Yesterday Dawn Prestwich longed for a desire to return to the TV world of 30 years ago, in a thoroughly predictable rant in Hollywood newspaper Variety.The main target of her rant was Hana Beshara, the jailed former admin of ninjavideo, but she tried to seague into how online piracy is going to kill everything Variety readers hold dear. If only there was some truth to her claims.
It’s complete rot in fact, and so bad that even on Variety, as safe and pro-industry as you’ll probably get for these kinds of claims, there was some pushback. Also her talking point wasn’t very good either. Hana Beshara is quite unlikeable, and didn’t even get a friendly reception in the TorrentFreak comments.
So via the article’s comments, I decided to reach out to her
“You might have a mostly ‘safe’ audience here, but the problem isn’t piracy, it never has been. You’re a TV scriptwriter, so you’re probably as knowledgeable of the details of ‘piracy’ as Ted Stevens was about the ‘series of tubes’.
Ask any independent researcher, from almost any university, or government research arm. You’ll find they’ll all say the same thing – if piracy has a negative effect, it’s incredibly small. Why do you think anti-piracy groups keep releasing studies which get smacked down any time some form of peer review is attempted? Remember the big MPAA Lek report of 06? The one that said downloading was costing $6 Billion? Well whoops if they didn’t find out a year later that some of the figures were not just wrong, but MASSIVELY wrong. Or when individual figures were checked, they were discredited. The British Video Association (kinda like the UK’s MPAA) head called the figures inaccurate (if you weren’t aware, the ‘you wouldn’t steal a car’ video came from their ‘piracy is a crime’ campaign)
Or how about last month, boasting about how most new releases are available legally, except when you study things closely, they weren’t WIDELY available, they were scattered among a few poorly used services.
And I do understand the industry. I’ve worked for Comedy Central and TechTV in the US, and Channel4 and the BBC in the UK. I used to be a copyright enforcement agent for a UK record label.
The reality is though that despite growing ‘piracy’, the industry has never been healthier. During an economic downturn, industries continued to grow. But to look to the tech world, the anti-piracy fight is like the anti-vehicle fight of 150 years ago. the UK, and some states passed strict laws to protect the horse industries from ever-evolving technology, and they did it to protect what they thought was right for the 1860s. Look back now. Think of all the farriers, saddlers, livery stables etc. the demise of the horse made unemployed. Smithing as an industry is gone, relegated to Ren-Fairs, and Williamsberg, and yet civilisation didn’t collapse.
Would you, right now, go back to animal-powered instead of automotive power? No? It’s the exact same argument as for anti-piracy: We need to restrict technology, so that this industry can continue to make money.
Would the politicians have 1860 have envisioned the world today? Can you imagine what would have happened had the traction engine, and thus the car, been legislated out of existence to protect the stagecoach and the carter? Are you willing to go back to that world, or will you keep your gas-guzzler?
You can’t say ‘stop that technology because I deserve to be paid for what I do’. No, you don’t. No more than any other business man has an entitlement to be paid. Piracy is just a scapegoat for the real problem, poor products and mis-management, same with any other business. You can say ‘I deserve to be paid’, and so can any other person who starts a business. If no-one wants to buy your product at the price you’re offering, thats your bad business then. Bad business decisions are yours to deal with. And there are more industries going under as well. My wife’s retraining for a new career, because her field, graphic artist, is over-run with people ‘doing it themselves’. She worked for Time, People, Sports Illustrated, and now even local newspapers don’t see a need for her. Should we ban new software, or is it only Hollywood and Nashville that gets this special treatment?
Your answers will be very telling.
So far, she’s declined to respond.
Not surprising really, When confronted with facts, rather than appeals to emotion, they try and ignore it because they have no answer except lies, and obfuscation, and that doesn’t work on someone who actually knows what they’re talking about, like me.