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SOPA DE MIERDA – An Open Letter To The Entertainment Industry

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on January 21, 2012 by admin in Editorial & Opinion

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Including a simple recipe for self-destruction: one part MPAA, one part RIAA, one part Washington, and three parts greed and ignorance.

I’m sorry movie and music industries, that you’re so goddamn stupid that since you can’t figure out how to make money with one of the greatest technological achievements in human history, you want to destroy it. No really. I feel bad that the mostly white, fatass males that run a multi-billion dollar industry that pays most of the hardworking working people struggling to get into it a pittance in comparison to their own incomes can no longer lounge in ease by the pool with a bevy of hookers. I’m also sorry that after buying Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl, cassette, and compact disc, that I copied it a few times for friends and personal use, and I’m sorry that after buying the “theatrical release” and multiple “director’s cuts” of Blade Runner on VHS and DVD, a friend gave me a copy of the Blu Ray version. Hang me. I’m sorry that when confronted with the terrible loss of revenue you’ve created with your own fucktardedness, the only solution you see is to grease the already slippery palms of Washington and lose even MORE money on doomed strategies. Because you know what? This little soup you’ve been cooking, this “SOPA DE MIERDA” as I like to call it, is probably going to be the last dish of crap you try to serve us. You see, there’s this OTHER recipe for entertainment we can ingest, and it’s been simmering nicely for a while now. It’s called INDEPENDENTLY PRODUCED MEDIA. We have the same tools you have now, and aren’t as greedy as you are. We can make more money than you ever paid us DOING IT OURSELVES. I mean, aside from all the great indy bands and films that have sprung up triumphantly in the wreckage of your business model, there’s USER GENERATED CONTENT. Let’s face it. Who wouldn’t rather watch funny cat videos for a hundred twenty seconds than watch crappy retreads like Cars 2, The Hangover 2, and a Conan the Barbarian remake for a hundred twenty MINUTES? Watching most of the movies your hallowed industry churns out these days is like a weirdly recursive cinematic bulimia, where one is forced to eat and re-eat the same meal over and over. I’m sorry, movie and music industries, when you’ve completed your grandiose acts of self-destruction, I won’t miss you.

Music Industry Plans To Pay Off Federal Deficit

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 23, 2011 by admin in Music

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

How else would you explain a $75 Trillion lawsuit? Yes. We said trillion.

It’s been clear for a while that the established music industry missed the boat to the digital age, and that their innovative new business model is primarily based on suing the pants off their own customers and pirating music from their own artists. But if you’ve been following these bizarre attempts by the music industry to remain profitable, one thing that that might be troubling you lately is the way that the government seems to be operating as a tool for the entertainment industry to execute this doomed strategy. The fact that the Department of Homeland Security basically admits that it’s the private police force of the entertainment industry raises perfectly reasonable questions like “Is CD Piracy a Matter for Homeland Security?” And for the entertainment industry to pursue this kind of strategy more aggressively than ever – especially at a time when consumer piracy has declined almost 50% in three years – has personally left me perplexed. Until today, when I finally figured out the long-term goal of this bizarre partnership between agencies devoted to national security and the people who bring you wonderful and innovative products like Justin Bieber and Toy Story 3. They’re out to eliminate the federal deficit. How else would you explain the music industry’s $75 Trillion lawsuit against Lime Wire? Yes, you read that right. Seventy five trillion dollars. That’s enough to pay off the current federal deficit 45 times, if you’re curious.

Live Indignation & Ticketmaster Slavery

[ Comments Off ]Posted on June 9, 2010 by admin in Music

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

It would be nice if the cost of live music were to enjoy the same market adjustment that recorded music has over the last decade, but things will probably get worse before they get better with the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

