MPAA Targets New Anti-Piracy Ads… At People Who Already Paid To Go See Movies

from the strategery! dept

There’s that old joke that you’ve probably heard (in part because we’ve mentioned it in other contexts), about the drunk man searching for his keys under a streetlight, while admitting that he lost them further down the street. When asked why he’s looking over by the light instead, he says “because that’s where the light is.” People even refer to this as the streetlight effect. And you can see it in all sorts of odd places.

Here, for example, is the MPAA, the guardian of Hollywood’s old way of doing business, launching a big new “anti-piracy ad campaign” by… advertising to the people who already paid to see movies in the theater:

The “I Make Movies” videos, which will run in 300 AMC theater locations and a handful of regional chains, spotlights the movie workers behind-the-scenes: a costume illustrator, seamstress, picture car coordinator, carpenter, and set designer.

These spots will be showing in theaters across the country, because that’s exactly what people who just paid huge sums of money to watch a movie want to see: an extra commercial before the film they paid to see telling them them to stop being dirty pirates, with the usual claptrap about all of the poor workers that piracy impacts (leaving aside that those people aren’t paid based on movie revenue…).

It’s the streetlight effect all over again. The incompetent and ineffective Chris Dodd-run MPAA feels the need to do something, so they fall back on the same old game plan:

“Hey, let’s advertise to try to make people feel guilty!”

“That’s never worked before despite us trying for decades.”

“This time it will work! It must work! Because they must all feel guilty! And once they see how guilty they should really feel, they’ll stop pirating! Because I have no other ideas!”

“Okay, but where will we best place these advertisements to reach the right people?”

“I’ve got that one all planned out! We’ll get them in the best possible spot: in the movie theaters! The theaters will show those ads for free and we’ve got a real captive audience!”

“But it’s a captive audience who has already shown that they’re willing to pay. Why should we advertise to them?

“Didn’t you hear me!?!? It’s a captive audience and the theaters will let us do it for free! Piracy is solved!”

Good luck, guys. Once again, if you’re looking for better ideas, maybe fire the content protection team, and hire some folks who actually get the internet.

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Companies: mpaa

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Comments on “MPAA Targets New Anti-Piracy Ads… At People Who Already Paid To Go See Movies”

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The only thing I feel guilty about is handing over $8.00 per ticket only to be greeted with Pepsi ads and this wonderful message, appearing moments before the movie (finally) starts:


Yes, in caps. It stayed on screen for no less than 3 minutes.

I’d rather see the laughable FBI logo.


Movie theater prices.

It’s 10-12 in San Francisco. Second showing theaters are down to $6-8.

Specialty theaters tend to also run cheap for classic films. Broadway charged $5 for their showing of Jaws (with newsreels, a cartoon, drawings and all the classic Americana kitsch.)

It’s been a while since I’ve been compelled to see a recent release.

JP Jonessays:

Re: Re:

That’s what I was thinking. Mine are $10 with the military discount. Plus about $50 for the babysitter. And then gas money, and possibly the overpriced food.

And all that money gets me an experience worse than my living room with a 127″ projector and surround sound. At least at home I can sit in pajamas on my comfy couch, pause if I need to go to the bathroom, rewind if I missed something, and I don’t have to drive anywhere.

Pretty much the only reason I ever go to theaters is to watch a movie that just came out, and even that is happening less and less.



It’s worse here in Teem Osstraya, we pay $18.00 – $20.00 (more for the bloody 3D crap) and get to sit through up to 20 minutes of advertisements before we actually get to watch the movie. I was asked if I wanted to see Jurassic World tonight (Tuesday) with a friend and her son and I said no. Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park book, like most of his novels, relied fairly heavily on the science of the day and, as such, made for a good read. Then the film of the same came out and I laid out cash to see it. The “science” part where the cartoon Mr. DNA appeared almost got me thrown out of the theatre. I swore I would never see another Jurassic Park, and offshoots, film again.

And the bullshit from the MPAA, RIAA and their ilk strangely never mentions that it’s the greedy middlemen who make the money. Bunch of wankers!



$8? WOW, if only it was so little. It costs more then that to go to the cheap first showing at the places I go to!!!

So instead I pay $35 a month for Movie Pass. Which allows me to see any movie at any time. With a few rules. I can only see 1 movie in a 24 hour period. I can only see one movie once. NO repeats!! I can’t see any 3D or IMAX movies. I try to see at least one movie a week if not 2. using a Club Card, I can get free drinks, Popcorn and even Movie tickets. Those free movie tickets I then use to see a IMAX or 3d or 3d IMAX movie, which is a cost of the ticket plus however much more. Then I can see the movie for free using Movie Pass for a normal viewing. You have to watch a bunch of movies to make it worth it.



