be Korean entered,
muttering “DVDs” and “digital” over and over. The sale of counterfeit
DVDs is nothing new in New York, or in this corner of the Bronx.
“Koreans set up on these sidewalks every day,” Mr. Sanchez said.

first, he doubted the claim of digital quality, so the peddler popped a
copy into a portable player. “I said, ‘Wow,’ ” Mr. Sanchez recalled.
Hepaid $5 and took the disc home.

After watching it with the
grandchildren, he made a copy on his computer and posted it on
megaupload, where his screen name is “SkillyGilly,” so others could
share in the fun and he could get props in the movie-loving community.
He ignored a friend’s warnings — “You’re going to get in trouble; it’s
not even out yet” — and watched as several other copies surfaced on the

At 5 a.m. the next day, that friend called and told him to turn on the TV.

News is in an uproar for the leak of ‘Wolverine,’ ” Mr. Sanchez
recalled. “They’re offering a reward.” By then, he said, his copy of
the movie had been downloaded 198 times, at no charge.

He was
scared, but did not imagine he would be blamed. “Some employee had it —
‘Hey, take this down to graphics’ — and he stopped off and showed it to
his friends,” Mr. Sanchez said. “They made more copies, more copies,
until the Koreans had a copy.”

Two weeks later, the F.B.I.
showed up, having tracked “SkillyGilly” through computer footprints.
Mr. Sanchez said he explained what had happened. “Talk to the Korean,”
he said he told them. “You keep following leads and you’ll get to a
warehouse.” But when the F.B.I. asked if he could identify the peddler,
he said no.

A few months later, agents took his computer, then
returned it, he said. Several months passed, and then the agents were
back with an arrest warrant. Wesley Hsu, an assistant United States
attorney for the Central District of California, who is supervising the
prosecution, said financial gain is not necessarily the sole motive for
so-called pirates.

“It’s some sort of Internet prestige thing,” Mr. Hsu said. “That’s sort of how the culture works.”

Sanchez, who speaks to rehabilitation groups — “I’m Gilberto Sanchez,
I’ve been to jail, I’ve been through this, I’ve been through that” —
said he has no intention of fighting the charge. “I can’t say no,” he
said, pointing to his computer. “That’s like DNA.”

His fate is
unclear. In 2003, a New Jersey man was fined and put on probation after
uploading an unfinished print of “The Hulk” before its release. But
last year, a man who took a copy of “The Love Guru” from a
tape-duplication company was sentenced to six months.

An F.B.I. spokeswoman said the investigation into who stole the movie in the first place was continuing.

Petrikin, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, declined to comment beyond
the studio’s statement last month after the arrest: “We are supportive
of the F.B.I.’s actions, and we will continue to cooperate fully with
law enforcement to identify and prosecute any individuals who steal our

“Wolverine” went on to gross $373 million worldwide, despite mostly bad reviews,
and despite the online adventures of a glass installer from the Bronx
who, a day after his interview, was laid out flat on the floor of his
apartment, the only comfortable position for his back.

He tried
to imagine what Mr. Jackman might say to him if they ever met. He hoped
it would go something like this: “Hey, you did what you did. You didn’t
hurt us.”

2008 folyamán szisztematikus méréseket végeztünk néhány, Magyarországon meghatározó jelentőségű bittorrent trackeren a célból, hogy részletes, jó minőségű képet alkothassunk a peer-to-peer feketepiacok működéséről, súlyukról, jelentőségükről a kulturális piacok egészének szempontjából.

Az így nyert adatokat végül a magyarországi mozipiac elemzéséhez használtuk fel, mivel a mozis disztribúció esetében állnak rendelkezésre nyilvánosan az általunk gyűjtöttekhez mérhetően jó minőségű és részletességű adatok. A most elkészült elemzés tehát a p2p film-feketepiac és a mozifilm-forgalmazás egyes legális csatornáinak egymáshoz való viszonyát térképezi fel, mégpedig a következő három szempont szerint:

  • a feketepiaci kínálat alakulása: mitől függ, hogy melyik film és mikor válik a feketepiacon is elérhetővé?
  • a feketepiaci kereslet alakulása: mitől függ, hogy egy-egy filmnek hány letöltője lesz?
  • a p2p fájlcsere, mint autonóm fogyasztási logika leírása: mi a fájlcserélők, mint önálló tartalom-szerkesztő, tartalom-csomagoló, tartalom-terjesztő közösségek működési logikája?

Az elemzésben a feketepiac 2008 májusában és júniusában mért forgalmát, a Magyarországon 2004 után bemutatott premierfilmek forgalmazási adatait, valamint a magyarországi mozik 2000 utáni játszási adatait használtuk fel. Az elemzés nem egészen 5000 különböző film mozis és/vagy feketepiaci forgalmára terjed ki.

A  filmek feketepiaci forgalmát és a moziforgalmazás jellegzetességeit összevető, Lakatos Zoltánnal közösen írott tanulmányunk innen letölthető.

A feketepiaci kínálat
A legális forgalmazók szempontjából a legfontosabb kérdés az, hogy meg lehet-e akadályozni a mozis terjesztésbe kerülő filmek kiszivárgását a fájlcserélő hálózatokra, azaz befolyásolni lehet-e a feketepiaci kínálatot. A kutatás eredményei szerint a vizsgálat ideje alatt a feketepiacra kikerült 3600 film háromnegyede olyan alkotás volt, ami csak 2000 előtt, vagy egyáltalán nem volt mozikban, és csak alig 4%, azaz 152 film volt olyan, ami a kikerülése időpontjában a mozikban is látható volt. A vizsgált időszakban a mozikban játszott filmek közül minden ötödik került ki valamilyen formában a fájlcserélő hálózatokra. Azt a – forgalmazók szempontjából megnyugtatónak tűnő – tényt, hogy a feketepiacon elérhető filmek túlnyomó része mozis forgalmazásból már kikerült, archív tartalom, némileg árnyalja, hogy azok a filmek, amik viszont a mozis forgalmazással egy időben a feketepiacon is elérhetők, éppen a komoly PR-ral támogatott, a kiadók nagy várakozásaitól kísért, ezért sok kópiával forgalmazott (többségében nyilván hollywoodi) közönségfilmek közül kerülnek ki. A p2p kiszivárgás esélyét tovább növeli, ha a filmet sokan látják és/vagy nemzetközileg is sikeres. Minél erősebb promóciót kap egy film, annál valószínűbb, hogy kikerül a kalózhálózatokra. A p2p feketepiac kínálatának egy része erősen marketing-vezérelt.
Egészen más a helyzet a mozik műsorából hiányzó filmeknél. Ez utóbbiak kalózmegjelenését a moziforgalmazás jellemzői alig magyarázzák. Annyit mondhatunk csupán, hogy a kevesebb helyen vetített filmek a mozik programjából kikerülve kissé érdekesebbek lesznek a fájlcserélők számára, és hogy a múltban játszott filmek p2p jelenlétének esélye független a korábbi közönségsikertől, azaz korábban a filmre eladott mozijegyek számától.
Ez utóbbi jelenséggel függ össze, hogy egyes rétegműfajokba (pl, zenei, dráma, vagy romantikus filmek közé) sorolható filmek p2p elérhetősége akkor ugrik meg, amikor mozikban már nem játsszák őket. Míg a rétegműfajok esetében a fájlcserélő hálózatok archívum-funkciót töltenek be, addig más, esetleg gyorsabban avuló filmeket felsoroltató műfajok (fantasy/sci-fi, kalandfilm) esetében az aktuálisukat vesztett filmek hamar kikopnak a feketepiacról is.

A feketepiaci kereslet
A feketepiaci kereslettel foglalkozó szakaszban mindenekelőtt arra voltunk kíváncsiak, milyen tényezőkkel magyarázható az, hogy melyik filmet mennyiszer töltenek le. Azt találtunk, hogy a letöltések számára legnagyobb hatással ismét csak a kópiaszám, azaz a forgalmazói marketing-erő volt.: minél több pénzt költ a forgalmazó a mozis kereslet növelésére, annál többen nézik meg a filmet a fájlcserélők közül is. Nem találtuk azonban nyomát jelentős mértékű helyettesítésnek a mozi és a torrent között: a vizsgált két hónapban vetített filmek esetében 1 millió 650 ezer eladott jegy mellett 158 ezer letöltést regisztráltunk, azaz csak minden tízedik mozinézőre jut egy, a filmet ingyen megnéző fájlcserélő. Az alacsony helyettesítési aránynak az lehet a legfőbb oka, hogy a moziélmény alig, és csak bizonyos műfajok esetén váltható ki egy rossz minőségű p2p kópia kis-képernyős megtekintésével.

A fenti ökölszabály ez egyes műfajok esetében némileg módosulhat. Az akció/thriller és a bűnügyi filmek az átlagnál kisebb mozis közönséget vonzottak, fájlcsere-forgalmuk mégis jóval átlag feletti volt. E műfajok közönségében valószínűleg felülreprezentáltak a férfiak, sőt a fiatal férfiak ― vagyis az a demográfiai csoport, amelyik a fájlcserélő-populációban is teljes lakosságon belüli arányát jelentősen meghaladó súlyt képvisel. E műfajok közönségének fájlcseréléssel foglalkozó szegmense szinte reflexszerűen lecsap a trackereken megjelenő legújabb „erőszakfilmekre”. Az erőszakfilmek kiugró kalózkeresletével szemben a romantikus filmek az átlagnál nagyobb mozis közönséget, viszont az átlagnál kevesebb fájlcserélőt vonzottak, amire viszont épp a „kettesben mozizás” jelenségére adhat magyarázatot.

Ami a moziban már nem látható filmeket illeti: a letöltött teljes filmvolumen több mint fele magyarországi mozikban 2000 óta nem játszott produkció. A felhasználók kevesebb, mint 10%-a töltött le kizárólag a letöltés idejében mozikban játszott filmeket, kétharmaduk éppen moziműsoron lévő és mozikban már nem játszott filmeket egyaránt letölt. Meglepően magas, közel 30% azoknak az aránya, akik csak moziban nem vagy régen vetített filmeket töltöttek le.

A fájlcserélők, mint autonóm fogyasztási közösségek
A folyamatos jogi fenyegetettség a korábban nyíltan fájlcserélő felhasználókat rejtőzködésre kényszeríti. A zárt ajtók mögé visszavonuló felhasználók kegyeiért számtalan tematikusan, nyelvileg, a felhasználói kör érdeklődésében, a közösség minőségében különböző fájlcserélő oldal verseng egymással. E közösségek mindegyike a maga logikája szerint válogat a világban elérhető számtalan tartalom közül.
Kutatásunkban három, magyar nyelvű, mainstream, tematikusan nem specializálódott közösség tartalomfogyasztási mintáit vizsgáltuk és azt találtuk, hogy e közösségek tartalomfogyasztása műfaji értelemben strukturálatlan, azaz a fájlcserélők kihasználják az ismeretlen kipróbálásának kockázat- és költségmentes lehetőségét, és tetszés szerint kalandoznak különböző műfajok között.

A nem specializálódott, mainstream p2p kereslet műfaji strukturálatlansága arra utal, hogy a fájlcserélésnek köszönhetően a tetszőleges ízlésű filmfogyasztó számára az „elkalandozás” saját preferenciájától, új műfajok, stílusok kockázat nélküli kipróbálása nem csupán elvi, hanem a gyakorlatban is kiaknázott lehetőség. A p2p kalózpiac egyik oldalán a tematikus struktúrák sokkal pontosabban jelennek meg, mint korábban ― köszönhetően annak, hogy a speciális tartalomtípusok köré szerveződő közönség kiszolgálása elől eltűnnek azok a méretgazdaságossági korlátok, melyekbe a piaci viszonyok között működő csatornák szükségszerűképpen beleütköznek. Másrészt az általános érdeklődési kört kiszolgáló hálózatok által a fogyasztóiknak felkínált tartalmi kalandozás, exploratív nomadizmus radikálisan különbözik az ezt a lehetőséget legális piacokon a televízió által biztosító channel-surfing, „zapping” élményétől. A p2p felhasználó a „véletlenül odakapcsolok-belenézek-nem tetszik-elkapcsolok” tévés logika helyett a „nem tudom mi ez-de letöltöm-kipróbálom-legfeljebb letörlöm-de az is lehet, hogy archiválom” aktív érdeklődést feltételező logikájával választ a tartalmak között.

További fontos tényező, hogy ezeken a csatornákon a programot maguk a felhasználók állítják össze: ők kérik, készítik el, szerkesztik be a műsorfolyamba, teszik elérhetővé be a friss kópiákat. A torrent-alapú filmdisztribúció egy viszonylag rövid életciklusú, az aktuális legális kínálatot koncentráltan, a felhasználók ad-hoc érdeklődését pedig fragmentáltan megjelenítő jukeboxhoz hasonlítható, ahol a kereslet az éppen aktuálisan felkerült néhány tucat, esetleg párszáz film között oszlik el. A filmes fájlcsere valahol félúton van a legális piacról mára szinte teljesen kikopott videokölcsönző és a tematikus tévécsatorna között, ahol a kínálatot és a programot a hálózatok közösségét alkotó felhasználók folyamatosan és interaktív módon alakítják. A globális feketepiacon elérhető tartalomkínálat körül helyileg releváns kontextusok alakulnak ki, amelyek a végső soron mindenki számára egyformán elérhető digitális kínálatot a helyi közösség igényei, értékei, érdeklődése alapján szűrik.
A fájlcsere mint sajátos szabályokkal, modus operandival bíró tartalomdisztribúciós infrastruktúra és a köré szerveződő fogyasztói közösségek térnyerése arra figyelmeztet, hogy a filmes disztribúciót nemcsak az alkotások elsődleges piaci jellemzői (ár, kínálat) felől, hanem a tartalmak fogyasztásának kontextusa, a tartalmak összefűzéséből létrejövő programming oldaláról is kihívás éri. A feketepiacok működése részben megelőlegezi, részben visszaigazolja a kulturális piacok átalakulásának azt a hipotézisét, mely szerint a disztribúciós szűkösség korában a termelők és a disztribútorok által generált és dominált kontextusok helyét fogyasztók által generált és tartalombőséggel jellemezhető kontextus veszi át. Ebben a tekintetben az online feketepiac (Magyarországon legalábbis) egyértelműen hiánypótló szerepet tölt be.


Writer and director, while “not excited that people are seeing the film without paying,” love the fact that BitTorrent has given Ink an “enormous amount of exposure.”

Many of us BitTorrent users are well aware that at best there’s a casual relationship between availability on tracker sites and box office ticket sales.

For example, The Dark Knight, despite becoming last year’s most pirated movie, also earned more than $1 billion USD worldwide.

For Indie movie producers, much like up and coming music artists, BitTorrent’s potential is enormous, giving them a worldwide audience and exposure with only the cost of a few mouse clicks.

Enter the movie Ink.

Over this past weekend the movie was “ripped off” and uploaded to several BitTorrent tracker sites. While knowing that it would happen eventually, what they didn’t expect was the speed with which the movie would “blow up” afterwards. It’s currently #16 on IMDb’s movie meter and one of the top 20 most popular movies in the world.

Ink’s writer and director are both pleased with the turn of events. Though obviously not “excited that people are seeing the film without paying” they are definitely enjoying the “enormous amount of exposure” that availability on BitTorrent has given them.

Yesterday they sent an email to those involved in the project, acknowledging what happened, and also emphasizing their happiness with how piracy has given them “unprecedented exposure.”

It reads:

Dear Fans and Friends,

Over the weekend something pretty extraordinary happened. Ink got ripped off. Someone bit torrented the movie (we knew this would happen) and they posted it on every pirate site out there. What we didn’t expect was that within 24 hours Ink would blow up. Ink became the number 1 most downloaded movie on several sites having been downloaded somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 times as far as we can tell. Knowing there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, we’ve embraced the piracy and are just happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure.

As a result, Ink is now ranked #16 on IMDb’s ( ) movie meter and is currently one of the top 20 most popular movies in the world.

This all started as a result of the completely underground buzz that you’ve each helped us create. We’ve had no distributor, no real advertising and yet the word of mouth that you’ve generated has made the film blow up as soon as it became available worldwide. So many of you came to see the movie multiple times, bringing friends and family and many of you have bought the DVD and Blu-ray from us. All of this built up and built up and suddenly it exploded.

We don’t know exactly where this will all lead, but the exposure is unquestionably a positive thing.

Ink hits Netflix ( ), Blockbuster ( ), iTunes ( ) and many more tomorrow! Remember to get your signed copies, t-shirts and posters at the Ink Store ( ).

Thank you so much for the constant love and support.

Jamin and Kiowa Double Edge Films ( )

The letter belies the usual MPAA line that one illegal download equals one lost sale and that file-sharing services and applications, BitTorrent in particular due to its speed, have no useful purpose and should be throttled by ISPs.

Ink is just but another example of how P2P can put content in the hands of fans where it belongs and I think Jamin and Kiowa would agree.

Stay tuned.

Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny

The fifth in the Culture 2.0 series entitled “Pirates of the Internet. Cinema, Law and Culture” was devoted to the changes in today’s cinematography, particularly as affected by the Internet. Special guests included: Jakub Duszyński, Artistic Director of Gutek Film, Dawid Marcinkowski, a director and creator of Sufferrosa, an internet interactive film, and Krzysztof Siewicz, a lawyer with the Grynhoff Woźny & Maliński law office and a legal coordinator of Creative Commons Polska.

Jakub Duszyński opened the meeting with a description of how his attitude to copying films on the Internet has changed. Two years ago he wrote a letter to sites, which provided access to Polish film subtitles, where he accused them of acting to the detriment of cinematography, and particularly of distributors of ambitious cinema, such as Gutek Film. He regarded the translators themselves as members of a partisan culture movement based on ‘pure idealism’ and condemned subtitle providers, for deriving financial gain from advertising. Duszyński referred to the activity of peer-to-peer sites as a ‘leak’, which drove film fans away from the official commercial film circuit. Today, however, he explained that his approach to Internet exchange has changed drastically. Conscious of the existence of the two different, indeed, incompatible worlds, he noted that as a representative of one of them he saw no point in warring against the other, despite the fact that the latter was in competition (often illegal) with official distributors. His view stemmed from the fact that distributors, bound by restrictions of the system of intellectual property, can barely compete with sites which offer immediate access. Duszyński admitted that he was fascinated by the energy and dedication of the people involved in the second, Internet, cinematographic circuit. Meanwhile, he saw that in times of interregnum, which has prevailed, the solution to the problem is still unknown.

The debate that followed hinted at possible solutions. Firstly, Duszyński talked of the role of film festivals as events which offered experiences that could not compare with downloading films off the Internet. Secondly, according to the other guests, the distributors could still play a role of filters and guides.

Dawid Marcinkowski talking about his interactive Internet film entitled Sufferrosa followed Duszyński’s presentation. The film is an interesting example of cinema made professionally yet functioning in the non-commercial circuit, usually associated with amateur activity. Firstly, free internet access is its only distribution channel. But most importantly, as Marcinkowski pointed out, the film had come to being thanks to a flexible collaboration of artists who communicated via the Internet and exchanged thoughts on a friendly basis. Their informal relations made it possible to solve issues of copyright to the individual works which make up the film. The story of Sufferrosa reinforces Duszyński’s view that Internet film communities play a key role in today’s cinematography. Sufferrosa, which borrows from many other works, is a prime example of how professionals can use the mechanisms of fan art.

