Entertainment Industry RANT
January 2004

This month a movie ticket in New York City can now set you back a whopping $10 per person.  In addition to this systematic fleecing of the theater motion picture consumer, imagine paying over $4 for a shrinking twenty-five cent portion of popcorn that's not even freshly prepared, drenched with cheap disgusting oil, and forking over another $3 and change for a soda cup filled with more ice than soft drink.  All this money buys you the privilege of sitting in smaller and smaller theatres as the multiplexes try to cram more and more screens into the same amount of real estate, reducing the movie theatre experience to little more than what you could get from your own living room with an increasingly affordable large screen television.

And the producers wonder why attendance is dropping.

Actually, they try not to recognize the truth, and blame it on file sharing.

Maybe they have a point.  After all, home computer screens are almost as large as the movie screens are today, and the popcorn at home is a lot fresher and cheaper and tastes delicious with real butter.

The news is no better for recorded music.  When CDs began to replace LPs nearly twenty years ago, after the initial "new cool stuff" price-spike, the price of a CD settled to between two and three times the price of the same music on LP.  The record companies cited the cost of CD production equipment, but any businessman knows those costs are amortized quickly, and the price of a CD never did drop accordingly.  Since then, the major labels settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit accusing them of price fixing, but this is surely no shock to anyone at all.  CDs are now produced cheaply enough to put into cereal boxes, yet the price of popular recorded music remains high.  The worst part of all this is that the popular artists being pushed by the major labels today suck.  They are soul-less and so is their music.

The RIAA blames the CD sales slumps on file sharing.

Apparently they haven't figured out that nobody wants to buy the miserable crap their artists are pushing on us.  They also have not figured out that a predominant amount of file sharing is made up of twenty year old songs and other esoterica that few stores care to bother with.

But that's OK, the RIAA will take their pound of flesh from recordable CD/DVD sales the same way they did with cassette sales thirty-plus years ago.  They'll tax every piece of recordable media so that those of you who use it for any purpose at all, even if it's just a drink coaster, can provide income for the RIAA's pirates and their crap artists.  The likes of Nsync and Britney Spears, and of course the communists at the RIAA, will make money off your recordings of your baby's first utterances, your weddings, bar-mitzvahs and christenings, your time-shifted episode of Doctor Phil, and anything else that happens to record onto any kind of storage media for later playback.  They're even trying to tax flash memory!  Just think, everyone with a Palmpilot will underwrite the salaries of the artists and the RIAA.

Add this to the RIAA's abuse of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to rip away what little is left of our constitution and our laws in order to facilitate their witch hunts, and you can easily predict that they're not making any friends, nor getting any sympathy at all from we, the consumers.

The greedy pricks can rip our constitution to shreds, hoping desperately avoid the truly inevitable, and hardly any of the passionless sheep in this country will care, but there is a much more "in your face" problem right around the corner.  It's called DRM, or Digital Rights Management.  This is a polite way of saying "COPY PROTECTION."  Just so there's no confusion, I want to make sure your understanding is absolutely clear about this.  What this means is that media that you have paid for and legitimately own (or at least own the right to use), and which you should be able to do any fucking thing you want with as long as it's for your personal use, is NO LONGER UNDER YOUR CONTROL.  If the publisher decides you can only listen to a song thirty times, that's all you'll get.  If the publisher decides you can only use the material from the original medium, you're stuck.  If the publisher wants money every time you hit the [PLAY] button, then you're gonna' have to pay.  If the publisher decides you need an Internet connection to use the material, you better hope your ISP doesn't fart during your playoff party.

I say "fuck 'em."

Guess I'm a man of few words after all.

I'm going to dredge up a catch-phrase that I conceived back in the eighties, when Lotus Development Corporation first decided to copy-protect their Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software...

If nobody bought copy-protected software,
there would not BE any.

I have made it a point since then never to purchase, recommend, or offer a positive review of any software or recorded material which is copy-protected in any way.  I encourage everyone to do likewise.  Purchasing copy-protected media only supports, encourages and perpetuates it.  If nobody buys these crippled products, they will go away.

Boycott DRM and copy-protected material.



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