December 16, 2004
Parasitism: Who's Leeching Whom?
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Well, the MPAA is now going after BitTorrent and eDonkey, trying to shut them down like the RIAA tried to do with KaZaA, and Napster before that. While the RIAA got Napster, KaZaA is still out there, just as Gnutella is still going strong. Considering the worldwide structure of the filesharing networks, it is doubtful that they will make much of a dent.
Then there is the question of whether or not sales are affected. Despite online downloads of movies, DVD sales remain spectacular, so much so that they actually outstrip box office sales--DVDs now represent 60% of the film industry's revenue, and films are beginning to sell more in DVD form than at the theater. So how is it that BitTorrent downloads are killing the industry?
This is the same lame argument made by the RIAA, which studies (such as this or this, PDF files) have continually dismissed. Sales did not decline until after Napster shut down, and losses generally match major economic trends--not to mention the fact that music sales took a downturn just the the music industry drastically cut the number of new releases they generated--hmmm, they put less music on sale and music sales fall, what could possibly be the correlation?
My favorite quote from these stories, however, is this:
John Malcolm, the MPAA's director of worldwide antipiracy operations, said: "These people are parasites, leeching off the creative activity of others."Ah. The downloaders are leeches on the creative activity... not the labels and studios that consistently rip off and abuse the artists? Please. No big industrial media firm is ever going to get my sympathy by claiming their "creative activity" is being "leeched" when they're doing what they're doing. Take Forrest Gump, for example: the film cost $55 million to make, probably about as much to promote, and it grossed $660 million at the box office alone--add a few hundred million for DVD sales--and yet Paramount claimed that it didn't make any profit, and refused to pay the author, Winston Groom, a single penny of the "net profit" they had promised him. This is hardly uncommon--Hollywood, just like the recording industry, makes it a standard practice to vastly underpay the artists and overcharge the consumers. They steal billions, then cry poverty, outrage and parasite at the filesharing phenomenon.
Hypocrites. I have no sympathy for them at all, only contempt.
Posted by: Jeff at December 17, 2004 03:54 PM