Krzysztof Siewicz’s talk on how the legal system lags behind the changes in the world of film completed the views presented by the two previous speakers, a distributor and an artist. According to Siewicz, the present legal model treats authors as small children who need support from intermediaries, as in the case of general management organizations representing artists. Meanwhile in times, when the number of authors is increasing rapidly since the creative work is often written into the process of receiving it, the system is causing friction; because it does not acknowledge a situation where thanks to the Internet the author manages without the help of intermediaries. So, Siewicz showed that the unofficial system Duszyński had been talking about did not merely entail people passively participating in the world of cinema, but it was also a system of grass-roots cinematographic artistic work.

A screening of the Steal This Film 2 documentary wrapped up the meeting. The authors of the film aim to show that it is possible to treat copying as a basic cultural activity; which explains how crucial the Internet and peer-to-peer networks are nowadays. Statements from leading activists for the reform of copyright laws as well as representatives of ‘pirate’ groups rounded up the discussion.

Alek Tarkowski

Media Maverick – CNET News

During a visit to Hollywood last week, I wanted to talk to people who knew a thing or two about the film industry’s burgeoning meltdown. One of the people I sought out was Eric Garland, CEO and co-founder of Big Champagne.

Beverly Hills, Calif.,-based Big Champagne has collected data on file sharing and sold it to media companies for almost 10 years. Garland’s company has survived all that time, even while making the same sad pitch. He tells the music labels and film studios they are going to be chopped down at the knees by the Internet and online piracy–but that doesn’t mean they can’t survive.

As anyone might have guessed, almost everybody in media initially told Big Champagne to stick a cork in it. Back in the early part of the decade, nobody wanted to hear it, and Garland logged lots of five-minute meetings. Thanks to his persistence, though, he saw up close how digital technology buffeted the music industry. Now, some of the big labels are striking partnerships with his company.

What makes Garland an important speaker on this subject is that despite his gloomy message, he’s bullish on both the Internet and movies. His interests and Hollywood’s are aligned, he says, because if the studios don’t survive then he loses customers. He wants them to do well but he just doesn’t think that telling them what they want to hear, the “bedtime stories” as he calls it, is going to help.

In his interview with CNET, Garland predicted that the film business is in for a period of downsizing and cost cutting; that Hollywood’s digital evolution will likely be similar to the music industry’s but will unfold much faster; and that great wealth will still flow into the sector.

Question: Your business is watching file sharing. So is it spreading to the mainstream? Is Mom and Dad from Sheboygan pirating content?
Garland: Oh yes, particularly Mom and Dad in Munich; Mom and Dad in Seville; Mom and Dad in Paris. When we talk about video the reason I single out the European cities is because that’s where people are forced to wait a long time to see content legally. In the digital world, we don’t want to wait three months, six months. We’re just not accepting that anymore…we want it all, we want it right now and even Mom and Pa Kettle are getting to the point where they say if it’s not on, let’s just fire up the computer and watch it. If they want me to wait six months, I’ve got other options. And people don’t really have a conscious or qualms about that, or at least it’s mitigated by their feeling that they are entitled to keep up with the Jones’. It is the Twitter, real-time Internet expectations.

What we’re seeing is a tremendous pile-on of feature film and television content, led by TV worldwide. In terms of growth, it is eclipsing the sharing of these little music files. I mean most of the new adopter activity, most of the increase in terms of people, transactions, and downloads is coming on the video side.

That means that this year or next year is going to be Hollywood’s year to really start to lose audience–not just at the fringes but in regular middle-American living rooms. They’ll lose them to the other box, to the smart box.

“(The music industry) spent a lot of money going back to antipiracy and spent a lot of emotional dollars on vendors who sold them panaceas and told them everything is going to be okay.”–Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland

Q: Reed Hastings (the CEO of Netflix) wants to see every TV set come equipped with the ability to access the Internet. That will only accelerate Hollywood’s demise, no?
Garland: Again, I think it drives both. The winner is the one who ultimately wins on the merits, and those are ease of use. Certainly the legitimate markets should win there. It did in music. Remember, iTunes wins in large part because it works so much better than anything else. So, Reed should win. His competitors should win on ease of use. Quality of content? They should at least be competitive in terms of having great on-demand, high-definition, rich audio, video. But when it comes to depth of catalog, that’s where pirate markets have the edge. They have it also in timely delivery. Sorry. Go to Hulu right now and type in 24. There’s just a clipped sort of terse message that says “Sorry about season 1 and season seven…

Q: Because they want to sell me past seasons on DVD, right?
Garland: Yes, but, (an online site where users can find links to a plethora of unauthorized shows and films) doesn’t care about that. They’re happy to serve up current and past episodes of “24.” And just like music, Hollywood’s first reaction to that will be “Well, that’s just not fair. That’s jumping the turnstile, that’s breaking the rules. We have to shut that down, because if you remove that option then people will be more patient.” You won’t remove that option, and you’re losing valuable time if you focus on removing that option at the expense of improving that option and bettering that option, beating that option.

The music people used to say, “How can you can compete with free?” And now you ask anybody in digital music and they’ll tell you, “I’m just trying to compete effectively with free.” They’ve embraced the very condition that up until very recently they said they would reject. I’m telling you, you are going to compete with free. Sometimes you’re even going to win, once you make the commitment to living in the marketplace as it is and not as you wish it were or as it once was.

Q: That’s got to be hard for people in that industry or in any industry to hear. After hearing that, I almost want to start collecting donations for Matt Damon.
Garland: But I want to be clear that I was far more bearish on music than I am about Hollywood’s prospects.

“The film industry will have to chase legal remedies, legislative agendas, all the way to what they view as being the end of the line before they say ‘Okay, so this really is the landscape we’re stuck with.'”–Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland

Everything that the customer demonstrated that they wanted starting with the original Napster was diametrically opposed to what the music industry needed. Everything that the distributor or the (bandwidth providers) wanted was diametrically to what the music industry wanted. In other words there was no place to hammer out a marketplace that would work for both sides. Customers would say “I want MP3s” and the music industry would say “We can’t do MP3s because we have to have (digital rights management).” The customer would say “deal breaker!” The customer would say “I want every piece of music ever recorded. I want access to everything, everything I can remember dancing to no matter what year I went to prom and I want it right now.”

Napster said sure. The music industry said “We can’t do that. We can only license these titles.” Deal breaker.

The customer said “I want to eat all I want at one low price that feels like free.” The music industry said “No my friend, it’s a dollar a track.” There was no point of agreement. Hollywood conversely, is very different.

Hollywood says we like DRM, we would like to extend to you this content but on terms that we control and the customer says “Yeah, that’s cool. I’ve always been good with that. I like renting. I’ll give it back to you when I’m done.” The music industry says “How come we can’t we do that?” The customer says “No, because it’s not my expectation. It’s not the contract that we’ve had all along.” But in video this is in the contract we’ve had all along. Blockbuster has always given us stuff and we paid for it and then we had to bring it back. We’re good with that. There are all these places where what the online consumer is demanding is actually a workable proposition to Hollywood. There’s a lot of alignment but some really some important places where there isn’t any. There’s no easy fix. When I tell the film studios “The good news is that you want people to rent and not just own and people are happy to do that. Check.”

I say “You want some DRM–people are accustomed to DRM. There’s DRM on DVDs.” But when you get to one where you want customers to wait two months for a DVD, then they say that’s not negotiable.

Anybody who really understands the film business will tell you that’s the end of our lives as we know it. That’s the end of our industry as we know it. We have to be able to preserve those windows. We have to regain at least enough control to say you can have it, but not today. And when I tell them you’re never going to get that, that’s when the conversation breaks off and curse words are uttered and we go back to our corners.

Q: What windows are you referring to? They have windows that allows cable channels and broadcast stations to get exclusive access to a film title for a specific amount of time. But you can’t be talking about theaters too. What is Hollywood if it can’t promise theaters exclusive access to films?
Garland: I think the theatrical experience is totally viable. We love going to the theater. But when we walk out to the lobby I want to be able to pick up the DVD. If I got my 3D glasses on and my kids say “Can we watch it when we get home?” The answer has to be “yes.” If the answer’s no, the film industry loses.

Garland: These are tough lessons. By the way, I don’t want to sound like the armchair pundit. You end up sounding not very empathetic. You sound like some ass who says “This is how it’s going to be and if you don’t like too bad.” I’m not trying to be dismissive. I’m not trying to be glib about this. I understand the implication may well be tens-of-thousands of jobs lost, billions of dollars pouring out of the industry, shutterings, downsizings…I’m not trying to make light of that. I’m just telling you that in the final accounting i think some things we now know. Some of them are very unpopular even in concept and some of them are very hard to incorporate into strategic thinking, but that doesn’t make them any less avoidable or inevitable.

Q: Are paywalls one of the solutions? That’s what Hulu’s leaders are considering.
Absolutely not. What you have is a very effective antipiracy tool in Hulu, and I’m specifically drawing on the numbers and not just citing anecdotal evidence. People really do prefer the Hulu experience. So you actually have cannibalization, for once, of a pirate market by a legitimate market. You have a legitimate market stealing share and audience away from a pirate market. Put that behind a subscription wall and they’ll just go back.

Q: But it doesn’t appear that Hulu is making the kind of money that will satisfy content owners, at least those News Corp. and NBC Universal (Hulu’s backers).
Garland: The cute answer, which is probably the truest answer, is that growing a sector is a privilege and not a right. There is no right size. There is no correct or God-given size for any sector. Why do we get to make movies that cost $300 million to make? Because we have found venues where people will spend more than $300 million on the result. If people spend only $50 million then the price of a movie must be $49 million or less.

“I’m not trying to be glib about this. I understand the implication may well be tens-of-thousands of jobs lost, billions of dollars pouring out of the industry, shutterings, downsizings…”–Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland

I think in today’s dollars no one could make “Gone With The Wind” because at the time this movie was made when everyone went to the movies. It was something like 79 percent of the population. The cute answer is that movies will get smaller.

I know people are tearing out hair and spinning in graves, but maybe “Transformers” has to be made for $75 million next time. Oh my God, what am I saying? Put the words back in your mouth. That is just a pretty plain faced observation. One outcome might mean that in the Digital Age the return on investment on a major International tent-pole franchise is not a billion dollars. It’s a quarter of that or a third. Therefore we have to get our costs in line with the market value.

When we talk about this in 3 or 5 or 7 years, one thing we will all have to concede is costs have to come down. We don’t have the total control over the distribution chain that we exploited so well as industries for so long. Without that you can’t take advantage of the consumer in the same way.

Q: I feel like I just heard the doctor give his prognosis and the patient is a goner.
Garland: It’s just “Lose weight man (laughter). Get on a treadmill, change your diet and lose weight.”

Q: Has Hollywood given up on fighting piracy?
You mean has changing the name from “antipiracy” to “content protection” a symbol of a retreat or a softening? No. Not at all. It’s likely that (the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade group of the six major studios) is trying to be more focused, more strategic. They are upping their game because that’s how seriously they take it and that’s how high a priority it is. On the contrary this is not the end, this is early days.

We now have the benefit of hindsight. We have watched an industry go through this. I think we can say with some confidence we know how this unfolds. What will happen is the studios will exhaust every available remedy and there will be a series of evolutions, meaning they will exhaust one remedy and a new one will present itself. These things will be pursued in tandem. They will pursue technological intervention on the Internet. This goes to the study at NYU that basically says this has had no effect. Ultimately, because they are spending a lot of money and not getting results, they’ll become disillusioned with these vendors. They’ll clean house. But something else will present itself.

“Well, maybe we were focused on trying to disrupt the networks and we should have focused on a technological solution to mass notification.” Well be on to the next thing. Well spend some number of months–I’m just essentially recounting the music industry’s journey–filing vast numbers of infringement notifications, letting everybody and their granny know you’re infringing our content. They’ll take the temperature and they’ll do surveys and collect data and they’ll try to convince themselves that this is having a real effect in reversing the tide and then after some period it will just not have been convincingly demonstrated to have worked. And they’ll realize that by any number of measures the piracy problem has only grown worse. But they will have to exhaust all of those things and more. They will have to chase legal remedies, legislative agendas, all the way to what they view as being the end of the line before they say “OK, so this really is the landscape we’re stuck with. As much as we didn’t want it, this appears to be it. Now we have to just dive in and make businesses that work here.”

And that’s where music has only just arrived in this country and note it hasn’t even come close to arriving in a lot of European countries. If you ask Universal Music Group in the U.K. “Are you going to win this war on piracy?” They will say “Oh yes, swiftly and decisively and soon. The rate of peer-to-peer infringement will be down 70 percent in the U.K. in the next few months. They have specific targets. Not here. We’ve exhausted all of those paths. There’s a big gap. If the music industry in this country just now sort of arrived at the conclusion where they say “We just have to play on this field even through it ain’t home court and there isn’t a lot of advantage.” And in some territories, music hasn’t even gotten there yet, then how can Hollywood be there? This is early in the journey. I do think it’s going to be a quicker path. It has to be. The economics are going to come down faster.

I spent years when everyone ignored what I was saying because I know it’s not pleasant to hear. But my job is to help businesses all over this landscape to get from point A to point B with the least amount of pain. But that means getting smart and getting ready for the transition before the competition. I want them looking in the mirror now and not when it’s too late. It’s tricky. I want these guys to do well but l don’t’ want them to tell themselves bedtime stories. That’s what the music industry did.

They spent a lot of money going back to antipiracy and spent a lot of emotional dollars on vendors who sold them panaceas and told them everything is going to be okay. “Don’t listen to Eric Garland,” they said. “He’s a gloom-and-doom guy. He gets off on telling you things are going to be terrible. Spend a few million dollars over here and we’ll clean up the Internet for you. Hey, I understand that. I want to open up my wallet for that guy too. It’s comfort food.

But my message to media companies is they don’t have that kind of time anymore.

Movie fans might have to wait to rent new DVD releases —

LA Times

Some major studios, grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, are considering a policy to make new releases initially available for purchase only.

For those who like renting movies, Hollywood may soon have a message: Prepare to wait.

In an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale.

Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster Inc. and Netflix Inc. would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. The move comes as the studios are grappling with sharply declining DVD revenue, which has long propped up the movie business.

Fox fired up over ‘Wolverine’ review – Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety

Has longtime Fox News entertainment blogger Roger Friedman been fired? It depends whom you ask.

On Saturday News Corp. released a statement saying the Hollywood gadfly had been “terminated.”

But on Sunday afternoon Friedman told Daily Variety that he had not been let go.

Fox News released its own missive when asked on Sunday afternoon if Friedman had been ousted. “This is an internal matter that we’re not prepared to discuss at this time,” a Fox News spokesperson said.

For its part, the studio weighed in Friday with its own statement, calling Friedman’s actions “reprehensible.”

Friedman came under fire for posting a review of a pirated version of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Both Fox News and 20th Century Fox are divisions of parent company News Corp.

Friedman posted a review of the film Thursday, one day after an incomplete version of the tentpole was leaked on the Internet, a breach that occurred a month before the film’s release and that could potentially cost the studio millions in box office receipts.

After Friedman’s positive “Wolverine” review hit the Web, the fanboy blogging community, which had largely called for a boycott of any reviews of the film, immediately lobbied for Friedman’s dismissal., which posted a screen grab of Friedman’s item, echoed the sentiments of many bloggers when it wrote: “Where does come up with the balls to publish a review of an unfinished illegal copy of a film their sister company is so desperately trying to squelch the existence of?”

As of Sunday afternoon, Friedman’s Fox 411 blog was still on’s website; however, the offending “Wolverine” item had long since been pulled and deleted from the website’s cache.

The whole sequence of events looks like a case of corporate synergy gone awry, as three different divisions of News Corp. couldn’t even agree on the fate of Friedman.

Fox News’ boss Roger Ailes has strained relations with other News Corp. division execs, and, in fact, the entire Fox News division has an entirely different style than the rest of the company.

But Fox News is a cable ratings hotshot and contributes mightily to the conglom’s bottom line. Friedman’s posting was bound to cause friction between the two News Corp. divisions especially considering that Friedman’s Fox 411 blog is a top traffic draw for

Studio execs began to hear about Friedman’s post Friday and called for the matter to be addressed by its sister company, though stopped short of asking for Friedman’s ouster. The studio’s statement said: “We’ve just been made aware that Roger Friedman, a freelance columnist who writes Fox 411 on — an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox — watched on the Internet and reviewed a stolen and unfinished version of ‘X-Men Organs: Wolverine.’ This behavior is reprehensible and we condemn this act categorically — whether the review is good or bad.”

Calling an entirely separate company from 20th Century Fox was an interesting choice of words, given that they’re sibling companies.

It took another day — and a torrent of negative press aimed at News Corp. in the blogging community — before News Corp. took action. Late Saturday night, News Corp. released a statement saying: “Roger Friedman’s views in no way reflect the views of News Corp. We, along with 20th Century Fox Film Corp., have been a consistent leader in the fight against piracy and have zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy. When we advised Fox News of the facts they took immediate action, removed the post, and promptly terminated Mr. Friedman.”

Hollywood may at last be having its Napster moment — struggling against the video version of the digital looting that capsized the music business. Media companies say that piracy — some prefer to call it “digital theft” to emphasize the criminal nature of the act — is an increasingly mainstream pursuit. At the same time, DVD sales, a huge source of revenue for film studios, are sagging. In 2008, DVD shipments dropped to their lowest levels in five years. Executives worry that the economic downturn will persuade more users to watch stolen shows and movies., a Web site based in Germany that tracks which shows are most downloaded, estimates that each episode of “Heroes,” a series on NBC, is downloaded five million times, representing a substantial loss for the network. (On TV, “Heroes” averages 10 million American viewers each week).

But if media companies are winning the battle against illegal video clips, they are losing the battle over illicit copies of full-length TV episodes and films. The Motion Picture Association of America says that illegal downloads and streams are now responsible for about 40 percent of the revenue the industry loses annually as a result of piracy.

“It is becoming, among some demographics, a very mainstream behavior,” said Eric Garland, the chief executive of BigChampagne.

It begins: you can now watch a streaming version of the entire film at

via Nina Paley’s blog

Lloyd Kaufman, Chairman of the IFTA, delivers a speech on media consolidation and the dangers it poses to independent art.


The accelerating economic downturn is taking its toll on the entertainment industry, with DVD sales lagging and Blu-ray sales disappointing, according to the New York Times. DVD sales are down 4 percent so far this year, the paper reports, citing data collected by Warner Brothers. The results for the third quarter are even worse, with a 9 percent drop overall and a steep 22 percent decline for new titles, according to numbers from Nielsen VideoScan quoted by the Times.

Meanwhile, free online content is doing better than ever. Hulu attracted 5.3 million unique visitors in October, a nearly 90 percent surge over the previous month. The Pirate Bay doubled the number of simultaneously connected users within the last six months, reaching a total of 25 million peers in November. The site’s admins apparently couldn’t quite believe their logs either, asking somewhat perplexed: “Wtf is going on(?)” The answer, in short, is this: We are in a recession.

The median time between a film’s U.S. premiere and its leak online now stands at 11 days, up from five days in 2008 and a single day in 2005. The reason for this seems to be that there are fewer and fewer so-called “cam” releases, movies recorded by people with their camcorders in theaters. Maybe all those bag checks, intimidating security guards and night vision goggles actually do have an effect.