Piling on the price bandwagon, I haven’t been to the movies in years (I give my money to Netflix) for several reasons, but here’s my local prices I got online:

Matinee, Adult:
Evening, Adult:
Adult (Fri-Sat):
Senior (60-older):
Additional 3D Surcharge:
Child (Fri-Sat Ages 3-11):
Matinee (Fri-Sat):
Senior 60 (Friday-Saturday):
Super Bargain (4:00-5:30pm):
Late Shows 2D (after 11:00):
Late Shows 3D (after 11:00):


Re: Propaganda

…it’s meant to make the general public sympathize with the plight of these poor workers and support ever more draconian copyright laws…

Forget copyright laws. If the public knew how many hours those folks work per day/week and have to be on call, they’d support more draconian labor laws.

(And I’m not talking about the talents in front of the camera.)

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

Did you ever think they are trying to drive more people to piracy by doing obviously insane things like this?
Pirates don’t get punished with stern talking before they can watch the movie they paid for.

I think the MPAA goal is to try and get a Fed bailout, and the right to execute people who infringe copyright.


Re: Re:

I saw a movie in the theater Friday. The piracy mention took up less than 30 seconds […]

Try not to be a complete douchebag your whole life, ok?

Reading that took me decidedly less than 30 seconds. And yet if somebody greets me that way whenever I do business with him, I’ll go elsewhere.

It may take less than 30 seconds to insult me. But that does not mean that it takes less than 30 seconds of my inner peace to recover, so it takes up more of my life time.

If the precondition to doing business with someone is to be insensitive to patronizing insinuations, I prefer working on who I do business with rather than my sensitivity.


Re: Re:

The piracy mention took up less than 30 seconds
> of the 15 minutes of pre movie ads.

Which is why I only patronize one theater chain here in Los Angeles– Arclight. They do not have any pre-show advertising at all– they just project soothing abstract color patterns on the screen while various film soundtracks play quietly in the background– and they even limit the trailers to three per showing.

And I’ve let the management know that I exclusively patrionize their business for that very reason, to reinforce to them that they’re doing something right.


Fifteen minutes of ads (20+ in the Bay Area)

Is one of the reasons I’ve reduced my cinema excursions to less than once a year. Mostly to remind myself why I don’t go the rest of the year.

The ads are not even necessarily for coming attractions!

The other big reason is the foyers full of video screens strobing ads trying to trigger all the epileptics in the crowd while five or six separate audio tracks assure that not one of them is intelligible.

Oh, and the Don’t be a thief! propaganda only reminds me how miserly the studios are, and that 95% of the ticket cost is going to them (which is why all the additional advertising).

You know what kind of media doesn’t have all that we own this and you’re stealing rhetoric?

It starts with a P and ends with a T which stands for trouble and goes Yo ho ho!


HA! Pirate Mike and Techdirt delivers its PRO-PIRACY message to pirates!

Sheesh. While jeering at MPAA preaching to the choir, you are BLIND to your own actions.

But HUGE difference: MPAA makes stuff and supports labor. you pirates make nothing and support no one.

Let’s see, what is this? Eight attempt to get in? Masnick has turned the blocking up a notch.


Re: HA! Pirate Mike and Techdirt delivers its PRO-PIRACY message to pirates!

Oh hey, the court jester is back.

I don’t mind getting reported along with him. I know you’re not supposed to feed the trolls, but this guy’s posts are just so lost in their own insanity that they’re so entertaining to read. Do people not listen to Coast To Coast AM for the same reason?


Re: Re: Re: HA! Pirate Mike and Techdirt delivers its PRO-PIRACY message to pirates!

I have always wondered why he never created an account.

Easy. He doesn’t want his incoherent rants being brought up again and used against him. Not having an account makes it slightly harder to do so.

While mostly crazy …

While entirely crazy. FTFY.

… his post do generate a lot of responses.

And that’s exactly why all the responses should be reported as well. Take the wind right out of his sails.


Nice to see that real people, not monolithic studios, are the ones who help in the creation of movies. The process is far more than using just a camera to record images and sounds, and then editing with some software tools.

Frankly, I rather doubt there is anything the movie industry could do to satisfy the deep seated animus regularly exhibited here short of totally disclaiming and abandoning reliance upon the longstanding body of law we refer to as copyright law.


A dozen things the Movie Industy could do

Frankly, I rather doubt there is anything the movie industry could
> do to satisfy the deep seated animus regularly exhibited here short of
> totally disclaiming and abandoning reliance upon the longstanding
> body of law we refer to as copyright law.

