When the 1984 blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” which features a man holding a still-beating heart in his bare hands and other visual delights, was too gory for its original PG rating, Steven Spielberg contacted Jack Valenti and proposed the PG-13 rating
"Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context."
These movies offer not just a twist, but a twist atop a twist, and a joke atop the joke: the “superjoke,” as Billy Wilder called it. Those themes repeat: the lively, often-painful love triangle, the sexual and romantic jealousy, the thrill of sex, and in this case, the carnal kicks co-mingling with the art of stealing, an act more erotic than gold-digging. (Gold-fleecing is much more penetrating.) And then—important during one of the worst economic times in America’s history—there’s Lily and Gaston’s hard, artful work, something to respect.
Ernst Lubitsch’s charming pre-Code transgressions
to the "Robocop" remake was released yesterday, and as expected there was a lot of grumbling from fans. There is one significant change
that the film shares with another recent remake of a brutal action film ("Total Recall"): The switch from an "R" rating to a "PG-13". Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the "PG-13" rating, so it's worth considering (especially for those of us whose memories go back that far) what the rating has wrought
in cinema (previously
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code
from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness
(1935), Reefer Madness
(1936) and The Cocaine Fiends
(1938). [more inside]
SurfTheChannel.com: A Very British Miscarriage Of Justice
is a [long - here's an Ars Technica summary
] account of the MPAA's investigation of SurfTheChannel's owner Anton Vickerman and the ensuing court case. It was published on http://surfthechannel.com/, but that's now down and given English libel law it probably isn't coming back up. It is, frankly, a harrowing read, although FACT argue to the Guardian that much of what was stated is biased
is an unflinching new documentary about teenagers and bullying. Controversially the MPAA is giving it an R for "language"
, preventing it's subjects from seeing it, and refusing to change that rating. In response Harvey Weinstein is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA
, 75,000 people signed an online petition urging the rating be overturned
and now in retaliation the National Association of Theatre Owners is now threatening to give all Weinstein Company films an automatic NC-17 rating in future
MegaUpload is currently being portrayed by the MPAA and RIAA as one of the world’s leading rogue sites. But top music stars including P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West disagree and are giving the site their full support in a brand new song
. TorrentFreak caught up with the elusive founder of MegaUpload, Kim Dotcom
, who shrugged off “this rogue nonsense” and told us he wants content owners to get paid. “It works like an ad blocker but instead of blocking ads we show ads coming from Megaclick, our ad network,
” says Kim. “This way we will generate enough ad revenue to provide free premium services and licensed content so that our users can have it for free.
The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted
their version of Senator Leahy's
Protect IP Act, renaming
the bill the E-Parasites Act
. Among other changes discussed prev
, the bill now makes
internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
A FOIA request by Chr
revealed that Obama administration officials, including Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel, Biden’s deputy chief of staff Alan Hoffman, and criminal prosecutor Lanny Breuer, negotiated the deal
between ISPs and copyright holders to punish subscribers
whose IP addresses participated in copyright infringement. [more inside]
Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act
would require that U.S. ISPs impose an 'internet death penalty' upon domain after merely a preliminary injunction from a U.S. court that suspects the site of being 'dedicated to infringing activities', even if the domain's owner had never been notified and was not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. There is concern that the legislation would fragment the DNS system and facilitate DNS spoofing
by obstructing DNSSEC
). There is also an open letter
opposing the bill signed by 108 Law Professors who study intellectual property law. [more inside]
Swedish "Pirate" MEP Christian Engström
has announced that today or tomorrow Europe will be voting on extending copyrights for recorded music from 50 years to 95 years
Recently, Engström and Dutch liberal party D66 MEP Marietje Schaake have submitted a formal question
to the European Commission on the conflict of interest arising from their appointment of Maria Martin-Prat
. Martin-Prat has spent years directing 'global legal policy' for IFPI
, the global recording industry's London-based trade group, but will now be overseeing IPRED
and the ongoing ACTA
On the other side of the pond, Judge Beryl Howell has overturned restrictions established by lower courts on the issuing mass subpoenas to ISPs
during her first week on the U.S. D.C. District Court
, known results
). Beryl Howell was recently employed as an RIAA lobbyist and Executive Managing Director and General Counsel at the pirate chasing company Stroz Friedberg.
The downfall of "Downfall"?!
