Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Piracy Thing

Though we've talked about internet pirates before, the IATSE is focussing on it as never before, as are the talent guilds. And it isn't just them:

Piracy is the entertainment industry's biggest headache, according to two of its most prominent players -- WME topper Ari Emanuel and Walt Disney chairman Robert Iger.

"It's really important for us to get into a discussion about piracy because if we don't get a handle on it, the industry will go away," Emanuel declared ...

"In South Korea, it obliterated the secondary market so much so that we closed our home video operations," Iger added ...

There is a tendency among the world's population to take a "who cares?" attitude toward the piracy thing. IA officers, attending conferences overseas, report that lots of foreign officials maintain a "If big American conglomerates get ripped off by piracy, that's a good development, yes?"

In point of fact, the development sucks, because the final outcome will be that the movie and television businesses end up going the way of the record industry, watching their business models get shredded, witnessing entertainment profits shrink to non-existence.

For citizens not in the movie and teevee business, this negative outcome would be an inconvenience. For those working in features and television, it would mean full-blown disaster. The wage and residual structures that have existed for half a century would slowly dissolve, the studios would restructure, and the pension and health plans that entertainment employees have relied on for five and a half decades would weaken and shrink, perhaps irreversibly.

So yeah. Internet piracy could end up being a major deal.

The problem is, none of the conglomerates really know how to effectively combat this big, ugly vulture. As internet broadband increases around the globe, more and more people dip into the deep trough of content and help themselves without paying a centavo or pfennig. It's just Rupert, Bob Iger, and Sumner Redstone after all, and they're already rich. So who cares?

Welll, anybody who works in the entertainment business, that's who. Because if there's no enforcement of copyright law, if internet pirates remain beyond the reach of law enforcement or significant penalties (Big fines? Long jail sentences?) employees in the movie/t.v. biz are going to be in deeper trouble than they already are.

And anybody who is paying attention knows they're not in the catbird seat now.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's a tough spot to be in. Trying to convince the average American, much less someone overseas, not to pirate is close to impossible. They feel it's their computer given right.
I'd be willing to bet, even on this forum, that the kids that scream longest and hardest about artistic freedom and against the evils of the big studios like DW probably prirate and rip most of their entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Well, which is it then? For the consistently anti-corporatist stance this blog takes, and with good reason, the position above is confusing. And revealing, as labor's future is directly tied to the fate of corporatist interest.

Throwing words around about the injustice of the corporatist state is one thing, but acting on a real position against it is an entirely different thing, isn't it. And piracy is, to date, the most threatening arrow anti-corporatist advocates currently have to use. But people who are traditionally against corporate interest are, surprisingly, coming out against piracy.

Anonymous said...

Psst...the world isn't black and white.

Kevin Koch said...

Well, which is it then?

Your question is a classic false-choice. Simply put, piracy ultimately hurts ALL people who create, whether they're part of a huge corporation or just plucky individuals. With the utter collapse of the indie film market, it's only big studios who can make and market a film. Is increasing piracy going to somehow reverse that trend?

Railing against excessive corporate power doesn't equate with wanting to see corporations destroyed. The vast majority of working animation professionals have worked within the studio system since the industry began. Destroying the ability of studios to make a profit doesn't help any of us, including the tiny handful of independent animator/producers.

Anonymous said...

Precisely, the world isn't black and white, but digital code is - they're called ones and zeros. And there is nothing more free market than a set of computer instructions that will always, in the end, become public knowledge. It's no different than any other black market that operates parallel to a legal market. The legal market only prosecutes infringement at an implicit base level reached over time through an economic stalemate between large corporate interest (ie, entrenched liquor and alcohol interests) and the 'illegal' market. The small independents run under the wing of the large corporate interest because the government only benefits from economies of scale - protecting the large fish - as usual.

Anonymous said...

And the point of the above pedantry is...? (Besides making yourself feel smart.)

Anonymous said...

I'm all for severely punishing internet pirates. They steal from everyone, especially artists. Perhaps some computer programmer working at the studios could come up with a way of implanting a powerful virus that combats any attempt at downloading the original material for dispersion? Maybe fighting dirty is the only way to win this battle...

Anonymous said...

No, there is no benefit, outside of a vague sense of schadenfreude, in harming the entertainment corporations. I just wish the converse were true; that protecting their interests somehow helped us. There is no quid pro quo. We get the short end, no matter how they are doing.

I think it is time for the entertainment companies to throw in the towel in terms of trying to stay ahead of the piracy through technology or law enforcement efforts. They need a new revenue model to replace that income stream. Don't ask me what, maybe advertisements.

Anonymous said...

You just cannot argue that 'pirates' are the cause. They are a symptom of an unsustainable model that has been trumped by technology, again. Vinyl is more difficult than tape which is more difficult than CD which is
more difficult than mp3 to imitate, and on and on. If people can crack it, they will. The corporations will figure out a new way to get paid, and how we get paid will be based on that new model, old agreements be damned.
Steve Jobs decided a song was worth a dollar - sorry everyone. That's the deal.

I would bet that what will happen is some kind of trade off between corporations and government regarding the internet- ie, taxes and regulation. And the big boys now will set the standard, like they always do. Goldman Sachs is still Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan is still JPMorgan, etc. Rupert Murdoch will decide how much your news will cost, ie how much our pension and health are worth..

Arlo said...

I agree with the post above that this is an issue directly related to the sad, sorry corporatist state that we find ourselves in(and suffer from) and its alarming to see this blog tow the line of the big conglomerates.


Look, if the media landscape was more varied, with ten times as many studios competing in the same market(like it was before deregulation), then piracy would probably be combated more effectively. Because studios would have a smaller library of property to protect. As it stands now, you have the resources of one company used ineffectively to search out online piracy for a library of so many films that they have no chance at all. They can't even make a dent.

These are the elements of a perfect storm of change. The economy and market are changing - and thats the way it should be. The status quo isn't something we should all be pining for just because its better than some dismal prospect that is imagined in the above post.

Its a stark departure to read the salient take on the current corporatist state in most entries at this blog and then come across an alarmist writings above.

The corporations are getting screwed by piracy?!?

Sounds like just deserves to me. Check the median income of the employees of said companies and then the skyrocketing returns the executives have been getting.
They are getting what they deserve.

I'm not worried because there will always be a market for creative content.

Anonymous said...

So, it appears from Arlo and his compadres arguments above, that they are internet pirates and feel they should have access to anything they want for free. Turn yourselves in!!! They believe it's ok to steel from the rich even if it eventually (not so eventually) effect their own livelyhoods - assuming they are even in the industry.
The argument that there is no way to stop it because 'someone will always be able to hack a way around any safeguards' is a pathetic and self-serving excuse.

Someone will always be able to find a way to commit any crime. Doesn't mean it should no longer be considered a crime.
Find a business model that makes money off of internet ads...right. that'll help all of us earn a living.

Arlo said...

"
So, it appears from Arlo and his compadres arguments above, that they are internet pirates and feel they should have access to anything they want for free."


That was never said - or implied.

You must be the same guy that posts in here anonymously week after week who suffers from binary thought. Its good that you are anonymous because because it would be embarrassing for you to reveal how deficient your thinking is to anyone else.

I'd imagine that, to you, if one finds fault with the banking establishment...then they must keep their money under their mattress!

Or if one criticizes the police force of a city... then they must want lawless anarchy!

You have the perception and thought train of a 4 year old.

Markets and technology EVOLVE buddy boy. You do know that the VCR was a product that entertainment companies fought against the release of vehemently. Just one instance where technology and the development of markets is unstoppable. Get a clue dude. Piracy - stealing the property of a studio to resell and make a profit for one's self is beyond reproach. What we are talking about is the proliference of people accessing content online without purchasing it - BECAUSE purchasing that content is either impossible, arduous, or overpriced.

When the mom and pop record stores were run out of business in every single town in America through predatory expansion of big box stores, the bed was made for the predicament the music industry found themselves in.

Likethe music industry, the movie industry is not adaptable to the current technological landscape. These conglomerates are run by dinosaurs with no vision and a only a provincial perspective regarding their customers.

They cornered the market and raised the price. They had power and they used it - with media deregulation came the end of a fair exchange.
Well, the genie is out of the bottle now. And just like we all took the hit, they are going to lie in the bed they made for themselves.

A great argument here would be to support the little man in not downloading content. To support the independent vendors who sell music and movies in your town...
Oh, thats right. They don't exist anymore.


Whats your argument exactly? That the studios are being wronged?!?

I'll match every wrong that the studios feel they are burdened by with 3 different ones that consumers have had to deal with; from cable bills, to DRM, to inflated pricetags, to predatory expansion of big box stores, to crappy products, to bait and switch releases.

The market is about power and the power has shifted.

Anonymous said...

Arlo sounds reasonable and realistic.

Pulling out the torches and pitchforks for Chinese street vendors who probably own majority shares in Goldman Sachs? Now that's irrational.

Anonymous said...

It's called "FREE MARKET ECONOMICS. " Something conservatives and the gop (not the same thing) are afraid of. They fight reasonable regulation (spending BILLIONS on lobbying their special interests), bilk consumers by charging more and more for less quality being manufactured overseas, and set up off-shores companies to shield themselves doing their DUTY of paying taxes.

WAH WAH WAH.

They've made this bed, now we ALL have to sleep in it.

Grab a shovel.

Mars Cabrera said...

Ever wonder why there are always huge lineups when there's big SALE going on?

Chop off the prices and there would be lesser stealing around.

Kevin Koch said...

Arlo, you and I will have to agree to disagree. I find it amazing that you think TAG should SUPPORT internet piracy, and that "its alarming to see this blog tow the line of the big conglomerates."

I'm afraid that your logic is unconvincing. How would having more studios around deter pirates? How would studios having fewer films "to protect" help them out? You've made the case that piracy is good, and that it's easy, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. So how does a small studio with 10 films under their belt do something you claim a multi-billion dollar company with hundreds of films can't do?

You sound like a true-believer with no stake in this matter, except that perhaps you like watching free movies.

So let me put it bluntly. As someone who sees the shrinking revenues that go to support the health and pension plans of the many thousands of hard-working professionals who create the shows you advocate stealing, I think your argument is ill-informed and disgusting.

But hey, maybe you think we deserve it, right? I mean, if I lose my career, and all my colleagues and friends lose theirs, it's okay, because some imagined fat cat is getting the shaft, too.