Few things have made me more ecstatic than the explosion of indy music over the past decade. But I still have one complaint. Ticket prices. While the average pop song has settled nicely at a price of about a dollar, and the artist generally takes a bigger slice of that dollar in spite of the lower unit price, concert tickets rose in price by over 80% between 1996 and 2003, and have continued to rise consistently since then. What’s behind this insane inflation of concert prices? Well, everyone’s pointing fingers, but most agree that it began over a decade ago with the aggressive and monopolistic practices of Clear Channel, who devoted most of their energy to decimating the diverse network of venues and promoters that used to exist. But as easy as it is to place ALL the blame on them, the fact is that “premium artists”, i.e.: dinosaur rock baby boomer idols like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles – are just as much to blame in many ways, by charging upwards of 300 bucks for shows, in order to offset their lousy album sales and still be able to stay in $2,000 a night hotels while on tour. Even a next generation act like Green Day can be accused of this greed, if you believe the numbers in this infographic; Green Day’s 65% cut makes the promoters and venues look like they’re being reasonable. It’s rough enough out there that even a well-established artist like Imogen Heap had to throw in the towel recently. And it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, in light of the DOJ’s recent approval of the monster merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. I think it’s time we started to practice some asymmetrical warfare techniques against the concert ticketing industry. It would be amazing if a network of non-ticketmaster promoters and venues could pull it together. I personally would be out every night of the week if I could catch a decent band for ten or fifteen bucks on a regular basis. We’ve done it with record labels, lets change the game with radio and live music too.

Lawyers Gonna Put You In The Hurt Locker

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 16, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Makers of The Hurt Locker are causing more casualties in the War On Piracy. Didn’t they hear about the cease fire?

While the Iraq War has claimed at least 100,000 casualties, it looks like the makers of the Oscar-winning film about it are getting ready to claim another 20,000 or more. Only in this case, the lawyers will be doing all the shooting, and the casualties will be internet users like you and me who are nerdy enough to use Bittorents. It appears no-one at Voltage Pictures (the backers of Hurt Locker ) got the memo about how stupid it is to sue your customers, and so they’ve contracted US Copyright Group (who apparently didn’t get the memo about updating their vintage web site) to go after every one of the filthy pirates that swiped their movie . Don’t they know that even the MPAA has decided that Anti-piracy is passé and that it’s now to be called “content protection”? You may remember the relatively short-lived You Can Click But You Can’t Hide campaign (our parody below) by the MPAA a few years ago, which was a little different, and not nearly as insane as the practice of suing consumers en masse, which even the music industry has come to realize is absurd . Who knows when these industries will ever figure out that they’re fighting an assymetrical war (ironically, much like the one that the film is about) and that their “enemy” is the future and their inability to understand it, not the consumer. Just ask British entertainer Peter Serafinowicz, who expains in this Gawker piece why he’s going to have to sue himself for piracy. Do the Hurt Locker folks ( and me) a favor and buy their dang film through this link. Apparently they only grossed about $21 million in spite of the Oscar, which probably does more to explain these suits than anything. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Industry Is Only FCCing Itself With New Regulations

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 10, 2010 by admin in Popular Media

Monday, May 10th, 2010

How the film industry’s latest victory in its battle to control how you watch your movies may actually contribute to its demise.

It is with mixed feelings that I bid adieu to the MPAA and the major motion picture companies of America, because although some of the epic films that came out of….oh hell. Who am I kidding. I’m already planning a party. The desperate land grab for your hard-earned CD’s and song files that the RIAA and the established music industry attempted with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and DRM has spawned one of the most creative decades in pop music, and put more money in more artists’ pockets than ever before. Although smart pop media influencers like Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing are in a tizzy about the admittedly insane new “Selectable Output Control” power that the FCC is handing the film industry, the development should come as no surprise; I can only guess that the reason Cory is so upset is that he must be a cable subscriber. As an avid film lover, this will have little impact for me personally. As just one of the more glaring examples of why this should come as no surprise, one of the people who more recently spun through DC’s revolving doors was Catherine Bohigian, chief of the office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis at the FCC, who left in 2008 to take a job with the cable giant Cablevision. To me the most shocking thing about this recent round of nuttiness being promulgated by the in-some-ways shadowy MPAA is that it’s taking so darn long for the movie industry to undermine itself the way the music industry did. It shouldn’t take too long though; although the studios haven’t been aggressively suing their customers on a regular basis like the record companies, they do have a pretty batshit-insane shopping list for how to protect their market. And after witnessing the indy music industry explosion of the last decade, I personally don’t see any reason why this couldn’t happen with film. The film industry is doing exactly the same thing the record companies did; they’re routinely annoying their best customers, and sticking it to a key distribution channel in their maniacal grab for control of intellectual property. The RIAA did it with radio, the MPAA is doing it to theaters. And they’re doing this at a time when professional-quality production and distibution tools are within the reach of just about anyone. In my opinion there would be nothing cooler than a massive movement comprised of small-house indy film venues showing nothing but indy film in intimate settings using HD technology. I say go ahead and FCC yourself, MPAA.

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