(SLYT) More info on this from the LA Times
. This is why we can't have nice things.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance, an umbrella group for organisations including the MPAA and RIAA, has requested with the US Trade Representative to consider countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India for its “Special 301 watchlist” because they use open source software.
) [more inside]
A new trojan
is on the loose. It doesn't install any harmful adware/spyware, but does block both mininova
and the Pirate Bay
Considering DVDs seem a bit long in the tooth
, this recent foray into the world of DVD ripping
seemed a thinly veiled attempt to pick a fight with the MPAA
. After invoking the Glaser Doctrine
this morning, guess they got what they wanted
. [more inside]
Internet television host Revision3
was the victim of a denial of service attack
this weekend. The source of the attack? None other than RIAA and MPAA-funded MediaDefender
Nearly all movie trailers shown in theaters, and on the web, come with a so-called green tag, saying they are approved for all audiences, or a red tag, saying they are approved for only restricted audiences. Since 2000, many theaters will not run red tag trailers; Warner Brothers will not make red tag trailers, and Universal Pictures has not ran one in theaters since "American Pie" in 1999. Wishing to show audiences more "edgy" previews, the producers are looking to the internet.
Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”
remake became the first to display a new yellow tag, signaling that the movie was rated PG-13 or above, and the preview was “approved only for age-appropriate Internet users” — mandatd by the MPAA
as visitors to sites either frequented mainly by grown-ups (as determined by Nielsen's
Web Demographic reports) or accessible only between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.
This August’s “Superbad”
(autoplay music...) has an R-rated, red tag internet trailer, which MPAA regulations require a viewer to pass an age-verification test, in which the viewer 17 and older has to match their name, birthday and ZIP code against public government records on file." [via nytimes.com
Permission to Innovate? How the Record Industry Is Like 17th-Century French Buttonmakers
A corporate consultant blog makes a weird but compelling argument that the RIAA and MPAA are forcibly imposing a draconian 17th-century business model on the 21st century.
This Film is Not Yet Rated
(SFW trailer) and a hilarious (audio NSFW) version
(2:05) "How does one follow-up an Oscar-nominated documentary (2004's Twist of Faith) about sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church? If you're Kirby Dick, you deliver another exposé of institutionalized misconduct by taking direct aim at the ratings system of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)."
Interviews with the director, Kirby Dick: 1
. Not available on DVD until January '07, but the Amazon Reader Reviews
are worth a look see.
The MPAA has come up with a new way to stop pirating early (PDF),
let the scoutmasters drill it into the kids while their brains are still malleable. via
"Don't Download This Song."
A free, and rather hilarious, download from "Weird Al" Yankovic done in the 'charity gospel' "We are the World" style, including a few gems in the lyrics like "even Lars Ulrich knows it's wrong." Direct MP3 link
. Music video
evidently coming shortly.
, president of the MPAA
, and John Perry Barlow
, Greatful Dead
lyricist and co-founder of the EFF
, debate movie piracy in this interview
(RealVideo) on the BBC's "Click
Hong Kong court jails man
for creating and posting torrents.
- ShunTv joins the ranks. I found this through metafilter users.... would like to lament shun with metafilter users. As MPAA expands into prosecuting
LokiTorrent was a popular spot to get movies
and they even put up a fight
against the recent crackdown, raising thousands in a legal defense fund. Today, it seems the MPAA won, forcing the owner to shut down. That's understandable and I'm not surprised, but they've gone a bit further than I expected, turning the site into a big scary ad against filesharing and warning that you're next. Even worse, the old owner is turning the logs over
to the MPAA, for them to go after folks.
Suprnova.org is back... with a vengeance?!
It was just last week when suprnova.org, the most popular site online for finding BitTorrent downloads, shut down their site
. The MPAA and RIAA crowed, but it appears the celebration was a tad premature.
Suprnova's new site mentions a special announcement
tomorrow at 9 PM GMT on NovaStream.org radio
. Rumors suggest that it will introduce Exeem
, a decentralized, BitTorrent-driven software client that turns every user into a tracker, removing the requirement for a centralized site such as suprnova, while providing users with easy searchability, the swarming powers of BitTorrent
, and a network that is far harder to shut down.
A threat to national security!
