Chapter 4: Coming Attractions: Opportunities and Challenges in Thwarting Global Movie Piracy
Lucille M. Ponte1 INTRODUCTION Disaster ﬁlms have long been a staple of the movie industry, reaping huge revenues by scaring moviegoers with the familiar formula of catastrophes threatening to destroy the world as we know it (Rabinowitz, 1997). Theater patrons have thrilled to man-made disasters such as burning skyscrapers in Towering Inferno and mad scientist cloning in Jurassic Park to natural disasters such as ‘Sensurround’ seismic calamities for Earthquake or ﬂying cows and gas tankers in Twister to doomsday scenarios involving errant asteroids in Armageddon, invading aliens in War of the Worlds, or instantaneous global warming in The Day After Tomorrow. In recent years, the movie industry seems to be producing its own disaster ﬁlm, Global Movie Piracy, starring menacing theater cammers, devious downloaders and corrupt optical disc manufacturers. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claims that the industry lost $18 billion in potential revenues in 2005 alone due to global ﬁlm piracy (MPAA, 2005c); resulting in approximately 141 030 job losses and $837 million in lost US tax revenues (MPAA, 2006b). The industry asserts that international movie piracy endangers its teetering business model in which only one in ten ﬁlms recovers its initial investments (Taylor, 2005). Since Hollywood ﬁnds comfort in following a safe formula, the MPAA along with its global arm, the Motion Picture Association (MPA), have shadowed the actions of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its battle against music piracy, using courtroom, legislative and technological strategies. The ﬁlm industry has sued movie consumers...
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