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THE DIGITAL ONSLAUGHT IN ENTERTAINMENT: THE MUSIC & MOVIE INDUSTRY’S FEAR OF NEW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES (2001)

THE DIGITAL ONSLAUGHT IN ENTERTAINMENT: THE MUSIC & MOVIE INDUSTRY’S FEAR OF NEW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES (2001)

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Published by RemixNinja
This is a legal research paper I wrote in my entertainment law class during my 2nd year of law school in Spring, 2001. I never had a chance to publish it back when I was in school, so I will do so now.
This is a legal research paper I wrote in my entertainment law class during my 2nd year of law school in Spring, 2001. I never had a chance to publish it back when I was in school, so I will do so now.

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Published by: RemixNinja on Nov 30, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Pepperdine Entertainment Law ClassSpring 2001Article
THE DIGITAL ONSLAUGHT IN ENTERTAINMENT: THE MUSIC & MOVIE INDUSTRY’S FEAR OF NEW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
Joseph S. Ford, Jr.
1
Copyright © 2001 Pepperdine School of Law; Joseph S. Ford, Jr.
Introduction
While it publicly remains silent, movie executivesprivately admit that they are terrified that Hollywood will be“Napsterized.”
2
Picture a college student sitting in front of adesktop computer while several of his friends are hanging out onthe dorm room couch. After a few mouse clicks, the studentjoins his friends. The lights are dimmed, the radio silencedand the television turned off as all eyes in the room turn tothe computer monitor. As the screen fades from black,excitement fills the room as the words
Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon appear on the computer screen. For the next few hours,these students get to enjoy a free private screening of a major
1
A second-year law student at Pepperdine University School of Law and Fellow of the Center of Entrepreneurship& Technology Law Program (2002), the author plans on working in the entertainment industry in some area of urban content and programming following graduation. The author, who has a computer science degree, is fascinatedby all the new digital technologies that appeared in the last few years.
2
 
See
Roger Ebert,
Tinseltown for the Taking
, Yahoo! Internet Life, Apr. 2001, at 92. The fear that the movieindustry will be “Napsterized” refers to the fear that some college kid will post a movie-swapping program that willexplode in popularity, swiftly creating a ravenous audience of millions of users who will expect free access toHollywood blockbusters,
see id 
.
See
 
infra
Part III (discussing the Napster file swapping program that has recentlybeen the subject of much litigation).
See also
Melissa J. Perenson,
 Insecure Seas
, H
OLLYWOOD
R
EPORTER
, Sept. 25,2000, available in W
ESTLAW
2000 WL 25250501 (“At 10 a.m. on a recent Friday morning – a time when mostworkers should be ensconced in the office and students should be in class – this reporter hopped online and, withsome educated surfing, quickly found copies of such summer films as “Chicken Run,” “Gladiator,” “The Patriot,”“Scary Movie,” “Space Cowboys” and “X-Men. Most of these films are still in theaters, but digital copies of all of them – many on par with the quality of VHS tapes – can be downloaded in as little as one to three hours.”).1
 
motion picture that everyone else has paid to see at a theater.
3
If this seems like something out of a not-so distant digitalfuture, then it appears that the future is now.
4
Digital technology represents an increasingly dangerous, ifnot already realized, threat to the protection of copyrights inthe global marketplace.
5
While there is protection in copyright,throughout history the law has been slow to adapt to the issuespresented by new technologies.
6
Digital technologies pose evenmore issues than prior analog technologies because these digitaltechnologies reduce the cost of making "perfect" copies andallow these copies to be distributed quickly, easily andcheaply.
7
Going back as far as the Middle Ages, the development of anew technology usually caused people to fear that the technologywould rob people of their rights as well as destroy well-established business models.
8
“Every new reproduction
3
 
See
S.E. Oross,
Fighting the Phantom Menace: The Motion Picture Industry’s Struggle to Protect Itself Against  Digital Piracy
, 2 Vand. J. Ent. L. & Prac. 149, 149 (2000) (analyzing the movie industry’s responses to onlinepiracy).
4
In January 2001, Apple introduced a new G4 desktop computer that includes iDVD software and DVD-R/CD-RWdrives that enables users to digitize movies and burn them into DVDs. Compaq has a similar desktop on the way.The $3,500 computer incorporates a Pioneer drive that itself was priced at $5,000 weeks earlier.
See
Ebert,
supra
note 2, at 92. The enormous size of feature-film files makes wide-scale piracy impractical for anyone without a T1line and a lot of storage capacity.
See id.
B
EAR
S
HARE
(last visited Apr. 17, 2001) <http://www.bearshare.com> andI
MESH
(visited Apr. 17, 2001) <http://www.imesh.com/index.cfm> are just a couple of the numerous free programsavailable that allow users to swap movie files – many illegally.
5
 
See
Oross,
supra
note 3, at 150. (discussing the many novel and complex copyright issues confronting the motionpicture industry as new technologies are developed).
6
 
See
Ronald B. Standler,
 Response of Law to New Technology
(last visited Apr. 17, 2001)<http://www.rbs2.com/lt.htm> (examining the ways that new technologies have revolutionized society).
7
Digital technologies inherently facilitate copyright piracy. For instance, while both analog and digital tapingfacilitate piracy allowing for easy reproduction, digital copying excaberates this problem, because unlike analogcopies, digital copies do not degrade in quality with subsequent generations of copies. Media for storing digitalinformation, such as CDs, floppy disks, or DVDs, also benefit pirating enterprises because these media are generallyless expensive to manufacture and store than their analog equivalents of paper, records or cassettes.
See
C
ARL
S
HAPIRO
& H
AL
R. V
ARIAN
, I
NFORMATION
R
ULES
: A S
TRATEGIC
G
UIDE
 
TO
 
THE
N
ETWORKED
E
CONOMY
101 (1999).
8
 
See id.
at 94.2
 
technology, from the printing press to the videocassetterecorder (“VCR”) has brought forth dire predictions that itwould destroy an industry, but this has never come to pass.
9
Inthe last few years there have many new digital technologiesdeveloped, but none of these have sparked as much debate as theintroduction of the MP3 and the DVD. The motion picture andmusic industries have filed and argued numerous lawsuits overthe introduction of these technologies.
10
The focus of this article is to discuss how the MP3 and DVDhave affected the current copyright laws. This article willalso show that while most innovations appear to threaten theirrespective industries, in most cases these innovations vastlyexpand it. The history of these various innovations andtechnologies that have threatened industries will be explored aswell as the novel problems presented by the digitaltechnologies. While this article does not propose to endorseany particular solution, the article shows that the motionpicture and music industry's problems cannot be solved solely bythe legal process, but rather in developing solutions through acombination of legislation, technology and competition toprotect their intellectual property interests and to expandtheir respective industries.
9
 
See id 
. at 84.
10
 
See
Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios, Inc
.,
464 U.S. 417 (1984) [hereinafter
Sony
]; Recording IndustryAssociation of America v. Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc., 29 F.Supp. 2d 624, 632 (C.D. Cal. 1998), aff’d, 180F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. Ct. of Appeals 1999) [hereinafter
 Rio
]; A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 1004 (9thCir. Ct. of Appeals 2001) [hereinafter
 Napster 
]; Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F.Supp.2d 294(S.D.N.Y. 2000) [hereinafter
 Reimerdes
]; UMG Recordings, Inc. v. MP3.com, Inc
.,
92 F.Supp.2d 349 (S.D.N.Y.2000) [hereinafter
 MP3.com
].3

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