I'm not worried because there will always be a market for creative content.

Of course you're not worried. You clearly don't make a living creating that creative content. And by the way, tell us your economic theories for how there is a real market when piracy is easy and widely accepted? Maybe I can use your argument next time I'm in Trader Joes.

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet that a good deal of the crying artists complaining about piracy (hell, the executives too), pirate themselves.

So many artists pirate Maya, Softimage, [insert software here] themselves. I'm also amazed how openly they talk about it.

Hell, I've had companies tell me to pirate (provide me with a link) some software so I could do a job for them (since I didn't have that particular package).

Anonymous said...

Internet pirates are thieves, pure and simple. These attempts to rationalize sordid, underhanded theft are completely without merit. Blaming cost on theft doesn't fly either. If you can't afford it, you don't get it. Where does this pathetic spoiled-brat sense of entitlement come from? "I want it, so I should get it, even if I have to steal it" is the motto of criminals. I'm not a champion of corporations (although they have employed millions and provided pensions and benefits so they can't be all bad), but of honest something-for-something commerce. I hope the studios find a way to fight piracy. There is nothing cool or noble about it. End of story.

mattanimation said...

This is a tough subject, but I think everyone can agree that if there is a product of great quality, then people have no problem paying for it, maybe there is too much crap out there that people are afraid to make an investment in a pile of poo. As far as software for artists go, they ARE over priced and again, more people would buy if it were reasonable. It reminds me of illegal immigrants, most people would probably go through the legal process to become a citizen if they didn't make it so expensive and ridiculously complicated to do so.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Michael Moore's non-IATSE film about the evils of capitalism on DVD. It was in Chinese, but I highly recommend it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Kevin (and several of the above posters) on this topic and no amount of immature, snarky, self-servinbg attacks by Arlo and his ilk will make a difference.

I don't care if some of the earlier posts aren't spellchecked are grammatically correct, they still lay it out pretty succinctly. To use the justification that the corporations deserve what they have coming to them or the even more feeble "they steal computer software" is childish and ridiculous. I suspect that you would be pretty hard pressed to find any large studio (and most small studios) stealing any software. If 'your supervisor' on a job suggested you swipe software without a license his/her supervisor would be very unhappy since no company wants a lawsuit over $300 software.

You either understand how bad stealing and pirating is or you don't and I feel sad that there seems to be so many coming to this forum that don't. I just hope you aren't in our industry. AND if you're not in our industry, and are coming here because you're fans, then it would be nice if you listened to the professionals here and understood what this means to our industry and stop your illegal pirating of our art.

Anonymous said...

I actually screamed at a Chinese DVD vendor in the streets of NYC once for selling one of the films I'd worked on, while it was still in theaters.

It was awkward. She had no idea what I was saying, probably because I kept telling her she was stealing from me. The people I was with were embarrassed by MY behavior, which I found ironic. The pulled me away before more of a scene could be made.

Not sure how this applies to the discussion, but I figured I'd share this bizarre anecdote.

Anonymous said...

Arlo would've bought it from her after negotiating a lower price.

Anonymous said...

Kevin and friends,

You can make your point without exaggerating or getting silly about it.

Nobody said that piracy was "good" or "fun." The main point was that it is the natural outgrowth of the evolution of technology. Things change, particularly media and we have to adjust. You can't hold back progress. Entertainment producers have to change their production/business models. We have to figure out an alternative way to get our benefits financed. People will always need fresh, high quality entertainment and they will always be willing to pay for it somehow, or it will disappear. The structures will change, that's all.

Kevin Koch said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I wasn't the one engaging in exaggeration and silliness.

On the other hand, Arlo and at least one other anonymous poster made it clear that they thought piracy was reasonable, natural, and desirable. And I think you pretty much do that in your last paragraph.

So please, tell me, while you're busy excusing theft of intellectual property, what do animators and writers and creators like myself and my peers do while we're waiting for the new paradigm? Do you actually have some ideas about how media pirates will finance our benefits and wages? Do you have some ideas about what new business models producers, either independent or corporate, should employ instead of trying to tamp down piracy? I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the answer is we go become consultants to the companies in China that are busy pirating our work. Help 'em do it better, and make a buck for our trouble.

Chip said...

I am completely unimpressed by the "arguements" made by the pro-pirates.

Arlo and others, I have a simple question:

If you were at a store, and there was some merchandise that you could steal without any fear of being caught, would you feel it would be ethical and/or fair to steal it?

If not, what exactly is the difference? Simply the ease of doing it anonymously?

Arlo said...

I find it amazing that you think TAG should SUPPORT internet piracy, and that "its alarming to see this blog tow the line of the big conglomerates."

I never said that TAG should support piracy even once. I said that they should embrace technology that is changing the landscape of media. Both for the good AND for the bad. A musician cannot get a record deal like they used to... but before we start crying in our Cheerios, let me buttress your sentiment by mentioning the obvious...that a musician has ALSO never had more advanced and exponetially cheaper options for recording available to them.
Thats not so hard to understand is it?

Before you start bemoaning the fact that creative content is being distributed online for free, save some breath to also bemoan the fact that animators have never had more tools to make their own movies than now. You can produce a film of the highest quality possible from your office with one computer. The good goes with the bad.

What doesn't go together(to me) is stating that we live and suffer the consequences in a corporatist state and it is wholly unfair, as Steven has (correct me if I'm wrong here Steve), and then mention that we should be completely beholden to that state of affairs.
Technology changes the media landscape.
It always has and it always will. You can shoot one messenger after another, but you are going to realize sooner or later that new models of profit are the only option right now.

Maybe cinemas need more people going out to them right? Well... then... maybe cinema houses should be a more pleasant experience than what AMC provides huh?
They really didn't think that one through did they?
(maybe I'm to blame!)

What I said is simple and true: the corporations cornered the market and then raised the price and dropped the quality. Thats true when it comes to most media, whether we are discussing the channels filled with bargain rate reality shows, to cable tv rates, to prohibiting the syndication of library's to rival networks.

Now the playing field has changed. People can get content at home when they want it... what people can't get is what the corporations forgot how to provide decades ago: quality.

Look, people don't watch films on their computer as a first choice. People still want to go to the movies, but the experience has been ruined. The seats are small, the food is insultingly expensive, and the service is shit.

Now what are you going to tell me... that I'm wrong?

People still want to rent HD films through their cable provider and kick back on their couch to wacth them... but they stick it to you in the monthly bills and they stick it to you in the purchase price.

You want less piracy? Lower the price of movie rentals. You think people want to watch a bit torrent slowly tick by on their screen? They don't. Most people reading this know its an effort - but that effort is STILL preferable to other options provided by media companies.


"You've made the case that piracy is good..."

No Steve that is a glib summation of my remarks. I am making the case that content availability is forcing inevitable changes to media companies.

"and that it's easy and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it."

Yes. Those are the facts of the world right now. I'm ad to be the bearer of bad news but happy to present a truth you are having a hard time grasping.


"You clearly don't make a living creating that creative content."


Clearly you are upset, because this little bit of concentrated conjecture seems to be a way of you insulting me. I do create creative content right here in Los Angeles. But I'm not going to bury my head in the sand and curse the present like you seem to be doing. It would behoove you and everyone in Hollywood to look ahead and develop new business models
Here are 2 hints:
Provide what people are not getting(rhymes with schmality)
Lower prices means more customers(and usually higher ad revenue)

Kevin Koch said...

animators have never had more tools to make their own movies than now. You can produce a film of the highest quality possible from your office with one computer.

Wow, really?!? Gosh, gee, I had no idea, Arlo. Thanks for pointing out this amazing fact. Now I can sleep tonight.

I'm beginning to think you're a fairly bright middle school student who fancies himself an expert in things he barely understands. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're an adult with some actual working experience, but that would surprise me. Yeah, we all know what you're so breathlessly hyping -- just about anyone now has the same basic tools that Pixar and DreamWorks have at their disposal. Isn't that peachy.

Problem is, in the world you relish, there is virtually no way to make even a mediocre living at it.

Hey Arlo, spend 8 or 10 years learning to model, rig, animate, light, and composite. Then write and board your amazing, brilliant, original, creative idea (and I just know you have plenty). Then spend another 8 or 10 years of your life making your film at your desktop in your mother's basement (because somebody is going to need to support you for all that time it's going to take).

Now you've done it, you've made an animated feature film completely without the evil big studios. And I just know for certain that it's chock full of that quality that the public has been denied for years.

But now what? You put it on the internet, let pirates around the world watch it for free, and you become as famous as Balloon Boy? Oh, no, I get it, your home-made film will be so much better than Up or How to Train Your Dragon that the public wouldn't dare pirate it, but instead they'll demand that distributors put it in theaters, where they will happily pay real money to make you wealthy.

Damn, why didn't I think of that. It's sooooo simple.

By the way, if history shows us anything in animation, it's that it's actually easier for one or two people to make a feature film with traditional methods than it is to do one in CG. Yeah, the digital revolution isn't nearly the revolution you think it is, except for the pirates. Bill Plympton has made his own hand-drawn feature (several, actually), as have others. And I have to tell you, from what I can see it's a hellacious way to make a living. And I haven't seen anyone in CG get close to what Plympton has done.

So if you enjoyed watching Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda, keep your bootleg copies, because if the future you're cheering for comes true, you won't see the likes of those films again.

Now tell us, seriously, what kind of 'creative content' do you create. It's only fair. You can look at IMDB and see a fair chunk of the things I've worked on. Prove to us you actually have skin in this game.

Anonymous said...

I have a high respect for copyright as my father is an artist that continually bemoans being ripped off on the net, so when I want to see animation that is recent it is easy enough to go to the theaters or purchase it when it comes out on DVD or Blue Ray.
My problem is...What can I do other than downloading content when it is not for sale in the shops or on the net.
Look at Alexeiff's work as an example, for many years it was unavailable/hard to buy so many just downloaded it and uploaded it back up on to the web, then the original production company or someone that owned the rights saw that it was popular and put his collected works out on DVD, now easily available on Amazon.
Some torrents (unfortunately the least popular) have rare and important content that is unavailable in online or normal stores.
If those torrents close then less people will get to appreciate and learn from those old, hard to find, sometimes foreign works.

Anonymous said...