The number of cam releases has fallen sharply this year, according to Waxy’s data. Scene release sites like VCDQuality lists just eight of them, which means that only 30 percent of all movies nominated were filmed in theaters. Last year, the number was still around 55 percent, and 2007 it was closer to 70 percent.

Hollywood has long fought cam piracy, and some of the measures being used against it made it into the headlines last year. Authorities arrested a man trying to videotape The Dark Knight in Kansas last July, and theater owners started to use night vision goggles in UK theaters to prevent the leak of Quantum of Solace.

So are the goggles working? While Waxy’s data seems to show that they are, using the Oscars as an indicator for overall piracy trends is fraught with problems. The awards do feature some of the more popular mainstream movies, but big blockbusters like Mall Cop won’t be nominated anytime soon. Smaller movies, on the other hand, may garner a few nominations, but they lack big audience numbers, both in theaters and on P2P networks.

This seems to be especially true for the 2009 nominations. The list only features one or two real blockbusters; movies like Rachel Getting Married, meanwhile, might fill an indie theater or two, but the film still hasn’t shown up on P2P networks at all. Maybe cammers and the associated release groups just don’t like indie fare.

Either way, any success on the anti-piracy front is temporary at best. The fact is that most movies are available in DVD quality online long before the original DVDs show up on retail shelves, which results in significant declines in DVD sales numbers.


Have you checked out Monty Python’s YouTube channel? It’s got a selection of their brilliant (as always) clips, and it’s got links to buy their DVDs on Amazon. As those crazy Monty Python dudes put it,

“We’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there! But we want something in return. None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.”

And you know what? Despite the entertainment industry’s constant cries about how bad they’re doing, it works. As we wrote yesterday, Monty Python’s DVDs climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

Out of 26 nominated films, an incredible 23 films are already available in DVD quality on nomination day, ripped either from the screeners or the retail DVDs.

David Barrett says on Pho

Mininova, founded in January 2005, soon became one of the most successful torrent sites. The site has grown steadily over recent months, and for a few weeks now the millions of daily users have been downloading well over 10 million torrents a day.

In 2008 the site passed several milestones, and in December Mininova broke a new record of 44.7 million unique visitors in one month. More users download more torrents, and just about every three to four months the site added another million torrent downloads to its counter. Today, just a few days into 2009, Mininova is close to recording the 7 billionth download, a double up compared to a year ago.

Mininova co-founder Niek told TorrentFreak that he expects this growth to continue in the new year. “Traffic is still growing according to Quantcast and Google Analytics. Unless something drastically changes, I see no reason why this will be different in 2009,” he commented. – Torrentfreak

In comparison, iTunes traffic:

  • iTunes has now sold six billion songs (it crossed the 5 billion mark last June).
  • Over 10 million different tracks are available on iTunes.
  • Starting today, 8 million songs are DRM-free, and all 10 million will be DRM free by the end of March.
  • There are now over 75 million accounts on iTunes linked to credit cards.
  • In fiscal year 2008, Apple sold 9.7 million Macs
  • Mac sales grew twice as fast as the overall PC market.

The last billion songs took about five and half months to sell, which was the same pace more or less that it took Apple to get to its fourth billion (January, 2008) and fifth billion songs (June, 2008). So iTunes sales are no longer accelerating, despite many more iPhones and iPods out there. It makes you wonder what the saturation point is for consumers buying songs from iTunes. One thing to cheer about, DRM is now officially dead (it looks like Apple traded variable pricing for getting rid of DRM), but I’m not sure that is going to spur sales much. – Techcrunch


“A magyar filmvagyon piacképes részének 70-80 százaléka már ki van adva dvd-n, az elmúlt években nagyon sok jelent meg” – mondja Tolmár külön felsorolva, hogy animációsfilmeket, közönségfilmeket, vígjátékokat volt érdemes megjelentetni. Még ha a nemzeti filmvagyonba tartozó cirka kétezer filmnek ez a piacképes rész csak a tizede is.


Az adatok alapján a franciák májusban több, mint 13,5 millió filmet töltöttek le illegálisan az internetről, miközben az országos filmközpont 12,2 millió mozijegy eladását rögzítette az adott hónapban. A jelenség “veszélybe sodorhatja a film- és audiovizuális ipart” – jelentette ki az Alpa képviselője a Le Figaro című napilapnak.

A tanulmány szerint átlagosan havi 10 millió illegális filmletöltés történik az országban. A rekord tavaly decemberben volt, amikor 16,6 millió illegális letöltést számoltak. A törvénytelenül letöltött filmek 66 százaléka amerikai, 19 százaléka francia. A Transformers különösen népszerű, 2007 októbere óta 3,7 millió példányban szedték le a netről. A kutatások egyelőre nem mutatják a letöltések közvetlen gazdasági hatását a filmiparra, de az biztos, hogy a francia dvd-eladás leszálló ágba került.

Egy tavalyi jelentés szerint a jogvédő szervezetek azt állapították meg, hogy Magyarországon tízből kilenc letöltés illegális, tíz dvd-ből hét nem eredeti. Az okozott kár forintban százmilliárdos nagyságrendű.

Entertainment News, Home Ent News, Media – Variety

The second Consumer Home Piracy Market Research, conducted by Futuresource Consulting online last May, involved 3,613 consumers in the U.S. and 1,718 in Blighty.

Results, released Tuesday, showed that men 18-24 continue to do the most copying and that the U.K. is experiencing a significant increase in copying TV shows on DVD. Last year, 42% of U.K. consumers surveyed said they were copying TV shows. This year, 61% said so.

Both Americans and Brits showed a preference for copying newly released movies over catalog or library films. In the U.K. during the past six months, consumers copied an average of almost 13 new releases vs. nine catalog/library; in the U.S., consumers copied 7.4 new vs. six catalog/library.

In both countries the most popular source for copying DVDs was rented or borrowed discs.

Asked whether they would have purchased the films had they not been able to copy them, 63% of respondents in the U.K. and 77% in the U.S. said they would have purchased all, some or at least a few of the titles, “clearly indicating the scale of the lost revenues to the homevideo industry from home copying,” a summary of the study said.

Epicenter from

Studio execs argue that piracy will kill the movie business. So how do they justify the raging success of The Dark Knight?

“It looks like another indicator that although piracy does hurt business, on a title-by-title level, it’s a more complicated effect,” says Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, a Beverly Hills media measurement company. “Many top-selling titles are among the most-pirated, but they don’t necessarily underperform in the marketplace just because they’re the most pirated.”

A hit is a hit, says Garland, regardless of whether it’s being illegally downloaded. The astronomical box-office numbers from I Am Legend back up that theory. The movie grossed an estimated $256.4 million, despite the fact that a DVD screener was leaked at the same time as the theatrical release.

“That’s an interesting case study, because the DVD release wasn’t scheduled until March [after it was released in December], so you had this tremendous gap of many months between when the pirated copy became widely available and the availability of the commercial copy of the DVD, and of course the movie did very well … theatrically, worldwide and on DVD,” says Garland.

The most frightening nightmare (or the most efficient marketing dream) of every Brazilian film producer has become a reality – and, what’s more, with a Brazilian movie that had not been released to movie theatres yet. ‘Piracy’ has been the most spoken word on the streets and in all media since late July, when Tropa de Elite (‘Elite Squad’), a national production scheduled to be released in November, started being copied and sold by street vendors, and became a social phenomenon in Brazil: 1,5 million people watched the film before it hit the screens, only in the city of Sao Paulo.


Mumbai: TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal, who’s basking under the success of his debut in recently released film Aamir, is now on a mission to stop piracy. The actor recently released the DVD and VCD of his power-packed film.

“You can easily get pirated DVDs in the market, which is really unfortunate. So I feel it makes sense to release the original DVD of the film even while it’s still in theatres,” Rajeev said.

“The film is still hot and there will be many people who would like to keep this as a collectors item. I think it is a wise decision because the market is probably already flooded with the pirated DVDs,” the actor added.


Jesse Alexander has co-produced and written for both ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lost’, two of the most successful TV-series today. In addition to millions of viewers on TV, both shows are are also extremely popular on BitTorrent. In fact, millions of people share a single episode and this can go on to 10 million downloads per episode.

One could argue that their availability on BitTorrent actually helped ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ to build a stronger fanbase. With torrents, no-one has to miss an episode anymore which keeps the fans more engaged. So called “pirates” advertise the shows to their friends, or write about it on their blogs. Accordingly, when we asked Jesse Alexander whether he thinks that BitTorrent might have helped to reach a broader audience, he answered with a clear cut “Yes”.

Not that Jesse wants everybody to get the shows off BitTorrent, but he said that it certainly signals that there is a market for on-demand and interactive TV. “People watching shows such as Lost and Heroes on BitTorrent is the present world reality,” Jesse told TorrentFreak. TV networks have to recognize this, give their viewers more ways to interact with the shows, and find ways to generate revenue from every member of the global audience.”

“It’s the same for music artists. The reality is, people share music. Artist now make money by driving people to concerts, through community websites, and by offering exclusive events. TV networks are focusing too much on one exclusive product, instead of building a community. This is a mistake I think.”

The success of Heroes on BitTorrent didn’t pass by the cast of the show unnoticed either. “The cast and the people behind the scenes have all been talking about it,” Jesse said. As an example he mentioned last year’s promotional tour in France, where the actors were recognized by hundreds of fans, even though the show had not even premiered on TV yet.

Alexander has hit the nail on the head. This is in fact one of the main reasons why shows like ‘Heroes’ are so popular on filesharing networks. It can take up to six months after the US premiere before these shows are aired in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Jesse agreed that this is indeed one of the major causes of piracy. “This gap is something that is certainly going to change in the future,” he added.

Jesse went on to say that in the near future, thanks to the Internet, the viewers of TV-shows will see more interactive components and alternate realities they can participate in. The future of TV will be more international, with real interaction, and shows will be more and more integrated into the core part of an online community.

When we asked Jesse if he has ever downloaded TV-shows off BitTorrent, he told us: “I can’t confirm or deny, but I’m familiar with all kind of new technologies.” I guess we all know what he’s trying to say.

It is no surprise that Jesse is more positive towards new technologies than some others in the entertainment industry. Last week we reported on the upcoming “Pirate TV” show that he is working on, together with Matt Mason, the author of ‘The Pirate’s Dilemma’.

“Matt’s book needs to get a broader audience,” said Jesse. “We want to discuss the negative and the positive side of piracy, and place things in a broader historical context. We want to start a real conversation about the future of intellectual property.”

We’re happy to join the debate, what about you?

Epicenter from

Jesse Alexander, co-producer of “Heroes” and “Lost,” says file sharing isn’t all bad.

It’s mighty big of him to admit, given that P2P has undoubtedly eaten profits from his shows — downloads of “Heroes” and “Lost” can run up to 10 million per week.

Alexander sees the silver lining, though.

“People watching shows such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Heroes’ on BitTorrent is the present world reality,” Alexander told Torrent Freak. “TV Networks have to recognize this, give their viewers more ways to interact with the shows, and find ways to generate revenue from every member of the global audience.”

Incidentally, Alexander is also reportedly working on a 13-part TV show about piracy.

Filmmaker Michael Moore has a similar take: He has said on the record that he doesn’t have a problem with people who download his movies, as long as they don’t make a profit off it.

While appearing to have double the collection of Apple TV or Vudu, what do you get in Netflix’s 10,000 movie collection? Basically, you get a lot of back catalog (classic movies) and a lot of TV shows (unheard of in rental situations!) right as they hit the market. But you don’t get the same blockbusters on day one release that you’d get from Apple TV or Vudu. That makes the Netflix box and disc system a great supplement to those systems, which seem to specialize in new releases. (Kudos to Saul from the NYTimes for discovering this initially.) The business model behind a flat rate unlimited streaming system is unheard of. Sure, they’re taking a lot of older content, which is inherently cheaper. But think of it this way: For a nine-dollar-a-month account, you can hold off on buying older DVDs or watching TV shows. A box set of Ghost in the Shell or 30 Rock costs over 50 bucks on DVD or by renting individual downloads, but you can stream many of these episodes for nine bucks a month. Buying the Karate Kid, an old movie not on many download services, costs a few bucks on DVD, but I can just watch it whenever I want as long as I’m a Netflix customer. (And consider that the number of great back catalog titles like that will probably outpace new releases you’d find on Vudu or Apple TV.) It’s basically the same as Netflix’s current model, but instead of being limited by the postal service, you’re limited by your spare time and interest in older titles. (And don’t forget Netflix’s disc-by-mail service, which still covers new titles.)

The Underwire from

South Park fans will soon be able to watch any episode of the seminal animated show free online, thanks to a deal between show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom.

According to Comedy Central reps, Parker and Stone are the driving force behind South Park Studios, the series’ new online HQ offering free viewing of all 12 seasons of South Park. Currently in its beta format, the site and its episodes are ad-supported, but require no additional fees to view as many episodes as a fan’s heart desires.

In an appropriately glib statement, Parker and Stone said they were inspired to start the site when they got “really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time. So we gave ourselves a legal alternative.”

New episodes will appear on the site soon after airing on Comedy Central and will remain available for one week. After 30 days, the new episode will return to the site permanently. Parker and Stone insist that the new service won’t affect DVD sales as hardcore fans of the show could still want to own the episodes in “hard copy” form.

There’s no word yet on whether other genre shows will follow South Park’s new model.

MediaPost Publications -&nbsp; – 03/18/2008

Using CBS as an example, Keane said the online video audience for one episode of “Jericho” boosted the show’s TV ratings by almost a full point: from 4.2 to 5.1. While Keane made no mention of it, this extra audience is especially valuable for a show like “Jericho,” which has struggled to build a larger audience. The show’s hardcore fans saved the show from cancellation once, but it’s hanging by a thread–and another ratings point may help.

Citing another example from CBS, Keane said that while the Grammys attracted 16.9 million TV viewers–down 15% from the previous year–it also generated 7.9 million online video streams and 4.9 million page views.

The internet could be a boon for Hollywood—but only if it can conquer its fears

TO SEE what the future of film distribution might look like, go to a website called It offers 1,700 films for download to personal computers, iPods or other hand-held devices, or to burn to DVD.
It is inviting and easy to use, with detailed descriptions of each
movie, editors’ picks, customer reviews and screen stills. And the
prices are reasonable: “Atonement”, for instance, costs $2.99.

There is one small catch: is a pirate site. Hollywood’s movie studios, which are used to dealing with scruffier crews like Pirate Bay,
a Swedish outfit, are aghast at how professional the newcomer is. “It
looks like a fabulous legal website,” says one studio executive.

The existence of
illustrates why Hollywood is in two minds about the web. On the one
hand, the internet has brought a potent threat: pirates are plundering
films and carrying off booty that rightfully belongs to the studios.
Online piracy costs Hollywood less than the physical variety, ripping
off DVDs, but the gap is closing. “We are more
concerned about internet piracy than physical piracy, because
controlling it is harder,” says Ron Wheeler, head of anti-piracy
efforts at Fox Entertainment Group. Some in Hollywood believe that
internet theft could even be the death of America’s film industry.

On the other
hand, the internet offers Hollywood a great opportunity—which it has so
far been slow to exploit. There is every reason to think that people
will want online access to films, just as they do for music,
newspapers, television and radio. is
proving that people will pay to download films to see at home when it
suits them. And once people can buy or rent films on demand, the
chances are that they will watch more of them.

The web is
already making its presence felt in the heart of Tinseltown: this
year’s Oscars extravaganza, which is due to take place on February
24th, nearly fell victim to a strike by writers over pay for the
distribution of their work on the internet. But for the time being
Hollywood is mostly stuck in the physical world. Every year it sends
thousands of heavy, expensive reels of film to cinemas by road. Only in
the past year or so has it started an effort to send out some across
the ether as ones and zeros. The DVD is a digital format, to be sure, but it comes in shrink-wrapped plastic.

Some studios
are enthusiastic about the internet. “In 2008 we will move full speed
ahead online,” says Thomas Lesinski, president of digital entertainment
at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles. “It’s the great hope for new
revenue for the movie business.” But the industry has by and large been
slow: studios have only tentatively backed legal online film-download
services. Television, by contrast, has been much faster to embrace the

The choice of what is legally available online today is patchy. For instance, London buses are carrying ads for,
a new download service. It promises “tons and tons of great movies”,
but you will not find “Mulva 2—Kill Teen Ape!” near the top of many
people’s lists. The internet has lots of legal sites like this, which
promise thousands of top-class titles but in truth resemble the worst
shelves of a bad video-rental store. has a far better collection than most legitimate services do.

Another legal site, MovieFlix,
based in Los Angeles, makes its money from independent films, student
movies, straight-to-video titles and other eclectic fare. Its founders,
Opher Mizrahi and Robert Moskovits, stay away from Hollywood studios
because of their high fees. MovieFlix, which had revenues of $1.2m last
year, is rare among download sites: it turns a profit. “We are the
cockroaches of this space,” says Mr Mizrahi, “and we are survivors.”

Many better-funded services have fared far worse. Movielink,
which the studios themselves set up in 2001, with about $150m of
start-up capital, was sold last August to Blockbuster, a video-rental
chain, reportedly for less than $20m. CinemaNow,
which counts Microsoft and Cisco Systems among its investors, started
offering movies online in 1999 and is not yet making a profit, to the
surprise of its chief executive, Curt Marvis. Back then, he says,
everyone thought that selling films online would be a huge business by

Nor are the
studios making much money online. They have dozens of deals with
internet services around the world. Warner Bros, for instance, supplies
small selections of its films to 38 separate digital-distribution
services, according to Screen Digest, a research firm in London. In
2006, estimates Screen Digest, online distribution of movies generated
a total of $58m in America and western Europe. Screen Digest expects
this to rise to $1.2 billion by 2011. But that is still below 5% of its
forecast for total home-entertainment revenue.

firms are longing to supply Hollywood films. According to Screen
Digest, online viewing is most likely to take off on services based on
their devices. So far, people have been most interested in buying films
for gadgets such as Apple’s iPod or Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Apple’s
iTunes has captured almost 80% of the download-to-own market; the Xbox
has won more than 70% of online rentals.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
in Las Vegas in January, everyone was waiting for Apple to announce
that iTunes would start selling new movies from all six leading
studios. Hitherto, only Disney had granted Apple access to new releases
(Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, sits on Disney’s board); a couple
of other studios were giving it older titles. In the event, Apple’s
deal was disappointing: it got the go-ahead from all the studios only
to rent their films, not to sell them. According to a person familiar
with the negotiations, however, this was because of the Hollywood
writers’ strike over new media. Now the studios are waiting to see
whether actors walk out over the same issue. When the labour troubles
are past, Apple is likely to get a proper download-to-own deal with all
six studios. For Hollywood, this would be a big step towards the

There are two
broad reasons for Hollywood’s tardiness. The main one is the industry’s
aversion to making big changes to its business model. In part this is
because it takes so much risk in its day-to-day operations. “Every
weekend, we sit on pins and needles watching to see if our films will
flop,” explains a studio executive, “and that doesn’t encourage
risk-taking in the business as a whole.” There is a less defensible
explanation too: “Hollywood’s value system is not necessarily about
growth,” says Dan Jansen, who runs the Boston Consulting Group’s media
practice. “It’s about recognition for films.”

