By Karla Robinson
December 14, 2012
Movie theater personnel in the Asia-Pacific region can now quickly report illegal video recording to the Motion Picture Association with a new app available for tablets and smartphones.
“Using the mobile app, called MAD4 — abbreviated from ‘Make A Difference’ — theater managers and their teams will be able to type in information about camcording incidents through an online reporting platform,” explains The Hollywood Reporter. “The data will then be available to MPA officials for follow-up action or investigation.”
The MPA announced the new app this week at the CineAsia trade fair in Hong Kong. Also included in the app are training videos and resources to express the impact of piracy on the film industry and inform employees what to do when they witness illegal recording.
“We have been given to understand that more than 90 percent of newly released movies that appear illegally on the Internet and on the streets around the world originate from illegal copies being made in cinemas,” Ashish Saksena, CEO of Indian exhibitor Big Cinemas. “The MAD4 application is a great new tool ensuring that all staff will know what needs to be done to prevent illegal recordings being made in cinemas.”
By Karla Robinson
December 10, 2012
MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd is calling for Hollywood and Silicon Valley to join together against piracy. Dodd spoke at the Content Protection Summit in Los Angeles and criticized the idea that piracy debate is just a two-sided choice between free speech or copyright protection.
“Hollywood and Silicon Valley have more in common than most people realize or are willing to acknowledge,” he said. “Not only does Hollywood work closely with Silicon Valley to create and promote films; Hollywood film and television creators are tech companies.”
“They celebrate innovation through the world’s most cutting-edge content, and they embrace technology as imperative to the success of the creators in their community,” he added.
With the Protect IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act, Hollywood and Silicon Valley were pitted against each other, but Dodd emphasized the need “to present a united front to deal with preventing theft of intellectual property,” Variety reports. He did not, however, advocate for any new legislation.
“We can have it both ways,” he said. “We can have an Internet that works for everyone. And in order to continue providing the world’s greatest content, we must protect the rights of our creators so they can produce for their audiences and also profit from their work.”
By Rob Scott
April 14, 2011
Businessweek reports that the entertainment studios lose more than $6 billion a year to movie piracy (according to a report by the Institute for Policy Innovation) — and that media piracy has become big business for organized crime. For example, the Los Zetas drug cartel of Mexico earns a reported $1.8 million a month through its “side” business of pirated music and DVDs. Some groups — including Los Zetas — even stamp their products with gang logos before distributing them to public markets.
The article cites an array of international drug smugglers and crime rings based in Russia, Mexico, China and Ireland that have made trafficking counterfeit entertainment media products a highly lucrative enterprise.
In an effort to address these international concerns, the MPAA is employing former law enforcement officers in Russia, Singapore, Britain, and Malaysia, to work with local police. The impact of piracy has been so severe in South Korea that “major studios have closed their regional home-entertainment offices because sales aren’t high enough to support the operations.”
The MPAA explains that some of these criminal elements have found significant success with online efforts, creating rogue websites that look so professional they’ve been bold enough to sell advertising on them. In these cases, pirated movies are streamed from the sites for free while the criminals earn revenue from the advertising. The MPAA is reportedly lobbying for passage of new U.S. legislation to combat such enterprises.
By Rob Scott
April 10, 2011
David Pogue of the New York Times writes that we are in a fascinating transitional period from physical media to streaming services, but that accessing streaming movies from our TVs, laptops and phones comes with a price. For example, we are missing some of the DVD features including subtitles, multiple languages and director’s commentary. We are also restricted regarding when we have access to some streaming content and how long our subscription or per-title fee allows us to view a specific title.
In response to these concerns, Pogue mentions a new streaming service named Zediva.com that provides subtitle, language and commentary options in addition to some surprising (and perhaps disturbing, for the content creators and distributors) business model features. Rented movies are available for two weeks instead of 24 hours, current titles are available the same day as DVD releases, and there are no hardware or subscription fees — simply a rental charge of $2 per movie.
The process is simple. Zediva has set up hundreds of DVD players in its California data center; the company purchases dozens of copies of current releases and makes them available to consumers. As Pogue writes: “The DVD is simply sending you the audio and video signals, as if it were connected to your home with a really, really long cable.”
Of course, content creators and distributors may have issue with this approach. In related news, the MPAA has filed a lawsuit against Zediva (since Pogue’s article), claiming that the company is violating copyright law by streaming DVDs. While the company bills itself as a movie-rental service, comparing its service with companies like Netflix that purchase hundreds of copies of popular movies and then mailing them to renters, the MPAA’s lawyers argue the service is a form of “public performance” that would require a license.
Related Wall Street Journal article: “Hollywood Studios Sue Start-Up Zediva” (4/4/11)