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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » MPAA really is evil. more fact based than Grendel's :)

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Author Topic: MPAA really is evil. more fact based than Grendel's :)
philnotfil
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So a while back HP got in trouble because it was getting information about its board members by telling the phone companies that they were them. Technically it wasn't illegal, just immoral and unethical. California decided it should go ahead and make it illegal. The MPAA said no. Apparently they use these techniques regularly and can't do business without them.

I'm not sure which is more disturbing, that the MPAA does this regularly, or that the state of California let them dictate what laws they can and cannot pass.

Wired

quote:
A tough California bill that would have prohibited companies and individuals from using deceptive "pretexting" ruses to steal private information about consumers was killed after determined lobbying by the motion picture industry, Wired News has learned.

The bill, SB1666, was written by state Sen. Debra Bowen, and would have barred investigators from making "false, fictitious or fraudulent" statements or representations to obtain private information about an individual, including telephone calling records, Social Security numbers and financial information. Victims would have had the right to sue for damages.

The bill won approval in three committees and sailed through the state Senate with a 30-0 vote. Then, according to Lenny Goldberg, a lobbyist for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, the measure encountered unexpected, last-minute resistance from the Motion Picture Association of America.

"The MPAA has a tremendous amount of clout and they told legislators, 'We need to pose as someone other than who we are to stop illegal downloading,'" Goldberg said.

Consequently, when the bill hit the assembly floor Aug. 23, it was voted down 33-27, just days before revelations about Hewlett-Packard's use of pretexting to spy on journalists and board members put the practice in the national spotlight.

Legislature records confirm that the MPAA's paid lobbyists worked on the measure. An aide to Bowen, who was forced out of the legislature by term limits and was elected Secretary of State, said the MPAA made its displeasure with the bill clear to lawmakers.

"The MPAA told some members the bill would interfere with piracy investigations," the aide said.


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LoverOfJoy
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A guy in the article claims there are lots of reasons investigators may need to be able to do this...not just to clamp down on movie piracy:

quote:
"There's a public reason and benefit for some of this information to be available to legitimate licensed investigators," Walsh said. "Should it be available to everyone out there? Probably not. There are people that have legitimate need for getting this information in terms of an investigation, enforcing a court order and helping to return a child. Those are all very legitimate reasons and by excluding that you do grave disservice to the average citizen and to large corporations."
To me, I'd think if they have a legitimate need for information they should be able to get it by working through the courts, not as an assumed power which it seems the revised law allows.
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The Drake
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The MPAA and DRM is what you get when the vast majority of citizens think it is okay to violate copyright law. Next time somebody offers you a ripped CD, warez, copied DVDs - tell them it's wrong.

If there were more self-policing, there wouldn't be a need for draconian measures.

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by LoverOfJoy:
A guy in the article claims there are lots of reasons investigators may need to be able to do this...not just to clamp down on movie piracy:

quote:
"There's a public reason and benefit for some of this information to be available to legitimate licensed investigators," Walsh said. "Should it be available to everyone out there? Probably not. There are people that have legitimate need for getting this information in terms of an investigation, enforcing a court order and helping to return a child. Those are all very legitimate reasons and by excluding that you do grave disservice to the average citizen and to large corporations."
To me, I'd think if they have a legitimate need for information they should be able to get it by working through the courts, not as an assumed power which it seems the revised law allows.
There are some good uses of this tactic, but none that apply to the MPAA, which is the group that got this bill shut down.
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Jesse
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Yeah, there is good reason for law enforcment to have access to all of this data, so that they can persue violators of copyright law.

Allowing corporate investigators to commit fraud in order to invade peoples privacy isn't anything other than a violation of the 14th ammendment.


The MPAA vastly overestimates it's losses, by the way, claiming that every illegaly obtained copy of a film represents a film NOT sold at full suggested retail price. That doesn't even pass the smell test.

It's not even relevant to the issue, really, whether or not they are going out of business as a result of piracy. I don't have the right to convince a locksmith I'm really you so that I can trespass into your home and see if you stole my television.

I've got to call the Cops instead, and hope that legitimate means produce enough evidence for them to get a warrant.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I'm sorry, but intellectual property rights are going to have to face up to the facts: it's not a commodity.

For comparison, imagine if one could take a bushel of corn at that cost $10 to purchase but then have the means to make copies identical to the bushel for .50 a bushel....

The stuff IS replicable; no one is stealing the original property (master tapes, what have you); and nothing is going to stop piracy except perhaps, some brilliant technology -- but that implies that a briliant counter-technology will soon appear.

Living in a world, wherein highly complicated and concentrated complexes of information are ubiquitously marketed, is brand new to humanity. We apply commodity concepts to something that is analogously organic, inherently protean, that can be delivered through the friggin' air in a maytter of minutes or seconds depending on bandwidth and bit rates.

