Hollywood needlessly choking U.S. High-Tech

Posted by BarryMead on Dec 10, 2006 8:49 AM EDT
Barry Mead; By Barry Mead
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Hollywood is needlessly choking off the development of crucially needed High-Tech products, that could actually make them more money than ever before. They are repeating the same mistakes as the mighty Railroad industry did back in the 1800's Unfortunately this time more than just profits are at stake. Hollywood's unwise protectionism could actually hurt the entire U.S. economy, and possibly our National Security.

History is always a wise teacher. Once the mighty railroad industry controlled nearly all of the transportation in the United States. Unfortunately they falsely believed that they were only in the “TRAIN” business. When trucks and automobiles were invented, the railroad industry thought of them as a THREAT to their TRAIN business, rather than an opportunity to expand their TRANSPORTATION business into new market sectors. As a result they futilely lobbied to have congress slow the wheels-of-progress for the feared TRUCKING industry. If they had allowed wisdom rather than fear to guide their actions they could have easily dominated the entire trucking industry as well as the railroad industry with even less effort on their part. Their futile protectionist efforts only served to allow the trucking industry to have the time needed to gain an irreversible foothold in this burgeoning new segment of the transportation industry. They were successful at getting congress to impose numerous (now silly) laws that ultimately had no long-term success at stopping the inevitable trucking business from finding its niche within the broader transportation industry.

Hollywood finds themselves in a remarkably parallel situation at present. They unwisely believe that they are in the NARROW business of selling VHS tapes & DVD's and, renting film canisters to Movie theaters. This is only a tiny piece of the much larger ENTERTAINMENT industry that they could soon see themselves as the dominant players in, if they would only use wisdom rather than fear to guide their actions. With very little effort Hollywood, and the Music Industry, could embrace technology rather than fear it, and they could easily tap into more riches than they had ever dreamed of by allowing these technology systems to automatically collect previously unclaimed money just laying on the table waiting to fall into their pockets. The current FLOOD of protectionist laws being requested by Hollywood and the Music Industry will seem just as silly and futile to future historians as the protectionist laws that the railroad industry got passed back in the 1800's.

The world plainly needs UNCRIPPLED TV's, VCR's, COMPUTERS, CELL PHONES, and AUDIO/VIDEO recording/playback devices. Hollywood has been using its huge WAR CHEST to influence unwise legislation preventing U.S. companies from creating these needed products. If the U.S. cannot create them, then foreign competitors will soon DOMINATE the prized, and strategic High-Tech computer, audio/video, and telecom electronics industries. There are also military and national security implications to this negative outcome.

Once we lose these prized markets, we may never be able to regain them. Not only because the leaders in these markets wield enormous trend-setting powers, and patent profit advantages, but also because foreign competitors play by different rules than we do. They do not share their technology as eagerly as we do, because we export many of our manufacturing and assembly jobs to foreign countries, who use our wage disparity to gain technology access. If we want our High-Tech products assembled in China, then we have to share the technology with them. But the reverse is NOT true. Once foreign competitors take-the-lead, the sharing stops. They have already taken over hundreds of High-Tech industries, including those that make most cell phones, cameras, radios, computer Motherboards, memory modules, and other computer support chips. We have no hope of bringing these technologies back under U.S. control. We still have a small lead in many technology industries, but that will soon change, if Hollywood's protectionist laws are not repealed or rejected.

The Music Industry, Hollywood, and Microsoft want to believe that if you have a large enough WAR CHEST you can actually get Congress to hold back the hands-of-time! History wisely taught us that the manufacturers of BUGGY WHIPS took a real beating, (pun intended) when the automobile was invented. Congress didn't, and shouldn't have created laws to impede the progress of automobile manufacturing. Instead, the leather works companies that had been making buggy whips, began to retool, and adapted to make leather upholstery for the newly popular automobiles, which made them even more money than before. Those companies who failed to adapt soon found themselves out-of-touch with the evolving marketplace and suffered financially.

The Music Industry, and Hollywood are acting like spoiled little children. They are whining and begging Congress to halt the wheels-of-progress so they will not have to adapt to the evolving markets. They have also enlisted the help of Microsoft to design an elaborate, complex, and impractical software system named Vista, to CRIPPLE the personal computers that they needlessly fear. If they would embrace technology, and stop clinging hopelessly to their outdated marketing strategies, they would soon realize that there is plenty of money to be made WITHOUT CRIPPLING new technology. Hollywood needn't fear the future, because adapted marketing strategies will automatically define themselves if they are allowed to!