There is a HUGE difference between viewing content on the web that is unavailable in any form and pirating films that are available in the theaters or on DVD.

If you were to bootleg copies of that unavailable content and sell it, then we are back to discussing piracy again.

BTW I have to agree with Kevin, I sincerely doubt Arlo is in the industry and working professionally or he wouldn't be trying to set himself up as a 'prophet' with so little understanding or empathy for those that are creating the art he wants to steal.

Anonymous said...

Wow Arlo, you're clueless. You think increasing the quality of media is the answer??

Explain to me about the downfall of TV and Films. Because, if memory serves me correctly, some of the best films of the century have been made in the last 10 years, no question. And if you think TV is worse, what about shows like: Battlestar, Lost, Arrested Development, 24, The Office, Dexter, Deadwood, The Sopranos, The West Wing, House, Band of Brothers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Mad Men...etc etc etc.

The animated film list is just as long, and the live action as well.

I think the problem here has nothing to do with media or technology. I think it has to do with a bigger problem in our society: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. And there are endless examples of this failure that transcend media theft.

So...in the words of Jim Carrey in Liar Liar, STOP BREAKING THE LAW ASSHOLE!!!

Anonymous said...

>STOP BREAKING THE LAW ASSHOLE!!!

Sounds like every conservative talk show host screaming about 'illegals'.

Arlo's points are valid and well written. A lot of people apparently don't want to hear that the path they've invested in for the last twenty years may not pan out the way it has been written in collective bargaining agreements of the past. That's hard to hear. But come on. Really? You were betting the farm on Hollywood labor? Even after watching the WGA and SAG implode for the last two years? Ten years, actually?

Rather than taking the typical knee-jerk prosecutorial tack on the big bad pirates, perhaps consider a discussion over what direction labor can take, on their own, to offset what is already obviously happening.

Or was the original doomsday post about what rich people like IGER and EMANUEL are paranoid about just meant to make the TAG ranks paranoid, too? Taken right from W's playbook?

Kevin Koch said...

Rather than taking the typical knee-jerk prosecutorial tack on the big bad pirates, perhaps consider a discussion over what direction labor can take, on their own, to offset what is already obviously happening.

We've heard this wisdom before. You imagine that you're smarter or more prescient than the rest of us, and like to feel superior. Okay, great, hopefully you've gotten that out of your system. Now let's hear your contribution to that discussion you claim we avoid.

Seriously. I've had this discussion many times, with some pretty knowledgeable people. No one seems to have a good idea how to offset what is being lost through piracy and the erosion of television viewership.

So let's hear your insights. We need you. We've talked about this, and looked at the tea leaves, and we can't find anyone who has a clue how to monetize the future of media delivery in a way that pays the actual creators anything close to a living wage.

Here's an interesting article on what comic strips are turning into. Read it and tell me that's a model animation studios and large groups of animators can take. A once lucrative artform/industry is now a cottage industry producing a third-rate product. Where success was once measured in millions of readers for a well-drawn strip, a success in the new paradigm means thousands of readers, a fraction of who buy a t-shirt or a mug or give the begging artist/writer a donation.

Or let's look closer to home. There have been a variety of websites partially or completely devoted to distributing animation. Some are already gone, failures, even though they paid the actual animators little or nothing. The best you can say about distributing your animation on the internet is that you might be creating a good calling card for someone who wants to hire you for a real job.

But, according to our sages above, we need to accept that real jobs are the old paradigm, that they're going away, and only crybabies with their heads in the sand should worry about that.

Our heads aren't in the sand. We're trying to figure out how animation professionals make a real living without real jobs. We can talk aboutprofits from the 'long tail' or other mechanisms that might save content owners of large libraries, but what about individual creators who don't have decades to wait for their work to generate money? Please, share. Again, we're all ears.

Arlo said...

The case Kevin makes in his reply to my post is exactly what I was bucking against: that we are all beholden to the large studios. Its really an unwise stance. Its two steps away from telling everyone to "be a company man" when you state that looking for avenues outside of a large studio are futile.
Quite frankly, its a disservice to everyone who reads this blog. So thank you very little Kevin.

There is your whining...

and then there is Ralph Bakshi's valuable perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WApcUBcVMos

Anonymous said...

The only point here is that TAG should hold ourselves to the same standards we expect from our members. When 2D began to wane, forward-thinking animators took a risk and plunged forward into the future that 3D eventually provided. They evolved. We should expect the same courage from TAG. Iger already expresses his fears loud and clear at work. I don’t need them amplified on my labor blog.

But a really good start would be to invite a panel of animation directors (unfortunately not covered in TAG, but whatever, they're forgiven) to speak about the future of their employees jobs. It would better to hear it from them rather than WME and Disney. Besides, we have a nice new building to visit.

Anonymous said...

I'm a VFX artist. This post got me to think about pirate-proof VFX positions.

So far I've come up with these:

- Commercials
- "visual information specialists"
- architectural visualization
- forensics
- illustration

I hope big-budget VFX films continue to get made, because I enjoy watching spectactulars like Lord of the Rings. If future audiences choose not to pay for content, though, I'll need to find an alternative line of work.

Kevin Koch said...

Arlo, you need to understand something -- TAG was formed specifically to represent the needs and interests of animation professionals working at production studios. It wasn't, and isn't, a collective for individual creators. It's a labor organization that represents a major workforce who are all employees within real studios.

It's not a 'stance' that is wise or unwise. It's a simple reality. I can go into large supermarket and complain that it's not a roadside farmer's market next to the land that produced the food, but I'd only reveal myself to be foolish.

Anonymous said...

Fine. You all convinced me. Now excuse me while I go and pretend to be a valet parker and steal cars.

What? Thats wrong? But the people are HANDING me their keys. Too bad technology cant keep up with me. If you dont get caught, that makes it right!

See ya suckers!

Kevin Koch said...

The only point here is that TAG should hold ourselves to the same standards we expect from our members. When 2D began to wane, forward-thinking animators took a risk and plunged forward into the future that 3D eventually provided. They evolved. We should expect the same courage from TAG.

TAG was front and center in anticipating that change, and in helping our members retrain. It was an ugly, painful process, and some people didn't make the transition, but TAG was very active in pushing the studios to retrain people, in getting tens of millions of dollars in grant money for retraining, in holding classes and seminars, and in creating a computer lab.

And we'll do what we can to be front and center on whatever is coming next. Where I struggle is, who the hell knows what's coming next? I really don't think directors have any special insights. Directors are hired to direct once a production is ready to go. It's the producers who do the hiring, and who are trying to figure out the new paradigm, and I haven't met any producers who can honestly say they have a good clue how all this will shake out.

To the next poster, one more pirate-proof area -- theme-park animation, which is something I was doing recently. Certainly not a replacement for the film and TV industry, but it's a growing area for animation.

Anonymous said...

and then there is Ralph Bakshi's valuable perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WApcUBcVMos


Ralph Bakshi's perspective is valid, and I agree that a handful of animators can get together and make a movie, but sometimes they prefer to join a larger group of already established animators and make a movie. Nothin wrong with it. In fact, I quite enjoy it.

PS) A small group of animators getting together to make a movie still doesnt solve the piracy problem, does it!?!?

Anonymous said...

Ralph is speaking about the young, live at home artist without a family or a mortgage (and if he's not then he's forgotten what it's like to pay a mortgage and have a family). If you are somehow self-sufficient enough to make a film all by yourself or with your equally wealthy friends for several years go for it.
But, as stated above, what do you intend to do with said film? Have a major distibutor buy it and put it in theaters? or show it on the web for free? Good luck trying to get someone to pay for it. As Arlo and his fans have proven (assuming it isn't just Arlo signing in anonymously and complimenting himself on his "valid and well written points") they don't feel they need to pay for anything they can steal.

Despite Kevin's multiple appeals no one has yet suggested any model that would allow artists (whether animators, writers or cameramen) to earn a living.

Put up or shut up and STO BREAKING THE LAW! because if I find out you're doing it I'll turn your ass in.
Good reason to remain anonymous - you'll never know who you invite over to view your vast bootleg collection is calling the FBI on their way home.

Kevin Koch said...

One last bit for Arlo, regarding the Bakshi clip While I was writing this, the poster above beat me to a lot of these points, but since I've already written it, here it is.

I heard Ralph Bakshi give that talk. It was very inspiring, but a little misleading. Funny thing is, most of Ralph's work was produced in the same model that TAG members currently work within -- big studio financing, hiring solid professionals, and distributing within the established film and television system. At least some of his productions were even union productions. I'm sure some of his films were independently financed, but none of them were made in the model he was advocating at Comicon (i.e., the Bill Plympton model -- do it all yourself, and figure out the money later).

Ralph was preaching working in a way that he NEVER did before. He semi-retired from animation after the failure of Cool World 17 years ago, so I'm a little skeptical that he has the answers for the radical changes happening NOW.

Apparently he's working on a film in this do-it-yourself model. He's adopted this model because he couldn't get Pixar or DreamWorks interested (so much for believing in the new do-it-yourself paradigm). He says in his talk that if he were starting out now he'd make his own film one year and be a millionaire the next. I guess he's going to show us how it's done. Aside from the fact that it's clearly taking him more than a year to do this, how does he say it's going to work?

He claims you can sell your film on eBay, or that you can distribute it yourself. Really? Give us some real examples of current millionaires who have taken either of those routes. Forget his millionaire comment, show me someone who actually pays their mortgage going that route.

He also claims that distributors will fight to buy your films. Really? I know some genuine independent filmmakers -- the indie market has collapsed. Some indie films can't even be given away. Those that are sold end up with all the rights going to the buyer, with the filmmakers lucky to recoup their costs. One in a thousand indy filmmakers get wealthy.

Ralph is passionate, and inspiring, and frankly full of BS. I expect that Ralph, with his notoriety and fame, will sell his indie film. Whether he'll make real money on it, I have no idea. But he's in a unique position. He has collector cells he can create to support himself and his tiny crew (like printing money, since it doesn't take up any of his own time). And he is a brand name with a following.

Can you or I follow this model? Get a few people to spend years making a film, with absolutely no support (oh, yeah, Ralph said we should get our wives to take jobs to support us -- haha, that's some funny stuff)? And then pray for a big evil studio to pay us money to distribute it, and let us get a cut of the huge profits? Good luck with that.