You are wrong. But you are too blind to see it.

Here are a dozen things the movie industry could do.

1. Quit focusing on Google which has absolutely nothing to do with piracy.
2. Go after actual infringers. With proof. Using due process. You know, the site hosting infringing content. Free Clue: if you take those down, then those sites don’t appear in Google. (and other search engines!)
3. Quit trying to use copyright as a censorship tool.
4. Quit trying to create laws the impose liability upon everyone except the actual infringers.
5. Try making movies that I actually want to see. (There is exactly one movie this summer that I am interested in seeing — this is the first time in several years. This new stupid anti-piracy ad for three minutes is giving me 2nd thoughts.)
6. If you want to actually help the hard working people you feature in your anti piracy ad, then get rid of Hollywood Accounting.
7. Quit complaining about the Creative Commons license.
8. If I buy a DVD (or CD) I should own either a piece of plastic that costs virtually nothing to produce, or I should own a licensed copy that allows me to very cheaply replace the worn piece of plastic. Or have reasonable backup policies. Most people are honest. But you’ll never see this.
9. Quit trying to destroy the public domain. Quit trying to re-copyright it.
10. Quit extending copyright.
11. In short, quit abusing copyright.
12. Quit trolling TechDirt

Extra freebie:

13. Get your head out of the sand. Quit being stuck in the past. See the future. Technology is your friend. It always has been historically even when you fought it kicking and screaming.



“Nice to see that real people, not monolithic studios, are the ones who help in the creation of movies. The process is far more than using just a camera to record images and sounds, and then editing with some software tools.”

Thank you Captain Obvious.

“Frankly, I rather doubt there is anything the movie industry could do to satisfy the deep seated animus regularly exhibited here…”

That’s probably because you’re as willfully blind and stuck in the past as the big studios. Just because you don’t understand what the public really want, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of smarter and braver people than you who do know.

Mike Masnicksays:


Nice to see that real people, not monolithic studios, are the ones who help in the creation of movies.

This is news to you? That seems weird. I don’t think anyone denies that. But trumpeting in this disingenuous ads doesn’t help anything.

The process is far more than using just a camera to record images and sounds, and then editing with some software tools.

Look at that strawman standing there! Oh look, you tried to make its arms move. How cute.

Frankly, I rather doubt there is anything the movie industry could do to satisfy the deep seated animus regularly exhibited here short of totally disclaiming and abandoning reliance upon the longstanding body of law we refer to as copyright law.

What makes you say that? We’ve seen that the music industry is coming around, and when they embrace providing music the way fans want, piracy rates drop precipitously. Same thing could happen for movies if the MPAA finally got its act together.

Besides, I find it amusing that you have so little business or creative knowledge that you insist nothing can be done. Thank goodness you don’t run a studio. It’s too bad that many studio heads do seem to have that same opinion as you, though. Thankfully, we’re starting to see more Hollywood folks understanding this though. Changes are coming… and those with obsolete ideas won’t survive the changes. Good riddance.



“Nice to see that real people, not monolithic studios, are the ones who help in the creation of movies”

It’s actually both, and those ordinary folk are routinely screwed by the studios who don’t pay them what was promised a lot of the time. but, if you’re so ignorant of the filmmaking process that you don’t realise that hundreds of ordinary technicians and working folk are involved ina production, maybe this will help you understand what’s happening on the production end. It won’t tell you about the pre- and post-production phases where the studios are usually criticised for their actions.

“Frankly, I rather doubt there is anything the movie industry could do to satisfy the deep seated animus regularly exhibited here short of totally disclaiming and abandoning reliance upon the longstanding body of law we refer to as copyright law.”

If you read the actual opinions of those who post here, there’s plenty they can do. They can even still rely on the outdated laws if they want, as it’s mostly the abuse of that law that people object to rather than enforcement in the spirit of its original intent.

How about this for starters – stop making legally purchased content less valuable than the free stuff. That’s the issue highlighted above. A person who never pays for content will never see the anti-piracy ads. A person who always pays to go to the cinema will already have to sit down and wait for 30 mins through trailers and other commercials. Now you’re going to try and berate them for not paying for the movie they’re about to watch, and do so every time they pay for a movie? How does that make sense?

There’s plenty of other things people can be doing to improve the situation, from not relying on windows that force people willing to pay for content to wait much longer than people who don’t if they don’t live in the right country or are able to get to a cinema, etc. It’s a record year for box office, just one studio (Universal) has already made $3 billion worldwide on only 4 movies, and many of the biggest movies of the year are not out yet. Despite the whining, the industry is not dying. Why not capitalise on that and interact with audiences to see what will keep them paying, and where they are losing sales either to piracy, other media, general apathy or other avenues?