For the moment, most people are still happy with DVDs, so the studios have had little incentive to switch to an unproven new format. The DVD
business is huge, bringing in $23.4 billion in America last year,
against $9.6 billion from the box office. The studios are terrified of
damaging that source of revenue. In 2006, when Disney made a deal with
Apple to sell movies via iTunes, Wal-Mart, America’s biggest retailer,
reportedly threatened to retaliate: the internet, after all, bypasses
it. Wal-Mart accounts for about 40% of DVD sales in the United States and if it sharply cut shelf-space for DVDs,
the lost sales would far outweigh new digital sales in the near term.
At the end of last year Wal-Mart shut its ten-month-old movie-download
site. Now that it no longer has a foot in the internet camp, studios
expect it to take a harder line against any further efforts they may
make to favour online distribution.

Not everyone agrees, however. Wal-Mart and other big retailers rely heavily on DVDs
to bring higher-income people into their stores, says a studio
executive. “So they don’t have a leg to stand on threatening to pull
shelf-space.” For this reason, he believes that Hollywood should be
able to cultivate online revenues without greatly disrupting its
existing businesses.

In any case, there are now signs that the DVD
boom has come to an end—which should also encourage the studios to
worry less about Wal-Mart and to move faster online. After its growth
slowed in 2005 and 2006, spending on DVDs fell
by 3% in 2007 (see chart 1). Some in the industry are pinning their
hopes on fancier, “high-definition” discs—another physical
format—rather than on the web. But so far, sales of such discs have
been minuscule—largely because of a war between two formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray. Although the war ended this week, when Toshiba said it would abandon HD DVD, high-definition discs are unlikely to bring growth back to the home-entertainment business.

Hollywood’s desire to preserve its existing business rather than
embrace a new one echoes its misgivings a few years ago about the DVD
itself. In 1997, when the new format was about to be born, three
studios, Paramount, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox, came out against
it, remembers Warren Lieberfarb, who is widely credited with having
fathered the product as it is today. They were worried that selling DVDs
for $18 apiece would cannibalise their sales of video cassettes to
rental stores for $65 each. None of the three studios is proud of that
episode now.

Moreover, as
well as boosting sales overall, the internet will make it easier for
the studios to make money from their libraries—bricks-and-mortar
retailers, after all, have limited shelf-space, and mostly stock new
releases. Digital sales yield a higher profit margin too. Virtual
distribution does away with manufacturing, packaging, transport and
inventory costs. At the moment, the studios get $18 per film from a
Wal-Mart or a Best Buy and about $16 for a digital sale, but because of
the lower costs they make about $3 more on each film when sold

A bigger risk
than angering Wal-Mart is that Hollywood will be undone by internet
pirates. Imaginative, reasonably priced legal products are the best
antidote to piracy: anti-piracy heads at the studios, indeed, clamour
for well stocked, convenient movie-downloading services. Fox’s Mr
Wheeler says that content owners should offer people “ubiquitous access
to our products online at reasonable prices”. Mr Wheeler also hopes
that internet-service providers can be drafted into the fight. In
November France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, backed a proposal to
require ISPs to detect and cut off conspicuous pirates. Britain’s government is said to be considering a similar law.

The second
reason for Hollywood’s sluggishness is that the studios and the
consumer-electronics industry have not overcome three technological
hurdles. Downloading a film still takes a long time—in America, about
30-40 minutes on average (see chart 2). Movies in high-definition
format would take about four times that. But broadband speeds are
increasing all the time. In Japan and South Korea it now takes between
five and ten minutes to download a film in standard definition.

obstacle is that most people want to watch films on television, not on
personal computers—especially if they have wide, “home-theatre” TV screens. Products connecting PCs
and televisions have been available for years but have not caught on,
because they are hard to install and operate. That is changing. Apple
has just overhauled its linking gadget, Apple TV, to make it easier to use. At the CES
in Las Vegas, says Alan Bell, Paramount’s chief technology officer, new
televisions and set-top boxes that connect directly to the internet
were on show, “so the PC is not the bottleneck in getting digital content from internet services to the TV screen that people saw a year ago.”

The last
hurdle, and perhaps the highest, is the lack of common standards among
websites and devices. “Imagine if you went to Wal-Mart to buy a new DVD player and then found that your DVDs
from Best Buy didn’t work on it,” says Mitch Singer, chief technology
officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Movies on the internet, he
says, is “a format war on steroids”. Each download store sells
different usage rights. Hollywood is trying to do something about this.
Late last year a group of studios, retailers and consumer-electronics
firms met to discuss an idea of Mr Singer’s for a standardised
electronic movie product called Open Market. But the talks are at an
early stage, and it will be tricky to get companies such as Apple and
Microsoft to agree to common standards.

dealings with the consumer-gadget companies also betray its habitual
caution. The studios fear that Apple could become the Wal-Mart of the
internet—a giant with power to push them around, continually pressing
prices down. Maintaining pricing online is a particular worry. “People
think that if it’s online it should be free,” says one studio head. One
answer to pricing pressure online, though not a complete one, would be
to experiment with putting advertisements around films. Last year
Paramount gave a selection of films to a service called Joost
that streams them free, supported by advertising. Movies are doing very
well on the service, says Mr Lesinski. Paramount plans to conduct more
online experiments in 2008, he says. The lion’s share of its library
and all its new releases will be on the internet within a year or two.

Short of
selling films on it, Hollywood certainly knows how to use the internet
to its advantage. Its use of viral online marketing is one of the most
sophisticated of any industry. Jeff Berg, chairman and chief executive
of ICM, a talent agency, says that about 8% of
the total marketing spending on films goes to the internet; in five
years’ time, the web will take 20%. Paramount’s “Cloverfield”, a
low-budget monster movie shot as if by an amateur with a camcorder,
earned $40m in its opening weekend in American cinemas last month,
crushing the competition. It built its audience on the internet: a
mysterious trailer for another, unidentified movie led to a website and
started an online treasure-hunt for more clues. Popular movie websites
such as buzzed for months about the mystery film.

too, Hollywood is harnessing the internet. Studios are using it to find
global pockets of interest. “If there’s 1m people around the world who
are interested in ice-fishing,” says Jeremy Zimmer, co-founder of
United Talent Agency, “we can make a movie for them.” Studios are using
their customers’ opinions to shape their films. “Snakes on a Plane”,
for instance, started off in development as a horror film. As the
project got attention online its maker, New Line Cinema, listened, and
changed the plot to be more comic in tone. Blowtorch, a young media
company making video content for 18- to 24-year-olds, is pushing this
further. It will allow audiences to influence its movies via the web.
They will be invited to vote on elements of a film’s soundtrack, an
actor’s wardrobe, or even character development.

Don’t lose it in your popcorn

boss believes that the internet will lower barriers to entry for new
film-makers. “Sites will spring up specialising in independent films
and short movies,” says Mr Berg, “and these will be showcases, similar
to film festivals.”, a download service for independent films from around the world, is a good example. The makers of “Indoctrinate-U”,
an independent film about a lack of free speech at American
universities, have used the internet to build an audience. The movie’s website
invites people to sign up with zip codes; if enough do, local
screenings are arranged. United Talent Agency has set up a special
internet unit, UTA Online, to find and develop
new talent. The new unit encourages people to get in touch—unheard of
in the original “don’t call us” business.

In the long
term, many people expect that the internet could undermine Hollywood’s
system of exclusive “windows”. Cinemas get a film to themselves for a
period of weeks, then it goes to DVD, then to
video-on-demand and online services, then pay-cable television, and so
on. And many films are still released in different countries at
different times, usually starting in America. The system is a gift to
pirates. But the studios are wedded to it, especially the cinema

The internet creates immediate global awareness of movies, says Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, a DVD
rental-by-mail company, so the studios are increasingly choosing to
release films at the same time everywhere. They have already shortened
their windows, he says, and that could be a step towards getting rid of
them. As people buy home-theatre systems and the convenience of the
internet makes it even harder to get people out of their homes, the
cinema window will come under ever greater pressure.

It will
doubtless take Hollywood a few more years to work out how to deliver
films over the internet. Meanwhile, studios and retailers are poised to
introduce movie-download kiosks, using flash memory. Several companies,
such as MOD Systems, of Los Angeles, have cut
download times to a few minutes; Ireland’s Porto Media claims a time of
17 seconds. The idea is to put kiosks in such places as shops, airports
and petrol stations. Using Porto Media’s system, films are downloaded
onto a tiny device (pictured) which plugs into dock attached to a
television. Kiosks could hold more titles than physical video shops and
would never be out of stock. Twentieth Century Fox is looking at
several competing kiosks, says Mike Dunn, head of the studio’s
home-entertainment unit. It will test them this year.

flash-memory-enabled kiosk is an interim solution which overcomes many
of the weaknesses of the present model and the current deficiencies of
the internet,” says Mr Lieberfarb, who is on the board of MOD
Systems. Customers will get used to downloading films and transferring
them between devices, which will prepare them for proper online
distribution. Kiosks will make money for retailers too, so that they
could help the studios keep Wal-Mart and others sweet. That is the kind
of careful step forward that even Hollywood can dare to take.

Index –

A magyar filmek jogait kezelő Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum a sorozatos jogviták miatt úgy tűnik, még mindig nem tudja ellátni a feladatát. “Filmtörvény van, de nem működik. A régi filmek forgalmazói jogaival a gyártó stúdiók rendelkeznek – utal Schweier László, a Filmarchívum munkatársa a jelenlegi helyzetre, ami zűrzavarosabb, mint Petőfi sorsa a segesvári csata után. – Nekik pedig úgy látszik, nem fontos, hogy dvd-n is megjelenjenek.”

&nbsp;| TorrentFreak

Talented independent filmmakers are benefiting immensely from having their movies distributed for free on BitTorrent. Films that might never have been heard of before are now being watched by millions of people.


Certainly the MPAA has the right to fight illegal downloads of its material, and it certainly has the right to go after those making a profit by ripping off its DVDs. But the rhetoric around “piracy” (a term used far too broadly) simply doesn’t fit with reality. If piracy is killing the movie business, it’s doing so in exactly the same way that home taping killed the music business in the 1980s.

A jelentések azt mutatják, hogy a legelterjedtebb fájlcserélő protokoll, a BitTorrent letöltéseinek fele TV sorozat. A szám lenyűgöző, és a tendenciák szerint ez még tovább emelkedik.

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Center for Social Media at American University

When college kids make mashups of Hollywood movies, are they violating the law? Not necessarily, according to the latest study on copyright and creativity from the Center and American University’s Washington College of Law.

The study, Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video, by Center director Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi, co-director of the law school’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, shows that many uses of copyrighted material in today’s online videos are eligible for fair use consideration. The study points to a wide variety of practices—satire, parody, negative and positive commentary, discussion-triggers, illustration, diaries, archiving and of course, pastiche or collage (remixes and mashups)—all of which could be legal in some circumstances.

The Hindu : Andhra Pradesh News

HYDERABAD: It’s a game of technology versus creativity. And the Telugu film industry is the obvious loser in this game. Nowadays, the pirated version of any movie hits the market within a week after the movie release. The Telugu film industry suffers a loss of Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 crore, according to a survey conducted by Motion Pictures Association (MPA) of US and AP Film Chambers of Commerce (APFCC).

Published reports in both Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal claim that News Corp.’s (NYSE: NWS) 20th Century Fox has inked a deal with Apple to provide video rentals through the iTunes storefront.

New York Times

Nokia, the telecommunications company, and the Universal Music Group, the recording company, said on Tuesday that they would offer unlimited free downloads of Universal songs to buyers of certain Nokia phones as a way to promote cellphones as media devices and to develop new revenue for a music industry struggling with piracy.

Under the agreement, Universal will let users download its entire catalog at no cost for 12 months, and keep the songs at the end of that time. Users will be able to download the songs to new Nokia phones or to their computers via mobile or fixed-line broadband connections.

The Social – CNET

In his keynote speech on Wednesday morning at the Media and Money conference hosted by Dow Jones and Nielsen, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner talked about writers as though they were a minority group that he didn’t particularly understand well. “I like writers. Some of my best friends are writers,” he said as though attempting to save face. But nevertheless, his foremost epithet for the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America strike was “stupid.”

“I see stupid strikes, and I see less stupid strikes. I see smart strikes,” Eisner said in the keynote, which was structured as a conversation with Neil P. Cavuto, senior vice president and managing editor of Fox Business News. “This is a stupid strike.”

The problem, Eisner said, is that the Writer’s Guild is lobbying for a bigger cut of the profits from digital distribution–and according to the former Disney chief, those profits simply aren’t there. Eisner, now the head of a private investment firm called The Tornante Company, has launched an online video studio called Vuguru, and said that it’s still more or less a fruitless labor. Vuguru’s debut series, a serial mystery called Prom Queen, “didn’t make money,” he said.

Wanganui Chronicle

Richard Storey, director of operations for the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZFACT), said independent research two years ago showed piracy was costing the film industry in New Zealand about $70 million.

“The projected loss of revenue for DVD stores is anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of their annual income,” Mr Storey, who heads the NZFACT investigation team, told the Chronicle yesterday.

His comments came in the wake of the court appearance of two Wanganui people charged with making and selling pirated DVD movies.

Dion Heemi Williams, 26, was ordered to pay reparations of $5000 and sentenced to 200 hours’ community service while his girlfriend, Renee Waterman, 21, was sentenced to 100 hours’ community service when they appeared in the Wanganui District Court on October 3.

On August 2, Wanganui police raided Williams’ home and seized 266 pirated DVDs including Transformers, Disturbia and The Break Up, titles recently released or yet to be released in cinemas.

Ars technica

After just four hours of deliberation and two days of testimony, a jury found that Jammie Thomas was liable for infringing the record labels’ copyrights on all 24 the 24 recordings at issue in the case of Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas. The jury awarded $9,250 in statutory damages per song, after finding that the infringement was “willful,” out of a possible total of $150,000 per song. The grand total? $222,000 in damages.

Market wire

Movie piracy continues to be the thorn in the side of the Indian, Chinese and U.S. film industries. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), India suffered industry losses of $180 million (US) in 2005, the vast majority of which were to the local film industry. In China where the piracy rate is estimated at 93%, meaning that there is virtually no legitimate market for filmed content, the losses from movie piracy are estimated at $2.7 (US) billion.

Despite the negative impact of piracy on India and China’s film industry, the problems continue to be fueled by challenged regulatory systems.

Elizabeth Kaltman, MPAA’s Communications Director explains, “Lack of enforcement resources and attention are key to the piracy problem in India, as is the lack of any real deterrent sentencing from the judiciary. Unquestionably one of the foundations of China’s piracy problems is the lack of market access accorded to foreign films (non-Chinese films). China’s theatrical exhibition quota, frequent imposition of ‘blackouts’ on the theatrical release of foreign films, and restrictions placed on home video distributors, give movie pirates a tremendous market advantage.”


Starbucks may not be the powerful promotional partner Hollywood thought it would be.

Classics’ “Arctic Tale” has become the second pic backed by the coffee
giant not able to translate the company’s caffeine buzz into strong box
office. (Starbucks previously backed Lionsgate’s “Akeelah and the Bee.”)

environmentally focused docu revolving around polar bears and walruses
has earned $484,000 since bowing July 25. Pic’s widest opening on 227
theaters occurred in its fourth week of release Aug. 17. It plays in
158 venues in its fifth frame this weekend.

National Geographic
Films produced “Arctic,” as well as surprise hit “March of the
Penguins,” which went on to earn $77 million for Warner Independent in

Par Classics (a division of Paramount Vantage) had hoped
the success of the penguin tale would rub off on its own pic and help
sell more tickets.

But it also hoped that having Starbucks aboard
would raise awareness for the film and entice the company’s 44 million
weekly customers to hit the multiplexes.

Starbucks installed
signage and stickers in 6,800 of its stores, printed “Arctic”-branded
cup sleeves, sold plush walruses and the pic’s soundtrack and sponsored
discussions in select stores nationwide about climate change. Materials
for the movie also appear on the company’s website.

Chain doesn’t
have video screens in its stores as rival Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
does, so footage from a pic it pushes can’t be displayed in stores.

Campaign runs in stores in the U.S. and Canada through Monday.

said it didn’t go further and create a themed Frappuccino, for example,
because it didn’t want to overly commercialize the tie-in.

all of our entertainment options, we are careful to promote our
products and projects in a tasteful manner and not to interfere with
the coffeehouse experience,” said Ken Lombard, prexy of Starbucks

Starbucks’ pic deals go beyond a traditional promo
pact like that of, say, General Motors for “Transformers,” because
Starbucks collects a percentage of a movie’s profits in return for its
marketing muscle.

And that unusual payoff pact winds up putting a
bigger spotlight on the results of the films the company decides to
back — especially given that Starbucks does not invest in the
production of the films it promotes.

Promo partners are
increasingly becoming a studio’s best friend, with brands ponying up
their own marketing dollars to help push pics and make their companies
seem more appealing to customers through entertainment tie-ins.

has long been considered a potential powerhouse for Hollywood,
especially after helping launch music artists and assisting more
familiar ones to sell CDs.

But it hasn’t fared as well on the film front.

Tale’s” performance has been chilly so far. Its $484,000 compares with
the $4 million “Penguins” had earned by the end of its fourth week when
it played on 132 screens.

“Akeelah,” the first film Starbucks
promoted, ultimately earned $19 million. Pic still turned a profit
given its $8 million production budget (Lionsgate spent around $20
million to market it). But industryites had expected it to earn more
given Starbucks’ backing and rhetoric from the Seattle-based company
that it’s a bona fide entertainment player.

“We are an innovative
company that is not afraid to go outside of our comfort zone, and
‘Akeelah’ and ‘Arctic Tale’ showed us the coffeehouse can be a means to
introduce films to our customers they might not normally be exposed
to,” Lombard said.

Pics also are a way to associate Starbucks with a particular message — climate change in the case of “Arctic Tale.”

introduced ‘Arctic Tale’ to our customers because we want to spark a
dialogue about environmental issues,” Lombard said. “The coffeehouse is
a great place to inspire such discussion. There is no more important
issue facing our planet today than climate change.” The tie-in was an
“avenue to get people of all ages to talk … and hopefully be inspired
to be a part of the solution.”

But studios ultimately want
Starbucks customers to be inspired to buy tickets; the B.O. tallies
show that Starbucks may still need to massage its marketing efforts
when it comes to studio partnerships.

When it announced the
“Arctic Tale” deal, Lombard said the company had “learned its lesson”
as a result of its “Akeelah” campaign, saying it needed to make a
better effort to let customers know it wants them to “go see” the films
it promotes.

“We are still evaluating our ‘Arctic Tale’
promotion,” Lombard said. “Nonetheless, we are always looking to
provide tangible customer experiences that educate and inspire
discussion and go beyond traditional movie marketing.”

Vantage and National Geographic Films execs say that while they’re
disappointed with the B.O. for “Arctic Tale,” they’re happy with
Starbucks’ effort and look forward to sales of the eventual DVD in the
company’s stores.

“They were great partners and awesome to work
with,” said one National Geographic exec. “They did everything they
said they would do. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat.”

some of the negative critical reaction to the U.S. version of “Arctic
Tale,” National Geographic Films is lobbying to sell the European
version of the docu on DVD, complete with a different score, songs and

Starbucks pushed a healthy number of “Akeelah” DVDs.
It’s also sold other studio titles like Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet” and
Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

But then again, a DVD can be easily picked up and purchased as a customer is ordering a grande vanilla latte.

Read the full article at:

 – New York Times

NBC Universal, unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, has decided not to renew its contract to sell digital downloads of television shows on iTunes.