Of the many independently produced animated features, how many have made a profit for their creators? There have been more than a few, so you have examples. Quick, show me another link with all the success stories.

And then tell me how an independent production is immune to the same piracy and internet pressures that this entire discussion is about!

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

There is a gaping cause and effect logical gap here that you seem to have taken for granted, but haven't really demonstrated or proved, i.e. a direct correlation between piracy and the collapse of major studios. It reminds me of the "slippery slope" logic Republicans and health insurance companies are using to combat health care reform.

I'm sorry, but it's impossible for me to believe that a major studio, releasing feature after feature consistently doing triple-digit millions of dollars of business on first release, will be crippled or thrown out of business by piracy, no matter how rampant.

After sleeping on it, I had an insight about what this story might really be about. Perhaps Mr. Iger is being embarrassed by Dreamworks' giving artists "real" jobs; full time, year round work, while Disney, a much larger, richer, diversified corporation is still hiring project-to-project. It's funny, the last time Disney Animation functioned like that was when Jeffery was there. Coincidence? Maybe it's more of a question of principles than economics.

"We can't afford to give artists real jobs. It's because of...uh...I know, it's because of the pirates in Korea!"

Steve Hulett said...

... that we are all beholden to the large studios. Its really an unwise stance. Its two steps away from telling everyone to "be a company man" when you state that looking for avenues outside of a large studio are futile.

Arlo, there's one problem. The route you're advocating has been done by nobody.

Bakshi talks a good game, but he hasn't done an indie film with six guys that makes money.

Maybe he'll do it in future, but he hasn't done it yet. Nor has anybody else, despite the swell technology out there, despite the loads of talent aching to do this wonderful thing.

So the model, the example, the road map doesn't exist, except in some people's heads.

Perhaps Mr. Iger is being embarrassed by Dreamworks' giving artists "real" jobs; full time, year round work, while Disney, a much larger, richer, diversified corporation is still hiring project-to-project.

Mr. Iger isn't embarrassed. Mr. Iger hired a management team from Pixar, at great cost, that doesn't believe in long-term employment for the majority of Disney Feature Animation employees. They go with the project to project template.

They got rid of long-term employee contracts a while ago, and everyone (except, of course, some key senior management) is now week to week.

The moral is: Ignore platitudes. Look at what actually happens in the Real World. Because that's where you will spend your life.

Steve Hulett said...

There is a gaping cause and effect logical gap here that you seem to have taken for granted, but haven't really demonstrated or proved, i.e. a direct correlation between piracy and the collapse of major studios.

So let me give you one.

At the two contract negotiations in which I participated last year, the congloms used piracy and declining DVD sales as one of their reasons for wanting rollbacks.

So piracy can be connected to labor unions' diminished CBAs.

Now. Have the movie companies "melted down" because of piracy? Nope. They are still trundling along.

But neither have the big record companies gone away. They're all still out there, releasing albums and signing acts. But I don't think anyone would argue that they're the same companies that they were a dozen or fifteen years ago.

If you don't believe that piracy impacts movie-making and overall employment, that's probably because you're not seated across the table from the major companies at contract time.

Kevin Koch said...

There is a gaping cause and effect logical gap here that you seem to have taken for granted, but haven't really demonstrated or proved, i.e. a direct correlation between piracy and the collapse of major studios.

No logical gap at all. This post was originally about the way piracy is destroying the secondary market. This is something that Iger, Katzenberg, and every studio and union local in the business is worried about. The secondary market has been a huge revenue driver for every studio where TAG members work. Do you think Iger is making this up? Do you think plunging DVD sales are really unrelated?

If piracy keeps growing at the rate it has been, some companies may survive, in some form, but it's destroying our pension and health plans, undermining our wages, and costing us jobs. We're at a point where the really successful companies can tolerate the bleeding.

The music industry isn't a perfect analog for the animation industry, but we saw what wholesale piracy did there. When it becomes a trivial thing for most of our audiences to get the films and shows we work on, for free or at little cost, as soon as they are released/broadcast, and when none of what little money changing hands is going back to the studio that financed the project, how long do you think we have jobs to go to?

By the way, you may be unaware of this statistical fact -- for the last 15 years or so, the international theatrical gross of a film has represented only about 25% of it's revenue stream. About 50% of that revenue has been DVD/video. The other 25% is pay-per-view and merchandising. So if piracy destroys the middle 50%, and takes a bite out of the first 25% and the last 25%, where does that leave the studios who invest hundreds of millions into their facilities and crews and development? Where does that leave us?

And I'm still waiting for some sage to enlighten us as to how we make the new paradigm work for the thousand of skilled animation professionals who have good jobs now.

Arlo said...

Kevin stop prattling on about producing a FEATURE length film. I'm not talking about that.

Animation, to me and most artists, begins and ends with the animated short. A format so widely acclaimed that it is still broadcast during a prime slot of the Academy Awards.

With technology the way it is, it has never been more accessible for an artist to create a short of their own.


till with me? Good.

If you produce a short of your own(and it is of substantial quality you can make a splash online or in the festival circuit, and then... you have: LEVERAGE

Hard to believe huh?


With technology comes piracy, but also comes the equation above - the most direct route for an artist to create leverage for themselves at any studio big or small.

Now you can cluck away like Chicken Little that the sky is falling and the studios will close because of piracy. I simply think there wil be a new model for profitability. The important thing is that you consistently miss the positives of technology that go with the negatives.

Anonymous said...

Piracy is a scapegoat because it can't be quantified. If a film does bad the studios blame piracy even though there is no way to prove that piracy prevented $500 or $5 million worth of sales. And how many of those pirates who downloaded the movie would have paid $12 to see the movie anyways? One download does not equal one lost sale, and sometimes it even promotes sales for people who see the movie and decide it is worth buying or taking friends to see.

Wolverine had a pirated copy leaked and announced on nearly every news outlet, yet the film still made $88 million in its first weekend (even with terrible "early" reviews). If a highly publicized pirate copy of a terrible movie can't dent the opening grosses of a major movie (it still exceeded even the studio's expectations) how much are they claiming is being lost on other movies due to piracy?

This very blog discusses "Hollywood financing" and how studios claim they don't make a profit on highly successful movies. The piracy excuse is just another tool in their financial cookbooks. They say "look we make less money than we used to" and "look people pirate our movies, therefore we want to pay you less". But even if piracy was completely stopped, do you think the studios would offer you the share of that money that is returned? They would come up with a different reason at the meeting table to lower the contract rates.

YES, PIRACY IS BAD, IT IS ILLEGAL, IT PREVENTS SALES (but no one knows how many), but in the end it is not as large or rampant as the studios claim it is and if it didn't exist they would find new excuses to underpay their employees.

There are other factors at play here:

1. People are spending less on movies. It is the recession after all.

2. There are too many movies to choose from. No one movie will sell as many DVDs as blockbusters 5 years ago.

3. Not all movies are worth owning. "Make better movies" and they will sell. Look at Dark Knight sales, or the inevitable Star Trek sales.

4. Blu-ray is moving in. People are wary of buying a possibly obsolete version of a movie when a better version will come out soon. Or they are waiting on a cheaper BD player and then buying movies.

5. On Demand movies make purchasing movies obsolete. Why buy a movie you may watch once in the next 9 months when you can browse an extensive catalog at home and pay $2 to play it on demand. Wanna watch it again? Pay another $2!

6. The newest generation doesn't need to own physical media to be happy. This is a generation who grew up buying music on iTunes and never an actual CD. They are happy with On Demand and iTunes movie choices.

7. The world is changing, find ways to change with it instead of fighting it. The movies studios tried to kill betamax/VCRs because it hurt their business. Now home purchasing IS their business. There will always be pirates but pirates won't stop a good (or mediocre, ie Wolverine, Transformers) from making a lot of money.

8. Anti-piracy false-positives are scaring people from buying legitimate copies. People purchase software only to have it stop working a few months later because the software now thinks it was pirated. My OS stopped working completely after an automatic update, spent 10 hours on the phone having to prove I bought it and all other legal software (including Maya and Photoshop) on my machine. I did not like being passive-aggressively accused as a criminal and most consumers would feel the same way. Do this enough and consumers will find an easier, hassle-free way to get their content.

Kevin Koch said...

Kevin stop prattling on about producing a FEATURE length film. I'm not talking about that.

Really? So why did you link to Ralph Bakshi talking about making independent feature films? Why have you been arguing about a post that is clearly about feature films and major productions? The big studios don't make any money on shorts, and rarely bother with shorts, except as internal exercises. If you're happy to promote piracy of animated short films, be my guest. In doing that, you're mostly harming individual creators. That's your choice. But please, don't pretend that this entire post and thread hasn't been about major studio productions, because it has been.

Kevin Koch said...

Arlo again: I simply think there wil be a new model for profitability.

And that model is . . .? I think this is the third or forth time I've asked you that. What is this great new model you've figured out? That you make a short film and gain some mythical leverage with it? Animators who actually make short films just blew milk out their noses from laughing so hard at that statement.

So tell us, who does the short film maker with leverage make a deal with? The pirates? Or the big studios who are the victims of pirates? Do you really not see how bankrupt your thinking is?

Kevin Koch said...

To the other anonymous poster saying piracy is a scapegoat -- yeah, to some extent it is. But it's also real. You cite evidence that it doesn't hurt first-run features in theaters. It may not, much, yet.

But the point is, it IS contributing to the destruction of the home video/dvd market. And I'm not so impressed with most of your checkpoints, which don't match up with the data I've seen.

1. People are spending less on movies. It is the recession after all.

Actually, entertainment is one industry that tends to do well in a recession. Movie-going boomed during the depression, and theaters did good business this year compared to previous years. TV, on the other hand, is a disaster, and that has little to do with the recession. If you want hard stats, worldwide box office was up 5.2% from 2007 to 2008, and so far 2009 is running a little ahead of 2008.

2. There are too many movies to choose from. No one movie will sell as many DVDs as blockbusters 5 years ago.

Baloney. It's not a new thing to have several new movies come out each weekend. The number of movies released has gone up betwen 0 and 5% each year over the last few years. This doesn't come close to accounting for the dropoff in DVD sales.

3. Not all movies are worth owning. "Make better movies" and they will sell. Look at Dark Knight sales, or the inevitable Star Trek sales.

