So I imagine that most of us already know who Manny Perry is and what he does. Similarly, I would imagine that most internet minded folk have either booed at his empassioning dialog or at least wanted to. But is that the right answer? Are Manny Perry the stuntman and his cohorts just mild annoyances we have to deal with before the movie starts? Should we have to listen to these moralizing speeches before we can get at the content we’ve paid (at least) 10$ to see?
Lately I have gotten a constant feeling of being told what is right andd wrong to do by the media around me. We are at a point where technology and society have put us in a position that allows exceedingly simple circumvention of the laws that have traditionally held both together, and, not surprisingly, the media itself has risen up to tell us to stop. In the name of values and creativity we are being told that we are criminals, that what we are doing is wrong (in fact that what we are doing must be wrong, because that’s not how it is supposed to be done) and that we are killing The Movies (The TV, The Music).
But should these organizations have any right to tell us what is right and wrong? The film and music industries have thrived since their inceptions on the manipulation and commodification of the talent they represent. They consistently abuse and take advantage of the artists of our society, the art they create, and the end user of the content. The lobby groups that represent them (RIAA, MPAA etc.) have shown again and again that progress and true creative growth mean nothing to them (trying to stop the likes of FM radio, cable television and VCR technology as illegal and in violation of copyright), and that their only true interest is in maintaining their comfortable and lucrative market share.
Progressive attempts like Apple’s iTunes music store are a step in the right direction towards solving the problem that currently makes felons of over 40 million Americans (don’t know the stats for Canada), but isn’t nearly enough. 99¢ for one song is far more than it’s worth, no matter what a thirty second spot brought to me by some recording industry association tells me, especially when the prices are actually going up to as much as 17$US for one corporate album, more than it would cost in the store!
The fact is that the monolithic interests at play in the battle for copyright freedom have little interest at all in creating feasible and user-centric options as alternatives to their old ways, nor should they, really, seeing as they can have laws passed that make criminals of everyone with an ounce of sense instead.
These are “Lumbering Giants,”(1) overweighed by their own systems of promotion and distribution and unable to move into the future for fear of toppling themselves and our entire culture with them.
For proof of this, consider the motivation RespectCopyrights.org (the public moralizing arm of the Motion Picture Association of America) gives for why “stealing” films from the internet in fact hurts you as a consumer:
Only 4 out of 10 films turn a profit. If people take the films for free and the Studios can’t recoup their investment, they may not be able to make the big summer movies we all enjoy so much; the TITANICs, the SPIDER-MANs, the JURASSIC PARKs. So, not only will the creators lose, in the end, you, the consumer, will end up with fewer choices at the multiplex.
Do you really want fewer movies to choose from?
The implication that the current state cinema in North America involves any kind of choice is itself almost patently absurd, while the statement that Titanic and Spider-Man represent this choice is downright insulting to the public. Hollywood is presenting us with shiny, bloated and wasteful trash, reeking of zealous budgets and omnipresent marketing, and asking us why, OH SWEET JESUS WHY, are we not willing to shill out twelve dollars to see it?
The recording industry plays a similar game, but somehow manages to be even more ridiculous either in their profit margin or in their “artistic investment”, as the multi-million dollar production schemes for audio talent fall short of even the semi-conscious spending of the film giants.
I think what I’m trying to get at here, more than anything, is that these organizations, which are above all else for profit, are dictating to us values masquerading as morals. They are telling us that “Movies are Worth It,” meaning that the current system of cinematic production and it’s output justify the costs to the viewer, and so we should not steal from it. But this is not morality nor is it ethics, it is the value judgement and opinion of the organization, and it is a biased opinion if there ever was one. We are asked to support a system built on waste and greed, and are led to sympathy by the use of the lowliest, and most mistreated, of it’s representatives.
I think that without meaning to, Manny Perry, in his appeal for what is “right”, struck on the essential concept at play here: (describing his job as a stuntman and an automotive stunt called–)
pipe ramps or cannons there virtually is a bomb inside of the car, at one given point, they push a button and this bomb goes off and this car is catapulted into the air. 15, 20 feet, at 60 miles an hour, you’re going for quite a ride.
A hundred years ago film was invented and almost no one had access. Fifty years ago only those with enough money could be involved in any meaningful way. Today the virtual bomb in the car has gone off, and anyone involved in creation is in for quite a ride.
I , for one, will be very upset if the car is the same when it finally comes down.