The media conglomerate — which is the No. 1 supplier of digital video to Apple’s online store, accounting for about 40 percent of downloads — notified Apple of its decision late yesterday, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the companies are confidential.

A spokesman for NBC Universal, part of General Electric, confirmed the decision, but otherwise declined to comment. A spokesmen for Apple declined to comment. The decision by NBC Universal highlights the escalating tension between Apple and media companies, which are unhappy that Apple will not give them more control over the pricing of songs and videos that are sold on iTunes.

NBC Universal is also seeking better piracy controls and wants Apple to allow it to bundle videos to increase revenue, the person familiar with the matter said.

NBC Universal is the second major iTunes supplier recently to have a rift with Apple over pricing and packaging matters. In July, the Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s biggest music corporation, said it would not renew its long-term contract with iTunes. Instead, Universal Music said it would market music to Apple at will, which would allow it to remove its songs from iTunes on short notice.

The action by Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s chief executive, will not have an immediate impact on iTunes. The current two-year deal extends through December, so a vast video catalog — some 1,500 hours of NBC Universal’s news, sports and entertainment programming — will remain available on iTunes at least until then.

Among the most popular NBC Universal shows available for sale on iTunes are “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Office” and “Heroes.” The company has been talking to iTunes about offering Universal movies, but has not done so to date because of piracy concerns.

The two companies could still reach an agreement on a new contract before their current deal expires. While each side has so far refused to budge, the talks will continue and have been free of acrimony, the person familiar with the matter said.

But the defiant moves by NBC Universal and Universal Music could embolden other media companies that have been less than thrilled with Apple’s policies. NBC Universal was the second company to sign an agreement with Apple to sell content on iTunes, and its contract stipulated that Apple receive notice of plans to cancel 90 days before the expiration date. Otherwise, the deal would automatically renew according to the original terms.

Assuming similar provisions in deals negotiated with media companies like CBS, Discovery and the News Corporation, a parade of 90-day windows will be coming due.

A move by NBC Universal to walk away or withdraw a large amount of content would probably hobble Apple’s efforts to move deeper into the sale of video-focused consumer electronics like the iPhone and a new class of iPods. While Apple’s early efforts in this area depended on music to fuel sales, analysts say video is what will drive much of Apple’s retail business in the future.

The iTunes service wields incredible power in the music business, since it accounts for more than 76 percent of digital music sales. And its influence is on the rise: Apple recently passed Amazon to become the third-biggest seller of music over all, behind Wal-Mart and Best Buy, according to the market research firm NPD.

But the sale of video online is still at a nascent stage. Media giants like NBC Universal are aggressively trying to move into the business — in part to avoid the piracy that has plagued music companies — but the revenue they earn from online video sales does not yet have a material impact on their financial performances.

So some media companies feel they have the upper hand: Apple, for now at least, needs their content more than they need Apple. And there are an array of companies — like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Sony — that would love to have NBC Universal as a partner to muscle in on Apple’s turf.

Then there is NBC Universal’s own, a venture in partnership with the News Corporation to build a video portal to compete with YouTube.

The risks that media companies face in removing content from well-known Web sites involve perception and promotion. NBC Universal could anger consumers by preventing them from easily watching shows and movies in the most popular way — through iTunes and the iPod. Television networks and movie studios have vigorously tried to avoid being branded with the same anticonsumer sentiment that has worked against the record labels.

And because iTunes is so popular, NBC Universal would lose an increasingly important way of marketing entertainment products, particularly fledgling television shows, to consumers.

For months, most media companies have grumbled that Apple underprices video and audio content as a way to propel sales of a much more significant profit center: iPods and related merchandise. (One noteworthy abstainer from the grumbling is the Walt Disney Company, which has Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, as a board member.)

The iTunes service has sold songs for 99 cents each since its beginning four years ago, except for the recent introduction of songs without copy protection. Episodes of television shows sell for $1.99, with movies priced at $9.99.

NBC Universal and other companies say they want to increase prices by packaging content— say an episode of “The Office” with the movie “The 40- Year-Old Virgin,” because they both star the comedian Steve Carell.

In the past, Apple has argued that a range of pricing would complicate the iTunes experience and squelch demand.

The Entertainment Merchants Association

Fall 1975 – The Sony Betamax goes on sale in the U.S. The LV-1901 console, consisting of a SL-6200 video cassette recorder (VCR) and a 19″ Sony Trinitron television set, retails for $2,495. A table-top recorder/player deck (the SL-7200) is marketed the following spring for $1,400. (Sony stopped offering the Betamax VCR as a consumer product in the U.S. in 1993 and ceased production of the device altogether in 2002.)

by Douglas Galbi on August 19th 2007

From 1985 to 2004, video rentals from U.S. public libraries grew 340%. Over the same period, video rentals from U.S. commercial rental businesses grew 140%. Public libraries’ video rental activity did grow from a smaller base: 70 million videos loaned in 1985 (6% of the number of videos commercial outfits turned in that year), to 300 million videos loaned in 2004 (12% of the number of videos rented commercially). The growth of video lending from public libraries has been amazing, and largely unnoticed.

Pricing is probably a large part of the explanation for this performance differential. The average price for commercially renting a video in 1985 was $2.38. The average price for borrowing a video from a public library in 1987 was $0.39 (30.4% of libraries charged for borrowing video, and those libraries charged an average of $1.29). In 2004, the average price for commercially renting a video was $3.43. The average price for borrowing a video from a library was then approximately zero. Lower price induces greater demand, and free (zero price) is a highly appealing price.

This video example does not depend on some of the factors thought to be producing the death of paid text content. From 1985 to 2004, there wasn’t a proliferation of free video content on the web. I would guess that, overall, commercial video rental stores have a video inventory that most persons would value more highly than the video inventory of a library. Consumer may like free content. But video is quite expensive to consume. Given that the average video takes perhaps an hour and a half to watch, the higher inventory value of commercial video rental firms might have easily outweighed the lower video rental price from libraries. But it didn’t.

Persons seem to have a high time-discount rate in content choices. The benefit of watching a relatively good video comes later than the cost of paying the rental fee. A high discount rate lowers the importance of the former, and raises the importance of the later. So perhaps a significant part of the challenge of making a paid content model work is delivering benefits soon relative to payments.

* * *
The table below summarizes the facts. Subsequent notes describe the sources and estimates.

U.S. Public Libraries and Video Stores
1985 2004 % inc.
total public library circulation 1150 2010 75%
video share of library circulation 6% 15%
video borrowing price from libraries $0.50 0
videos borrowed from libraries 69 302 337%
video rental price from video stores $2.38 $3.43
videos rented from video stores 1100 2592 136%
All counts in millions. Video includes Betamax, VHS, and DVDs.


Public library circulation: For 1985, interpolated from figures for 1983 (Goldhor (1995)) and 1990 (NCES/ALA). The Goldhor figures are given in Galbi (2007a). For 2004, figure from NCES.

Video share of public library circulation: Dewing (1988) presents results from a survey in early 1987 of about 3000 public libraries having video cassette collections. The survey received 841 valid responses. Id. p. 69, Table 6.19, gives average tapes loaned, by size of the community the public library served. The survey did not include data on total library circulation. Using NCES Public Library Statistics for 1987, I calculated average circulation per week for the four community size categories used in reporting the video survey results (less than 20,000; 20,001 to 50,000; 50,001 to 100,000; greater than 100,000). Average videos loaned were 18%, 7.5%, 7.7%, and 7.4% of average library circulation for the four community size categories, respectively. Responses in the smallest community size category may not have been representative of all small libraries in that category. Since the video survey addressed only public libraries having a video collection, the survey doesn’t account for the zero circulation share in libraries that didn’t have a video collection. For a conservative estimate of the growth rate, I estimate the 1985 video circulation share to be 6%. One small additional piece of evidence: In West Virginia about 1984, the Morgantown Public Library reported that video circulation accounted for more than 6% of annual circulation. See Caron (1984). The video share estimate for 2004 is based on the data in Galbi (2007b). While the data could support a higher estimate for the video share in 2004, I’ve used a rather low estimate to generate a conservative estimate of the growth rate.

Videos borrowed from public libraries: Calculated from library circulation and video share.

Video borrowing price from libraries: Dewing (1988) pp. 70-71 provides the data on prices for borrowing videos from libraries in 1987. Most libraries (73%) had a loan period of about a week. I roughly estimate the price in 1985 to be $0.50, and also roughly estimate the price in 2004 to be 0. The later estimate is based on the declining purchase price of videos and personal knowledge of library operations. Elgin (1992), p. 12, recorded that libraries that eliminated charges for borrowing videos experienced increased video borrowing.

Video rentals from video stores: From EMA, A History of Home Video and Video Game Retailing.

Video rental prices: EMA gives the 1985 average price. I calculated the 2004 average price from rental units and total rental revenue (Adams Media Research data).


American Library Association [ALA], Public Libraries in the United States Statistical trends, 1990-2003.

Caron, Barbara (Fall 1984), “Video Cassettes in the Public Library,” West Virginia Public Libraries; cited in Elgin (1992) p. 6.

Dewing, Martha, ed. (1988), Home Video in Libraries (Boston, Mass.: Knowledge Industry Publications).

Elgin, Romona R. (1992), Comparison of Book and Video Circulation in Public Libraries, Student Report, Northern Illinois University, Department of Library and Information Studies.

Galbi, Douglas (2007a), Book Circulation Per U.S. Public Library User Since 1856, available at

Galbi, Douglas (2007b), “library users like audiovisuals,” available on

Goldhor, Herbert (1985). A Summary and Review of the Indexes of American Public Library Statistics: 1939-1983. Library Research Center Report (Eric Document # ED264879). Urbana, IL, Illinois University.

National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], Public Libraries.

A judge in the city of Pécs has sentenced two individuals caught accidentally with 85 and 735 illegally copied CDs and DVDs to seven and eighteen months suspended prison term and 2 million HUF penality. The damage was 12 million HUF. The prosecution has not appealed the decision.

Precedens értékû, jogerõs ítéletet hozott a Pécsi Városi Bíróság a napokban egy évek óta húzódó, szerzõi jogokat sértõ kalóz-ügyben – adta hírül az ASVA, az Audiovizuális Mûvek Szerzõi Jogait Védõ Közcélú Alapítvány. A bírói döntés értelmében a két elkövetõ hét hónap, illetve egy év hat hónap szabadságvesztésre és összesen több mint 2 millió forint pénzbírság megfizetésére ítéltetett. A jog 1992 óta ad lehetõséget arra, hogy a szerzõi jogok megsértését akár szabadságvesztés kirovásával is sújtsa a bíróság
Az 2004 nyara óta húzódó ügyben az egyik elkövetõt 85 rendbeli, a szerzõi jogok üzletszerûen elkövetett megsértésének bûntettében és szerzõi, vagy szerzõi joghoz kapcsolódó jogok védelmét biztosító mûszaki intézkedés kijátszásának vétségében találta bûnösnek a pécsi bíróság, így õt halmazati büntetésként hét hónapi szabadságvesztésre, míg társát, aki 735 rendbeli, a szerzõi jogok üzletszerûen elkövetett megsértésének bûntettében találtatott bûnösnek, 1 év hat hónap börtönbüntetésre ítélte a bíróság. Mindkét esetben a szabadságvesztés végrehajtását próbaidõre felfüggeszti a bíróság.

I super interesting talk with the late Jack Valenti from 2004. Well worth a read (or download the audio version if you like).


Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), will discuss the impact of digital technology on the entertainment industry. Drawing on his experience as an advocate for major producers and distributors of entertainment programming for television, cable, home video, he will discuss the promise and the dangers of emerging technologies for the production and distribution of films and TV shows.

This is interesting because I see adult entertainment companies as good preliminary indicators to future trands. If they decide to side with MPAA, that it is a bad news for file-sharers.

Adult industry members have announced formation of the Global Anti-Piracy Agency, a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to combating content theft, from illegally downloaded Internet content to illegally reproduced DVDs. Initial funding for GAPA has been provided by Sureflix Digital Distribution, Inc., parent company of gay distribution network Maleflixxx.

“This is really in recognition of a problem that everyone is aware of and is affecting everyone in the industry,” GAPA Interim Executive Director Caryn Goldberg told XBIZ.

GAPA estimates that illegal downloading, file-sharing and other forms of piracy are costing adult industry producers, distributors, retailers, cable operators, VOD and mobile providers nearly $2 billion a year in lost revenue.

“We’re not talking so much about a guy that downloads a couple of videos illegally, although that is a problem. It’s all the file-sharing services. Look what the recording industry did to Napster. It’s these gross infringements, like file-sharing and BitTorrent.” said Goldberg.


Platforming is for low budget films, foreign films, idiosyncratic films. Blitzing is for expensive films; those that might turn into ‘blockbusters’ – but also those that might be too expensive to expose to audience opinion, too expensive to ‘discover’ that demand is low.

Tech news blog – CNET

“I don’t agree with the copyright laws,” Moore said during a press conference three years ago. “I don’t have a problem with people downloading the movie and sharing it as long as they aren’t doing it to make a profit off my labor. I would oppose that.”


In the end, nobody really knows what effects copyright infringement has on a movie’s earning potential, said Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University. Zittrain does, however, see one benefit from the controversy.

“The real benefit of this kind of leakage,” Zittrain said, “is that it pressures Hollywood to think outside of the box instead of hoping the Internet will just go away.”

Boing Boing

“Open Source Cinema is trying to put together a collaborative documentary about copyright in the digital age. They’ve travelled the world and have loads of raw footage available under creative commons which anybody can download, remix, and upload again! The script is also completely editable by users. The finished documentary is to be screened on the documentary channel and in many theaters. They need help, however: people, get editing!”

China’s infamous movie pirates have done it again — “Spider-Man 3” is already being sold on Beijing’s streets almost two weeks ahead of its U.S. premier.

Costing just over $1 apiece, the pirated DVDs appear to be of the actual movie, complete with a picture of the hero in a new, black spider suit which he wears for some of the film.

There is even a warning on the back, printed in Chinese, against pirating the product.

“It’s too expensive to go to the cinema to watch movies,” said Beijing resident Duan Nana. “This has a lot to do with why people are rushing to buy fake DVDs and watch movies at home. It’s very common and it’s logical.”

’07 b.o. a record in waiting

Boxoffice coin in the U.S. ought to tip the scales at slightly less than $10 billion this year, an all-time record, followed by a couple years of anemic growth as higher ticket prices offset slightly declining attendance.

That’s the word from Wedbush Morgan Securities, which issued a 40-page report Friday on the state of the exhibition industry. Wedbush concludes that the dour predictions of new technologies dooming the movie theater were overblown and reiterates that it was the poor quality of movies that caused exhibition revenue to stagnate, or worse, from 2003-05.

“Consumers are showing, through their continued attendance, that pay-per-view, DVDs and streaming media may be increasingly close substitutes for a movie-watching experience, but they are not as close of a substitute for an evening out,” Wedbush analyst William Kidd wrote.

Consumers with the most entertainment gadgets and services also are the ones who go to movie theaters most often, according to Nielsen Entertainment/NRG data.

For example, among moviegoers who see an average of 10.5 films in theaters each year, 46% of them are Netflix subscribers and 68% have a home theater. Among those who see just 7.1 movies in theaters each year, 16% subscribe to Netflix and 16% have home theaters.

Kevin J. Delaney. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 2007. pg. A.1

newtube-wsj.gif“It’s out there — you just have to hunt around for it a bit,” says the 28-year-old Mr. [Sam Martinez]. Like many similar sites, YouTVpc relies heavily on video-sharing sites outside the U.S., such as a French outfit called Dailymotion and in China. Mr. Martinez estimates that about 40% of the shows and films on the site — including episodes of “Desperate Housewives” and Fox’s “Prison Break” are provided by

Last year Mr. Martinez’s childhood friend, Mr. [Billy Duran], built on the idea and created a site called “VTele” as an assignment for a computer-science class at Central New Mexico Community College. Through it, users could view TV shows and movies that he and Mr. Martinez copied from DVDs and uploaded to the school’s computer servers. The 23-year-old Mr. Duran says he got an “A” on the project. But within a month, the site attracted so many users that some of the school’s computer servers crashed. Administrators threatened Mr. Duran with expulsion.

Mr. Duran dropped out of Central New Mexico, and the two friends relaunched the site in September. At first it relied on volunteers to store video files on their own servers, until a user pointed Mr. Martinez to Dailymotion. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh — gold mine!'” recalls Mr. Martinez. “We had all 18 seasons of ‘The Simpsons’ in two hours.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The commentary from Investor’s
Business Daily writer Brian Deagon recants the MPAA’s spin that “in
2005 alone it lost $2.3 billion to Internet copyright breaches in the
U.S and $7 billion worldwide, including box-office receipts and video

The USA Today article tells how the film industry is set to break all box office
records this year. “Through Sunday, ticket sales are at $2.1 billion, a
healthy 6% ahead of the same time last year and 5% ahead of 2005, according
to estimates from Nielsen EDI”, says Scott Bowles who penned this story.
And with summer crammed with such showcase movies as Spider-Man 3, Shrek the
Third and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, studio executives already
are crowing that 2007 could be a record breaker”. According to the article
“The record was set in 2004 with $9.54 billion in the USA, although 2002
holds the record for most tickets sold at 1.6 billion”.

Critical Culture

Karagarga calls itself “a private bittorrent community specializing in arthouse, alternative, cult and classic movies”. I call it: a treasure-trove of world cinema. Want some Jacques Rivette to pass your evening? Take your pick from 14 films. How about some Yasujiro Ozu? There are 39 to choose from. Satyajit Ray? Kazimierz Karabasz? Nicholas Ray? 32. 10. 21. How about a huge list of film noir, a detailed write-up of films from Quebec, or helpful introductions to films, film movements, and filmmakers you haven’t discovered yet? Check, check, and check. In fact, all encompassed, Karagarga’s history of movies contains over 13,000 films! All with passionate discussion, background info, and links to subtitles (some hand-made) in a variety of languages; and all constantly up-kept to make sure the rips are of the highest quality possible.

What you won’t find at Karagarga, however, are mainstream films, screeners, or anything shot with a camcorder inside a movie theatre. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Internet is already teeming with more than enough sites to tickle your urge. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in a community of worldwide cinephiles dedicated to the preservation and experience of over one hundred years of cinema, come on in, and join. It’s free. It’s fun. You’ll make friends.

The link below will take you to the sign-up page:

join Karagarga!

Oh, and there are some broad time and quantity limits on accepting new members, so, as the curlers say: hurry hard!


Like other online publishers, has had to puzzle out ways to deal with the perennial problem of copyright infringement on peer-to-peer networks and Usenet.’s solution is live shows. In some ways, it’s is a throwback to a more analog era, back when the Grateful Dead encouraged taping and sharing of live concerts (while still charging admission). The band Phish follows the same model today by authorizing taping and Internet sharing for “non-commercial purposes.”

Earlier this month, began streaming live 1080i high-definition video–at a time when mainstream sites such as offer jerky, blurry pre-edited clips at roughly one-tenth the resolution of high-def.

Anti-piracy success and more local movies play a part

Cathay’s Malaysia president Suhaimi Rafdi said the overall cinema viewership in Malaysia had recorded a double-digit growth for the past two years and Cathay itself recorded a 17 % increase last year.