Yes, since the dawn of cinema, not all movies were good ones. Twas ever thus. It's not something new, though it may seem new to you. And people don't share your opinion that there are no good movies -- every weekend theaters do big business. Finally, I'm waiting to see the evidence that people will pirate bad movies, but will pay for good movies. I believe the sales of Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda were a fraction of the sales of Shrek and Toy Story 2.

4. Blu-ray is moving in. People are wary of buying a possibly obsolete version of a movie when a better version will come out soon. Or they are waiting on a cheaper BD player and then buying movies.

So far, Blu-ray has been a bust. I hope you're right, that people will buy movies when the players become cheaper, but I remember people happily paying $500-750 for VHS players, and then for DVD players, and happily paying $30 for each film.

5. On Demand movies make purchasing movies obsolete. Why buy a movie you may watch once in the next 9 months when you can browse an extensive catalog at home and pay $2 to play it on demand. Wanna watch it again? Pay another $2!

If on-demand sales went up in proportion to DVD sales going down, I'd buy your argument. But the stats I've seen say you're wrong.

6. The newest generation doesn't need to own physical media to be happy. This is a generation who grew up buying music on iTunes and never an actual CD. They are happy with On Demand and iTunes movie choices.

This sounds like a quote from a reporter, pulling a factiod out of their ass. Yes, mp3s have fundamentally changed the music scene, but I'd like to see your evidence about on-demand movies.

7. The world is changing, find ways to change with it instead of fighting it. The movies studios tried to kill betamax/VCRs because it hurt their business. Now home purchasing IS their business. There will always be pirates but pirates won't stop a good (or mediocre, ie Wolverine, Transformers) from making a lot of money.

Once again you're dazzled by theatrical grosses for very expensive event movies, and you miss the entire point. And yes, the world is changing, and we'll all have to adapt. Let's see if you can pile on a few more sage-sounding truisms in your next post.

8. Anti-piracy false-positives are scaring people from buying legitimate copies.

Now you're conflating software piracy with film piracy. Have you ever heard of a single person not buying a movie, in whatever legitimate form, because they were afraid of a 'false-positive'? Let try to keep focused, okay?

Anonymous said...

>>Animators who actually make short films just blew milk out their noses from laughing so hard at that statement.

Maybe it's time to hang up the old union hat when you find yourself pissing all over individual creative effort. A bit bitter? Sorry it didn't work out for you, but sadly, you're confirming every stereotype of labor there is under the sun.

But hey, at least Arlo and every other guy willing to stick their neck out to make a name for themselves can sleep well at night knowing that they made the right decision not to be a TAG signatory when they are financed to do something they love.

At least until your sad, bitter ass comes knocking on the door to share your infinite wisdom about how the animation world really works.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, I applaud your effort, and you're completely right.

But I think it's time to stop arguing with the morons. If they dont get it by now, they're either just flame baiting, or just really, REALLY stupid.

Either way, its not worth your time anymore.

Anonymous said...

They got rid of long-term employee contracts a while ago, and everyone (except, of course, some key senior management) is now week to week.

Thats not entirely true. Disney keeps a small staff of animators between projects. I mean, theres like 25-30 who stayed after Bolt to work on small projects and Rapunzel, and they arent "key senior management."

Steve Hulett said...

To my knowledge, none of the animators you mention have long-term contracts.

They're being retained, but they work week to week. And they have twice had their wages cut.

Arlo said...

Really? So why did you link to Ralph Bakshi talking about making independent feature films?

Because the principle of what he is discussing is what is relevant here. I posted it four frigging times, so pay attention this time:

Piracy is a development of the unstoppable steamroller of technology. You can assess it as bad, but you must also understand that it is part of the changing paradigm of media and media changing is not inherently bad. EXAMPLE: creators have more tools at their disposal for cheaper than ever before in the history of film. ever.

Did you grasp the concept this time?


Why have you been arguing about a post that is clearly about feature films and major productions?

Because feature films and productions are only part of the media landscape. I also mentioned the music industry - as did Steve. Are you going to direct an angry tirade at him for straying from your deliberate, selective reasoning?


The big studios don't make any money on shorts, and rarely bother with shorts, except as internal exercises.

But ARTIST'S careers are often made with shorts. Whether you are discussing Bill Plympton, or Nick Park, or Don Hertzfeldt, or Mike Judge, or more recently Shane Acker, short films are the crucible where artists prove their worth and get leverage for higher salaries - which lead to senior positions at the large studios -where you simply reside and suckle at the teet.

You work for a union of ARTISTS bub. Its astounding how you can follow a thought for as long as you have whilst being oblivious to the fact that the perspective you are arguing against is being a proponent of artists. Where are your senses man?




And that model (of profitability) is . . .?


It is evolving as we speak - but the status quo isn't going to remain the way it is. All things must pass. Lets hope you come around soon and recognize the changing scenarios around you. So far you have proven yourself to be as utterly recalcitrant as the senior executives at the studios who will all be jettisoned in the next few years.


That you make a short film and gain some mythical leverage with it?

If an artist has a short film of quality in the festivals, or garnering attention online they are exponentially more valuable a commodity to a studio than a lifetime studio "cog". These are the facts of the hiring situation in hollywood. For you to allege that it is "mythical" is really quite embarrassing for you.

I'm left to assume that your time with the union, and the studios you have worked at has really insulated you from the vibrant exciting world of animation and animators out there. Bummer for you. I'm not gonna argue with ignorance. I'm going to guess that you have never made a short(correct me if i'm wrong). I have and Its opened doors for me at many companies - moreso than a resume or a reel that no one watches. Maybe you get jobs because of some other clout.(?)



Animators who actually make short films just blew milk out their noses from laughing so hard at that statement."

I love this. I am criticizing your line of thinking. You are criticizing ME from behind your keyboard whilst imagining what you desperately hope I represent. Why would I even dignify your ad hominem garbage with a response?
You lose.

Kevin Koch said...

To the poster from 7:16 pm, yes, you're right, and thank you. But there's one bit of nonsense I need to respond to before I call it a night.

Maybe it's time to hang up the old union hat when you find yourself pissing all over individual creative effort. A bit bitter? Sorry it didn't work out for you, but sadly, you're confirming every stereotype of labor there is under the sun.

This is classic bit of internet nonsense from someone who wants to turn a discussion of ideas into a personal attack. Misquote, misrepresent, malign. It's the internet troll's trifecta.

The quote of mine that was taken out of context has absolutely nothing to do with bitterness, or pissing on individual creators. It referred to the reaction of actual individual creators of short films (of whom I am one) to Arlo's naive assertions.

Yep, I've worked on personal projects, and mentored many many such films, and I have lots of friends and acquaintances and students who pour their time into such projects. I support and applaud them all (or rather, 'I support us all'). My comment referred to the laughable notion that one should do a personal film to get LEVERAGE from animation studios.

We get leverage in this industry a lot of ways, but anyone who is making a short film as the road to LEVERAGE is very likely fooling themselves.

Want the euphoria of having an audience at a film festival cheering for you? Do it. Want to tell the world that story that no one will pay you to tell? Do it. Want to advertise your ability to do other short films, maybe get commercial work or freelance? Do it. Want to show the world that you can be a generalist? Do it.

But don't do it because you think it will give you LEVERAGE with the studios. Because examples of that are exceedingly rare, and anyone who's completed a personal animated short film knows it. Just be honest with yourself, and realize that your odds of doing what Shane Acker or Mike Judge did are about the same as the odds that the waiter who served me today will successfully sell his spec script to Jim Carrey.

Short film, or solid demo reel, it's all the same to the animation studios. They just want to see what you can do.

Arlo, I'm sorry if I got you a little excited. I was critiquing your arguments, which I find naive -- I wasn't attacking you, since I don't know you or anything you've done.

And I'm glad to hear you actually have made a short film. Maybe you'll share with us what success has come your way since you finished? That would really support your point (at least about short films, though not so much about the benefits of piracy).

Peace out.

Anonymous said...

Did you grasp the concept this time?

No Arlo. Because YOU ARE CLUELESS.

Not every artist in this industry is going to make a short film to make a name for themselves, and wrangle giant salaries or direct films. 99.99% of all feature film artists are going to go to work, do good work, then go home. Stop stealing from them by downloading their movies. Many of them (Blue Sky artists, for example) receive bonuses that are directly derived from box office performance. For every download, you literally took 10 dollars out of the pocket of a Blue Sky employee. Way to go jackass.

And this incoherent ramble about technology and the "ever changing landscape" is bull. Sure, the methods change, but one thing remains: fee for services. Not paying the fee is stealing, plain and simple. No amount of holier-than-thou gobbledy gook you spew is going to change that.

If its your position that technology is an unstoppable steamroller, then it's my position that the owners of intellectual property and electronic media can used the very same "power of technology" to protect it. I guess thats why Sheriffs drive Chevy Impalas and dont rely on horses, huh?

YOU lose.

Anonymous said...

Synopsis: DVD sales are going down due to a plethora of entertainment options that didn't exist 8 years ago (or weren't mainstream). No one option will compensate for lost DVD sales, but when combined the money spent on entertainment now (games, DVD/Blu-ray, iTunes, on demand, apps, etc) exceeds the amount spent on similar items in 2000 (games, DVD, CDs). Feature film studios (and their employed animators and the union they run) hurt when DVD sales drop, but video game animators, online content creators, iPhone app creators, etc aren't complaining because suddenly more money is being spent on them when it used to be spent on DVDs.

Specific replies:


1. (Recession hurts sales) Actually, entertainment is one industry that tends to do well in a recession... If you want hard stats, worldwide box office was up 5.2% from 2007 to 2008, and so far 2009 is running a little ahead of 2008.

The entertainment industry does do well in a recession, but the entertainment industry is large and does not consist of movies alone. I was referring to the DVD drop when I wrote this (should have been more specific). While CDs, DVD purchases, etc have dropped the video game industry has risen and continues to rise. People can only spend so much time on entertainment at home and more and more of the time is now spent with games, which means less DVD purchases. As for movie box office increasing since last year, is attendance also increasing too? Because movie prices for first week blockbusters are much higher now than then due to 3-D an iMax showings. I can't see a major movie opening weekend for less than $13 now, yet it only cost me $10 to see Dark Knight and other 2008 blockbusters.


2.(on multiple movie releases) This doesn't come close to accounting for the dropoff in DVD sales.