But, no, you’d rather rely on half-assed propaganda that’s targeted at the wrong people and will achieve nothing other than insult those already paying for their content? Good luck with that.


Re: Re: Re:

“Have to wonder if you watched any of the ads or visited the website with which the ads are associated”

No, since they’re geo-restricted, in a typically wrong-headed move. I have to depend therefore on assumptions based on past behaviour. Apologies if those assumptions are incorrect.

“None of them are anti-piracy screeds by any reasonable definition.”

Unless you have a different definition, they’re propaganda from the descriptions I’ve read, and I’ve never seen anything from these people that didn’t depend on exaggerations and outright lies to make this sort of “point”. Maybe these are better. But, I’m not about to congratulate them on finally producing less obnoxious propaganda rather than actually fixing the issues that lead some people to pirate in the first place. Case in point: the regional and format blocks that prevent people from paying for content in the same way it’s blocking them from watching their propaganda now.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Your candid reply serves as an example of why reliance on hearsay can be very problematic”

If you have a non-restricted link that shows me the first hand evidence, feel free to supply it. Otherwise, as previously mentioned, I only have the previous decades of worthless and misleading propaganda upon which to based my opinion, outside of what others are saying.

“I reside in the US… It seems surprising you were not able to do likewise.”

So… did you ignore the details I provided that would make that not surprising (hint: I don’t live in the US, hence the comments about regional blocking). Or, are you say that you’re surprised that I didn’t go out of my way to investigate how full of shit these people are this time when they’re deliberately blocking me from viewing them?

Julian Livessays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think you might just be the only person on the entire face of the earth that actually uses

I must therefore conclude you’re working for a studio astroturf organization (CreativeFuture, maybe?) that pays for comments.

It’s like someone mentioning in a movie that they try “Binging it.” No actual human on earth does that, so it’s prima facie evidence of product placement and general ratfuckery.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

…and all I did was click on it and be told that I wasn’t allowed to watch it because I’m sitting on the wrong patch of dirt.

Seriously, if you’re not getting that simple concept I’ve laid out clearly in front of you, no wonder you’re having a problem with everything else I’m saying!


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Moron”, “pissy” and “fanboys” is crude and vulgar language to you? Really?

If this is the sort of vocabulary that rustles your jimmies, you’re not particularly qualified to judge people on substantive points. You regularly run to the defense of far ruder individuals because they share the same sort of legalistic, narrow-minded perspectives on antipiracy. You’re the one who professed undying obsession with one of them and offered to have his “offspring”, as you eloquently put it.

What a joke.



“short of totally disclaiming and abandoning reliance upon the longstanding body of law we refer to as copyright law.”

Is this an admission that copy protection laws disproportionately exist due to the will of the ‘movie industry’ (or certain middlemen within)? History also seems to support that they had a disproportionate influence and that publishers had a disproportionate influence on creating these laws to begin with. Some democracy.

The movie industry should not get to decide what laws do and don’t exist or their extent. This is supposed to be a democracy. Why does the movie industry get to have secretive meetings with government officials and to leave the public out to get the laws that they want passed. That you support undemocratically passed laws shows what kind of person you truly are.


"This is supposed to be a democracy."

Beyond that that phrase, the conversation (or chain of logic) becomes fraught with perils.

This is supposed to be a democracy, but it doesn’t behave at all as a democracy should. The people are supposed to govern, but it is the corporations and monied interests that govern us instead.

Whether it is big media or big oil or big food pushing their agendas, they get pushed. And the people’s agendas are only pushed when they have effective monied allies.

We are a garrison-occupied state pretending to be free.


Next time I go to the supermarket

I expect the cashier to lecture each customer in the queue for a minute how shoplifting is harming the grocers.

While the actual shoplifters can leave the shop without all that hassle.

This is going to be such a revenue booster.

Maybe with some groping included for all those who line up at the register? So that they feel they are doing their duty for combatting shoplifting?


Thanks for the update.

For a short time I watched very old moves, the one I like, on U-Tube but then I realizes that even though copy right on these moves had elapsed years ago there was always some one who would claim other wise and send a demand letter threatening a $1,500 claim per view. I can not afford that. It would bankrupt me and put me in the poor house so I stopped watching anything on any service, paid or free.

With theater movies one pays up front but with facial recognition software and a decent database it is not hard to imagine someone putting the two together and sending demand letters. Consequently no more paid movies even when there is something worth seeing.

