Thursday, September 29, 2011

New copyright Legislation is a Cave-In to US Studios to Prevent Lost Revenue Streams

Michael Geist is right on the new copyright bill: one part seeks a fairly good balance; the other, punishing digital lock breakers, is a cave-in to US Studios. People will find ways to copy a digitally locked DVD to mobile platforms and computers despite the deterrent. The question is shouldn't they be allowed to if they own the DVD? Public screening rights - in which, as a former film producer, I believe - should not apply to personal playback devices. What's the essential difference between playing back a movie on a DVD player and a mobile device? I suppose you could argue that a mobile device provides a disposition to share, but that's a weak and cynical argument assuming the worst of people: we'll legislate against fair use on these devices just in case they do decide to share. True, one can copy a DVD that doesn't have digital locks, but what commercial distributor is ever going to market a digital-lock free DVD?

This legislation is not about protecting creators' rights, as James Moore claims; it's about coercing us into buying either the DVD/Blu-ray with a digital copy or a downloadable digital copy for playback on a mobile or portable device. In other words, this is all about lost revenue streams not for creators, but distributors, who have a very powerful lobby in Washington - nothing more.

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