“We believe that among the major contributing
factors to the increase of cinema viewership in the past year is the
government’s success in reducing pirated VCDs and DVDs,” he said.

Another factor was the increase in local movie productions. Suhaimi said that 48 local movies were screened in
local cinemas last year compared with five years ago when only 20
titles were produced.

 – International Business Times –

Tired of being turned away at the theater box office when a movie’s
sold out? Unhappy there’s no art-house theater in your neighborhood to
cater to your hoity-toity theatrical tastes?
Those days could be ending, say representatives of Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment and a company called Digital Cinema Implementation Partners.

The three are working on a new digital film delivery system that, if successful, could give theater operators the flexibility to put a popular movie on an extra screen as quickly as the demand for it arises. At the same time, theater operators could boot out a surprise stinker and even book in for a day or two an art-house film with a small but devoted audience.

“Our goal really is to have the easiest, fastest, most reliable, most cost-effective content delivery technique possible to the theaters we represent,” said Travis Reid, Chief Executive of Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, which is working with Warner Bros. and Universal.

The process, still in the early stages of development, would use satellite and broadband delivery systems to beam digital films directly to theaters, rather than have them copied onto hard drives and delivered by hand, as for the most part they are now, said Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president for distribution and technology.

That kind of rapid delivery, Reid said, would allow theater operators the flexibility to economically market niche films that could be shown for just a day or two to a targeted audience. It would also allow operators to quickly find more screens for surprise hits.

“We believe that if we can make that a very efficient process, very fast, they’ll be able to respond to audience demands more,” he said.

Beaming an encrypted version of a digital film directly to the theater should also cut down on film piracy and bootlegging, Antonellis said, by eliminating the number of opportunities for people to get their hands on the movie as it is transit.

DCIP is owned equally by the Regal, AMC and Cinemark theater chains, which have 14,000 screens in North America. The new system would be available to those and other interested theater operators, Reid and Antonellis said. About 2,200 U.S. theater screens currently show digital films.

Officials with the venture wouldn’t offer a date by which they hope to have the system in place or give a cost estimate.

“I think the latter part of this year we’ll likely be doing some testing,” said Antonellis. “Our hope is as things progress and … as the projectors roll out there will be a lot more activity.”

Times are definitely changing. no single author, but a single copyright holder. (via kottke, nytimes) –

As Mr. Gupta explains, “Bollywood is not just India, it is not just for local consumption, but Bollywood is also very voraciously consumed overseas. In addition, there is the ripple effect as Indian culture is quite akin to Middle Eastern and Eastern European culture making Indian cinema stars, Indian movies and Indian songs super hits throughout these regions.”

However, as the film industry has grown to new levels, so has the problem of video and movie piracy. In fact, in India it is estimated that movie piracy basically nullifies theatre revenue after only 3 months, nearly half that of a typical U.S. theatrical window. This of course significantly cuts into the film industry’s bottom line. As a result the Indian government has made dealing with piracy a priority.

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Rada Banjanin plans to stay up late on Sunday, fingers crossed that “Babel” will take the best picture Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards.

Not that she watched the inter-continental saga on the big screen. Rada hasn’t been to the cinema for over a year, but has seen nearly all this year’s Oscar nominees for 2.5 euros ($1.3) a copy in the comfort of her Belgrade living room.

“I like to see the latest hits, and I get them all on DVD,” she said ahead of the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on February 25.

Belgrade’s “King Aleksandar” boulevard is packed with vendors selling the latest movies from cardboard crates on wooden stands, often before they open in European cinemas.

“The Last King of Scotland” and “Rocky Balboa” were available this week. “The Departed” went on sale months ago.

This year, the Motown musical “Dreamgirls” is in big demand in Serbia. “Everyone wants ‘Dreamgirls’. But we’ve run out of copies,” said one street vendor, who asked not to be named.

It’s a poke in the eye for Serbian authorities, who say they have cracked down on the film piracy that gave Serbs one up on the rest of the world while their country sank under war, sanctions and isolation in the 1990s.


Things have improved since then, says Zoran Savic, Serbia’s anti-piracy chief. But according to some estimates, he says, “pirate copies arrive in Belgrade between five and seven days after the movie premieres in the United State”.

“The main problem here is the copies are so easy to get hold of on the streets, and sometimes via Internet,” Savic said.

Video clubs offer under-the-counter lists of pirate offers to loyal customers, sometimes including screening copies sent out for review only and marked “not for public viewing”.

In the United Nations-administered Serbian province of Kosovo, the bootleg trade is wide open.

At the gates of NATO headquarters, aptly named ‘Film City’, brightly colored four-storey shops sell thousands of pirated films and music CDs, as well as fake Breitling wristwatches.

The customers are international police officers in an array of uniforms and gun-toting NATO peace troops in camouflage.

And it’s not only Serbia.

“It’s the same here in Sarajevo. It’s easy and everyone is doing it,” said Reuters Bosnia correspondent Daria Sito-Sucic.

In the Macedonian capital, Skopje, correspondent Kole Casule says films such as the James Bond hit “Casino Royale” and Scorsese’s “Departed” sell for 80 denars (1.5 euros).

Albania correspondent Benet Koleka bought “The Queen” and “Next President” from a Tirana shop loaded with bootlegs.

Officially, the sales are illegal in all four countries. Of the former Yugoslav republics, only Croatia has clamped down with success on the suitcase DVD trade, says correspondent Zoran Radosalvjevic. “It’s mostly illegal downloads now,” he said.


The fact pirates still thrive in the Balkans will hardly dampen spirits at the Oscar ceremonies.

But piracy undermines the home-grown movie industry, which is unable to offer good financial rewards because so few people go the cinema. Research shows under 20 percent of the 7.5 million people in Serbia went to the movies in 2006.

“People don’t have the feeling they are doing anything wrong by buying pirate DVDs and watching them at home,” says Danijela Milosevic of Taramount, which distributes Disney movies here.

In 2005, Serbian ‘blockbuster’ “Mi Nismo Andjeli” (We’re No Angels) lost an estimated 400,000 cinema-goers when pirate copies hit the stalls just days after the film premiered in Belgrade, according to its director, Srdjan Dragojevic.

Director Miroslav Momcilovic said his 2006 movie “Sedam i po” (Seven-and-a-half), a bitter-sweet take on the sinking of postwar Serbian society, suffered a similar fate.

But he didn’t have the heart to put up a fight when he saw fake copies of his own movie being sold on the streets.

“Pirates have given me such pleasure over the years. I can’t just forget a dozen years of watching those films and turn around and be radically against piracy.” – Michael Geist

In recent weeks, Canadians have been subjected to a steady stream of reports asserting that Canada has become the world’s leading source of movie piracy. Pointing to the prevalence of illegal camcording – a practice that involves videotaping a movie directly off the screen in a theatre and transferring the copy on to DVDs for commercial sale – the major Hollywood studios are threatening to delay the Canadian distribution of their top movies.

While the reports have succeeded in attracting considerable attention, a closer examination of the industry’s own data reveals that the claims are based primarily on fiction rather than fact.

Google’s strategy for its newly acquired YouTube site was dealt a serious blow on Friday when Viacom, the owner of MTV, demanded that all its clips be removed from the user-generated internet company’s site.

Viacom, which owns youth brands such as Nickelodeon and Comedy
Central, made the demand after months of negotiations with YouTube and
Google. It said more than 100,000 affected video clips on the YouTube
site had generated more than 1.2bn video streams.

move threatens to wreck Google’s attempts to cement commercial
relationships with traditional media groups, which supply most material.

acquiring YouTube for $1.65bn in October, Google and Eric Schmidt, its
chief executive, have made a frantic effort to forge relationships with
traditional media companies. They have managed to sign short-term deals
CBS, Warner Music, Sony-BMG and Universal Music.

with Viacom appeared to break down over the splitting of advertising
revenues from Viacom content. There was also a fight over which company
would make those sales.

Viacom executives were frustrated that
YouTube had failed to implement a content-monitoring system by the
beginning of the year, as it had promised, so companies could easily
tell when their material was being posted.

It accused Google and
YouTube of reaping all the revenue from their material “without
extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the
effort and cost to create it”.

YouTube said it would comply with the request.

unfortunate that Viacom will no longer be able to benefit from
YouTube’s passionate audience which has helped to promote many of
Viacom’s shows,” YouTube said in a statement. “We take copyright issues
very seriously. We prohibit users from uploading infringing material,
and we cooperate with all copyright holders to identify and promptly
remove infringing content as soon as we are officially notified.”

and other traditional media groups are eager to distribute their
content to audiences of social networking and user-generated websites,
which are wildly popular with young consumers. But they are wary of
losing commercial and editorial control.

They complain that most
clips posted on the sites are derived from their copyrighted work and
have been appropriated without permission.

Viacom believes it
has particular leverage because it specialise in youth-oriented and
short-form video clips. It has previously demanded that clips from
programmes such as Comedy Central’s Daily Show be removed.

US copyright laws, sites are protected from legal action as long as
they respond in a timely manner to requests to remove unauthorised
NBC Universal, Disney and Viacom complain that they have to monitor hundreds of thousands of clips.

BBC NEWS | Business |

YouTube founder Chad Hurley confirmed to the BBC that his team was working on a revenue-sharing mechanism that would “reward creativity”.

The system would be rolled out in a couple of months, he said, and use a mixture of adverts, including short clips shown ahead of the actual film.

Speaking to the BBC after the session, he declined to
give further details, saying that YouTube was still working out the
technology and processes involved – both for the rewards system and the
video clip advertising system.

International Herald Tribune

“FIFA 07,” a video game for soccer fans, costs around €50 in Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free — yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on.

Realizing that it was impossible to sell “FIFA Online” in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

In the traditional media world, as well, readers
are turning to free: According to the World Association of Newspapers
in Paris, at least 28 million free newspapers are distributed every day
around the world, 19 million of them in Europe, where the total has
doubled over the past three years. And digital over-the-air TV systems
like Freeview in Britain now offer dozens of channels, providing an
alternative to pay-TV for consumers who refuse to limit themselves to a
handful of viewing options.

Qtrax will resemble illegal file-sharing
networks, using peer-to-peer technology to help users find and download
music. But executives hope that the promise of a licensed, safe and
legitimate service will attract users weaned on digital music but
unwilling to pay for it.

“There’s a whole generation of consumers who think free music is a
birthright,” said Allan Klepfisz, chief executive of Brilliant
Technologies, which is developing Qtrax. “The closer you are with a
business model to current consumer behavior, the better your chance of

Worldwide, media spending by consumers and
business users still handily outstrips advertising, by $944 billion to
$385 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. But growth in
consumer spending on media in the United States has slowed sharply in
the past few years, analysts say.

Worldwide, PricewaterhouseCoopers expects spending on high-speed
Internet access, which delivers digitized media, to increase faster
than outlays on content that traditionally comes with a price tag —
books, magazines, cinema tickets and CDs, for instance. Global consumer
spending on Internet access is expected to rise at an 11.9 percent
annual rate through 2010, according to the firm.

To be sure, consumer spending on media is not
going to disappear anytime soon. According to a survey of 130 media
executives from around the world, conducted recently by Accenture, 31
percent forecast that subscription models would be the dominant
business model in five years’ time, with 25 percent opting for
so-called pay-per-play funding.

But 37 percent said advertiser financing would be the predominant business model in five years’ time.

Can media companies adapt to a world in which “free is the new paid”?

via New York Times

Last week, a new contender entered the field with a radically

different approach to Internet movies: Netflix.

The company has done away with expiration

dates, copy protection and multi-megabyte downloads. That’s because

you don’t actually download any of Netflix’s movies; instead, they

“stream” in real time from the Internet to your computer.

Netflix has also done away with per-movie fees — in fact, there are

no additional fees for watching movies online at all. Instead, the

Netflix service is free if you’re already a Netflix DVD-by-mail


The hours of movie watching you get each month depends on which

DVD-by-mail plan you have. You get one hour of online movies per

dollar of your monthly fee. So if you pay $6 a month (for the

one-DVD-at-a-time plan), you can watch six hours of movies online; if

you pay $18 (for the three-DVD plan), you can gorge yourself on 18

hours of online movies. And so on. / Companies / Media & internet – Online ads ‘shun user-generated video’

User-generated video sites such as YouTube and MySpace will earn only a fraction of the advertising budgets available for more professional online programming, according to a study.

Such sites’ advertising revenues stand to grow from $200m last year to $875m by 2010, but this will account for just 15 per cent of the total online video advertising budget, according to Screen Digest, the media analysis company.

The report echoes News Corp’s admission that its Fox movie studio
and television content will be more important than home-made clips for
capturing online video advertising, a market which Screen Digest
expects to expand from $1.1bn last year to $6.2bn by 2010.

Chernin, News Corp president said at a recent conference: “We do not
see big advertisers advertising with YouTube or MySpace. They have
concerns about the content … and there is no scarcity value for the
content … so there is very little ability to monetise video
advertising on user-generated video.”

Study: At Least 25 Million Americans Pirate Movies

Roughly 25 million Americans — or 18 percent of the U.S. online population — have illegally downloaded a full-length movie, a study released Wednesday asserts.

In a study of 2,600 Americans polled via telephone and online, Digital Life America, a unit of Solutions Research Group, found that 32 million Americans had downloaded a movie at some point in the past.

Of that number, 80 percent of those users — or 25.6 million Americans
— exclusively used peer-to-peer file-sharing sites, the vast majority
of which have typically been used for exchanging copyrighted files. The
number of regular file-sharing users doubled between 2005 and 2006, the
study found.

“It’s all inclusive but as we note a few lines down, 80 percent of
downloaders use only P2P,” said Kaan Yigit, the director of the study,
in an email Wednesday night. “CinemaNow!, MovieLink, Amazon Unbox are
miniscule at this point – iTunes accounts for bulk of whatever legal
downloads there is.”
The study’s authors didn’t clarify whether “downloaded” implied illegal
downloads or participation in legal services such as CinemaNow! Some
file-sharing sites, such as, have also signed deals with
movie houses for legal distribution of licensed films. The authors of
the study did not respond to a request for clarification by post time.

The perspective is that users simply don’t care, or believe, that that
the studios are being hurt by piracy, the self-funded study found. The
survey revealed that 78 percent of those surveyed found that physcially
stealing a DVD from a store was a serious offense, but only 40 percent
believed copying the movie digital also merited a serious offense. The
study pointed out that those surveyed described an example of a
“serious offense” as parking in a fire lane.

“There is a Robin Hood effect — most people perceive celebrities and
studios to be rich already and as a result don’t think of movie
downloading as a big deal,” Yigit said, in a statement. “The current
crop of ‘download to own’ movie services and the new ones coming into
the market will need to offer greater flexibility of use, selection and
low prices to convert the current users to their services — otherwise
file-sharing will continue to thrive.”

The study also found:

  • A typical movie downloader is 29 years of age; 63 percent of all downloaders are male, and 37 percent are female.
  • A downloader typically has 16 full-length movies stored on his PC.
  • Of those surveyed, 56 percent watched a DVD on a PC at some
    point, while 29 percent watched a DVD on a PC in the last month. About
    25 percent have watched a streaming TV show on their PC.

The study’s authors estimated their error rates at plus or minus 2.4 percent.

The New York Times has an excellent article on the different views on mash-up culture:

Did you miss Eminem’s hit movie “8 Mile”? You’re in luck: Many of its rap battles and other major scenes are available for viewing on YouTube, the video-sharing Web site owned by Google. Indeed, until recently, the entire film was there, broken up into 12 nine-minute chunks to get around YouTube’s ban on longer clips.

An 18-year-old YouTube user calling himself Yosickoyo posted the movie six months ago. He declined to give his real name, but said in an e-mail message that he had made the film available as a favor to others who had shared movies. “I just want to thank them by uploading a movie that I have,” he wrote.

NBC Universal, whose Universal Pictures distributed “8 Mile” in 2002,
did not appreciate the gesture. The company asked YouTube to take down
the clips after it learned of them from a reporter.

“I think studios will sue if they don’t get a licensing deal they like,” said Jessica Litman, a professor at the University of Michigan
Law School. “My guess is if I were a movie studio, getting a cut of the
money is more profitable than shutting it down. But it’s complicated,
very complicated, and it’s only going to get worse.”

No one knows exactly how much Hollywood-derived content is uploaded to
the site without the studios’ consent, but academics and media
executives estimate it could be anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent.

The studios are happy to have some of their content on YouTube. Marc
Shmuger, chairman of Universal Pictures, said that for each new
release, Universal’s marketing team sends out a digital “tool kit” to
sites like YouTube with studio-approved graphics, clips, sound effects
and music videos that can be shared.

Mr. Shmuger said the studios need to embrace sites like YouTube because
they are the future of movie marketing. “If you want to be involved in
the cultural debate, you have to allow consumers to be more actively
involved,” he said. “That’s a different world order which we are not
used to.”

Already, several major music companies, including Universal Music
Group, once a corporate sibling to Universal Pictures but now owned by Vivendi,
have forged agreements with YouTube, which makes its money from
advertising, that allows music to be played in videos for a fee.

“We don’t want to kill this,” said Larry Kenswil, a Universal Music executive. “We see this as a new source of revenue for us.”

“I don’t consider any of this stuff piracy,” said Professor Litman of
the University of Michigan. “Folks are taking snippets and making them
their own.”

Ron Wheeler, a senior vice president of content protection at Fox
Entertainment Group, said that even though Fox was not being paid for
the right to use the “Napoleon Dynamite” clips, the company had not
asked that the video be taken down.

“We are not in the business of just saying no, but we do consider it unauthorized use,” Mr. Wheeler said.

Brian Grazer,
a producer of “8 Mile,” said some of the mashups he had seen were
“pretty hip.” But he said he, too, viewed them as a form of piracy: “It
bothers me artistically. Here’s this thing where you have no control;
they are chopping it up and putting your memories in a blender.”

The Directors Guild of America is already taking a hard line. The guild’s president, Michael Apted,
said in a statement that he and his fellow directors would challenge
the unauthorized use of any work. “We will aggressively protect our
members’ creative and economic rights,” he said.

Mr. Cotton, the NBC Universal lawyer, said that the YouTube
removal-request game could continue for only so long. “Sand is running
out of the hourglass,” he said. “Companies aren’t prepared to sit by
and not let this be addressed.”

Technorati Tags: , , , – Illegal Video Downloads Outpace Legal Downloads Four to One

According to the NPD Group, among US households with members who regularly use the Internet, 8% (six million households) downloaded at least one digital video file from a P2P service for free in the third quarter of 2006, compared with 2% of households that downloaded a paid video file.

Free, and often illegal, video downloads are outpacing paid video downloads by four to one.

Nearly 60% of the video files downloaded from P2P sites were adult film content, while 20% were TV show content and 5% were mainstream movie content.

Technorati Tags: ,

Studios OK technology for movie downloads – Yahoo! News

Hollywood studios have approved a new technology and licensing arrangement that should remove a major obstacle consumers now face with burning movies they buy digitally over the Internet onto a DVD that will play everywhere.

The lock, known as “content scrambling system,” or CSS, is backed by
the studios, TV networks and other content creators and comes standard
on prerecorded DVDs today. All DVD players come equipped with a key
that fits the lock and allows for playback.

With Qflix — and its studio-backed copy-protection system — consumers should have more options. But they’ll need new blank DVDs and compatible DVD burners to use it.

