Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

C-11 ~ Copyright Fallacy #3

with 2 comments

Copyright "c" with Maple Leaf

“The damage that piracy does is very deep. If left unchecked, it will really have an impact on the number and quality of movies and television shows produced.”

— Ben Sheffner, MPAA Content Protection Counsel, Reason TV: “Too Much Copyright”

That sounds serious.

But is it true?

Well, no.

The reality is that the number and quality of movies and television shows produced by Hollywood has actually plummeted all the while American copyright terms have been “strengthened” and extended.

Over and over again.

television

In the 1950’s a television season ran as many as 39 episodes, but a series today is lucky to manage two dozen.

Hundreds of television channels may be available but how much of what’s there is of value? Programming created by the big television networks is often pretty awful.

It’s no longer possible to access analogue television broadcasts over the air in Canada, and I’ve happily not subscribed to cable tv for years now. “Reality TV” signalled the beginning of the end. I still watch “television”, but it comes on dvds, and I only need bother with the good stuff.

movies

Fewer Hollywood movies are made every year, so there is far less to choose from on the big screen as well.

Consumers have a finite amount of disposable income, and competition lowers profits, so greater profits can be realized from fewer movies.

Hollywood is primarily interested in sequels and remakes because they are the safest way to make profit. Safety rarely produces good art, which is why the most interesting cinema fare seems to be produced by the independents who assume the risks, and then, if successful, find a Hollywood distribution deal.

Ironically, I haven’t seen a movie in a cinema in years. Again, there is little selection to choose from in Canada, where we’re down to a single first run theatre chain. Without competition, what’s on offer is the same everywhere.

Better (and cheaper) selection can be found in the dvd remainder bins at my local super market or video store.

what copyright does

Copyright law allows Hollywood to realize the most profit out of the least amount of product. It is, in fact, the unchecked expansion of copyright law that has proven to have the most detrimental impact on the number and quality of movies and television shows produced.

what Canada’s Bill C-11 will do

Canada’s Bill C-11 “The Copyright Modernization Act,” makes it illegal for Canadians to bypass “Technological Protection Measures” or TPMs (what the rest of the world calls “DRM”)  for any reason.

If a TPM prevents you from playing the digital copy of a movie you’ve purchased on the device of your choice, and you bypass this “digital lock”, you will be breaking the law.  The only way you will be able to legally view the movie on the device of your choice, would be to buy a new copy.  And of course, if the device of your choice is a GNU/Linux computer, you won’t be able to play any commercial movies at all.

Bill C-11 is a real plum for the Copyright Lobby, but still, it won’t be enough to satisfy  Hollywood.   They want longer and stronger copyright law to reduce the depth of the cultural playing field even more, to eliminating competition and eroding the public domain through perpetual copyright.

Which is, of course, the real goal.



Canada’s majority government today passed Bill C-11, the co-called “Copyright Modernization Act” in spite of unprecedented Canadian opposition. The tragedy is most Canadians are unaware of copyright issues and don’t yet realize the growing impact it exerts over our daily lives.
This is the third in my C-11 Copyright Series:

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

June 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] Copyright: Fallacy #3 Share this:EmailPrintDiggLinkedInPinterestRedditTumblrStumbleUponFacebookTwitter […]

  2. My wife and I have happily joined the “cord-cutting” generation and given up cable tv.

    I think the only thing we’re going to watch, media-wise, is Netflix.

    lowestofthekeys

    July 3, 2012 at 9:19 am


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