The question I have is should I get rid of the internet connection? It cost $50 per month with out demand letters plus the risk of receiving some. Does the return of convenience and pleasure justify the risk of bankruptcy and starvation?



Getting rid of the internet is unlikely to prevent you from receiving demand letters from agents* of copyright holders.

Also cessation of breathing and heart beat is unlikely to keep you from receiving demand letters.

* or someone who merely claims to be an agent but in fact does not represent the copyright holder


Actually, this makes sense.

Although they would never say it out loud, this is a tacit admission of what smart people have been saying for years: Movie pirates are movie fans.

I don’t know about the film side, but there were lots of studies on music piracy that found people who downloaded music also spent way more buying music. I would suspect the same is true for movies.

In other words, the people in the theater (or at least some percentage of them) are the exact same people who download movies. The stereotype of the loner in his parents’ basement who never pays for a movie because they’re all online just doesn’t really exist, and the MPAA knows it.

It’s an awareness campaign for the NEXT film the viewer wants to see. Watch it in the theater instead of getting it in other ways.

Based on the MPAA’s public comments, the move may not make much sense, but based on what they actually know to be true, it’s perfectly sensible.


Re: Actually, this makes sense.

Don’t give them too much credit now..
Just because pirates are also paying customers doesn’t mean it actually makes sense. You have still got to take into account that they are antagonizing their paying customers and simultaneously making the experience less enjoyable for them after they have already paid through the nose to be there to watch the film.


I think the article is somewhat off base. Not that trying to stop piracy by advertising isn’t stupid in general, but the idea that people who pirate movies and people who pay for movies are two separate groups is incorrect in my experience. Everyone I’ve ever known who pirates movies also pays to go see movies, particularly in the theater where you are paying for the experience and not the movie



Everyone I’ve ever known who pirates movies also pays to go see movies, particularly in the theater where you are paying for the experience and not the movie

Well, if my target audience both pays for and “pirates” movies, does it make sense to sour the paying for movies to them? As well as to those who do not “pirate” movies?


Re: Re:

Well, if my target audience both pays for and “pirates” movies, does it make sense to sour the paying for movies to them? As well as to those who do not “pirate” movies?

Take a group of people you know is willing and able to access the content without paying, as well as by paying, and then make the paid content a less pleasant experience without affecting the free content. What could go wrong?

That One Guysays:

Only 30 seconds?

Personally I don’t really see the problem here, and in fact they should change it from 30 seconds to a ten minute mini-film, just to really drive home how stupid people are to continue to give money to a group of people who actively loathe and think the worst of their customers.

Of course it helps that I personally never go out and see films myself, as I prefer to give my money to people who don’t think I’m a criminal and act accordingly, so it’s not like anything they do to further screw over those foolish enough who do will affect me, that might have a bit of an effect on my thought process here.


Re: Re:

And all those “studies” from the MPAA and RIAA fall into this exact category. Cherrypicking data to influence naive politicians. When that doesn’t work, they contribute to campaigns and revolving-door industry-government career relationships.

You do realize the numbers thrown around by the MPAA/RIAA were taken from a 1986 IP guestimate, concerning counterfeit goods on the ENTIRE US economy, ranging from 300 000 jobs to 900 000 jobs. Again, not a small entertainment section, but the ENTIRE economy and that was a worst-case guestimate.

That is the source of the bullshit numbers the “studies” from the RIAA/MPAA come from, but they’ve upped it from 900 000 to 1.2 million because of the inclusion of grocery chains.

Who’s bullshitting who?


Wrong target

Aren’t most of the pirated screeners filmed in russian or asian cinemas and later dubbed or redubbed?

With worldwide release now not always favoring the US, making copies in the states while the movie was released elsewhere a week earlier seems pointless if the aim is to be the first on the scene.

Wasn’t there a story where SWAT came to the cinema for someone handling some recording device?


The fact is that Google facilitates theft by enabling its users to search for infringing material, and Mike Masnick sucks up to Google Inc. and encourages this law-breaking behaviour by constantly espousing such ineffective anti-piracy methods as making stuff people want to consume, making it widely available, and not charging stupid money for it based on geographical location.
MAFIAA shill mode off


Paid Pig In A Poke Selection

Personally, I think the FilMafia simply wants to re-establish Paid Pig In A Poke Selection of movies.

File sharing pisses them off because it has partially taken the place of Movie Theater Viewing, where the FilMafia used to get paid for every film regardless of how shitty it was and instead with P2P, viewers can watch all the movies for free and then decide which ones they want to buy DVD keeper copies of for repeat home viewing.

The FilMafia simply wants people to pay big bux for all of their movies, whether they are good or bad, and file sharing interferes with that business model.

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