03 July 2008

Illegal to Give Away Free Movies

I know it's a relic of the old paradigm, but if you give away other people's movies over the interweb you can get yourself in felony trouble with the feds.

And, no, before anyone asks, I don't think that intellectual property should be free of checks on its distribution. I've never been a fan of the RIAA and its ilk. However, if unchecked, the natural consequence of p to p is to make intellectual property unprofitable. I suspect the industry least affected by this would be the music industry wherein the performers would probably become more of the focus rather than the production/distribution companies (money comes from concerts, not CD's). This industry is mainly fighting a rear-guard action against a paradigm shift, not a real threat to its existence.

However, the affect on things like movies, software, even such things as comic books, &cetera could be devastating. Someone has to be convinced to front not insignificant amounts of money for these things. As things currently stand they front this money with the knowledge that only a certain percentage of productions will be successful enough to make money, much less become highly profitable. What happens if unrestricted p to p means that the day after a movie hits the screen it is distributed worldwide for everyone to watch without paying a dime? Nobody invests. Movies stop being made. We get stuck having to go to playhouses or theater in the park (shudder).

Yes, I know it's an extreme scenario as things now stand. Lest I get accused of screaming things about the sky falling, let me say that I don't see this happening today or tomorrow. However, this is not because the tech's not there, it's because a lot of people have not figured out how to use the tech. In a generation or so, when everyone has grown up using computers, the situation could be quite different.

2 comments:

John_David_Galt said...

The real purpose of RIAA and MPAA and their efforts is to protect big established media companies from competition from independent artists and from smaller media companies that actually want to give artists their due. See Carly Simon's "sharecroppers" article in Salon.

The moguls who have gotten rich by violating artists' moral right to profit from their works should not be allowed to continue posing as defenders of those rights against a huge horde of imaginary boogeymen. (Oh, and the word for the alleged threat is "infringement", NOT "piracy".)

Anonymous said...

WoW.
I just read the article from the link- and I will NEVER download a movie/show/song from a p2p again.

A FELONY?!?

Too much heat!