The system can also be used in retail kiosks, which could hold hundreds of thousands of older films and TV shows for which studios don’t see a huge market. Customers could pick a film, TV episode or an entire season’s worth of shows and have them transferred to DVD on the spot.

Isn’t this the same CSS system that was broken by DVD Jon?
I don’t quite get it. The studios are happy to announce to support a DRM known to be failed and agree to use it widely? Isn’t this a hidden admission of defeat? Or this is a last attempt to milk a dying format, the DVD?

Movie Group Claims Win in Chinese Piracy – Breaking – Technology –

A Beijing court has ordered the popular Chinese Web portal to pay $140,000 in damages for distributing Hollywood
movies online without permission, the movie industry’s trade group
said Friday.

China is regarded as the world’s leading source of illegally copied movies, software and other goods, despite repeated government promises to stamp out the underground industry. The MPA blames piracy in China for costing U.S. studios $244 million in lost box office revenues last year.

The group says Chinese regulators are encouraging a market for pirated movies by allowing only a few dozen foreign titles per year for theatrical release. It said five of the 10 movies cited in its lawsuit against Sohu were not released theatrically in China.

Battle of Britain: Piracy, pricing key DVD issues

LONDON — Price and piracy once again dominated the U.K. home entertainment scene this year, with both issues raising hackles throughout the industry as 2006 draws to a close.

For instance, the major supermarkets here are using DVDs as loss leaders — offering such hot new releases as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for less than £10 ($19.60).

Gennaro Castaldo, head of communications at leading U.K. specialist entertainment retailer HMV described the supermarkets’ actions as being “like a cuckoo in the nest that works against the best interests of the industry and other retailers. I can’t think of a thing the supermarkets do in a positive way to develop and sustain the industry.”

He adds that specialists such as HMV have “almost written off the blockbuster releases as revenue earners” because of supermarket pricing and have been forced to concentrate even more on deep catalogs.

[poor, poor retailers being forced to concentrate on deep catalogs. i can’t feel enough sorry for them. and even there they have to compete with bastards like amazon and other e-tailers. maybe they should be forced out of business as well, not just the supermarkets.]

“Giving it away below cost also damages the aspiration to collect DVDs because consumers perceive it as an almost throwaway product,” Castaldo said.


Castaldo argues that, far from benefiting the consumer, the cumulative effect of this sort of price-cutting is putting specialist retailers at risk and “damaging the diversity of the retail landscape in towns.”

[this is bullshit. supermarkets take the blockbusters, and the rest needs to find its own niche, with its special supply. specialist retailers should be flourishing, shouldn’t they?]

While supermarket pricing on new releases has drawn gasps of pain from specialist home entertainment retailers and distributors alike, some industry leaders, like Universal Pictures International Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham, believe there isn’t much more room for prices to fall — on catalog titles at least.

“But to be honest, I’ve been saying that for 4-5 years,” he explains. “I take a little bit of consolation in the fact that most people must be looking at the £5 catalog price point and saying if they move to £4 they will need a third more volume just to stand still.”

Unofficial estimates suggest that if December retail sales match those of 2005, the U.K. business will see a sell-through volume of about 222 million units. The problem is that the overall value of those sales has fallen roughly 7% thanks to the proliferation of cheap chart releases.

Most distributors and specialist retailers seem at a loss as to what to do to counter the plummeting prices. Some point to the proliferation of giveaway DVDs attached to newspapers as a contributing factor,

[so the studios and other copyright owners selling stuff to magazines cheap enough so they can give it free to consumers. so what we have here? it is called competition my friends, competition. retailers have to compete. finally. thanks god.]

saying that it sends consumers the message that DVDs are virtually free.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which will release “Casino Royale” next year on DVD, is rumored to be contemplating a particularly high dealer price for the hugely successful Bond movie in a bid to combat price-cutting.

But, for many in the industry, the major issue facing the business is still piracy. Seasoned observers note that the issue has become much worse with the virtual elimination of the independent rental dealer, who provided the eyes and ears at local level in the fight against intellectual property theft.

“We feel abandoned,” said John Worthington, owner of a rental store in Deal, Kent. “On the real frontline, the next person through your door could be someone telling us we are unemployed.”

[John, try to compete. not only with pirates but with other retailers as well. Others can do it, You can do it. see how independent bookstores are doing it: ]

Creative Industries minister Shaun Woodward told the British Video Assn. recently that more enforcement officers was not the answer and that the movie business had to tackle the problem on a global scale. “If you only look at it in the context of the U.K., you won’t achieve the solution you want,” he told the association’s recent general meeting.

Responded BVA director general Lavinia Carey: “Enforcement is the key for us and if we could see a lead coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in trying to reinvigorate the creative industries’ Intellectual Property Rights focus group or forum as it was then I think that would be extremely welcome.”

The studios are moving to help themselves, however, with sources suggesting that Warner is leading a group of distributors who wish to significantly increase the financial commitment to fighting piracy. They argue that the losses justify the investment.

[Everyone is whining when the status quo is upset by competing distribution channels. Get used to it and be competitive.]

Copyright vow going down the YouTube | FT business | The Australian

YOUTUBE’S failure to complete a key piece of anti-piracy software as promised could represent a serious obstacle to efforts by Google, its new owner, to forge closer relations with the media and entertainment industry.

The video website, the internet sensation of 2006, promised in September the software would be ready by the end of the year. Known as a content identification system, the technology is meant to make it possible to track down copyrighted music or video on YouTube, making it the first line of defence against piracy on the wildly popular website.

YouTube’s offices were closed for the New Year holidays. While providing no further details about when the system would be made formally available, it said tests of the system had been under way with some media companies since October 2005 and the system remained on track.

Mike McGuire, a digital media analyst at Gartner, said there was likely to be little patience for missed deadlines.

“The technology industry really has to start living up to the media industry’s expectations,” Mr McGuire said.

The NPD Group: Peer-to-Peer Digital Video Downloading Outpacing Legal Alternatives Five to One

According to The NPD Group, a leading consumer and retail information company, among U.S. households with members who regularly use the Internet, 8 percent (six million households) downloaded at least one digital video file (10MB or larger) from a P2P service for free in the third quarter of 2006. Nearly 60 percent of video files downloaded from P2P sites were adult-film content, while 20 percent was TV show content and 5 percent was mainstream movie content.

Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” tallied first-week sales of 10.5 million units, according to the studio, making it the biggest home video debut of any new release this year.

The sequel, also the top box office earner of 2006, shot to No. 1 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales chart for the week ending December 10, and its draft pulled the original “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” back up to No. 9 a full three years after it was released.

It is despite of or because of file-sharing? POTC was number 1 on p2p networks as well.

Index – Tech:

A szervert lefoglalták, az üzemeltetőt feljelentették, házkutatást tartottak nála és kihallgatták, majd amikor az eljárás bűncselekmény hiányában megszűnt, pótmagánvádat is beterjesztettek ellene. De a ProArt teljes jogi arzenálja sem volt elég a Diablo Hub nevű fájlcsereközpont kiiktatására, az ügy a hangzatos nyilatkozatok ellenére a vádemelésig sem jutott el. Az ország egyik legnagyobb fájlcserélője most rágalmazás és hamis tanúzás miatt ellenperelné a szerzői jogvédő ernyőszervezetet.

MPAA sues over DVD-to-iPod service:

After the iPod gained the ability to play videos, services sprung up that would rip your DVDs and reencode them for viewing on your iPod. Useful, but illegal in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has decided to sue one of those DVD ripping and reeconding services. Earlier this month, Load ‘N Go Video was sued by Paramount Pictures in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit accuses Load ‘N Go Video of copyright infringement and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Based in Boston, Load N’ Go was founded in 2005 to help consumers get video content on to their portable media players. Load N’ Go also sells iPods and DVDs, and will rip DVDs for its customers and load them on to their iPods. The customer then gets the iPod with the movies loaded on it and a copy of the DVD that she legally purchased. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent copy protection, even for fair use purposes, so Load N’ Go’s prospects do not look good. The implications of this case are even more troubling. Not only could the MPAA sue any other companies performing similar services, but they clearly believe that they can sue you for ripping DVDs and moving the content to your iPod or other digital media player.

Fox to sell films in China to help reduce piracy – Los Angeles Times:

News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox film group will sell movies in China through an agreement with Zoke Culture Group, the largest video distributor there, to help cut down on DVD piracy.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will start selling videos including “Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties” and films such as “X-Men: The Last Stand” this month with Zoke, the News Corp. unit said Monday.

Moviemakers such as Fox are trying to recoup some of the $1.2 billion that the Motion Picture Assn. of America estimates its members, the world’s six largest studios, lost in Asian sales last year because of piracy. Time Warner Inc. in September said it might sell movies on DVDs in China when they were released in U.S. theaters to discourage illegal copying.

Favorite old flicks online / Startup inDplay to link archives with digital world:

Along with Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Hearst is giving angel funding to the Redwood City startup inDplay Inc., which hopes to solve this problem. “There are libraries and libraries of these films just sitting around lying fallow,” Hearst said. “With inDplay, we hope to … (create) a place where the library owners can broker deals with customers who want to license them.”

Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology | 

“Under UK copyright law,” says Ben White, copyright and compliance manager at the British Library, “we are unable to copy for preservation purposes film or sound material that sits in our permanent collection.” A further complication is the fact that about 10% of the archive, which includes more than a million discs and 185,000 tapes, is unpublished. Much of that is known as orphan works – pieces whose owners are unknown. We know who owns When I’m 64, but who owns the archive’s recording of Nelson Mandela’s speech at the Rivonia trial?

“We think the extra 45 years is very important,” Richard Mollet, director of public affairs for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the industry’s trade association says, calling the 1950s a “big bang moment” for the world impact of British music. “Copyrights are the asset bases of British record companies. If we enhance the asset base, we can go on to make other, more exciting entrepreneurial investment decisions. If we increase the length of the term, we increase the value of these assets. We think they should remain in British ownership, because that’s where they came from.”

Industry people often use the phrase “the Beatles extension” because the first Beatles recordings, owned by EMI – which has called for term extension in evidence submitted to the EU and the UK – will come out of copyright in 2012. When I’m 64 is 39 years old.

Much of the Beatles’ catalogue was sold to Michael Jackson, who outbid McCartney for the publishing rights in 1985 and has since sold them to Sony Records. McCartney has to pay royalties to sing many of his own songs. There are plenty of other, less famous musicians whose recordings are out of print yet locked in the ownership of someone who refuses to release them.

“Locked” is, however, a fighting word to Mollet: “We falsely hear it said that copyright equals locked up.” Not so, he insists: “It’s allowing companies to make available their back catalogues.”

Nonetheless, even without term extension, Glenn Gould’s 1955 performance – now out of copyright -of Bach’s Goldberg Variations is still available; it was recently reissued by Sony. And there are no industry figures for what proportion of revenue comes from old material.

“The cultural institutions are quite correctly identifying that they have film or recording stock that’s rotting away because of cost and, in some cases, ambiguity around whether it would be within the law to make preservation copies of that work,” says Paula le Dieu, managing director of the new media company Magic Lantern and former head of the BBC’s Creative Archive. “But they need to continuously be thinking about what the next problem is that they face: having made those digital copies, what access are they going to provide for the public?”

After all, she says, “a vast, vast collection of British cultural heritage is locked away on dusty shelves, of no apparent value or not enough value that people have been prepared to make even the most basic preservation efforts with that material, and why can’t the public access that material? Preservation is not enough.”

via techcrunch:

Video piracy rampant in Canada: experts:

In fact, an astounding 20 per cent of the world’s pirated Hollywood films made by illicit recording in movie theatres come from Canada, Corriveau says. The industry is sure of that, he adds, because each print of a film is individually watermarked before being sent to a theatre, thus allowing investigators to tell precisely where a film was illegally copied.


There’s plenty to iron out, not least the complex rights issues of movies. While new media rights are becoming a staple for new content deals, archive content is fraught with complications. “It’s the library that’s difficult because the stakeholders are many, and in some cases there’s no single owner. There might be contingent stakeholders, a guild, foreign distributors with a stake in foreign markets – it’s very difficult to get a library cleared for a new distribution model. That’s something the studios are working on now that we can’t influence.”
Ashwin Navin Of BitTorrent


“We understand now that piracy is a business model,” said Sweeney. “It exists to serve a need in the market for consumers who want TV content on demand. Pirates compete the same way we do – through quality, price and availability. We don’t like the model but we realize it’s competitive enough to make it a major competitor going forward.” That’s an incentive for Disney to make its content available easily and legally,

Disney Co-Chair Anne Sweeney

The changing art of measuring TV viewership – Network World:

Nielsen Media Research cannot collect data about what people watch on handheld video-viewing gadgets or from PCs streaming network TV shows. While Nielsen estimates around 90% of TV viewing still happens in homes, it’s this burgeoning 10% that TV networks and advertisers are desperate to delve into.

 “The industry is just dehydrated for this data,” says Bob Luff, Nielsen’s CTO, who oversees the design of the technology used to collect and measure TV viewing habits in more than 40,000 Nielsen homes. “But how do you measure what’s on a video iPod at 38,000 feet on an airplane’s fold-down tray?”

Skype’s Venice Project Revealed:

Skype’s Venice Project Revealed The company is combining professionally produced TV and videos with the Internet, and got the first look

The existence of the project was first reported on by in July (see, 7/24/06, “Kazaa, Skype, and now ‘The Venice Project'”). has since received an exclusive demonstration of how the system works.

To get started, users need to download a piece of software from the Web and install it on their PCs. When they boot up, the software will connect to the Web and open a full-screen window displaying “near high-definition” quality video images.

While the software turns your PC screen into something that looks a lot like your TV, the capabilities go far beyond anything you’ll experience in your den. Jiggle your computer mouse, and a variety of tools appear along the edges of the screen, even as the video continues to play. At the bottom of the screen, there are controls like those on a DVD player, including stop, pause, and fast-forward, as well as a search window to find new videos. An image on the left includes a menu of preset channels. And on the right, there’s a set of interactive tools that let you share video playlists with friends or family. An image at the top of the screen identifies the channel and the name of the clip you’re watching. All of the images can be expanded by clicking on them with a mouse. – TV Downloads May Undercut ABC Stations:

Last Thursday morning, Apple Computer Inc. started selling an episode of the hit television series “Lost” through its iTunes Music Store for $1.99 after the show aired the night before on ABC. It marked the first time a popular show was made available for legal downloading over the Internet so quickly after its original airing. With that, Apple may have helped open a Pandora’s box for the media business. The Cupertino, Calif., company and its first TV partner — Walt Disney Co., the parent of ABC — have taken a potentially significant step in the dismantling of a decades-old system for distributing TV programming to viewers, a move that could have profound long-term consequences for broadcasters, cable systems and satellite companies if more users download shows instead of watching them the old-fashioned way.

Apple’s deal with Disney, which also includes past and current episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Night Stalker” and “That’s So Raven,” is already causing waves in the TV business. On Friday, Leon Long, the president of the association representing ABC’s affiliate stations, expressed misgivings about the partnership, which was announced publicly by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Robert Iger at an event last Wednesday. In a letter Mr. Long sent to the president of the ABC network, Alex Wallau, Mr. Long said ABC affiliates are concerned that they weren’t given an opportunity for financial participation in a new form of distributing shows that derives value through the promotion and broadcasting of affiliates.

The letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, says: “It is both disappointing and unsettling that ABC would embark on a new — and competitive — network program distribution partnership without the fundamental courtesy of consultation” with its affiliates.

Mr. Long, who runs the ABC affiliate WXON in Biloxi, Miss., didn’t return calls seeking comment. Mr. Wallau said he would respond to the affiliates this week but declined to comment further.

For TV affiliates, Apple’s new offering “is really bad,” says Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. “You don’t get anything. You just get a smaller audience,” he says.

Also concerned about the Apple-Disney partnership are the unions that represent TV-show writers, producers, directors and actors. Soon after Disney and Apple’s announcement, those unions issued a joint statement saying, “We look forward to a dialogue that ensures our members are properly compensated for this exploitation of their work.”

Patric Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West, says the Apple-Disney pact would fall under current guidelines that cover video-on-demand and other forms of pay TV, which is 1.2% of the licensing fee that a production entity receives for retransmitting a TV show or movie. Apple and Disney haven’t said how they’re splitting the revenue from the $1.99 sale of TV episodes.

It’s unlikely Apple will cause a meaningful diversion of viewers from traditional TV in the near term. For now, it offers less than a half-dozen TV series from Disney through iTunes. Shows can take more than an hour to download if users don’t have the speediest Internet connection. And the video quality is inferior if displayed on a large television, though the picture looks better on a computer or one of Apple’s new video-capable iPod portable players.

But the partnership with Disney may be merely a first step for Apple, which said it expects to offer more TV shows. If downloading episodes over the Internet proves popular, analysts believe Apple will get permission to offer shows with better-fidelity pictures. Any success Apple has won’t go unnoticed by other online media powerhouses with expanding video initiatives like Yahoo Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which could all help extend TV downloading to more viewers.



 Page One: Comcast Builds a Mini Internet1
 Video Comes to the iPod2

The Disney deal with Apple is part of a whirl of efforts at all major media companies to explore new means of distributing TV shows. Live broadcasts of news channels like MSNBC are now available on cellular phones. Programmers typically make hit shows available on DVD within a year after the episodes have aired on a network.

On cable networks, there’s a growing selection of TV shows available through video-on-demand, though hit shows aren’t typically available for on-demand viewing as quickly as iTunes is putting Disney programming on the Internet. Cable giant Comcast Corp., for instance, has been trying for some time to strike a similar deal with Disney to offer “Desperate Housewives” on video-on-demand soon after it airs on the network. These talks haven’t advanced to a serious level because Comcast generally prefers to get content for video-on-demand free of charge, which it typically offers at no additional charge to subscribers beyond their regular monthly cable bills.

The technologies are all part of the slow death of “appointment viewing,” the mantra networks lived by for decades as they sought to habituate viewers to watching shows at one time on one outlet. The growth of TiVo and other personal video recorders that make it easy for viewers to record shows and watch them when they like, while skipping through commercials, helped undermine the networks’ control over viewing habits.

If Apple is able to assemble enough top-notch TV programming for iTunes, it could prove vexing to cable operators like Comcast. In the past, cable operators have faced pressure by politicians and consumer groups to offer individual channels “a la carte,” rather than forcing all subscribers to pay for large packages of programming that most don’t watch in their entirety.

Apple is, in effect, giving consumers the opportunity to cherry-pick programs for $1.99 each, though analysts expect it will be years before Internet companies represent a viable alternative to cable TV. On the other hand, the iTunes video offerings could help boost demand for the high-speed cable Internet connections supplied by Comcast and others.