The drop off in DVD sales is due to everything mentioned, not just multiple movies released: games, DVR, netflix, blu-ray, lack of the need to own a physical copy, on demand, Hulu, Youtube etc. Each one alone may not hurt DVD sales too much, but the combination of them all does.. THere are far more entertainment options in 2009 than there were in DVD's heyday.

3. (Not all movies are worth owning. "Make better movies")
...And people don't share your opinion that there are no good movies -- every weekend theaters do big business. I believe the sales of Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda were a fraction of the sales of Shrek and Toy Story 2.


Nowhere did I say there are no good movies, I said make better movies and they will sell. Time has a way of culling out the bad movies from memory which is why people remember movies like Citizen Kane, Spartacus, and the Godfather but forget movies like Mister V, Sergeant X, and Breaking of Bumbo from the same years. Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda sell less than Toy Story 2 and Shrek because a: fewer CG animated movies in 1999 and 2001 therefore they were a luxury with less competition; b. DVD really hit mainstream in 1999-2003 and sold like hotcakes, c. see answer #3 to why DVD sales are lower in 2008+

4. (Blu-ray is moving in) So far, Blu-ray has been a bust.

Blu-Ray is not a bust (that would be HD-DVD), it just isn't DVD, nor will it ever be. DVD/VHS did not require purchasing HDTVs to work. DVD did not have to compete against ubiquitous DVRs, HD video games which use more polygons than Toy Story, hulu, youtube, (see: 2009 forms of entertainment listed above) or an impending successor (re: VHS sales drops after DVD was released). Blu-ray will never take up the lost sales of DVDs. But people are spending more money on entertainment now, movies just aren't the monopoly like DVD was 8 years ago.

5. (On Demand movies make purchasing movies obsolete)
If on-demand sales went up in proportion to DVD sales going down, I'd buy your argument. But the stats I've seen say you're wrong.


They don't have to equal the losses in DVD sales. Again, by themselves on-demand sales don't hurt DVD sales too much, but when combined with everything else listed DVD doesn't have a chance.
...

Anonymous said...

...

6. (The newest generation doesn't need to own physical media)
This sounds like a quote from a reporter, pulling a factiod out of their ass. Yes, mp3s have fundamentally changed the music scene, but I'd like to see your evidence about on-demand movies.

iPhone apps, XBox Live/ Playstation Network games, Steam, iTunes, DVR/on demand owners, Youtube/hulu, etc. These non-physical media outlets are the major successes in 2009 and they are GROWING. Yet physical media such as CDs and DVDs are dying while Blu-ray is not as big as DVD studios wish.

7. (The world is changing, find ways to change with it instead of fighting it)Let's see if you can pile on a few more sage-sounding truisms in your next post.

That one is hard to follow. But since you asked: years ago when someone asked you (Kevin) what to do if a studio stole your idea (short film, animated shot, etc), you told the audience to create a better idea and move on. "Don't waste valuable creative time fighting the thieves who steal from you. Just improve your skills and do something better creatively, and learn your lesson". I still have my notes from this talk.

Yet now we are debating on on fighting piracy and implementing draconian anti-piracy ideas instead of putting that money into something creative like better movies, more efficient pipelines based on new technology etc. Piracy does hurt but it is not as bad as the studios make it out to be and there are far better uses for that money that offer more jobs to artists.

8. (Anti-piracy false-positives are scaring people from buying legitimate copies.)
Now you're conflating software piracy with film piracy...Let try to keep focused, okay?

ALL anti-piracy techniques, be it on DVD, Blu-ray, itunes, video games, etc is SOFTWARE (DRM). When your blu-ray player refuses to play a legit disc because it thinks
it is illegal, that is a software error. The piracy we are discussing is software piracy (bit torrent mostly) and the software happens to be video-based software (.mov, .avi, .mkv, etc). There is little difference between an OS's DRM preventing me from using my computer and iTunes or a blu-ray player preventing me from watching/listening to my media due to a software false positive.

Anonymous said...

In the end, piracy is just ONE of the many reasons why DVD sales (and to a lesser extent, movie attendance) are decreasing. Yet everyone here is acting like it is THE reason why studios are struggling.

Wasting time and money to fight piracy will not increase DVD sales. The music industry (record labels) spent billions of dollars fighting piracy (Napster et al) while Steve Jobs was slowly creating their destroyer with iTunes (which cuts out the middleman and destroys the need for physical media).

And now the movie studios are doing the same thing. If your livelihood depends on DVD sales then you are in trouble. So instead of spending money on salvaging the DVD sales with anti-piracy software that will be obsolete in 2 weeks spend it on creating content (or easier distribution networks) people actual want and will spend money on.

Because in the end, great content that is easily accessible will sell and make money. And the old DVD money machine is on the way out with nothing to replace it so stop fighting to save it by only addressing one (piracy) of the many, many causes of its demise.

It just so happens piracy is the only cause that is illegal (and rightly so) so it makes it easier to blame.

Anonymous said...

what to do if a studio stole your idea (short film, animated shot, etc), you told the audience to create a better idea and move on. "Don't waste valuable creative time fighting the thieves who steal from you. Just improve your skills and do something better creatively, and learn your lesson".

That's awesome advice. Guess what, ideas cannot be stolen. Ideas cannot be protected, because ideas cannot be copyrighted. That may suck, but it's the reality.

But stealing a movie, which the the complex execution of a series of ideas, IS theft. It IS a crime. A movie is subject to copyright.

You lose, again.

Kevin Koch said...

Damn, I try to get out, but they just keep pulling me back. Okay, Anonymous from 9:55 PM pretty much has this covered, but I'll defend myself anyway.

I've been quoted as saying "Don't waste valuable creative time fighting the thieves who steal from you. Just improve your skills and do something better creatively, and learn your lesson."

I'm certain that the context was about stealing IDEAS, and I stand by that. Let me tell you a story. Years ago, a friend and I came up with a great idea for an animated feature. It involved a mostly forgotten public domain character, that had never been touched in animation or comics, with a cool twist. We developed it into a one page premise, and pitched it to an executive at the studio we worked. We knew he was looking for projects to shepherd. At the end of the pitch, he said the company had something like that in development, and he passed.

We doubted that, but what could we say? Hell, we had other ideas, and we were paid to do other things, anyway.

We also had a mutual friend who worked in the studio's research library. The next day we learned from this friend that our executive had called the library within an hour of our pitch, and asked her to send everything she could find on this character and the associated setting and time period.

What did we do? I mean, he was stealing our idea! Outrageous! Unconscionable! Criminal!

What we did was laugh about it. That's all. And we moved on.

Because while it was outrageous, and unconscionable, it wasn't criminal. He tried to run with our idea. He didn't have it in him, though, it went nowhere, and after about a year he was pushed out of the company. My friend and I continued to work there for years.

He tried to steal our idea, which we couldn't protect. We also knew we could come up with new ideas that might lead somewhere. And we knew that being bitter and angry would have only hold us back.

I know a few people who believe their ideas have been stolen, and it has scarred them. I also know of cases where people are certain their idea was stolen, when it wasn't.

We've all had ideas that we thought were unique, only to find out someone had already executed exactly that idea. That's the nature of any creative endeavor. So it goes.

If my friend and I had written a script, or made a short film, and this executive had taken that and actually developed the project and got the film made, we would have had cause for action. But that's not what happened. We had an idea, which we briefly developed, someone hijacked the idea, and it went nowhere. If this potential scenario upsets you, stay away from Hollywood, or any creative field.

On the other hand, if you actually execute your idea, with a full script, a novel, a short film, then you have something to fight over and protect. But even there, look at cases like Madagascar and The Wild and realize that similarities are awfully common in this town (want more examples, go to this website, which barely scratches the surface).

Kevin Koch said...

Oh, geeze, I forgot the punchline to my story. About ten years after our ill-fated pitch, another studio made an animated film based on that character and story. So we were right, it was a good idea!

Do I think they stole the idea for that movie from me and my partner, or from that hapless exec? No, I'm certain they didn't. I'm certain they were influenced by a book about that character that came out several years after our pitch. Is it possible that the author of that book was influenced by us? No chance.

Somehow that idea was floating around out there, and an author grabbed the idea and wrote it. He was likely working on it at about the same time we were developing our pitch. I guess we should have just written a book, but we missed our chance.

Oh, yeah, and after all that, guess what -- the movie wasn't very good. I still like our specific take on it, still think it would make a cool film, and despite the existence of that movie, it's still an idea that I'm free to develop.

That's how it works, and if you lose sleep over the reality that IDEAS cannot be protected, then prepare to be an insomniac.

Here's a link that talks about the subject of stealing ideas from the standpoint of screenwriters. I hadn't read this at the time we made our pitch, and it has some good advice.

Arlo said...


Not every artist in this industry is going to make a short film to make a name for themselves,



No, you are correct, but we need more short films. We need more ideas furthered towards a product. More short films produced by animators means a hugely more vibrant animation community - which attracts more money, more interest, and more eyes.

Thats THE point. Its always been the point.

Juts like Ralph Bakshi said: make a movie. Make a bad movie. Make something. hat's what you are here to do. THAT'S the challenge. When your high school art teacher put a pair of old tennis shoes on the table in front of you for you to draw, he didn't do it because he couldn't find any action figures. He did it because the challenge is in the tennis shoes.

The challenge is to make something yourself - and its never been easier than it is now. If getting good salaries for the rest of your life was as easy as simply doing what they told you at our studios, then every body would have a secure future.

But Steve touches on the issue at an almost weekly basis that not everybody will be secure for the rest of their lives. If you have produced frigging NOTHING on your own by the time you reach fifty, then you can pretty much kiss any sort of seniority goodbye.

More created content means more network interest, means more animation on tv, means more union studios.

Is this really hard to understand?? Deliver your own content for your own self interest. There are too many people in this industry that whine and moan about their lives at homekeeping them from creating. Its never been easier to do

Anonymous said...

Arlo, with all due respect, we arent idiots. You have to be pretty darn smart to make it in this industry, so stop patronizing us with comments like "is this really hard to understand?"

We get what you're saying, and in regards to work ethic and exercising your individual creative talents, I couldnt agree more. I'm very aware that it's part of my job to stay relevant, viable, talented, and creative. But no matter which way you slice it, it is illegal and wrong to download movies from the internet, which is the basis of this discussion.

