Wednesday, January 18, 2012
SOPA: UnAmerican and Unnecessary!
By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)
On January 18th, websites all over the world including Google, Reddit and Craigslist are going dark in protest over the unconstitutional and eerily Orwellian SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). The record companies and movie studios are supporting this bill in a desperate attempt to stop people from illegally downloading copyright material (movies and music) from the Internet. They claim that online piracy is killing there business. I'll address this line of silliness later in the article.
The bill is being supported by Congress members because it would give the government the ability to order ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block certain websites that are thought to be piracy hubs. The problem is that there is nothing stopping the government from blocking sites for other reasons such as political opinion.
This is just the latest example of Congress trying to grab more power. Fortunately, video gamers and Internet citizens have turned on the pressure and forced the Washington politicians to reconsider. I fully support the protest against this authoritarian bill.
Regarding the movie studios and record companies, it's foolish to assume that you can legislate your way to economic success. This reminds me of the the record companies attempt to sue their way back into business in the early 2000s. Yes, online piracy exploded with Napster and other peer to peer file sharing networks, but that's because the demand was there. In the later 90s, record companies started to put out terrible bubble gum pop music. They also made it a common practice to release hallow, overpriced albums. No one wanted to pay 18 bucks for 13 tracks with only three or four good songs.
The movie industry is suffering because they are making too many crappy movies and charging too much. Do you really want to risk paying 10 bucks for a mediocre movies and spend a small fortunate on low end snacks. Three bucks for soda? Really? Why pay 20 bucks for a movie exercise that including rude audiences and cellphones. I remember watching a PG-13 movie "The Bourne Supremacy" and being forced to hear a baby cry for a 30 minutes. Some lady thought it made since to being a baby into the theater. This was a noon showing. The movie going exercise is terrible.
The prices are always going up, which means less people will gamble on most movies and the attendance will drop. In 2011, movie attendance hit a 16 year low.
Here's how they can fix the problem.
1. Improve the Movie going Experience
The studios need to set standards for movie exhibitors, kick assholes out of the theater, ban anyone under 10 from seeing a PG-13 movie, ban cellphone usage, start serving good food at an affordable price. If we have to deal with obnoxious people, why can;'t we have a beer and gourmet pizza while we laugh at the slashed people in the front roll. One way or another, make it fun.
2. Lower the Budgets and Improve the Scripts
Sorry, but most of these $100 million movies don't need $100 million dollar budgets. A lot of them are terrible to begin with.
3. Lower the Ticket Price
If you get more people in the theaters, you will make more money. When tickets only cost 5 or 6 bucks, I would watch two matinees in a roll. Now, I don't even want to see one 8 dollar movie unless the reviews are extremely good. And I definitely go less.
4. Offer More Options
A lot of people pirate movies because it's convenient. Unless, we're talking about "The Dark Knight Rises", we don't have to wait the movie in theaters. Allow us to rent the movie via online service for 5 bucks after three weeks in the theater. This will allow us to watch new movies at home.
Movie Attendance Linked to Theater Experience, Increased Competition for Consumer Time, According to PA Consulting Group Survey
Box-Office Bust: Movie Attendance Hits 16-Year Low