23 avril 2011

MPAA not interested in democratized culture

"If you do not believe in the value of creativity, the importance of protecting it and the need to reward those who produce, then maybe you can justify piracy. But in that case you’ll be doing great harm to culture. [..] Obviously, governments and societies have to work to make sure that the population has access to the basics in order to survive, but that does not mean you should ignore other things. Companies must live together because they respect each other and respect that people do not steal from one another. Even if you battle to put food on your plate, it is immoral to steal [..] [Creative Commons supporters] don’t always agree with what we advocate. And you are talking about democratizing culture, this is not in our interests. It really isn’t my interest."
Greg Frazier (MPAA Vice President) during a lobbying visit to Brazil 
The MPAA is merely protecting their corporate interests. [..]
To the MPAA and many others in the entertainment industry, copyright has little to do with the word right, nor with creativity and culture. Instead, it’s a restrictive tool that allows works to be traded, leased and licensed in return for money.
Indeed, democratizing culture is not in the MPAA’s interest, but maximizing profits and control is.
Ernesto (Torrentfreak, 20 april 2011) 

Let's put this into perspective (figures for 2009) :

USA Brazil
GDP (purchasing power parity) $ 14.7 trillion $ 2.2 trillion 
GDP per capita $ 47,400 $ 10,900 
Cinema BO (total) billion $ 29.4  0.481 
Cinema BO (domestic share) % 91.8% 14.3%

I don't have the exact figure detailing the foreign films imports in Brazil, but I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood owned about 90 to 99% of the non domestic share. In any case Hollywood already earns more money (80-85% of 481 = $385 million) from Brazilian consumers than the Brazilian filmmakers/producers (14.3% = $96 million). Any non-American film industry would be overjoyed with such figures... but the MPAA is greedier than this. They won't be happy until Brazilians spend all their money in legal sales or in lawsuit fines, instead of paying their bills or investing in their own domestic culture... That's sad. When you're number 1 in the world, by a large margin, you are expected to show a bit of modesty and compassion for those who couldn't even dream of reaching the level of benefits you make every year in legal sales, and no be so damn ruthless about the few unsignificant peanuts left on the floor after your industrial harvest!!! Peanuts that matter little to your overall commercial balance, and are primordial to the survival of the foreign market you cream out. Nah, the cultural business is not about diversity, exchange and support... the MPAA sees foreign art as COMPETITION. 

In the USA, cinema is not an art, it is a competitive commerce, and crushing competitors is the only goal.

And since America deals with world cinema like any of its foreign policy : meaning as a marketing strategy, they abuse of their political leverage and economical incentive to subdue weaker economical competitors to the laws established by their hegemony. Might is right. And mighty will get mightier.
America is already lucky that the entire world (barred a few rebellious countries like Iran or North Korea) spontaneously loves Hollywood movies, in any honest blind test (the mainstream crowd at least). People prefer Hollywood movies over their own domestic filmmakers, even in countries where the cinema industry has the capability to compete on equal footing (quality wise). That is a market winner right there, without any effort. But that's not enough, they want to use marketing brainwashing, domestic culture attrition, quotas ban, economic pressures... If they were number 2 desperately trying to snatch the number 1 rank, that would be a greedy mentality. But since their total domination of the market is not threatened to be overtaken any time soon... this attitude really lacks class, not to mention morality.

They are just jealous of the tax-free revenue the black market generates. But the consumers of the black market do not belong to them, even the police cannot turn 100% of black market consumers into legal consumers, because either they cannot afford legla prices, or because if it wasn't free/really cheap, they would not buy at all. Fighting the black market, which is sometimes the only access to a wide culture (against government censorship), will never increase dramatically the market share of legal sales.

Still, they want to lecture Brazilians about the morality of copyrights. Ironically, at home they don't even respect copyrights themselves! They make everything legally possible to contain foreign film distribution under 10% on their own market, just to make the Hollywood remakes more profitable! Which is exactly the equivalent of installing an unofficial quota of 98% for their domestic market. It's not the American audience who doesn't want to watch foreign films, or that foreign films are not as good as Hollywood... it's that the American distribution market is not giving foreign films a fair chance to meet an audience! Yet the MPAA complains about countries such as France, Korea or Brazil who try to keep the Hollywood films under 50% with official quotas. What hypocrisy!!!
They don't care about copyrights, because screenwriters (actual owners of artistic property rights!) and actors have to march in the street to get a decent share of the profits made by producers!!!

The legal way is not always the best way to look at the situation. Maybe it sounds absurd to suggest such a thing... but I thought America was founded on principles like overriding an unjust law.
Copyrights laws existed for concrete goods sold from hand to hand. It is impossible to apply them to the radical transformation of the global market and its virtual goods and its invisible consumers.

All the MPAA cares about is to maximize profits for their investors. It is a business operation. It has nothing to do with defending copyrights against piracy, or supporting their screenwriters, or defending art, or claiming moral high ground with emphatic discourses!


2 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

"Protecting Creativity, Expanding Consumer Choice

Respect for copyrights is central to the ability of creative artists to make great movies and TV shows and help our economy grow. The MPAA and its member companies are committed to protecting the rights of those who create the content we love. [..]
we all have a global stake in protecting intellectual property rights and recognizing that these safeguards are a cornerstone of a healthy global information economy. [..] We are committed to safeguarding these jobs by protecting intellectual property and delivering innovative choices to consumers. [..]"

Content protection, MPAA official website

HarryTuttle a dit…

"La possibilité de poursuivre la croissance est elle-même subordonnée au don : le développement industriel de l'ensemble du monde demande aux Américains de saisir lucidement la nécessaire, pour une économie comme la leur, d'avoir une marge d'opérations sans profit. Un immense réseau industriel ne peut être géré comme on change une roue... Il exprime un parcours d'énergie cosmique dont il dépend, qu'il ne peut limiter, et dont il ne pourrait davantage ignorer les lois sans conséquences. Malheur à qui jusqu'au bout voudrait ordonner le mouvement qui l'excède avec l'esprit borné du mécanicien qui change une roue."
Georges Bataille