TV advertisers, too, could someday be forced to adapt if Internet downloading of shows takes off, since the programs Apple is selling are commercial-free. Advertisers typically pay fees based on the size of TV audiences; if audiences shrink, they pay less. The Apple deal “is part of the changed world that we are living in,” says Peter Gardiner, a media executive at Interpublic Group’s Deutsch ad agency. “This is about finding news ways to distribute content and it’s up to us to find new ways to advertise.” – the original daily p2p and digital media news site:

A Swarm of Angels is a project that aims to create the first community driven film. The Film will be written, funded and distributed over the Internet. The plan is to gather a group of 50,000 people who each contribute £25 ($47.5) to join the project. The initiator, Matt Hanson, is an award-winning filmmaker and accomplished writer who wants to break free from the traditional movie business model. Hanson was inspired by the power of social networks on the Internet. Together with his innovative ideas about the future of filmmaking taken from his book “The End of Celluloid“, this resulted in a unique project. The film will be released under a Creative Commons license, and people are free to share, remix, and, distribute the film anyway they like. / Companies / Media & internet – Disney’s iTunes sales hit 125,000:

Disney has sold 125,000 online film downloads less than a week after agreeing to make its titles available on Apple’s iTunes store. The sales have added about $1m in incremental revenue to the media company, according to chief executive Bob Iger, who expressed confidence that revenues from the new film venture could reach $50m in its first year. “Clearly, customers are saying to us that they want content available in multiple ways,” Mr Iger said at an investor conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs. Disney broke with other Hollywood studios when it agreed last week to make 75 titles available on iTunes at prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99. reports:

Swedish media artist and film-maker Anders Weberg has a new project he’s tagged, ‘P2P Art – The aesthetics of ephemerality.’ It’s, “Art made for – and only available on – the peer to peer networks,” he says. “The original artwork is first shared by the artist until one other user has downloaded it. After that, the artwork will be available for as long as other users share it. The original file and all the material used to create it are deleted by the artist.” Weberg’s first P2P Art release is Filter, a 699MB film based on emotions he experienced when, at the beginning of the year, he woke up in the night to find his son 13-year-old son, André, unconscious on the floor.”

Films That Come Over the Net Don’t Come Easy – New York Times:

In addition to the lethargic download times, the playback restrictions imposed by studios are reminiscent of the fine print on a car lease. CinemaNow’s typical rental fees for the store’s 1,000-plus library of movies range from $2.99 for older titles to $3.99 for new releases. Offerings include most of the latest major releases, matching those you would find in a video store. You have 30 days from the date of rental to watch a movie, but once you hit the start button you have just 24 hours to watch before the rental self-destructs. If you want to download a title permanently to your hard drive, prices at CinemaNow are $9.95 to $19.95. The catch is that to adhere to Hollywood’s copyright restrictions these movies can be viewed on only three devices, all compatible with Windows Media Player, that you register with the service. You can make a backup copy of a purchase to a DVD, but that DVD will play only on the computer that was originally used to download the movie. Furthermore, not all rental movies are available for purchase — and not all movies available for purchase are available for rental.

the rest are as pathetic as this one. combat p2p with this….

GigaOM reports: Get Ready For Online Video Price Wars:

In-Stat, a market research company predicts that the global market for “online content services is expected to expand by a factor of 10, growing from about 13 million households during 2005 to more than 131 million households by 2010.”

LA Weekly has a nice article on the difficulties of clearing rights for documentaries.

“There’s actually a discussion within the BBC between people like me and some quite senior executives who are keen to say, ‘If we are a public broadcasting corporation, then we should make everything we have ever made completely free and downloadable at an MPEG-2 level, and people can do whatever they want with it. I think there is a feeling that if we could do that, we would be able to do something that those who are constrained by commercial considerations cannot. And then where will Rupert Murdoch be?

Here I collect the texts I have written as part of the research:

The Club model of cultural consumption and distribution

When it comes to the market of digital goods, clubs –buyers teaming up to buy a single item and share it among themselves– seem to have little or no economic significance. Digital files are either perfectly controlled, thus the producer can appropriate all of the consumer surplus that could have arose by forming a club, or there is no way to control unauthorized copying thus there is no price at which it would be reasonable to sell a good on the market.
But if we include other, noneconomic aspects of clubs, notably their ability to negotiate and
enforce norms on how a given good is accessed and used, clubs can have a significant effect
on markets. So far we have seen that technological protection measures and copyright laws cannot effectively curb unauthorized uses of digital content. User communities around jambands can be an exception from this general trend as together with the artists they have created a normative environment that is able to police and enforce undesirable actions.

Is there a way to propagate the emergence of such communities through adequate
technologies designed to connect artists and fans? What can we do to help fans and artists to negotiate rules they are both are happy with?

Bodó Balázs- Gyenge Anikó: A könyvtári kölcsönzések után fizetendő jogdíj közgazdasági
szempontú elemzése

A nyilvános könyvtári kölcsönzések után a jogosultaknak fizetendő jogdíj (Public Lending
Right – a továbbiakban PLR) ötlete több sebből is vérzik.
Ha a PLR-re mint a nemzeti kulturális politikától független eszközre tekintünk, mely e jogot természetjogi érveléssel a tulajdonhoz való jogból vezeti le, minden esetben oda jutunk, hogy a jogosultak monopoljogát kiterjesztjük és az ezzel járó járadékot növeljük. Ennek következménye jelentős fogyasztói csoportok kulturális fogyasztásból való kiszorulása lehet, melyre eddig a legolcsóbb és hatékonyabb megoldás a könyvtári kölcsönzés szabadsága volt.

Ha a PLR nemzeti kultúrpolitikai eszköz, akkor viszont azt a megállapítást tehetjük, hogy a PLR a meglévő kultúratámogatási rendszerek mellett való üzemeltetése indokolatlanul
bonyolult, és költséges, és ha az állami döntéshozók úgy találják, hogy van a költségvetésben kultúratámogatásra fordítható tartalék, akkor azt érdemes a meglévő intézményrendszeren keresztül szétosztani.

Végül pedig a jogosultak, szerzők szemszögéből megvizsgálva a kérdést: nincs olyan szerző a földön, aki visszavonná egy megjelent művét a könyvtárakból csak azért mert azt vélelmezi, hogy a kölcsönzések miatt eladásoktól esik el. Ennek az egyetlen oka az, hogy a szerzők számára a könyvtárban való jelenlét haszna nagyobb, mint a könyvtári olvasók által okozott kiesett kereslet. Már csak emiatt sem érdemes a PLR bevezetése.

The Pirates of The Pirates of the Caribbean

This is the PowerPoint presentation of the talk I gave on the Chicago Kent Law School this March.

Robin Hood Digital – english

“File-sharing communities are also remembering communities. They direct attention and thus demand, they discuss and thus keep alive cultural goods. When something is posted as available for download, not only those fetch it have requested a particular item, but also those who were standing nearby. These individuals are reciting work long forgotten like those who in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 memorize books to be able to share them with others.”

Sobri Joska Digital – in hungarian

Megjelent a Café Babel 2006 decemberi, Hiány c. számában.

A Csendes Könyvtár és az összes többi hasonló szolgáltatás az úgynevezett közjavakra épülő internetes kooperációs hálózatokra (commons based peer production networks) példa. A piac által (kényszerűségből) szabadon hagyott résekben, marginális igények, érdekek körül a semmiből jönnek létre olyan közösségek, melyek a hálózat tagjai között elosztott különböző képességeket, erőforrásokat (időt, szkennert, karakterfelismerő programot, korrektúrázó képességet) képesek hatékonyan összehangolni egy olyan feladat érdekében, melynek gyümölcseit aztán mindenki szabadon és ingyenesen élvezheti.”

A szerzői jog gazdaságtana az online világban

Frissen elkészült könyvfejezet.

“A szerzői jog közgazdasági elemzése során a szerzőknek biztosított monopoljog különös figyelmet vívott ki magának. Ennek az az oka, hogy a monopol helyzetben levő termelők maguk határozzák meg a piaci árat, és ez az ár jellemzően nagyobb, mint amennyi versenyhelyzetben lenne. Tökéletes verseny esetén a piaci ár megegyezik a termék határköltségével, azaz azzal az összeggel, amennyibe a legutolsó példány elkészítése kerül. A monopóliumok határköltségnél magasabb ára azzal jár, hogy a piaci kereslet egy
része nem tudja megfizetni a monopolista szabta árat.”

A szőnyeg alá söpört archívum
Megjelent a Manager Magazin 2006. Decemberi számában Tartalomraktárak címen.

“Ma Magyarországon az a kérdés, hogy a piacra várnunk-e, hogy ezeket az archívumokat kiépítsék, a nehézkesen működő és alulfinanszírozott közintézményekre lőcsöljük-e ezt a feladatot, vagy megteremtjük annak lehetőségét, hogy a magyar kulturális közösség fenntartsa önmagát. A Neumann-ház megrendelésére elkészített Nemzeti Digitális Adattár 2.0 vitaanyag a közösségi archiválás lehetőségének kiterjesztését tartalmazza, az első lépés tehát ezügyben megtörtént. Még egy lépés azonban hátra van. Dekriminalizálni kellene kirillt, scan_dalt, helpert és társaik. Hogy ne fordulhasson elő az, hogy ennek az örökségnek piaci, személyes érdekeket sértő részei esetleg nem maradnak fenn. Hogy ne legyen bűnöző az a soktízezres közösség, amelyik a magyar audiovizuális örökség archiválásán dolgozik – társadalmi munkában.”

A retardált archívum

Megjelent az Élet és Irodalom 2007. január 5-i számában.

“A közpénzből finanszírozott, közszolgálati archívum kapuit minél szélesebbre kell tárni. A hat havi elérhetőséget nem szűkíteni kell, hanem az archívum digitalizálásával bővíteni. Az archívumi anyagok lementését, felhasználását, adott esetben átalakítását nem megakadályozni kell hanem a megfelelő jogi konstrukció kidolgozásával megengedni , támogatni, bátorítani. Ezt követeli a finanszírozás módja. Ezt követeli a közszolgálatiság jelentése. Ezt követeli a piaci értékesítés igénye. Ezt követeli a józan ész.”
PhD 2-page research proposal in english

A short description of my research.

Régebbi cikkek/ older writings

A „mély link”
Internetes tartalomszolgáltatók vs. internet

Megjelent a Beszélő 2003 szeptemberi számában.

“Mély link valójában nincs. Link van, mely mutathat bárhová: egy portál címoldalára, a legutolsó, senki által nem olvasott cikkére, képre, linkgyűjteményre, bárhova. A mély linkelést nem lehet megtiltani, csupán azt lehet technológiai eszközökkel elérni, hogy egy adott gyűjteménybe csak egy, a hivatalos kapun keresztül lehessen bejutni. Ott pedig, ahol korábban szabad volt az átjárás, jogi vagy technológiai falak kezdenek épülni, melyek az internet mindent mindennel összekötő hipertextuális szövetéből kiragadnak, elérhetetlenné tesznek tartalmakat. Az intertextualitásból kiemelt, a többi szöveggel való kapcsolatától megfosztott valami pedig megszűnik szövegnek lenni.”

Bolyongás egy áldás nélküli térben
Graffiti és street art mint a társadalmi diskurzus eszköze

Megjelent a Café Babelben 2004-ben.

“Az egyre lezáródó fizikai, média- és kulturális terekben az autonómia megteremtése egyre költségesebb: magas a lebukás veszélye és nagy a várható büntetés, megfizethetetlenek a kártérítési és nem utolsó sorban jogi költségek. Nehéz felbecsülni, hogy az egyre szigorodó ellenőrzési technikák milyen mértékben gátolják üzenetek megjelenését, hiszen a leginkább kockázatvállalókat kivéve az alkotóknak nem áll érdekükben láthatóvá válni, nem szeretnék magukra felhívni a figyelmet. Ha mégis, akkor a szólás szabadságát keresők szükségszerűen mozognak a gyengébb ellenállás, tehát olyan médiumok felé, melyek könnyebben támadhatók, azaz ellenőrzésük architekturális okokból nehezebben megoldható”

MarketWatch reports:

Google Inc. later this month will begin distributing free, commercially-supported video clips from Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks to about 200 Web sites catering to young adults and teen-agers, in effect syndicating the programming to the Internet.

As we knw there are three different ways to charge for a content: sell it by the piece (view), sell it for a flat rate (subscripition based) and package it with advertising. As for now video content was not really available for advertising, at least the majors were reluctant to engage in such a business model. Now it seems the time has come. Will it be strong enough to catch on with other cultural goods like  movies or music as well?

icLiverpool reports: “TECHNOLOGY allowing bands to sell their music direct to fans on the internet and protect against piracy will give more power to musicians. That’s the claim of Liverpool firm Safesell which is behind the system that plays on any Windows-compatible pc or mobile.

It can be sent to friends by email or peer-to-peer file sharing. At the end of a promotional period anyone wishing to play the track again is invited to buy a license online.

Co-founder Brian Pond said: “Safesell is the first product in the world to offer everything you need to sell music or video direct to customers. “It provides downloading in a format which cannot be pirated; it allows the artist to control pricing of tracks and album and the quality of download, the territories and currencies they want to deal with; and it manages the payments.””

Now that is really interesting, a real alternative to the traditional middlemen like record companies and marketplaces. I hope it will work out at the end, and it will charge reasonable transaction fees.

This is the question everyone wants the answer to. Well we have data on the Pirates of the Caribbean II. And they are anything but easy to interpret.

Variety reports on 26/07 that “The smooth sailing continues for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Pic dominated four new entries and easily won the weekend box office with $35 million at 4,133 playdates.”

This film is all about breaking new records:

Disney’s swashbuckling sequel grossed $18.1 million Monday, shattering the previous nonholiday Monday benchmark of $14.4 million set by “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” last year.” etc, etc.

Well, PotC is not only #1 in the box office but also on p2p networks:It was downloded (as of 22/26) 1,485,734 times worldwide and 887,392 times in the US.
Now the question arises: what has happened to that nearly 900.000 downloads? Did they go and see it on the big screen? Or they have tuned out because they thought the movie sucked?

Well, one effect of watching the movie illegally before going to the cinema might be that people who would have been discontent with the movie eventually end up not paying for it. Is that so bad? I dont think so.

There is always a huge uncertainty associated with the consumption of cultural goods. Will I like it? Are all the movie reviews telling the truth? This uncertainty means extra cost on the buyer side and lost income on the seller side. So the seller (and the buyers) would do anything to lower that lack of information. How? The tools are apperent:

– large marketing campaign (including publishing good reviews and word of mouth)

– saturation of the market (try to avoid the wide release)

– using as many stars as you can pay for

– and use references to stuff the buyers already know (do a sequel, recycle a comics character).

With free downloads cultural goods stop being “experience goods” – or something that reveals its true value after the consuption. They become “search goods” – something that has a known value from the first moment.

So my bet would be that with this shift content producers will loose those customers, who were trying to lower their uncertainty using the proxies mentioned above, but they were cheated, misinformed or simply let down. They loose only those revenues that they do not deserve.And the fact that PotC II does well in theatres and on p2p might mean that it is actually a movie people are willing to see, because they already know it is good…

Ever wondered what is the point in piracy (besides providing free access to things that are too expensive/late/unavailable on the market?) They teach corporations the new rules. Reuters reports: “Hollywood studio Warner Bros. is taking on the pirates in China’s film market, using lightning-fast home video release and low prices to beat DVD counterfeiters at their own game.

Warner’s China film-making joint venture released its first picture, a low-budget film called “Crazy Stone”, in cinemas on June 30, then followed with a DVD version selling for as little as 10 yuan ($1.25) just 12 days later.”

This is what it means not to be in a monopol position and exposed to competition. But at least it has turned out, that $1.25 is still a price worth going after. Talking about a nearly pure information good this should be natural, shouldn’t it.

Michael Geist has an excellent piece on the alternative business models the online ditribution allows for individual creators:
Video and the Internet an Explosive Mix: ” Released for free on the Internet in early June, Globe and Voltz are featured combining 101 two-litre bottles of Diet Coke with 523 mentos. Less than two months after it was first posted, the video has attracted an audience of millions and has become a commercial success story.

Filmed with a US$300 budget, it has already generated nearly US$30,000 in advertising revenue for the two creators. Globe and Voltz posted their video on Revver, a new video site that places a short advertisement at the conclusion of user-generated videos (Revver shares the resulting revenue with the creator).”

For accessibility reasons mentioned in my previous post for those of You, whose local library doesn’t carry WSJ, or you dont have a credit card or the necessary means to pay for that article, here is a reprint of a copyrighted WSJ article. The rest of you, go and buy it, so they can write such articles in the future.

“Picks Rare Art Films Surface Online By IAN MOUNT July 8, 2006; Page P2

A groundbreaking experimental Man Ray film, made in 1923, is now available for anyone to watch free online. It isn’t on the Web sites of the Library of Congress or the Internet Moving Image Archive. But you’ll find it at both YouTube and Google Video, two amateur-video-sharing sites. Increasingly, rare and avant-garde films are showing up on sites like these, best known for hosting homemade video spoofs. On YouTube, there are 1969 art videos by Nam June Paik, a 1967 student movie by George Lucas and an iconic 1930 film by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, as well as a clip of Dalí in a chocolate commercial (pictured).

It’s the latest reflection of an online culture where fans can function as curators of digital entertainment, bypassing libraries and museums with their own collections of music or movies. In many cases, these rare film clips are posted by amateur film buffs who’ve scooped up film reels or rare VHS tapes from eBay or local sales, and then digitized them for online viewing. A handful of Web sites and blogs, such as the Greylodge Podcasting Company (, link to the clips, many of which aren’t available on DVD.

The posting of these rare films can raise legal issues, however. Some of the films are still under copyright, and will be taken down if a copyright holder objects. Two short films by director David Lynch, for instance, were recently removed from YouTube when Mr. Lynch’s production company complained. People who post these films say they’re only trying to increase awareness of overlooked cinematic gems, and say they receive few complaints. Because the posters generally aren’t profiting from the film clips, and aren’t cutting into anyone’s profits in cases where the films aren’t sold commercially, lawsuits over these film clips are rare. “Is George Lucas going to spend money chasing down his grad-school films? Probably not,” says attorney Daniel Harris, who heads the intellectual-property group at the law firm of Clifford Chance in Menlo Park, Calif. HOW TO FIND IT: For an index of rare films on YouTube, go to and choose “link dump” under “categories.” — Ian Mount”

(Note: CC licence does not apply to the WSJ article).

Well, this is very much like the point i am trying to make here. A Nam June Paik video piece might be interesting for 1620 people worldwide, and that might be enough to make a business model on. But aggregating this demand on the physical infrastructure is impossible. The question whether all of these 1620 people would be willing to pay for watching the film is yet to be answered. But the risk of the answer being no, might be a pretty high entry barrier for copyright owners when it comes to digitizing the archives in large quantities.

But what is costly and risky for one entity is cheap, easy, (but not quite) risk-free for the users.
Distributing the costs of digitization among the network members is a wise choice, even if it means you have to think about copyright in different terms.

Hollywood started experimenting with sellinbg movies online and offline using very different prices. In the UK “Universal Pictures and Wippit, the music file-sharing site [offer] Universal films on the day of DVD release. As for pricing, new releases are going to cost £19.99 with older films costing £4.99. Whilst this might look incredibly expensive on the outset, Universal notes that buyers will get three versions of the film. One for a computer download, one for a portable device and a hard copy through the post.” (source: bit-tech news).
Meanwhile according to p2pnet in a galaxy far-far away “Warner Bros is selling “selected” movies for a mere $2.75 in major Chinese cities.” They aim to gain some market in a country where illegal copies costing less than a buck are ubiquitous.

So let me start listing the factors of cultural accessibility:
– affordability
– availability on time – no more release strategies set by the producers?
– physical accessibility – download online, or buy it in a store, or rent it or go to a library?

and most probably:

– cultural capital – now simply substituted by marketing.

“The reason why piracy’s come along is that there weren’t enough products at the right price soon enough,”– Tony Vaughan, managing director of CAV Warner Home Entertainment Co, Warner Bros’ joint venture distribution company in China.

Write that down.