Adam McGaughey, the owner of a Stargate fansite has been slapped with criminal charges (Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services) after being reported to the FBI by the MPAA for including Amazon links to encourage fans to purchase DVDs of the show. To build its case, the FBI invoked a provision of the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial records from his ISP. And, since he "conspired" with thousands of fans worldwide by providing these Amazon Market links, he could be facing up to 20 years in jail if the government invokes RICO
that Michael Moore's upcoming film "Fahrenheit 9/11" was given an 'R' rating today by the MPAA. The same MPAA that says violence
is much more acceptable than sex. The same MPAA that has close ties
to the FCC, running roughshod over First Ammendment freedoms. The same MPAA headed by Jack Valenti who played himself in Freakazoid!
a cooky cartoon about superheroes that save Washington D.C. Email him if you disagree at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MPAA 818-995-6600 x396.
Vans Stevenson, senior lobbyist for MPAA
(the Motion Picture Association of America), was the last to revise a letter California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer is to distribute to other attorney generals. Lockyer is the president of the National Association of Attorneys General. - is your government owned? Lockyer receives thousands in campaign contributions from MPAA, RIAA, and '[via: The Register]..corporate and private donations from the major studios, including The Paramount Pictures Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Warner Bros PAC, AOL Time Warner. Senior executives, such as Alan Horn and Howard Welinsky, respectively CEO and senior VP at Warner Brothers..
." Adam Eisgrau of P2P United said that "the draft attributed to the attorney general's office contains many significant factual errors, eyebrow-raising metadata, and articulates a very broad expansion in several important respects of product liability and consumer protection law that would have enormous effects..' It's in The NY Times
has the original document
The MPAA speaks about Emanuel Goldstein.
For a very long time, the MPAA has been suing the website and magazine 2600
for posting the DeCSS
source code on its website. This is a FAQ from the MPAA
's homepage. The incredible irony in seeing the words "Emanuel Goldstein" mentioned brings to mind (obviously to many of you) 1984
And the MPAA will 'up the ante'
with the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act
. Increased jail time and fines for distribution of copyrighted works. And careful with that cam-phone in the theater, those and the screeners (leaked before they're commercially available) will get you the stiffest penalty.
"I aim to close every kind of hole in the dike I can find on piracy,"
and with those words, MPAA demon Jack Valenti banned
all DVD and VHS screeners of this years Oscar nominated films. File under "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater." Next up: Valenti plans to remove everyone's eyeballs with a rusty spoon.
"Movies: They're worth it!"
In a move to educate those darn thieving kids and their evil P2P file-sharing networks which are used to trade ripped movies, the MPAA has launched a public service campaign
to explain, in layman's terms, why violating their copyrights is wrong. …Yes, these are the same people who have just brought us an entire summer of bloated sequels, shameless celebrity vehicles and uninspired hack-work. Respect!
MPAA Blocked From Techfocus
:Effective immediately, the RIAA and MPAA will need to find another way to get to Techfocus
. In response to their legal targeting of individual file-swappers
, access from their known networks to this site has now been blocked. While it may still be possible for them to access Techfocus via address ranges which we're not aware of, they'll otherwise have to use non-RIAA and non-MPAA networks to view the site."
Jack Valenti (head of the Motion Picture Association of America) has been quoted numerous times recently, saying "A 12-year-old, with a click of a mouse, can send a movie hurtling to all of the five continents
". A graduate researcher
at MIT set to test out the accuracy of the soundbite
, with interesting results.
Verizon Must Reveal Internet Song Swapper
In a recent discussion
of the Supreme Court's decision to protect the rights of the individual from the greed and sloth of the many I warned that the RIAA and MPAA, comically inept though the media paints them, would soon have things their way. This link is to a news report about an important step in their fight for individual rights.
Movie piracy 'like terrorism'
The drive to protect movie copyright needed to be "as concentrated an international event as the war on terrorism", according to Star Wars producer Rick McCallum.
Ever downloaded an episode of a tv show through gnutella or other P2P means? The MPAA may be on the lookout for you
Plugging the Analog Hole.
The MPAA has released a report entitled "The Content Protection Status Report"
to the Senate Judiciary Committee, outlining it's plans to find a way to regulate Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs) with digial watermarks and "cop chips". In this short essay, Cory Doctorow outlines the main points of the new report and points out how entertainment companies are becomming the de facto regulators of new technologies.
"We're fighting our own terrorist war,"
says Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. David Rocci conters: "There's a huge difference in what people think copyright is and what the corporations think copyright is. I'm not so sure it's morally wrong for someone to go [see] 'Lord of the Rings' in the theater two or three times and then download it because they like it." (NYT link)