It's like trying to control a species' gene stream. You can breed some unique puppies, and have them classified as purebreds, but folks can buy them puppies and breed as they like.

Royalties, licensing fees, patent rights, copyright protections... all this stuff is going to go through near-constant overhaul while we make the transition into a true Information Economy.

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Adam Lassek
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Kenmeer is absolutely right. Applying the concepts of scarcity to an information-based economy is a futile excercise due to the unique properties of information. Furthermore, DRM is not nor has it ever been about protecting copyright. I refuse to believe that the businessmen behind such successful companies are that stupid. DRM is about controlling the market.

DRM is a terrible idea for several reasons: It doesn't work, it hurts legitimate users not pirates, it's bad for business, it's bad for artists, and it turns ordinary citizens into criminals. I will elaborate on these points below.

DRM is implemented through cryptography. There are three parts to the scheme: the plaintext, or unencrypted data, the cipher, and the key, which is what the cipher uses to turn random information back into plaintext. When sending an encrypted message, you need to keep the key secret from attackers. The message is safe so long as the key is secret, even if the cipher is well known. The problem is, in the example of a DVD, the attacker is also the recipient. No matter how good the cryptography is, you have to give people the key or they can't watch the DVD; it has to be decrypted at some point to be useful. If someone wants to render the DRM scheme useless, they only have to examine it closely enough because all of the secrets are already in their possession.

A year ago, I was studying for a certification in my field of study. I decided to buy study materials online, because it was easier for me. The study guide came in an encrypted PDF file that was designed to only be viewable on one computer. The problem was, I wanted to print it out so I could study away from my computer, and I didn't have a good printer. So, I decided to take it to Kinko's and have them print it for me. Nothing at all wrong with that, right?

The PDF wouldn't work on Kinko's computers, because they weren't authorized to view it. I had to figure out how to break the encryption scheme, which took me about a day, just to print out a study guide which I paid for. I was forced to break the law just to use it in a perfectly legitimate manner. Breaking the protection was pretty easy, so if I wanted to distribute this file on the Internet, their DRM scheme wouldn't have posed a serious hurdle. It succeeded in nothing more than inconveniencing a paying customer.

Let me give you another example. I choose to use Linux as my primary operating system on my computer. There isn't any legitimate software available to play DVDs, but many Linux users want to do this, myself included. So, many people have taken it upon themselves to write this software themselves, and distribute it on the Internet. This sort of arrangement is where most Linux software comes from. The problem is, because it's not officially licensed, it's technically illegal. Every time I watch a DVD that I have payed for on my computer, I'm breaking the law. And yet, I doubt you would fault me for wanting to do this. DRM has turned ordinary citizens like myself, who just want to use media the way we've always been able to, into criminals just so the MPAA can make more money controlling the DVD market. This is not the spirit of copyright law.

Because of the above examples and more, media is getting more and more difficult to use. The more restrictive it becomes, the less incentive people have to pay for it. Why should I pay money for something if I can't use it? Copyright was created to balance the competing interests of creators and consumers. If nobody payed for the media they enjoy, there would be no incentive to create it. But, if the creators exert too much control over their work, there's no incentive for people to pay for it.

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The Drake
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Creators should have total control over their work. If somebody sells a CD that includes an agreement that says that you must saw the CD in half after you listen to it once, you have two moral choices.

A. Don't buy the CD.
B. Buy the CD and comply with the terms.

I stipulate that this moral principle can easily be extended to material goods. If I sell a computer, and stipulate that it must not be resold or used to distribute pornography, that should be enforceable.

Don't bother quoting the law - I know that's not how it works. But it IS how it SHOULD work.

Choice C. - Buy the work and then disregard the terms you agreed to when you bought it - should not be considered moral by anyone.

In this case, the publisher is actually trying to make things easier by providing the materials in an electronic form at all. They clearly should have only allowed the printed form, since it is so easy to break the encryption. But instead, they are trying their best to balance their right to control over their property with ease-of-use.

What makes you think that it was "perfectly legitimate"? Their agreement - and their hardware protection - both illustrate that having Kinko's load that PDF onto their computer is a violation of the terms you agreed to, and therefore by definition it is not legitimate.

I wonder if it is even allowed in the agreement to print out a hardcopy, when you get the encrypted PDF.

Do you doubt that making an electronic copy of a DVD to play on your computer is immoral? I don't. You agreed to something. You blew it off. That's immoral.

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Storm Saxon
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quote:

Choice C. - Buy the work and then disregard the terms you agreed to when you bought it - should not be considered moral by anyone.

Actually, I think there might be plenty of times when the ends resulting from going against certain terms produce more 'good' than if you didn't, which would make breaking the terms moral. [Smile]
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philnotfil
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With Linux, they haven't said that you can't play their DVD on a Linux computer, they just haven't provided the tools to do so.
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