Hollywood’s resort to draconian tactics like SOPA may have cost them the moral high ground.

Venture capitalist Paul Graham is already looking to fund Hollywood’s successors.

Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.

That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV….

http://ycombinator.com/rfs9.html

Fortunately those successors can take advantage of technical infrastructure like the Cloud, as the chief creative officer of a small digital arts company attests.

After turning to Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing service for the first time to finish animation under tight deadline, [John McNeil] was impressed by how it would let him compete with bigger studios. He said, ‘Cloud computing is the first truly democratic, accessible technology that potentially gives everyone a supercomputer…it’s a game changer. I could never compete or be able to deliver something at the level of a Pixar or a Disney, given what I have at my disposal inside the walls of the studio,’ McNeil said. ‘But if I factor in the cloud, all of a sudden I can go there. And then the limitations of whether or not I can deliver something great will be on my own talent and the talent of the people that are part of the studio.’”

Meanwhile, an admission from the horse’s mouth: the movie industry’s real worry is not piracy but the loss of control.

“Miramax CEO Mike Lang has admitted to what we all suspected. The biggest worry is a distribution monopoly, not piracy. They saw what happened to the music industry with iTunes, and vowed to not lose control and be at the mercy of Apple or whoever becomes the dominant distributor. From the article: ‘Lang, whose company today debuts the Blu-Ray version of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, emphasized that people don’t necessarily want to pirate, as long as they get what they want. “Innovate or die,” should be the motive of entertainment industry companies, where it’s key to listen to customers.’”

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/0032233/Movie-Industry-Loss-of-Control-Worse-Than-Piracy.

Gabe Newell, chief of the company that brought you Half Life and Portal (and former classmate of mine, hi Gabe!), finds a comparable misunderstanding in gaming:

“In general, we [at Valve] think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the U.S. release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/11/25/2217247/valves-gabe-newell-on-piracy-its-not-a-pricing-problem

One game company is taking control of this…loss of control?

“Indie game company tinyBuild Games, who released a platformer called No Time To Explain recently, uploaded their own game to the Pirate Bay. However, there’s a key difference between the game they uploaded and the version you can purchase: the game characters wear pirate hats, and everything else has a pirate theme. One of the company’s founders, Alex Nichiporchik, said, ‘[S]ome people are going to torrent it either way, we might as well make something funny out of it. … You can’t really stop piracy, all you can do is make it work for you and/or provide something that people actually want to pay for. For us this is humor, we like making people laugh.’”

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/09/14/0517245/Indie-Devs-Upload-Their-Own-Game-To-The-Pirate-Bay

Demonstrating the power of many-to-many image- and sound-making, artist Aaron Koblin and his collaborators stitch compelling interfaces from huge data sets. Watch Koblin transform airline flight data into global travel patterns, frame-by-frame drawings into an animated tribute to Johnny Cash, and Google Street View into an Arcade Fire video personalized for each listener.


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Why lose $20 reselling that engineering book or Shakespeare reader, when you can pay Amazon $5 and keep your notes in the cloud when you’re done?

Amazon Lets Students Rent Digital Textbooks http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/07/18/1654246/Amazon-Lets-Students-Rent-Digital-Textbooks

“Amazon has unveiled a new digital textbook rental service, allowing students to choose how long they’d like access to an eBook-version of a textbook via their Kindle or app — with the retailer claiming savings as high as 80%. Kindle Textbook Rental will let students use a text for between 30 and 360 days, adding extra days as they need to. Any notes or highlighted text will be saved via the Amazon Cloud for students to reference after the book is ‘returned.’ Amazon said tens of thousands of books would be available to rent for the next school year.”

While iPads have been getting the headlines, there are plenty more e-readers to choose from.

Study This: E-Textbook Readers Compared

The iPad was supposed to wipe out standalone e-readers, but they’re still here, and they’re a big deal on campus.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/koZon8SFfJA/

It’s a bit like The Pool, for movie studios.

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/11/18/0010208/Amazon-Launches-Online-Movie-Studio

“Amazon.com is getting into the movie business by opening Amazon Studios, with the goal of using the Internet to put fresh movies on the big screen. The new Internet movie studio will allow writers to upload screenplays to its website where the global Internet audience can read them and offer feedback, or producers/directors can use them to make test movies. The test movies, which must be at least 70 minutes in length, can also be uploaded.”

As pointed out by a Slashdot commenter, Max Keiser has another model where script writers could share profits: Pirate My Film.

Keiser, a film-maker, broadcaster and former broker and options trader offers a vision of what this could really be like.

http://www.piratemyfilm.com/pages/how_it_works

“The system automatically creates enough shares to match the funds request and then makes those shares available for PMF members to reserve.” Why just read and offer feedback when you could support a work from day one and perhaps share in some value.

Good news for any students needing access to books etc. from Amazon (via Matt Leavitt and Owen Smith).

This is pretty great, all people with a .edu address gets a year of free amazon prime!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info

tell everyone!

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