I think in your mind you're extrapolating beyond the discussion about what the future of the industry is, IF piracy continues to run rampant. And you're right; animators will have to make a penance by producing their own individual films and finding ways to sell it themselves, amidst the barrage of piracy. If they're lucky, they'll be one of the few with a following on "iTunes for movies" and barely scrape a yearly salary to pay rent on a one bedroom apartment. Gone will the days be of beautifully rendered, epic pictures that can be only made with the combined talents of hundreds of talented artists (example, Lord of the Rings)

What a rosy future.

I say, let the media and technology evolve as it always has, and in the meantime, let the anti-piracy techniques also continue to evolve and improve. And even moreso, prosecute those who distribute it. Im still not sure why people in NYC can stand on the street and sell illegal DVDs.

Mars Cabrera said...

The CD prices are still steep so, people buy/download ONLY they songs they want.
More convenient to drag it onto a media playlist as opposed to carrying a whole stack of cd's. People just stopped buying-- that's a fact.
a combination of file sharing and any other form just like what's already been said.
It's not piracy alone that put down cd music sales... & besides, Music as a whole has been alive now more than ever!

50% revenue to dvd??? then perhaps, they need to rethink the whole process!
Did Walter Elias Disney had the budget for making dvds?

Maybe , allocate the partition for producing movies and the marketing then, probably reduce the budget for merchandising and production of dvds.. or make the discs at a later date and not too many!
If they make a lot and it's not gonna sell -- then it's a major loss...or another option is to Sell on demand!! or maybe, NONE at all not that many watch movies over and over again !! anyways, 50 % is just still too much> again, the media outlet has been diversified; net download, rent, divx, etc... The people need MORE PROOF that piracy is the culprit.

Again, LOWER the cost of the damn thing so, maybe people will buy!!
Is that so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

Arlo is a fraud.

Despite repeated requests that he put up or shut up he refuses to give examples of his fnatastic abilities and how he is striving to make his own ridiculous suggestions a part of his own life.
Instead he just enjoys discussing his own masturbation publicly. Clearly he reads JohnK's blog a little too much.
He wants to coax everyone into a circle jerk for whatever reasons.

To suggest that to avoid piracy everyone should try and create their own content is ridiculous. He's so fond of using the change in the music industry as an example yet he fails to realize how the artists that are creating music are now survivng. Mostly through live concerts and the chances are very good, unless these artists get a contract with a major label, they will never become rich or be able to take a break from the live concert circuit and stop playing county fairs for travel money.
Unfortunately for Arlo's argument there is no equivalent in animation to live concerts. I guess we could all try and bring a DVD of our short films, that took us long hours to create, to the county fairs and hope someone doesn't bring a camcorder to bootleg our work so Arlo can download it for free.

His biggest suggestion: embrace piracy and it will lead to a whole new paradigm. What an absolute moron.


Keven and Steve (and many others have tried, but what's the point. It's like talking to Glen Beck. Trying to use logic, facts and reason against a immature screaming, play-acting fraud.

rufus said...

Blur studio has a very interesting bussiness model, which is very diverse. They do commercials, shorts, video game trailers, and I believe they're in preproduction for a couple of feature films. So it's a variety of income streams.(Pixar did commercial work for a while,but I'm not sure if they continue to do that these days.)

I think it's a bussiness model other studios should consider.

As far as animators producing shorts, I'd like to hear from animators who have done these shorts, and see wether they can earn a living by producing shorts. How does would a short make enough money? In fact, I do know of two animators who have made shorts in the past, and one is working at a major studio as a junior animator, the other is on a contract to contract basis, trying to support a family.

rufus

Arlo said...

"To suggest that to avoid piracy everyone should try and create their own content is ridiculous."

I never said that.

I said that technology has allowed for just as much good developments as bad ones. While piracy is up, the capabilities we all have at our disposal is way up.I think that you are beholden to studios for everything creative and productive in your life - and thats a sad existence isn't it? Its why you are fretting like a little girl when the studios *allege* that piracy is eating away at their dollar(which is the only dollar you will ever make because you can't think or act for yourself).




"His biggest suggestion: embrace piracy and it will lead to a whole new paradigm."


I never said that. I said the new paradigm is coming whether you like it or not. There is nothing you can do. The genie is out of the bottle. Good luck with your personal campaign to reduce piracy and portray the big studios as victims.


"What an absolute moron."

^You really have a charming way about yourself. This cause of yours will work out great!



"He's so fond of using the change in the music industry as an example yet he fails to realize how the artists that are creating music are now survivng. Mostly through live concerts and the chances are very good, unless these artists get a contract with a major label, they will never become rich or be able to take a break from the live concert circuit and stop playing county fairs for travel money."

This is one instance where I unfortunately have to state an unpleasant reality: that being, that you are a complete idiot who knows nothing about what you are talking about. And the beautiful part is that I don't even have to make a case. Dick Dale does it right here in a couple quick minutes filled with information that your tiny brain never learned. Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AJxc3Lxn4o

Now, shut up.

"Yup." said...

Rufus- Blur's business model is a pretty standard one for most boutique animation studios, and has been for some time. Commercials are often the bread & butter for small studios, helping to keep them afloat until a series/film deal can happen.

Most shorts seem to wind up being a calling card/portfolio piece/leverage getter until an artist can get a job- or if they win the animation lottery like a lucky few -a series/film deal with, yes, a major studio. (And winning Emmys and producing hit shows for studios won't guarantee you your own series or a mega-paycheck; You are still at the mercy of the studios who greenlight/fund/market/air/release the product. Maybe George Lucas is the only guy who managed to subvert the system by getting crazy rich with an endlessly milkable ca$h cow.)

It should be noted that Nina Paley has made her self-made film "Sita Sings the Blues" available for FREE under a creative commons license (rendering the whole piracy issue moot), though more for political reasons than profit-driven ones. While she almost went broke making it over the course of 3-5 years, she has received numerous awards (for film festivals she entered at great personal financial cost) and has achieved some measure of fame. Not rich yet, though.

Dude, c'mon. said...

I think that you are beholden to studios for everything creative and productive in your life - and thats a sad existence isn't it?

Arlo, while I dig some of what you're saying, Kevin isn't suggesting we're dependent on the studios for "Everything creative & productive" in our lives. We paint, draw, make music and our own animated films on our own time. We're just beholden to studios to earn a paycheck, just like anyone else.

Good luck with your personal campaign to reduce piracy and portray the big studios as victims.

Again, Kevin & Steve aren't portraying the studios as victims, any more than an auto worker's union talking about worker layoffs at GM plants is portraying the auto companies as victims. The point of the original post is how us little guys are finding jobs in short supply since the bigwigs earning their fat bonuses are crying victim.

... and I think we all know one can never trust Hollywood accounting. (Forrest Gump and the Lord of the RIngs trilogy did'nt make any money to pay the creatives who made 'em? Yeah RIGHT.)

Peace, man.

Mars Cabrera said...

In the early 80's - the animator's desk was full of cassette tapes (some had vinyls, 8 tracks?)
by the 90's - the advent of digital tech so naturally, cds/minidisc/mp3 yeah, Napster, P2P, bit torrent..
21st century --- Ipods, Iphones, psps, & your latest gizmo at the source...

Where are these blurays manufactured? mostly in China right.
If they can be duplicated , they can be "pirated" 7 bucks a piece, 2 bucks for a dvd..
But, just how many NYC stands are there? where are these pirated stalls?
I know 2 in Toronto - been raided so many times-- kept coming back and still exist!
then, there are the Online movies...so many!!! you don't even need a pirated copy!
Anyone heard of the decrypter? able to make a perfect copy, special features included.
It defeats the security code! Pirated ones usually consists only the movie.

Not to mention the percentage of people who access the music/movies in public libraries for FREE! or reduced prices at local bargain shops, flea markets, garage sales...

They've shut down p2p sites, more and more followed-- There's no escaping this--- Someone, somewhere is making a COPY of almost anything..

Arlo has a point whether you like it or not. the Pandora box stays open!
Yes, piracy is against the law but, you need to arrest half of the world's population to make that law more effective.

Keep creating is just one of the solutions.. there'd be more answers later.
Shane Acker is just an example, not for everyone I'm sure.

the question is -- Why would anyone rush out to buy a $30 bluray disc, $300 bluray player in a RECESSION?

However, by reducing the prices -- it'd be a different story. Not only, the pirated copies will go away becuz theirs is sub par anyway! MORE people in droves will have easy access to the greatness (or crappiness) of the material in those bluray/cd/dvds.

Anonymous said...

Yes, piracy is against the law but, you need to arrest half of the world's population to make that law more effective.

I guess for me, Im asking for personal responsibility from consumers. Is that too much to ask?

And if so, start making the penalty for stealing media more harsh.

Your line of logic would say "well, they've invented guns, so pandora is out of the box. We cant stand up to criminals anymore. Might as well shut down police stations and turn them into crack houses."

Anonymous said...

Some things are inevitable. Moral issues are ineveitable. Equality for women, Blacks and Gays were and are inevitable.

But to suggest that morals need to change and accepted because many are doing something is moronic. No matter what Arlo says he will never be able to make a case for allowing theft of anyone's property. I don't care if it's theft from the 'evil' studio owner or if it's theft from a Lighting TD.

He shouts that we should all accept the immorality and change. Even assuming that he was right (for a minute) he doesn't have any ideas about what that change should be - zilch, nada, NOTHING! In all the time he's spent writing on this blog accusing others of being stupiud and being rude to the owners of the blog he has nothing to offer accept "you better change". And what's even worse is he doesn't blame the crimnal at all for the problem. Instead he's outraged when it might be suggested that the Studios might be seen as a victim. Guess what? Even the Studios, who may lie and cheat on a daily basis, can be victims too. Of course, Arlo probably feels a prostitute who is raped had it coming.
One thing has nothing to do with the other and in this case if the studios are cheated, we are cheated. When their profits diminish they don't take a smaller check they make our budgets tigfhter and our salaries smaller. THAT is the real reality of what will happen.

Arlo is clearly trying to justify his own piracy.
Please let us know who you really are so we can send the FBI over to your little studio apartment (or are you living in your parent's garage?)
THAT is how you fight piracy. You make the demand go away by making it too risky to buy or download pirated art. Of course, that won't make it disappear entirely (I'm sure that's Arlo's next argument), but the casual theif might think twice before taking a chance in prison for being able to watch AstroBoy for free.

g said...

