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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Art Lynch on 31ers Float in Boulder City


Material to suppliment the book up to and including the midterm and Demonstration Speech

The truth about SOPA and PIPA


Digital Theft
Millions to as much as billions of dollars are lost each year to below the line working creative people, from actors to musicians to those who rely on “points”. Research by several independent groups has confirmed the loss to everyone from producers to mom and pops who invest in small films. It is a theft of the livelihood of craftsmen, talent, creative and those across the process of producing arts and entertainment. At the same time artist are struggling and many are making far less money than they have in the past, even to the point of dropping out of the creative industry.


Legislation
Two pieces of legislation that we have been following closely, the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261), and the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), has dominated the news recently.  Both bills addressed online intellectual property theft and have been the center of heated debate among its opponents in the technology world.  As of this date, both bills have been postponed indefinitely, and the lead sponsors of the bills are seeking to redraft the legislation to address all the concerns posed by opponents.  Online theft of copyright and trademarked goods by foreign “rogue” websites continues to be a predominant concern.  

SOPA
House based version. Media coverage and grass roots efforts blocked what was really a benign bill, extending US law enforcement to reach foreign-based rogue sites that have a purpose of specifically of distributing pirated or digital illegal file sharing. The sites look and seem official, cutting into legitimate sites in the US. The impact on retailers and theatre operators has been a part of reasons to raise prices and has even led closure of businesses. The bill would extend the powers used to go after domestic sites engaged in trafficking to foreign. It was vetted over two years and was supported by American and International law enforcement, unions, producers, international trade organizations, foreign interests as well as domestic and legal groups. The bill has essentially the same as the senate version, but includes additional provisions to “strengthen” the senate bill. It went after the worst offenders, true sites dedicated to theft and not Facebook, You Tube, Twitter or any legal based site that may have occasional unintentional infringement. While it cut the slow international process, during which offenders continue to operate with impunity, a strong case under very specific legal guidelines would have to presented to a judge before action could be taken. It did not go after any public legitimate sites or domestic abuse (laws are in place for domestic abuse).

Protect IP Act (PIPA)
Senate based the PIPA bill first. The bill provides the attorney general the power to go to court under tight legal restrictions to get an injection and prevent linkage to that site by any advertiser, server, Internet provider or related service to such a site. The court process was strict and protected civil liberties, privacy and content. It was not the sort of wholesale government intervention presented in the "Wiki revolt." It was overwhelming supported by tech community, Hollywood, the recording industry, law enforcement and the legislature.

Opposition
Mostly to fear of extension and expansion in the future. The tech community felt cut out of the house fill process, and as a very direct “burn” against them. They did not attempt to amend the bill, but rather sought to kill the bills. They used “bumper sticker” slogans and built in mass dissemination rapid distribution of their message. They implied it would lead to censorship, stifle free speech and interfere with security protocols of the Internet. None of that was true and could have been addressed, even protected against had they taken the legislative or even court route.

Future
Grass roots lobbying using rapid Internet, slogans and less informed emotional appear may shape the future of legislation more than strong legal footwork and research. This election year these bills, progress against content theft, and even protection of our Internet infrastructure against foreign or domestic attack will not be considered until the new Congress in 2013.
The way films, music and other arts are made and distributed will change due to theft. Investment in blockbuster massive release films the public will see early on is taking the place of the vast majority of film projects that take time to earn money and produce revenue. Simply put the money invested in the rank and file craft will be down at the expense of the majority of working artists. Unfortunately the public only pays attention, due to the industry’s own image and publicity, high paid celebrities and “tent poll” big budget releases.

The end of Mademoiselle. Data Farming. "Sweet Home Chicago"

President Obama joined BB King in singing "Sweet Home Chicago" last night (blues concert airs next month on PBS). Being from Chicago that is one of my favorite blues songs. I have performed it many times for audiences and at parties. Obama is not a singer!

Apple is buying 150 acres to build a new Data Center in Oregon and has on in North Carolina. The data centers are the size of shopping malls, requiring low cost land. Google and Amazon have centers in both states as well. All three also have farms in China and other foreign countries.

All government forms in France have banished Mademoiselle, so all women will be Madam. Gone will be the equivalent of "miss" which French activist have called insulting to women. The French do not have the equivalent of "Ms."

SMASH is no smash. Rock Center no rock. NBC Stuggles to find niche. No more Godfather books? Comcast plans to go 'Netflix'. Largest flop in history may open this week.

The Skinny: Wednesday's headlines include Comcast's plans to go after Netflix, a legal battle between Paramount Pictures and the estate of "Godfather" author Mario Puzo, critical look at NBC's "Smash" and concerns over Disney's new movie "John Carter."

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for full stories and up to date news.

Paramount is in a legal battle with the estate of Godfather author Mario Puzo
 Photo: Al Pacino in "The Godfather: Part II." Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Paramount Pictures, the studio behind "The Godfather" canon of movies, is at odds with the family of Mario Puzo, author of the book that inspired three movies about a fictional New York mafia family. Paramount has sued the estate for green-lighting new books about the Corleone family. Paramount says any new books will tarnish the film franchise. I'm not sure Paramount didn't already do that itself with "The Godfather: Part III." More on the legal spat from Reuters.

Daily Dose: NBC's Brian Williams has the top-rated evening newscast but his prime-time show -- which airs Wednesday night -- continues to struggle. Last week's edition of "Rock Center" drew fewer than 3 million viewers and the show has topped 5 million viewers only three times. By comparison, Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show,which is in fewer homes, almost beat "Rock Center" last week. Hmmm. That might explain why "Saturday Night Live" had O'Reilly on in a skit last week instead of Williams, who often pops up there or on the comedy "30 Rock." Just kidding.

Netflix in their sights. Cable giant Comcast is going after Netflix with its own subscription streaming service. Comcast, parent of NBC and Universal Studios, will not only offer its own content online to subscribers but also programming from other studios. For now, Xfinity Streampix will only be available to people who have Comcast as their cable provider. But down the road Comcast could offer it to customers outside of its cable footprint. Details and analysis from the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Variety.

Get Carter. The knives are out for Walt Disney Co.'s new movie "John Carter." The big-budget science fiction film, which premiers next month, is already being compared in some circles to "Waterworld" and "Ishtar," two of the most notorious movie flops ever. There is no mention of the author who created th series...Edgar Rice Burroughs, the "father" of Tarzan, who wrote more John Carter novels than he did jungle books. The Daily Beast looks what it is calling a "quarter-billion-dollar movie fiasco."




What's wrong with 'Smash'? Ratings for NBC's much-hyped musical drama "Smash" fell again in week three. Variety's Andy Wallenstein offers an insightful critique of the show's creative missteps. In short: less about the producers and more about the talent. Having watched all three episodes, I tend to agree. Also, give the show an opening with real credits and theme songs. If ever a show needed more than a three-second title card it's "Smash."

Can't hurt ratings. Sacha Baron Cohen wants to liven up the Oscars by showing up in his costume from his upcoming comedy "The Dictator," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Cohen has pulled big stunts at awards shows before -- most famously when he fell from the sky onto Eminem's lap during the MTV Awards.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Google wants to make sure that when you yell at your TV, it listens. CBS' "Two Broke Girls" hit a new high (or low) in raunchiness.

-- Joe Flint

Follow me on Twitter. I'm your one-stop shop for news, analysis and laughs. Twitter.com/JBFlint

From the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for full stories and up to date news.