The Premiere Patrol

The spine-tingling new cop show — intrepid officers stake out movie theaters, watching for unauthorized taping of movie premieres.
Texas HB 1871 and SB 481 create new crimes for recording movies in a theater. Meanwhile, there are similar bills making their way through Congress right now (S167 / HR 357) and expected to pass easily.
Why is the MPAA trying to get this bill passed at the Federal and State levels? Rumor has it because they were concerned that Federal law enforcement wouldn’t make movie theater stakeouts as high a priority as say, finding terrorists.
Now, I don’t have any sympathy for commercial pirates — people who make money by distributing illegal copies of movies.
But what problem is the MPAA trying to solve here? People are so eager to see their movies that they are willing to record them at theaters.
With a little creativity, the MPAA could solve this problem in other ways. They could make premiers available to bloggers, and provide links to trailer clips. They could take advantage of the power of universe of fans to spread word of mouth about a movie.
The movie industry could do more of what Apple has done, in making an easy, cost-effective way to search, pay for, and download movies. They could digitize back catalogs of content, creating new revenue opportunities for assets that are moldering on shelves.
I really wish that the MPAA put as much money into creative new ways to distribute and promote their product as they do trying to change the legal system to support their existing business model.

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