here's a rant for ya.
This is a bit off the beaten path for our tech page, but I think it fits as many of us see the impacts of digital piracy every day.
As I mentioned before, I sat in the theater on Sunday watching a flick by the name of Kill Bill. I kept seeing something going on during the movie that obviously was not supposed to be part of my viewing experience, or was it? There were red and brown dots flashing at seemingly random moments in the film. It turns out they are far from random and apparently Miramax thinks my distractions during the movie are worth their antipiracy agenda. Roger Ebert refers to this form of Cap Code, as "Crap Code". A projectionist brought forth this in a recent column.
Well, something new and horrible has been introduced on some studios' prints. Sort of a giant picture-marring version of Cap Code dots: Very large reddish brown spots that flash in the middle of the picture, usually placed in a light area. They flash in various patterns throughout a given reel while other reels of the same film may have none at all.
A Kodak spokesman who helped devise the original Cap Code says this is not the work of his company but theorizes that it may be intended to be more visible on the murky compressed copies that get posted to the Internet where the original, very subtle Cap Code may be difficult to discern.
I don't go to the cinema that much, so when I do it is usually because I want to enjoy the impact of the big-screen. It is a damn shame that the MPAA feels as though they can piss all over my in-theater movie experience because tons of industry insiders rip them off steadily. Hey, I got an idea, why don't they just make the sound pop and hiss throughout the movie too. That will throw the pirates right off.
I would tell you to run right out and drop $7 on Kill Bill, but you know what, I say save your $7 in protest of this Crap Code. The movie was so great with Crap Code that the first thing I asked my wife when we left the cinema was, "Did you keep seeing those spots? Something must have been borked."
In an attempt to share with you an email address that we would be able to use to contact Miramax and share our thoughts with, I found little information available to me. After about an hour on the phone and blindly dialing made up extension numbers, I finally got a live person on the phone in their business and legal department. Then I finally got to a general receptionist and asked her how did I lodge a complaint with Miramax about the Cap Code in Kill Bill.
SURPRISE! Miramax has neither an email address nor phone numbers for such concerns. I was told I could be given a general fax number, but of course they could not promise that those "could be forwarded along." So it seems that Miramax does not want to hear from me, you, or any of their customers that give them their hard earned money. And somewhere on a personal level, I feel as though I just got screwed out of an experience that I had been waiting to really enjoy. Quentin ought to be pissed that Miramax turned his move into a Crap Code experience, I know I am."
Okay. Even in Peoria, at a kinda-sorta nice-ish theater, it costs nearly $8 to get in. For that $8, I get to sit through 6 or 7 commercials, 3 or for trailers, and 1 or 2 movie theater promos. That's 15 or 20 minutes of pure advertising I've just paid $8 to watch.
Now the movie. I get to suffer through cell phone calls, screaming brat fuck kids, sticky floors, uncomfortable seats, the inability to pause it for piss breaks, and I get to pay $8 for all that. And now, the crap code, which inserts random dots on the prints to further distract and annoy me.
Which means, basically, that going to the movie theater can suck my nuts off. This shit just pisses me off. They're so worried about people stealing movies and so unwilling to give people a legal option that they'll further piss off their paying customers for a bit of protection.
The funny part? These movies are still being pirated, then cleaned up before being distributed online. It seems like the music and movie industry is trying their absolute damndest push customers away, piss them off, and encourage them to steal what they produce.
Instead, give us a legal option. I'd rather pay $5 to download a movie safely and legally then over KaZaa. $5 is a fair price, and then movie theaters wouldn't have the overhead of building costs, electricity, and everything else now. These corporations are clinging to business plans that simply don't work anymore, and they're refusing to adapt.
If they're going to spend 15 minutes of my time making me sit through ads, they better make it less than $8 for me to do it. And once the movie starts, they best not annoy me with red dots everywhere. Fuck the movie theaters.