February 5, 2009

Broadband, Know-How and Free Time (Because of the Downturn) [3:08 pm]

Leading to the movie industry’s “Napster moment?” That’s the contention of this article: Digital Pirates Winning Battle With Studios (pdf)

[M]any industry experts say the practice is becoming much more prevalent. “Streaming has gotten efficient and cheap enough and it gives users more control than downloads do. This is where piracy is headed,” said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Consumers are under the impression that everything they want to watch should be easily streamable.”

[...] The Motion Picture Association of America says that illegal downloads and streams are now responsible for about 40 percent of the revenue the industry loses annually as a result of piracy.

“It is becoming, among some demographics, a very mainstream behavior,” said Eric Garland, the chief executive of BigChampagne.

Note that, somehow, BigChampagne continues to find a business model.

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I Love the Title [3:00 pm]

And copyright fights seem to make for good copy these days: One Man’s Blanche DuBois Is a University’s Infringement (pdf)

The University of the South, which owns the intellectual property rights for Williams’s “Streetcar Named Desire,” has threatened legal action to stop performances of the one-man show “Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire,” [emphasis added] which is scheduled to run through March 15 at SoHo Playhouse.

The play, which won the Audience Choice Award at last year’s New York International Fringe Festival, is written and performed by Mark Sam Rosenthal, who is featured as a modern-day Blanche weathering Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Superdome and a subsequent job placement as a cashier at Popeye’s — not to mention a series of unflattering blond wigs.

Lawyers for the university, in Sewanee, Tenn., initially tried to quash the production in September, arguing in a letter to Mr. Rosenthal that his play and performances were “infringements on the university’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

The letter came as a shock to Mr. Rosenthal, he recalled in an interview on Wednesday.

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