Technology devices are converging into broadband Internet connected gadgets that will soon access their media "On-Demand". It is unnecessary to worry about SAVED, or SHARED media, since soon it will be so widely available that it will seem unthinkable to save your own copy, when you can instantly access it again On-Demand any time you like. Media will be available in such a huge selection of widely diverse On-Demand offerings, that COLLECTING works will seem like a waste of time. It appears that Hollywood's fears are largely unfounded!

Broadband customers already pay their service providers a monthly fee, so all that remains is for industry to see that a PIECE of that monthly fee is given to the proper Copyright Holder in an amount that is linearly proportional to the bandwidth-time used to CONVEY that On-Demand Copyrighted Work. With this simple, and trivially implemented, royalty, system in-place, the perceived overall content value, and the laws of supply and demand will automatically set the monthly fee that is charged, by the service provider, for access to the content as a collective. This will ensure that everyone gets their fair share of money. All parties concerned, are proportionately compensated according to the popularity and success of their contributions to the new entertainment industry.

This extremely fair royalty system has everything that everyone wants! From the "Copyright Holders" point of view it is a "PAY PER VIEW" system. From the "Broadband Users" point of view it is a "TOTALLY FREE” view anything you want system. Everyone is happier, everyone makes more money, and content choice is unlimited. Fears of "ILLEGAL COPYING" are completely eliminated, and best of all, the content will not be littered with annoying commercials. This system even has the flexibility to bring impoverished foreign markets into the fold. Currently China, India, and other foreign markets cannot pay Hollywood's inflexible inflated sticker prices for their present VHS/DVD offerings, so these markets are completely untapped. But with this supply and demand adjusted broadband carrier implemented money collecting system, even impoverished third-world countries can contribute their poverty-adjusted fair share to the automatic royalty collection network. It is obvious, and inevitable, that this solution to the media and copyright controversy will ultimately prevail. The Music Industry, Hollywood, and Congress will plainly see the wisdom of this elegant solution. It is the only way that the free market economy will be allowed to thrive, and it will ensure that no-one is motivated to fear or retard the development of new ideas or technologies. With these controversial issues so cleanly solved, the only remaining problem is to convince Hollywood, Microsoft, and the Music Industry to stop buying and selling BUGGY WHIPS.

Congress has ALREADY passed the horrific DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) which violates countless judicially established policies and fair-use principles that have been RESPECTED for GENERATIONS. This law is way too strong, in its language, and far to easy to use as a persecution tool. It's abusers unjustly wield this law in a “Guilty-'Til-Proven- Innocent” fashion to freeze-up High-Tech businesses, often until they go bankrupt. Many High-Tech companies have been forced to move overseas to avoid frivolous persecution by this unreasonable, short-sighted law. If the DMCA is not repealed, or revised to pull some of its teeth, or if new laws being demanded by Hollywood are added, then eventually ALL High-Tech commerce will be driven out of our HOSTILE U.S. environment, and into the hands of our foreign competitors.

The Music Industry, and Hollywood unreasonably expect consumers to suddenly tolerate CRIPPLING features being added to their RECORDING and PLAYBACK systems, merely because television and radio are moving toward “High Definition” formats. This arbitrary, line-in-the-sand makes no-sense to the average consumer, who rightfully expects to continue using SUPREME COURT sanctioned FAIR-USE recording and playback features. It is no-wonder that the consumer markets have been so slow to accept the HIGH-DEFINITION offerings. They still lack the necessary, full-featured recording and playback capabilities that everyone has come to depend on.

More than 90 percent of the people in the United States are HONEST law abiding citizens, who would never dream of abusing technology to illegally propagate copyrighted material. Those dishonest citizens who would already break the existing laws will obviously break any additional laws that are passed, so MORE LAWS are not the answer. These facts, combined with the knowledge that soon all media will be streamed On-Demand with its royalties paid automatically, make these punitive short-sighted laws requested by Hollywood and the Music Industry seem foolish at best, and quite possibly dangerous to our future well-being and national security at worst.

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