And that, my friends, is the truth.

Steve Hulett said...

Some things are inevitable. Moral issues are ineveitable. Equality for women, Blacks and Gays were and are inevitable.

It's certainly pretty to think so.

Anonymous said...

????? This is one of the longer threads here lately and piracy of corporate product as a threat to our health and pension is the topic? Wall Street is what holds our health and pension hostage at the end of a gun, and that gun is the piracy and counterfeiting of your money through derivatives, naked short selling, the Depository Trust Company, Prime Brokerages, and every other financial innovation of the last 25 years that has indeed, PIRATED your accounts, TAG. DIRECTLY. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Bob Iger says let's throw the Chinese street vendor in jail and everyone runs around screaming bloody murder. Hello? The truth is that the people that his corporation needs to borrow money from every day to keep his stock and our pensions afloat are the ones that really do keep him up at night. You think he's really going to come out and say that, with his own wealth entirely and completely beholden to that same corrupt derivative market that sucks the life out of every single 'dollar' that is deposited into that phantom pension account with your name on it? No, but what he does say is that the people that pirate 'his' products - and I stress 'his' because his company makes it clear at every single fucking legal turn that the products are, in fact, 'his' - no, it's those people who should be thrown in jail forever and ever for all eternity, God Willing. Corrupt money is the mother of all moral issues and everyone points the fingers in all the wrong directions. And Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan and every hedge fund pirate sits back and games the system even today - games your system, your pension, your health, with a Dow supposedly at 10,000. Internet pirates? Seriously? I just don't get it. I really don't.

g said...

Thank you for giving us the larger perspective, Anonymous 7:33:00AM. And you're right, there are bigger problems. But it doesnt mean piracy is right, nor does it mean it doesnt affect us as individuals.

It's still a valid discussion.

Mars Cabrera said...

Your line of logic would say "well, they've invented guns, so pandora is out of the box. We cant stand up to criminals anymore. Might as well shut down police stations and turn them into crack houses."



Sorry to be the first one to tell you that -- there's a world of difference between the invention of guns and the technology to copy dvds.

Try getting that to your thick skull!

The pandoras box is the knowledge, the technology, the possibilities...
I agree piracy is akin to theft but, I never said we cannot stop it.

That's what you're getting at , right? Piracy = Theft
btw, my 6 yr old niece knows that too..

We're also talking about sales of dvds/cds are DOWN and they're blaming piracy.
I'm simply curious if this is the absolute truth which I suspect is not. I'm not convinced with that at all. There are OTHER venues where people acquire entertainment-- they rent, they download movies, you know ; read the above posts...
Regardless of the issue of piracy There's a lot of evidence where the general public obtain their sources and not solely on pirate stands. It's just diversified. Many of my friends don't buy dvds anymore. No, they're stealing either..when I ask them.. there's not much good stuff that interest them , not a necessity, and other reasons..

It's unfortunate that the companies that make dvds weren't getting the returns that they used to but, that's the modernism. The playing field has changed. Some people may have decided NOT to buy dvds anymore or maybe it's not a priority because the movies they want to watch are available on tivo, cable, netflix, amazon, itunes, other online sources...I can give you links if you want. It's common knowledge. it's out there. Ever since napster, the technology changed the landscape. and we all have to evolve.. We have to adapt.

Some people have playlist on a free all music site and play them all day..or make a playlist on youtube. heck, there are even free TV sites .. How many do you know have crack copies of softwares ?

In China, they're forced to make copies because they they simply could not afford them. Check the exchange rate on how much a cost of a bluray here and convert it to their currency... You say tough luck , right? Well, they say tough luck too. They make those blurays so, they can copy them. Yeah, it's bad but, that's what it is...so, is that the same as a ponzi scheme? shooting people? waging war or committing mass murders?

Is there any way of stopping this? How about; "Yeah, there is".

Do we know how? if we already know then, we wouldn't be discussing here-- we're just giving our thoughts on the matter.

Anyways, we'll see who's "moronic" when the time comes...

Furthermore, there are different laws around the globe, most of the sites where you can get those freebie movies/music are outside the US. Go ahead and flash your badge over there and arrest those crooks...there are only 60 countries.

The US government even collaborated with China about the piracy situation..You can look it up google.. But after that, it just went on .

I do not condone making pirated dvds but, one solution I suggest is to LOWER the prices, Not as ridiculously low as the fake ones but, low enough that it becomes affordable. Now --- the piraters won't have any profit. NO ONE 's gonna buy their stuff becuz the real deal is already available and better quality too and perhaps people will eventually buy more. Also, probably a good idea not to produce too much dvds.. The market is already diversified, why make so many copies when other just want to download?

There could be other solutions,too... the point here is there is hope, it's not all in black and white.

Anonymous said...

Arlo is clearly advocating piracy in his posts, and justifying it. I was responding to that, not you, Mars.

But thanks for your rambling, boring, pointless response anyway.

Time to let this thread die? Yes.

Anonymous said...

In China, they're forced to make copies because they they simply could not afford them.

Actually, the Chinese have been copying DVDs to export them, because it's easier to rip off American movies than to make knock-off purses and Rolexs.

And the price for a legitimate DVD in China is a fraction of the cost of a DVD here. But then, I'm not surprised that a blow-hard like Mars wouldn't know that.

Arlo said...

"Arlo is clearly advocating piracy in his posts, and justifying it. I was responding to that, not you, Mars."


Wrong again.

I never advocated piracy. The most direct and incendiary comment I made is that the big studios deaserved the profit dent that piracy is (allegedly) making in their profits.


That is not advocating piracy. If I said John Wilkes Booth deserved his demise, it doesn't mean I am a proponent of martial law.

Mars is correct, you have a really thick skull.

Anonymous said...

No, again, we get what you're saying, we just disagree with it.

Here's a radical thought: you might just be wrong, and not smarter than everyone else here!

*GASP*

g said...

It seems like there is two discussions going on here:

1) Is piracy (downloaded or ripped DVDs) the primary reason for the decline in DVD sales?

2) Is piracy a socially accepted source of media since "big companies" arent addressing changing technology?

Its been my position throughout this thread that while I agree big studios NEED to change their distribution model to stay competent, and also continue to generate quality content to entice the movie-buying public, it is fundamentally WRONG to steal in the meantime.

Arlo, Mars, Im curious to hear your response to this.

g said...

Oh I forgot to add:

I feel studios are justified in enforcing and protecting their copyright in the meantime, though the long-term goal should be finding and developing new media outlets.

Kevin Koch said...

Actually, no one in the quotes from the original post or in the commentary against piracy ever claimed that piracy was "the primary reason for the decline in DVD sales."

The claim was that piracy is hurting the studio's bottom line, and that that in turn is hurting the vast workforce of rank and file animation professionals, in wages and in health and pension benefits.

It was a broader, more subtle claim. The attack on this fact has been two-fold (and mutually contradictory):

1) Piracy is real but it's okay, because big companies are terrible and deserve to be damaged; their prices are too high; the pirates can't afford legitimate content; people only pirate because the quality of current movies is low; it's part of a new business model, and if you can't adapt you deserve to perish; it's actually an opportunity for individual artists to prosper, so no matter how much you prove that piracy is hurting studios, I know it's really good for individual artists; please don't ask me to articulate how it's good for individual artists, because all I can say is it's like the music industry, and I won't acknowledge that the music industry is a fundamentally different industry than animation, and . . .

2) Piracy probably isn't significant; you haven't proven it to my satisfaction, so I can claim it's a non-issue and blame the studio woes on their own bad business practices; there are other reasons for the studios suffering; give me more proof, but realize that even if you give me more proof I still maintain that the business model has shifted and we can never go back to the way it was, so your proof is irrelevant.


Just to clarify.

When you're trying to discuss/debate with people who are willing to accept mutually contradictory defenses, and when one of those defenses inherently invalidates absolutely anything you can possibly say, there's not much point in trying.

Arlo said...

"so no matter how much you prove that piracy is hurting studios"


And you proved this WHERE Kevin?

Oh. The studios told you that and you invest wholly in anything they say because you are beholden to them.

Right. Got it.

Anonymous said...

Arlo has proved soemthing: what a rude douchebag he is.
You have come onto someone's blog as a guest and spent most of your time being obnoxious and rude to the owners of the blog.

I bet your family is proud of you.

What an asshole.

Arlo said...

I'm rude to point out that Netflix, movies on demand, iTunes and the like are CONVENIENTLY left out of the equation that dropping profits from dvd sales must be the result of piracy.

We can all sit around and wonder about the recent development on the newswire that major studios now want to renegotiate their deal with Netflix.


This is all happening because i'm a 'dummy head' right? Take your ad-hominem, inverted reasoning to a hotly contested topic at the Huffington Post.
You are dragging the entire debate into the gutter.
Thanks for nothing. Bye bye.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

Douchebag is too nice for Arlo...I'd go with douchenozzle.

No one is implying it's rude to point out there may be other reasons besides piracy for lower revenues - though that's not what this thread was about - it's Arlo's attitude towards Steve and Kevin (the owners of the blog) and his clear disrespectful behavior and snarky comments.
Bad internet etiquette - especially on a professionals' site.
Be nasty as you want to other posters, but NOT to the owners of the site.

Arlo said...

More ad hominem attacks from the only member of this discussion that has continually proven how juvenile and ignorant of the issue they are with every post.
The only decision you have made in this thread that borders on intelligent is to post anonymously. Now throw some more insults, obfuscate the real issue, and feign offense in yet another post.

Nothing I could say would be as humiliating to you as what you continually post in here.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha...Arlo are you so ignorant or vain to think that all the anonymous posts are coming from one person?

As one of the anonymous I know I didn't write all of the anonymous posts. Unlike you, I have a life and have better things to do with it than spend so much time writing long winded, ridiculous posts.

I do have to agree with some of the earlier posts though...you are rude to this web-site's hosts and without the slightest ability to bolster an argument against why piracy is bad.

Get a clue and stand by your word a nd take off!

g said...

Arlo, you've still not responded to my comment above. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I still haven't recouped my misguided investment in the payphone industry and now I have to worry about something called "piracy" hurting dvd sales ?!?

We should go back to horses and buggies. Nice and safe. No change is good.

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